Musings of a Chicago-Born New Yorker

Posts tagged “current events

Blogging While The World Burns/Drowns/Divides/Etc.

I’ve been wanting to try something new with this blog, but it’s easier said than done. I keep thinking about things I want to say, but then it feels like they’ve already been said. Or it feels trivial. Or it feels like how dare I have a moment of happiness when multiple people are killed by the police almost every damn day.

But I started this blog as a bit of an online journal situation. I have so many thoughts about stuff that happens. And life is still fun at some points, so I want to share that too. For instance, my trials and tribulations trying to get someone to go apple picking this weekend. That could be fun to read about maybe…?

Things are just feeling very transitional right now for me. Not the weather though. The weather is stuck on warm. I woke up this morning feeling itchy because of a fucking mosquito bite. At the end of September. Because I sleep with the windows open. Because it’s still so hot outside. Because global warming.

That got dark quick.

But my point still stands. A few weeks ago when it was in the 50s, I was so cold when I got out of the shower, and I was missing the summer that I was sure was gone. But now, it’s so damn steamy. I don’t appreciate the heat anymore because it’s the end of September! I will miss it when it’s gone though because I love summer time. But I don’t love it like I usually do around June. Fall clothing is my favorite and the window is possible closing.

It could stay warm for so long that fall weather lasts for two days then it’s winter. Or the global warming could continue and fall weather will last from mid-October to January. Who knows?

Can we all just agree that hurricane season can’t end soon enough though?

I think I’m successfully talking myself into remembering why I found blogging fun. And how maybe I can avoid some of the tone deafness. I won’t be all like, “hey, look at this pie I made and only look at this and let’s all pretend Roger Goodell doesn’t have the moral high ground over Trump for some crazy fucking reason!” It’ll definitely be more like, “hey, had another great night at a jazz club where we drunkenly discussed the best way to undermine white patriarchy.”

Eh, I really just woke up in a writing mood, so this may not last. I wrote a whole bit that was inspired when I read that Hugh Heffner died. It’s far too soon for me to say what I want to say, so I’ll post it in a month or so. The casual misogyny will keep. For the record, totally not accusing Hugh of that by any means. I’ve always viewed him as one of the most women-loving capitalists of our time.

In the mean time, I’m going to get back to planning my boss’s going away hang and finding someone to go apple picking with me.


Thoughts All Over The Place

I have started three different posts in the last month, and I just can’t. I don’t quite have Trump fatigue yet, but what I can I say that isn’t already being said? Not much. On Twitter and Instagram, I like and repost a lot of stuff that I think others need to see. I DVR and eventually watch every episode of the Late Show with Stephen Colbert. It’s good for my soul, like chicken soup.

I thought about something the other night. I was out with my husband and some of our best friends in New York. We were, of course, at a jazz club. In the middle of our friend’s set, playing some amazing music, we were conversing about Trump. One of our friends and his wife are Canadian, and they are worried about a number of things: visa renewals, NAFTA, whether a quick visit home could turn them into illegal immigrants. Shit is bananas. Then another of our friends started speaking about the rise in anti-Semitic attacks and threats. Shit is bananas.

It hit me that at this moment in life, I kind of feel the least under attack, at least compared to some others.

I’m worried as shit about what Trump is doing and how many people I know and don’t know that it will affect. But in terms of my body and life, there isn’t much he can do to me. I look at my husband and I worry about Trump reducing funding for arts and possible re-instating Stop & Frisk. I look at my in-laws and worry about Trump’s immigration policies. I look at my friends we’ve met since moving here and I worry about anti-Semitism, Islamophobia, homophobia, hell I worry about generalized xenophobia.

I’m not trying to have any babies, but if I did get pregnant, my husband and I would roll with it, and I’d do my best to match the enthusiasm he and our parents would have. My healthcare comes through my job and is not at the mercy of stock markets and whatnot. People are always going to need/get organ & tissue transplants. My pension also goes through my job. My husband and I have really good healthcare (medical, dental, eye, & pet insurance) through my job.

I’m American born and raised, and I live in a city that’s very multicultural, and people look at me and assume I’m from here. I occasionally have people assume my parents are from whatever country they’ve come from, but they always assume my parents came from said country to America, then had me. They’d be wrong because my parents, and their parents, and their parents, etc. are all American born, but that’s not really important.

My point I’m finally circling back to is that Trump can sign into law that will mess me up any more than I currently am. I live in Brooklyn, where all the cops don’t yet have body cameras, but they can somehow afford to have those airport do-you-have-a-bomb scanners. I got stopped on my way to the A train so they could swab my bookbag-style purse and lunch tote. I had the thickest attitude about it, and the cops were all don’t-hate-me-I’m-just-doing-my-job. And I was all fuck-you-and-your-job-aren’t-you-the-same-ones-who-are-going-to-be-harassing-one-of-my-neighbors-for-being-male-and-black-and-outside-in-a-few-hours?

Ugh, I’m so irritated at everything right now.

Well, not everything. There are moments of wonderfulness. Nights at Smalls Jazz Club are my favorite. That place is like home to me. Literally, I walk in and I feel as comfortable as I do in my favorite places on this planet. Obviously, there’s the caveat that I have to wear pants, but still. And including tonight, I’ll have gone to to Smalls three times in 8 days, so that always gives me happy vibes.

And then there’s the Sims 4. I love me some video games in general, and the Sims in particular. I’ve made time to play more in recent weeks, and that has led to more writing and reading SimsLit. I’m telling you, these little computer generated people & aliens provide a great escape from everyday life. One of my sims fell in love with a man who was young enough to be her son, but she gave him a chance because he’d had a crush on her since he was in high school. They hit it off and she got pregnant. When she told him, he confessed that their child would have a sibling the exact same age. He’d slept with his sister’s fiancee on the night before their wedding, and she got pregnant too. The family’s plan was to raise the children as cousins, not siblings. I promise you that the only thing I had a hand in was letting my Sim sleep with the guy who’d loved her forever. The rest happened on it’s own (with the help of a story progression mod).

And there’s my volunteer work. I finally felt useful this past week. I was helping a high school girl with a ridiculous Algebra II project based on Angry Birds. I dug the movie, but does anyone even play angry birds anymore? Fucking parabolas man. I lost 35 minutes of my life because neither she nor I could remember that the vertex of the parabola is halfway between the two x-intercepts. But it’s cool because we figured it out and she got Part 1 of the project done. I don’t often feel useful tutoring those particular kids, but I really felt useful this week.

I wish I had more cohesive thoughts for this post, but I don’t. Sorry, not sorry.

People, at least black people, aren’t outraged because her feet are on the damn couch, even though that is trifling as hell. If you think the outrage is about feet, then you CLEARLY don’t watch porn, didn’t hang out with black guys and white grls in college, are naive about the politics/optics/history of black men/white women and white people/black people as a whole and are unfamiliar with the basic socialization of women and body language. I won’t call her a thot. But is she thotting? Well. 💅🏾 Get ya damn feet off the couch and close your legs, ma’am. At least TRY to look like a professional woman. You’re supposed to lean in, not bust it open. Part of what’s so infuriating of this is her casual comfort like this room of college presidents is the damn help. It’s like, you’re changing and half naked and a servant walks in, no biggie. They’re like living furniture. You’re changing and someone that actual matters to you comes in, you get embarrassed and throw something on. That she can be so casual and without f**ks and sitting in f*** me formation in the presence of White House guests, and guests of such note at that, or even her boss, is mind-blowing. Also, she is absolutely, 💯 percent putting her ***** on Orange’s sideburns. #kellyanneconway #whitehouse #potus

A post shared by Demetria Lucas D’Oyley (@demetrialucasdoyley) on Feb 28, 2017 at 3:10pm PST

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So… This Ban… Y’all Know We’re Being Gaslighted, Right?

[EDITED TO REFLECT A RECENT ARTICLE I READ LIKE 5 MINUTES AFTER POSTING THIS, SCROLL TO THE BOTTOM TO SEE]

IF YOU’RE READING TO SEE WHAT I’VE GOT TO SAY ABOUT THIS BAN, SKIP TO THE NEXT ALL CAPS SENTENCE. I’M GETTING ALL PERSONAL BLOGGY FIRST.

Okay, personal stuff first. Did I tell y’all I am going to a bridesmaid for the first time ever this year? My girl Toya (we grew up next door to each other, and she’s thankfully not marrying the boy next door, lol) is getting married in May. She’s one of the only people on the planet who could get me to go to Florida right now.

Chris and I haven’t been to Florida since George Zimmerman was acquitted of killing Trayvon Martin. That Stand Your Ground law is such utter bullshit that we decided we would do our best to not go back until it was changed. I’m making an exception for this wedding, then the travel ban is back in place.

Being a bridesmaid is such a mind fuck. It’s like being trolled by my own thoughts. Budget worries, body worries, logistics, etc. To put it more simply, trying on bridesmaid dresses has made me get my whole life together. If I’m going to wear a strapless gown at a beach wedding and get photographed in some forever pictures, I need to do better than what I’m currently doing.

Luckily, this feeling coincided with Chris wanting to be healthier too. So for the past couple of week’s we’ve both been way more committed to exercise, and I’ve been cooking 5-6 times a week. it’s better for the budget and the waistline. Simpler meals (if blood orange & herb glazed baked ribs with mushroom rice and roasted butternut squash counts as simple) have been the goal. So far, it’s going well.

We’ve just hit that point where that initial burst of energy because we’re working out 6 days a week is starting to fade. We still have all our regular life responsibilities and we are tired, man. We are committed to pushing through and getting our bodies used to this new pattern. We just gotta get over the hill. I’m grateful that we have each other for support.

We support our goals, and also our mental well-being. We discuss all the crap going on the world, then watch SNL and The Late Show with Stephen Colbert for catharsis.

HEY Y’ALL, HERE’S WHERE I SWITCH TO POLITICS, WHICH IS PRETTY MUCH SYNONYMOUS WITH SOCIETAL GASLIGHTING THESE DAYS.

So, unless you’re living under a rock or know literally no one affected by this travel ban, you’ve heard that there are new levels of dickishness that can be reached with each passing day.

That fucker in the White House spent his first week signing executive orders left and right like he was Dolores Umbridge taking over Hogwarts.

The most recent one that has caught everyone’s attention is this immigrant/refugee ban. If you need a breakdown about it, I got you. CNN explains it relatively well here, here, here, and here.

The people responded strongly and swiftly. If  you need a breakdown about that, I got you. The New York Times covers it pretty efficiently as of two days ago, and you can read that here.

I was all on board for grabbing my pitchfork to join the townsfolk to protest this newest outrage. If I didn’t have crazy work hours (also see above for newfound commitment to not having a terrible beach body), I would’ve trekked out to JFK to join the protests the first night they happened.

For the most part, I’m still on board, but I’ve seen this and I really have to share it with y’all.

If you’re like me and you simply open all links in new tabs to be read after you’ve read the main article (or not at all), I’ll sum it up for you. Shaun King, journalist and activist extraordinaire tweeted a Facebook post by political historian Heather Richardson. If you open no other links in this blog post, READ THIS ONE.

If you’re still refusing to open the link I’ve put in ALL CAPS, well fine, you’ve twisted my arm. To make a long story short, Professor Richardson describes this fuckery aka ban as a “shock event.” If you don’t know what a shock event is, well, just click on the word shock event in the previous sentence. Seriously folks, I’m spoon feeding you here. It can’t get much easier than this… unless you’re reading on a browser that won’t let you open in a new tab and won’t save where you left off on the previous screen, in that case, well, I understand.

Okay, back to this term called shock event. The idea is to do something shocking, that will both distract and divide the people. They are focused on this shocking thing, and they have knee-jerk reactions for or against it along expected lines. You know, for example, like instituting an unreviewed ban on immigrants from seven seemingly random countries who haven’t sent us jihadists.

While the people are still in disarray, mounting their response of protest or support, you sneak in the back door (that’s what he said) and enact your real agenda.

Right now you may be thinking, if he is such a badass, usurping the will of the people, why bother with the bait and switch? Well, I’ll tell you why. Because he doesn’t actually want complete anarchy. He wants the people in disarray so they can’t mount an effective defense. It’s in his best interest to keep them from unifying. He knows his true objective is NOT in the interest of the people, and if they knew what he was truly up to, they’d try and stop it. But if they’re too busy fighting over who loves Muslims more than the next person hates Muslims, they won’t notice that he’s about to fuck them all over for something that benefits only a select few.

Let me put it this way. Those fuckers who have confederate flags covering every surface they own, their wives still wearing t-shirts that say Jail the Bitch, their children bullying yours in school to go back to “where you came from,” their preachers condemning all your gay best friends to hell, their healthcare they swear they don’t want being paid for by your taxes, you know them? Can you imagine protesting along side them when whatever Bannon and Trump have planned is revealed?

I for one have a hard time imagining the same people who’ve had vitriolic responses to the protests since Inauguration Day standing beside me to fight against the complete decimation of our tax/healthcare/education/transportation/energy/housing/banking/regulation/immigration/you-name-it system, or whatever the hell their true target is.

But if Professor Richardson is right, we gotta be vigilant y’all. We CANNOT let this man and his puppeteers take away any of the few things that happen to matter to most of us.

Thanks to historians (yay education!) we have an early warning. We’ve got several jobs to do. One of them is to continue to protest the individual acts of fuckery, like this ban, as they pop up. But today, right now, move one waaaaaay up the priority list.

YOU NEED TO FIND A WAY TO STOMACH WORKING WITH THOSE YOU DISAGREE WITH ABOUT DAMN NEAR EVERYTHING.

YOU NEED TO FIND A WAY TO STOMACH WORKING WITH THOSE YOU DISAGREE WITH ABOUT DAMN NEAR EVERYTHING.

YOU NEED TO FIND A WAY TO STOMACH WORKING WITH THOSE YOU DISAGREE WITH ABOUT DAMN NEAR EVERYTHING.

You still with me? Good. Hear me out.

I’m not saying get ready to invite the Klan to your family reunion. I’m not saying continue to work with these fuckers people after the fight is won (see what I did there? I’m already growing. grow with me). I’m saying that when the shit goes down, which those smarter than us are pretty sure it will, do not let ideological divides keep you from fighting together.

I don’t know how much time you need. But do some self-assessment and figure that shit out. I don’t know how much time we have. But take some time, do some meditation, and make peace that you may one day march alongside a white nationalist against a common cause.

Take a moment right now. Breathe. It will be okay. If/When that moment comes that we all need to join together, you gotta be ready to do this with us, you can’t let it take you by surprise. If this ban really was a shock event… Don’t. Let. It. Work. On. You.

Stay strong. Resist. Take care of yourself and those you love.

EDIT: So…. I think the big move may have been started already. I think it might’ve been Trump nominating Bannon to the National Security Council. Keep an eye on this one. For a quick rundown, read this opinion piece by the New York Times Editorial Board entitled, “President Bannon.”.

shock-event


Climate Change, Panty Raids, and Toddlers (not all at once, that’d be gross)

So apparently there’s this ice shelf in Antarctica that’s about to break off and fuck us all up. It’s “hanging on by a thread” according to climate scientists. When this happens, sea levels will raise 4-ish inches. Goodbye Boston. Goodbye Venice. Good riddance most of Florida.

I don’t know about you, but that definitely reorients my travelling priorities. I’m really glad that after we go to London to see Harry Potter and the Cursed Child in October, we’re heading to Malaga, Spain after that for a week trip with my mother-in-law in her time share. I’m hoping to pop across the Strait of Gibraltar (technically the Alboran Sea) to visit Morocco as well.

Based on their coastal locations, I can assume these cities will be altered if a giant ice shelf raises water levels by inches all over the planet.

Thinking about all of that (and puppy mills, ugh, thanks Rolling Stone), I started to consider other places I want to visit. I have the plan to visit all 50 states at some point before age 50. But I also want to go to Italy and visit Venice and Naples. I want to visit Mubmai in India and Osaka in Japan. And I still haven’t been to Boston. I really love New Orleans, and I’m looking forward to visiting again. But these cities are fucked.

I’m glad that 21 people under the age of 21 filed a suit to stop this shit. And I’m really glad this district judge has this to say:

“Exercising my ‘reasoned judgment,’ I have no doubt that the right to a climate system capable of sustaining human life is fundamental to a free and ordered society.” –U.S. District Judge Ann Aiken

Things like this give me hope. Hope for these folks born after 1990 who I rarely time the time to acknowledge as useful. Hope for my future travel. Hope that though the immediate present ain’t great, the future is salvageable.

On another note, I was in Chicago this past weekend. I visited my family for my mother’s 60th birthday. Here’s what I learned.

  • My grandmother is refusing to do what she said she’d do when starting this experimental treatment, so she’s getting worse while she’s getting better.
  • My parents’ college friends are even better than I remember. They are hilarious. And panty raids in college are a real thing, not just in movies.
    • I’m thinking I really really want to name names for who participated in these panty raids, but all the guilty parties are not yet retired, so I’ll wait for now…
  • Living in New York turns you, and people you know from back in Chicago, into whiskey drinkers.
  • Bridesmaid dresses were not created to look good on anyone.
  • My mother has chosen a theme for her sixties. She turned “50 with a snap.” But her sixties are all about being cool. There’s a hand gesture that goes along with it. I made it up, my mother is now to cool to have done something like that.
  • My entire family need to start going for walks. We are NOT maintaining a basic standard of health, myself included.

And lastly, I’m considering what drastic measures to take in preparation of my friend LaToya’s wedding in May. Is vegan too far? It probably is. I mean, I had a terrible experience with some beef lasagna that I assume was delicious but couldn’t put in my mouth in Paris that made me think vegetarianism isn’t too far off in my future.

I just can’t help thinking of 2010 me. I was unemployed, which wasn’t great, but I went no carb, hardly-no-sugar and had just discovered hot yoga. Maaaaaaan, let me tell you, I was in the best shape of my life that year. But that level of time and diet commitment is just… hard. I probably could’ve maintained it had I kept one of the two going.

I dunno. But I tell you what I do know. I’m not about to go through what bridesmaids all over the world go through. I will make sure that I can fit into the dress I ordered. I decided to order a size that will fit me today instead of some aspirational size. Hopefully I’ll have the problem of needing to have it taken in…

Switching gears again. Do you play the Sims 4? I do, and I’m losing my mind that I won’t be able to play with the toddlers until Thursday night of this week! I’ve downloaded the update, but between visiting Chicago, my work-volunteer-yoga schedule, and going to see a taping of the Harry Connick, Jr. show, there just won’t be time before then.

Seriously, how freaking cute are these toddlers?

ts4_toddlers_thumbnail_v1


Fighting The Ughs In My Personal Life And My Politics

Anytime I see the word trump in the news, capitalized or not, I just get… ugh. Yeah, that’s the word. I get ugh.

It doesn’t help that I’ve got some personal things happening right now in my life that for the first time ever make me feel prolonged sadness. I feel very ugh almost all the time now.

But, there are some things going down that are fighting the ughs.

Personal

  1. I finally booked an Airbnb for the Paris portion of the trip my husband and I are taking to Europe for New Year’s. Nothing like having somewhere to sleep so you don’t end up in a hostel to make you smile.
  2. I have started playing Sims 4 again, and writing stories about my Sims. The SimLit community is fantastic and I’m so happy to rejoin them after a long hiatus.
  3. I’ve finally got my younger cat Jasmine on my side! She seemed to barely tolerate me since we moved to New York, staring at me with contempt every time I dare to show affection to my husband or older cat Belle. But yesterday morning, she climbed into my lap and sat there purring while I petted her. Chris and Belle were just as confused as I was.

Political

dapl-protest-strong

  1. The protesters in North Dakota triumphed! Read about it on NPR. CNN has this picture on their website that is just so powerful to me. It reminds me of the interconnected struggles of all marginalized communities. I’m hopeful that all the naysayers who swear protesting does nothing will now shut the entire fuck up. If you’ve been under a rock, and you don’t know about #NoDAPL, well, all you need to know now is the Army has agreed to reroute a pipeline that had the potential to damage the groundwater and desecrate the burial grounds of the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation. The Army backed down from the latest in a series of violations of a treaty signed long ago. The celebrations that are happening today are heartwarming. It is so much better than what we thought would happen. December 5th was designated as the day they were going to forcibly remove people from the land to setup a “free speech area”, supposedly “for their safety.” So much bullshit and gaslighting went into that concept, but it matters not! Instead of that crap, December 5th is now a day of celebration for everyone who supported their cause.
  2. Yesterday was the anniversary of the day Fred Hampton was murdered in 1969. You may not have heard of him, but you should go learn about him. He died for the cause and is an example of what you must be willing to sacrifice for progress. Today is the anniversary of the start of the Montgomery Bus Boycott in 1955. You likely have heard of that, but you should still learn more about it, and the Freedom Riders too. These sustained protests are examples of the economic power of the oppressed, as well as their ability to fight against unjust laws. Looking back on the significance of these days informs our present and future. The varied forms of protest as well as the varied outcomes leave me with pride, courage, and resolve. And believe it or not, it also helps me push the ughs away.
  3. In the context of history both decades and hours old, I look forward to what’s coming next. For me, that is the Injustice Boycott. In just over an hour after this post publishes, we will get details of who the boycott targets are. I grew up hearing stories about how economic protests made Montgomery, Alabama integrate their city bus system and how all the major national African-American organizations boycotted Arizona until they observed Martin Luther King Jr Day. I’ve always believed in the power of protest to affect change. I was on board with protests against Chick-fil-A and other companies that have been associated with discrimination against the LGBTQ+ community, and I’d like to think I’m a good ally for that community, ever learning and evolving to be an even better ally. I’m just glad that now I get to engage in a protest that helps my own community. Once they put up details about the protest, I’ll probably put up another post explaining how I’ll participate.

I’ve been struggling as of late to stay positive and happy and optimistic about the future. But on days like today, there are glimmers of hope that the darkness won’t last.


I Enjoy Less Because Feminism

The patriarchal cisgendered norms of my worldview have been buffeted by intersectional feminism.

In case that sentence was gibberish to you, let me break it down.

Patriarchal: When I use this term, I’m referring to the second definition, which refers to a society controlled by men.

Cisgendered: When I use this term, I’m referring to people who identify as being the same gender they were assigned at birth.

Intersectional: When I use this term, I’m referring to the concept that the problems of marginalized communities are interconnected, and cannot be separated.

Feminism: When I use this term, I’m referring to the belief in and fight for the rights of women based on the belief in their equality to men.

Intersectional feminism: When I use this term, I’m referring to an idea that the fight for equality for women is a fight for all women and femmes, crossing racial and social and economic and age and gender lines.

Having defined those terms as I am currently using them, let’s say that first sentence again using a lot more words.

The world defaults to the best interest of men, particularly those who were assigned the male gender at birth, and I was raised with those same patterns of behavior and views. In learning more about the world around me, particularly as it relates to the equality of all people, and the way all marginalized communities are connected, I no longer view the world that way.

I notice this in ways small and large. It has affected the way I see things, and changed the things I used to take for granted. I count myself lucky because I was raised by parents who taught me to be independent and decide for myself how I view the world. They taught me that even if I disagree with everyone I love, I must think, feel, and do what I think is right.

Some examples:

  • I can no longer watch TGIT with my mother because she and I disagree on the normalcy of the LGBTQ+ community. I’ve been visiting Chicago a lot recently for my mother because my grandmother is sick. This last visit, I watched Grey’s Anatomy, Notorious, and How to Get Away with Murder with my mom. Every show that night featured characters engaging in homosexual behavior. Each time my mother would say something along the lines of, “they’re so gay.” Her tone and redundancy bugged me, and I expressed my dissatisfaction. But aside from learning to not voice certain things, I don’t think much can be done to fix this situation. I no longer enjoy watching television with my mother. I am no fan of Raven-Symone, but I was so irritated when over the summer my mother spoke of her sexuality while we watched an eipsode of The View.
  • I can no longer attend church services at the church where I grew up. The last sermon I sat through there was a ranting mess about how gays and Muslim immigrants and bankers were responsible for the economic hardships. I was completely fucking floored and done with the church after that. The pastor of the church wasn’t there that day. The preacher who gave that awful ass sermon is now the pastor of another church, thank God. But his departure doesn’t change the reaction of the congregation during the sermon. I was horrified, openly horrified at that sermon, and I seemed to be the only one. The people who were actually listening, and who managed to follow his bullshit line of reasoning were responding as if it were any other barely mediocre sermon. I cannnot attend a church where they think blaming marginilized communities for our community’s problems is okay.
  • The song Hallelujah is one I have always loved. That mournful tone and the way the music swells as it builds to its peak have always been so beautiful to me. But the lyrics maaaaaan… The second verse is all biblical references normalizing a lot of crap towards women. It gets real rapey and hateful in just five lines. Pretty much the only version of the song I can listen to these days is the one by Pentatonix. I can easily listen to the beauty of their voices without the lyrics penetrating.
  • Eminem, who I would call one of my favorite rappers, says some awful things about women, homosexuals, etc. I don’t really love rap to begin with, and that is now tested even more. His song Rap God, which I used to listen to on repeat, now is like a slap across the face every time he uses the word faggot. It’s just not the same now that I no longer make excuses for the use of that word in music.

Those are just a few, but there are many more. Obviously, a lot of the issues I have come as a consumer. Music, television, even news articles just fall flat to me when they aren’t doing enough to fight for progress.

Several articles in the Washington Post recently address feminism, but they do it in such an incomplete way, that without a good knowledge base, you’d think they hate feminism and have never heard the word intersectional. I know feminism has a lot of problems, mostly that it tend to leave out those are aren’t white, cis, middle class, career-focused, American women. But these articles, which you can read here, here, and here, seem so limited in their scope. They seemed to make the point that there is feminism and there is black/poor/non-white feminism. In my opinion, they are not helping the cause.

The unity that is essential to resisting future overlord DJT feels like it’s being attacked from all sides. For any Harry Potter fans out there, remember that sucky speech Dolores Umbridge gave at the start of year feast when she was Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher? Basically she spoke a lot about preserving some traditions and pruning others. Just like DJT’s narcissistic ass, she sought to only keep the “traditions” that forwarded her and the Ministry’s selfish aims, damn those who are hurt in the wake.

If we are going to properly resist what’s coming (and already happening), we can’t let mainstream media twist and/or make light of important movements. And you can’t let the constant stream of music, online videos, television and movies (white-washed Dr. Strange, I’m looking at you… “Celtic” my ass…) shape and re-shape your perception of what’s normal–and what isn’t.

If you believe in equality, if you believe in progress, then pay attention. Learn their code words, and learn your code words. When I hear the word urban come up in politics, I know what they mean. It catches my ear and puts me on alert because what follows the use of that word is almost always some bullshit, and almost always is an attempt to harm my community.

I’m paying attention. And when the time comes, I’ll be ready.

Listen. Progress. Resist. Thrive.


Everything Is Awful! A Song That Definitely Wouldn’t Make The Oscars

If you have small children or great whimsy in your life, you know about the song Everything is Awesome. It was liked so much, it was used as one of the performances for the 2015 Academy Awards.

I think about this song because it mostly makes me feel happy/amused/smiley, but the song itself is represents a way to fool the masses into falling in line and distracting them so they don’t question authority. I wonder if a song about fighting the power would make it to the Oscars.

For the past several posts, there hasn’t been much happy in my life, and I know I’m not the only one who feels that way. I will say that the title of this post is hyperbole. Everything is not awful. Just a lot of things are.

So what awful thing am I talking about today?

I was walking in to work this morning, checking notifications that came up on my phone when I saw the news that Florence Henderson had died. This made me really sad; I immediately thought of her on Dancing with the Stars, and when she visited this past season for Maureen McCormick.

I will never get tired of seeing celebrities break out of their molds on this show.

I will never get tired of seeing celebrities break out of their molds on this show.

These days, I have very little patience for white-washed TV shows like the Brady Bunch. But this show came out before I was even born, so I was watching reruns on Nick at Nite as a child before I knew better.

I remember a holiday episode where she sang O Come All Ye Faithful, which for years I wrongly remembered as her singing O Holy Night. It’s an absolutely absurd plot, but I loved it. The kids contemplating cancelling Christmas because their mom couldn’t sing is likely a contributing factor to why I don’t want kids, lol.

I wonder about Florence Henderson’s political beliefs. Is that weird? I’m not sure if she’s on record having voiced an opinion about women’s rights or race relations or LGBTQ+ equality or the Dakota pipeline/Flint water crisis or any of today’s pressing issues that I care strongly about.

I’ve been keeping a running tally in my head for a few different lists:

  1. Wholly Against Us
  2. Suspiciously Quiet When It Matters
  3. Too Little Too Late
  4. Oh, Now You Wanna Speak Up When It Affects You and Yours
  5. I See You Making Efforts, But It’s Not Good Enough
  6. Social Media Warrior, Okay, Okay, But What Are Your Actions?
  7. I See You Speaking AND Acting, You’re Down for the Cause
  8. You Should Definitely Be Considered a Leader of the Movement
  9. It’s Like This Isn’t Even Happening In Your World

Florence would definitely go on list #9. Most people seem to speak highly of her, she was an amazing woman by all accounts. My perception of what makes a person amazing, however, is evolving. I don’t know that I can consider someone “amazing” who isn’t helping the fight for equality move forward.

Today is particularly rough at work too. A lot of the deaths we’re getting in are under suspicious circumstances, very sad, and hard for even the doctors and medical examiners to deal with.

I’ve got a lot of conflicted feelings. For instance, there’s this article in the NY Daily News: NY Daily News: Sorry, America, but ‘The Brady Bunch’ was a lousy show. The tweet for this article was even worse:

twitter-brady-bunch

 

It feels a bit disrespectful, no? It’s not so much the sentiment because I was basically just saying above how a show like this would do nothing but piss me off were they making new episodes today.

For me, it’s the language. “No disrespect…but..” I mean, come on. Only dedicated assholes say things like that. And yes, maybe the show does suck, and maybe that’s been this journalists opinion since he was a little kid. But to decide that today is the day he must share his opinion with the world is a bit tone deaf.

Florence Henderson spent a lot of time defending the show from critics with very real and accurate criticism of the bubble in which the show existed. So confronting her stance on the show is… I guess… fair game. Kinda like when you review someone’s legacy after death, it’s usually okay to point out the parts you specifically agree with.

But the article didn’t address anything she’d ever said about the show. It was just an opportunity to crap all over a show he clearly never liked. This was in poor taste.

I was genuinely sad at the news of her passing this morning, but I think focusing on it today is helping me cope with some personal issues, as well as the continued craptastic current events (Jill Stein getting hinky with the recount money, Dakota Access Pipeline injuries and assaults at the hands of police continuing, more black folks dead at the hands of hateful white people, more minorities assaulted by Trump supporters).

Seriously y’all, how fucking long until 2016 is over? I swear something moderately bad could happen 1/1/17 and I will be less bogged down by it that if it happens on New Year’s Eve.


When You Forget How To Enjoy Life

Do you ever forget how to enjoy life? I don’t mean sinking into a full depression where nothing holds the same joy. I’m referring more to when responsibilities and relationships and work and bills and politics and injustice take over most of your brain power, and you forget to make time for things that suddenly feel a bit trivial.

I wasn’t even sure what I was thinking or how to articulate it, but then Twitter came through for me. A write for The Establishment, Ijeoma Oluo posted a piece today that targets a lot of what I’m feeling. If you’re not familiar with her, Google her, she’s got a lot of great things to say.

ijeoma

Her piece today is called, “What I’m Doing To Get My Black Ass Ready For The Next 4 Years.” I read it and so much of it resonated with me. In it was a call to action, and a reminder for self-love. Seeking out community as well as allies is essential.

In case you don’t understand, the worry of the next four years is almost entirely about Trump. In just the two weeks since he was elected, the ugly underbelly of America has shown it’s ass. A lot of people aren’t sure how to respond.

Here’s what I’ve personally been doing:

  1. Putting my money where my mouth is. I make monthly contributions to Human Rights Campaign and Planned Parenthood. I also have donated money on different fundraising sites to help different causes such as Get Rodricus Crawford Home! and Baton Rouge Legal Defense Fund. And I’ve taken out a subscription for Mother Jones, independent news outlets will likely be our only hope in the coming years.
  2. Adding my name to the roll. I’ve signed a number of online petitions, and I’ve made a number of phone calls to elected officials to make sure they know at least one additional person cares about what bills and policies they support.
  3. Reaffirming for myself what’s most important. I have to be in a position to protect and support those I care about. Making sure my priorities are in order a useful bit of self-care so I won’t have to make hard choices later.
  4. Maintaining my health and wellness. Continuing to try and live healthy and happy will keep my body and mind fortified for what’s coming. And I signed up for more volunteer work, it benefits me just like it benefits others.

When Trump is sworn in, will the sky fall? Maybe not for all of us, but definitely for some of us. In just the month of November, he’s both promised to indict Clinton and backed off from that. He’s promised to build the wall between USA and Mexico and later spent a lot of time talking about everything but. He’s completely full of crap in almost every way possible. The only thing he’s been clear on is his business interests and his need for constant praise.

Trump settled the Trump University lawsuit for $25 million and has an upcoming rape trial. A lot of that is too hard to even process for most people still in election shock. This is all just what’s happening now, while the executive branch is still in transition. No one knows what policy positions he’ll actually land on for anything.

We must remain vigilant because there is no telling what he will do.

I have a lot going on in my personal life, so focusing on both the big and small pictures will be hard for me. Worrying about myself and those closest with me will not always line up with worrying about the world around me. But I’m not going to stop trying to do both.

fist-lead

I borrowed this image from Ijeoma Oluo’s article. It’s such a powerful image, and it strengthens my resolve every time I look at it.


2016 Still Isn’t Over Yet? Okay… Fine

If you’re an social media where the written word is included, you’ve seen statements both clever and blunt decrying 2016 as an entire year.

Most recently, the focus is Trump’s election or Obama’s nearing exit from the White House. According to lots of Chicagoans from the South Side, the Cubs winning the world series this year is evidence of 2016’s suckiness. Those with doomed relationships and lost job prospects say the same of this year.

My suckiest happenings of 2016: My father-in-law died. The everyday structure of my job stresses me out. The best phone I’ve ever had, the Note 7 catches fire and is banned on all aircraft. Trump won the most pledged electoral college votes last week.

2016 sucks

One common meme I see is a focus on all the deaths this year, and there have been a lot. Wikipedia has an entire section dedicated to all who have died this year, and the entertainment, journalistic, literary, etc. industries are worse off for the losses. Personally, I think of Alan Rickman, Natalie Cole and Prince.

Today, I’m not thinking about the whole world though. I’m thinking about my family. My husband’s father died in February of this year. He had some heart issues that led to his death and he ended up becoming an organ & tissue donor. We had a beautiful memorial service for him in March. There were hundreds of friends and family members there to celebrate his life.

2016 sucks.

His loss was and is hard for the family.

My dad sent this picture to us today. It really made me smile. It’s from my wedding day.

my-men

After I typed that last sentence, I couldn’t think of what to say next. I usually write an entire post in one sitting, pausing only if I get interrupted by something else.

But today is different. Today I feel more thoughtful, less wordy. I’m concerned for my husband, even though I know he’s strong. He’s grown so much since we’ve known each other and he is doing amazing self-care, especially today.

He made plans for us and a friend to hang out tonight, surrounding himself with good company and sympathetic ears. I’m looking forward to being there for him.

2016 sucks.

This whole day is serving a microcosm of this year for me.

Were there good points to this year? Well, yes, there were… I think. I can think of some things that count, but it just feels like even the good things have an edge of crappiness to them.

That being said, there is a lot of good in life, in my life in particular. I am in good health, I have a lot of loving relationships. I have the freedom to express myself when and how I choose. Most of the ways I choose to spend my time bring me great joy. We’re in a new golden age of television.

I don’t have much of a sum up point today. Something like: 2016 sucks, there’s some good in it, now leave me be while I go make sure my husband is okay today and pray that the next 46 days fly past.


Life Goes On, But Don’t Let That Fool You Into Complacency

Unless you are an undocumented immigrant, or a Muslim immigrant whose visa is about to be up for renewal soon, chances are you are not one of Trump’s immediate targets.

Do the rest of us have things to worry about? Hell yes we do. But when six months pass and the sky has yet to fall on your head, you may begin to think, “hey this Trump presidency isn’t so bad, I’m living and thriving and no one I personally know has been affected. Maybe we were being hyperbolic to be so damn afraid back in November.”

To that I say, “nah.”

We gotta stay woke out here. History’s great dictators, demagogues, and assholes didn’t attempt to burn the world down all in one day. No, they slowly ramped up their awful behavior until suddenly everyone looked around and realized the hellscape had been there all along.

As usual, I’ve fallen down several rabbit holes on Twitter. I’ve come across some amazing threads that everyone should read to understand where your focus should be. I have them posted at the bottom.

But first:

Am I suggesting you forgo living your life to sit on your porch, vigilant with a shotgun, waiting for the Trump-induced apocalypse? Mmmmmmmm, no…. Not unless you’re independently wealthy, a confirmed bachelor, and willing to raise the alarm to the rest of us as soon as that shit comes over the horizon.

Seeing as how those descriptors describe very few people, what are the rest of us to do? You must keep living and finding joy in life so that anxiety doesn’t take over the world. But you can’t put your head down and stop paying attention.

  1. Re-read Trump’s policies and consider how those policies will affect you personally. Seek out allies who are already building a coalition to fight those policies.
  2. Ask your friends, families and colleagues to do the same. Then discuss how those policies will affect each of you. Become each other’s allies. You may not have to worry about deportation, but you’d be surprised how many people you love have close family members or friends who worry deeply about it.
  3. Stay vigilant and raise the alarm. Don’t stop talking about damaging language or behavior.
  4. Resist the draw of mainstream media. Resist the words of people you admire who are asking you to do things and saying things that don’t make sense. For example, Oprah suggested Trump’s body language shows winning the election has humbled him. To that, I say a giant WHAT THE FUCK, and OH HELL NO. Have any of you ever seen a humble Trump? Even when he’s proclaiming how humble he is? I didn’t think so. Don’t let the people you admire most lead you down a dark and confusing path.
  5. Learn what gaslighting is. Begin to practice real techniques to combat it. Your sanity may literally depend on it.
  6. Lastly, find specific ways to keep life as happy as you can. I suggest exercise, sex and travel, if you can afford it. The steady stream of endorphins, along with constant exposure to different parts of the population will keep you balanced (no Fox News) and keep things in perspective.

At some point in the near future, I’m not gonna make every single blog post about how I’m feeling post-election. Right now, I’m still smack in the middle of stage two: anger.

They say you don’t necessarily reach all five stages in order or at all, but I haven’t come anywhere near bargaining. I can’t think of shit I could’ve or should’ve done that would have prevented this outcome. And I’m certainly not interested in compromising with Trump. I’m looking to resist his dangerous policies at every turn.

Right now, the only thing I can think of to support that he wants to do is improve infrastructure around the country. My main issue is concern for how he’s going to do it.

One of my best friends has this term I love to hear her use: pissed-tivity. It’s usually mentioned as a scale. For example, right now I have a high level of pissed-tivity for folks trying to normalize Trump.

I’m still going to live my life. I’m currently shopping for an external charger or perhaps a charging case for my phone because life. My husband and I are going to Paris for New Year’s Eve next month. We have to start planning activities to try and enjoy our vacation and perhaps plot becoming illegal immigrants somewhere in Northern Europe (I kid, I kid, we’d of course get tourist visas before we’ve worn out our legal welcome).

But trust that I’m maintaining a high level of pissed-tivity, even after I’ve moved past the anger stage of grief. It’s my best way to stay alert and keep motivated for this long fight we have ahead of us.

Now, please see below three amazing Twitter threads you really should check out.

This is from an Iranian American feminist. She knows what it’s like to live under a dictator. Heed her warning about how easy it is for the reality to become commonplace.

This guy is great, and if you love comic books and feminism, you’ll love him even more. This thread isn’t about politics. It’s about the place of black women in comics and media and their imperfect allies, or lack thereof.

Matt McGorry, who I love as an actor and activist, has a lot to say about how to be a better ally, He is a dedicated ally of Black Lives Matter and NoDAPL.

To sum up everything above: stay vigilant, keep living, prepare for the fight, actually fight when the time comes.


Race Baiting. Let’s Talk About It.

Oh yeah, I’m going there.

I spend a lot of time on twitter. Every time one black activist or another posts literally anything about race issues, someone responds with hateful awful language. They usually spout the worst stereotypes anyone has heard about whatever group being discussed.

Sometimes that activist retweets the words or responds to them, usually highlighting the bigotry, prejudice, or outright racism of the language.

Inevitably, a third person responds, accusing the activist of race baiting.  Every time I see that accusation show up on some activists timeline, I get confused.

My first thought always is: how is it race-baiting to simply talk about and acknowledge that race issues exist? How is that activists to blame for some awful language of some random online troll?

The mere mention of possibly settling Syrian refugees in their home state makes many an online troll express dangerous and scary views. I’m an American born and raised, and the words are frightening to me. I can’t even imagine how those words land in the world of a refugee, simply here to make a better life for themselves.

But then, the part of me that is always looking to try and understand the sliver of logic that usually exists in even the most fucked up arguments kicks in. I think: Do I know anyone who unreasonably lashes out at a culture they don’t understand the second they perceive a threat from that culture?

The unfortunate answer is I do.

In black American culture, there is a lot of intolerance towards others who don’t follow traditional black (read: protestant/intolerant Christian) views. The stereotypes towards the LGBTQ+ community, Asians, Latinxs, and women are damn near intolerable to my ears. They are mostly rooted in ignorant stereotypes because of how segregated so much of the American black population is from the rest of the country.

I think about the communities I don’t hear a lot of aggression towards: indigenous Americans, refugees, disabled people, vets. I’m not sure why those people have escaped widescale ridicule in the black community. Or maybe they have and I just don’t know those people.

Let me finally get to my point.

In the times of life where I’ve been present for one of these ignorant rants against another community from the mouths of black folks, their justification is usually along the lines of, “well, if you didn’t bring it up, wouldn’t have to share my crappy views with you on the topic.”

They literally accuse whoever mentioned the touchy subject last of being at blame for their toxic language. It’s the same though pattern that produces such gems as “I don’t care if you’re gay, I just don’t wanna see that shit” and “This is why the black family isn’t intact, feminism is tearing apart black men and women”.

For the record, I’m not saying that ignorance in the black community makes it okay for the white trolls on Twitter. The ignorance of both makes me sick to my stomach.

What I am saying is that because this toxic pattern of behavior touches closer to home for me, I think I understand this thought process a little bit.

That’s how I know it can’t be tolerated. This gaslighting bullshit cannot go without challenge. I’m not suggesting getting into an online fight with a Twitter troll, but I’m suggesting confronting it when you hear toxic language come from the mouths of your friends, family, and colleagues.

You may not change someone’s mind, but we can at least restore some decency in terms of what is okay and NOT OKAY to say to and about others. Free speech is one thing, but targeted hate speech and menacing is on a whole other level.

Even if you can’t get through to someone, you never know who is listening. Maybe the person overhearing your defense of what is right will come around.

Don’t let the accusation of race baiting back you down from talking about marginalized communities. If your words precede someone spewing toxic language, that’s not your fault. If merely the mention of someone different makes someone go off like a crazy person, that’s not your fault. Don’t let them drag the fight down to their level.

Keep standing up for what matters to you. Keep fighting. Keep speaking up. Continue to fight for your own community and work harder everyday to be an ally to other communities.

Don’t let racists, xenophobes, homophobes, and misogynists turn your words of power into bait.

If you’re looking for a sound argument against gaslighting, particularly in light of the results of this most recent American election, check out this Twitter thread.

twitter-gaslight


I’m Officially in the Second Stage of Grief

There are 5 stages of grief.

Starting pretty much from 10pm Tuesday night, I was in stage one. Full blown denial and isolation. As it became increasingly clear that Clinton was not going to be our next president, I folded in on myself.

My husband was so upset and wanted to talk about his feelings, as usual. The folded-in-on-myself version of me listened, but not really, as usual. I had empathy for what he was going through, but I had trouble getting out of my own head. I fell asleep on the couch with CNN loud enough to wake me up every time they played their Breaking News ominous music. He finally went to bed around 2am. Neither of us slept well.

I didn’t get much consistent sleep as I watched headline after headline say in different ways the Trump was going to be the next president. It was a dark night.

At work yesterday, everyone was commiserating, some people joking to get through the day. I was sitting quietly at my desk for most of the day, and people kept noting that I didn’t look okay. Some even asked, “are you okay?” With a firm answer of no, the conversation didn’t go much further than that. People aren’t used to someone claiming something other than being “okay.” But yesterday, I gave zero fucks.

I was in full blown isolation + denial. But the events of the rest of night helped push me into the next stage.

My husband Chris and I went to the Knicks game last night. We bought those tickets a while ago, excited for the chance to see the Knicks play the Nets, some new version of a cross-town rivalry for us I guess. I decided to root for the Nets because I love Jeremy Lin, but unfortunately he was out with an injury, and also Derrick Rose and his poor understanding of consent made it hard for me to root for the Knicks.

Neither of us paid close attention to the game. I fell down the rabbit hole that is Twitter. I was reading account after account of people being harassed, threatened, and menaced by Trump supporters. These people were female, trans, black, Muslim, Hispanic, Latinx, Asian, immigrants, Jewish, or some combination of those identifiers. And they were terrified. Their accounts terrified me.

If you have some time to read what happened, you can check out Shaun King’s twitter timeline, he’s done a pretty good job of tweeting and retweeting accounts of what’s happened in just the first 24 hours after Trump was elected. He’s also tweeted messages of hope as maligned communities and allies posted messages of support and reassurance to those feeling fear.

Chris was in a text message discussion with a woman he’s close to. They were in a disagreement about the appropriate reaction to someone who’s voted for Trump. To Chris, a vote for Trump was an unequivocal vote for his bigoted, xenophobic, misogynistic positions. A person who’s voted for Trump gets no benefit of the doubt, no olive branch extended.

I’m sure I know a bunch of people who voted for Trump, they just aren’t saying it. Those are people I have to deal with professionally and where I do volunteer work, likely even where I go for yoga. But I sure as hell am not going to be friends with anyone I know voted for Trump, nor anyone I know doesn’t vehemently rebuke those who have voted for him.

This woman felt like Chris wasn’t being understanding of how difficult it is to have one set of beliefs, but then to make compromises to that for the sake of peace in the family. Right as he was relaying her statement to me, I came across this on Twitter.

twitter-bad-allies

He tried explaining to her that she was being an inconsistent ally, choosing her comfort over the struggle of the communities she claims she supports. In that moment, he realized that she ain’t really down for the cause. She’s not where she needs to be yet if she’s going to be a real ally. Their conversation is still ongoing with no resolution in sight.

The game ended with the Knicks winning by a bunch of points. I headed home to get some sleep before work today. Chris headed to Trump Tower to join the protest. I was so proud of him in that moment. I made sure he unlocked his phone, and my info in his phone could be searched by looking for the word wife, just in case.

He came home safely, and now he’s messaging me to tell me about how the protest was. I didn’t expect to move past denial so quickly, and there are moments where I flicker back to that stage and think: is this really life?

But for the most part, I’m in full blown anger right now. Every time I read about some poor woman who’s accosted by someone trying to rip off her hijab, I get angrier. Every time I see some member of the liberal establishment tell me we need to “unify” and “give Trump a chance to lead,” I get angrier. Every time I read the word nigger in some tweet from someone with an egg or a frog for a face on Twitter, I get angrier.

Supposedly this anger is healthy. I wonder how long I’ll feel this way before moving on to bargaining.


Numb Is the Best Word Here

I’ve been barely paying attention to social media. I’ve learned that Clinton is probably going to win the popular vote. I’ve learned that white women are to blame for Trump’s win. I’ve learned that I don’t really care about everyone’s anguish right now.

I’m numb. I’m at work, and dealing with a lot of crazies. It’s like a full moon out with all the weirdness abounding here.

And my mom is texting me about what I’m thinking. And my husband is messaging me about how I feel.

I feel meh.

I’m numb. And I think the only thing that might make me feel better again is finding a school to go to for my MBA, a school outside of this country. So I don’t have to be here for a Trump presidency.

Maybe if I can make that happen, the pollsters will have learned how to properly poll Latinos and the Rust Belt by the time I get back.


Live Blogging My Way Through Election Day

00:09 EST

I have to work in the morning, I’m done for the night.

23:59 EST

Over at Trump headquarters in NYC, they are ecstatic. All I can think is there there is one black guy and one Hispanic guy in the room. Everyone else is white.

23:57 EST

Clinton headquarters in NYC is a grim place. Their faces look like how I feel. Stunned disbelief.

23:49 EST

That bottle of champagne is gonna be in my fridge for a long time. If she loses, I won’t have much to celebrate. 2016 really is the worst fucking year.

23:38 EST

She can’t lose another vote she was expected to win. Wisconsin, Michigan, New Hampshire, come on y’all.

23:31 EST

Evangelicals man… They don’t think a woman should be in charge. And misogyny, xenophobia, and racism won’t make them not vote for you… Good to know.

23:21 EST

Just took a nap helped by the food. This shit is not looking good. People are saying the polls having been properly polling the Rust Belt and that’s why they got it wrong.

It looks like Clinton is going to lose. This is so depressing.

21:55 EST

Clinton just pulled ahead in Virginia.

Whew!

Current heart rate according to my Gear Fit 2 is 87 bpm.

21:50 EST

Michigan, Ohio, North Carolina, Florida. these four states are KILLING me right now. she’s supposed to win three of the four.

The polling this cycle apparently sucked.

21:47 EST

I’m feeling a certain amount of despair. These vote counts remind me of 2008, when Obama was leading in many vote counts. His opponent never made up the numbers. Now I’ve got my fingers crossed hoping a miracle can be pulled off for Clinton.

Nate Silver, my statistics boo, still shows Clinton winning. I really hope he’s right.

I know people who chose not to vote today. They think no matter the outcome, they won’t do well. They weren’t thinking of the people of different groups who will NOT do well with a Trump presidency.

I can’t even right now.

21:32 EST

There are a lot of votes. CNN says are too early to call. But Trump has the lead in most of these states. This is so nerve-wracking. My two home states, New York and Illinois, did their part. The rest of the country is fucking up.

21:05 EST

Trump ahead in Florida and Ohio and North Carolina. I can’t.

20:45 EST

It didn’t even occur to me to watch these results somewhere other than my own home. Why would I? This is where all the good booze is. Plus, I don’t need pants here.

On CNN, they’re showing New Yorkers watching on a rooftoop. It looks like they’re at 230 Fifth. I don’t love that rooftop, but that gathering looks fun.

Nah, I’m happy to be on my couch, agonizing over Florida in the comfort of my own home.

20:43 EST

Clinton isn’t supposed to win Ohio. She is supposed to win Florida. Those vote totals so far are upside down right now. This is upsetting.

20:30 EST

South Carolina & Alabama to Trump. No surprises there. Tons of states are too close to call. It’s still early, I’m trying to remain calm.

20:28 EST

My husband is so drunk. He’s thinking he’s attracted to Dana Bash now, lol. I get it, she looks great tonight.

Ugh, Trump is still up in Florida. This is no bueno.

He’s also currently winning in the popular vote. Clinton is winning in the electoral college vote so far. I wish they wouldn’t mention states until all the votes are in–no I don’t. I’d be so impatient if they weren’t giving me regular updates.

20:14 EST

Now Trump is up by 700 votes in Florida. Ugh. This shit is too close.

20:11 EST

Most people think they can’t drink alcohol in any order. They would be wrong. You can’t drink excessively in any order. My husband doesn’t have the strongest stomach. But tonight, he started with beer, then he drank rum (and coke), now he’s drinking wine.

You too can drink in whatever order you’d like. As long as you have a chemist on your side guiding your way, lol.

Ugh, these results are coming in now Early voting in Florida is not making me happy. We’ll see what happen though because right now Clinton is in the lead. 86% is in. And Clinton is only ahead by 11,000 votes ahead.

This is some nailbiting shit…

20:07 EST

Clinton on track to win Florida… Lord please…

19:55 EST

Trump wins West Virginia, duh.

I’ve finished the Sancerre and the beer. On to Beaujolais. That is a wonderful wine I know about because of Wine School in the New York Times last year.

19:43 EST

Ohio’s Secretary of State says that they will start reporting results soon. Republicans don’t win the country without Ohio.

Conversely, they have won Ohio without winning the presidency.

I guess we’ll see which way this will go.

19:37 EST

Nate Silver (my statistics boo) thinks that Trump will easily win Vigo County, Indiana. He thinks their bellweather status is no more because of love for Trump.

I take back what I said about understanding angry white people.

19:33 EST

Florida keeps going back and forth between Trump and Clinton.

This is nerve-wracking.

My husband can’t believe this is even a competition.

I know never to underestimate angry white people.

At least dinner was good. Chris ate so fast, he got the hiccups, lol.

I’m really really hoping Clinton wins Florida.

19:14 EST

Trump is ahead currently in Florida. This doesn’t make me happy. But at least she’s ahead in Florida, but the votes are so tiny in number right now. Taking a break to eat.

food

19:06 EST

Goodness. Bellweather county in Indiana is pissing me off. I hope Vigo County is wrong this year. Right now, it’s leaning Trump.

It’s time to eat, so at least there’s that.

19:00 EST

CNN projects Donald Trump will win Kentucky and Indiana. No surprises there. Hillary Clinton will win Vermont. No surprise there.

Virginia, Georgia, North Carolina too early to call.

My husband and I toasted and took a drink our of our glasses about Vermont.

Chris: “I’m drunk!”

Me: “Join the club!”

18:57 EST

Eric Trump violated New York election law by posting a picture of his ballot, lol.

I get it though. I took photos of my ballot when I got to vote for both my mother and Obama in the same election. It was an amazing moment for me. Of course, I knew better than to post it online.

Dummy.

18:48 EST

I’m watching Ana Navarro on CNN. This woman gives me life. This Nicaraguan-born American woman makes me so happy!

18:41 EST

Classic CNN. They’re watching the counts in Indiana. We know Indiana is going for Trump. Do we really care about the last 70,000 votes coming in from there? No we don’t.

My husband and I are going to Paris and London for New Year’s. We’re pretty damn sure that if Trump wins, we’re not coming back. When we first moved to NYC, we said we were gonna be here for three years then move to Europe.

I’ve been looking at job opportunities in London in my same industry. And I’ve been looking at the visa process in the U.K. It’s very possible for us to go over there and not come back.

We each feel better knowing we have an escape route, just in case…

18:31 EST

Every time I turn to MSNBC, they piss me off. I was just trying to check on Rachel Maddow’s eyelashes, but nope. They had an awful commercial on that made me turn back to CNN before I could see her. Fiat is at peak appropriation right now, ugh.

My husband is now drinking a very strong rum & coke I’ve made him. I’m finishing the beer, half of which I’ve poured into the italian sausages.

The first part of the food is almost done: squash, yellow rice, italian sausages. Gonna be so good!

18:24 EST

I’ve been trying to do more situps as a part of my regular workout. I prolly should’ve done those earlier today… before I started drinking. Oh well, I’ll do them tomorrow before I go to work.

18:21 EST

CNN is cracking me up with these “KEY RACE ALERTS”

I’m just glad none of the alerts are surprises thus far.

18:14 EST

My chicken still isn’t completely defrosted, so I’ve got it running under cold water now. But the rice is cooking and so are the italian sausages. So at least we’ll get dinner. The chicken may end up being our lunch for tomorrow. Gonna cook the squash and broccolini soon. I’m about to open a beer for the sausages.

And drink the rest!

This food smells so amazing!

18:08 EST

I can already tell I’m gonna be so annoyed when she wins. People keep referencing how only 100  years aho women didn’ t have the right to vote. I’m just like, “white women!!!”

Yelling at my TV is not useful.

But CNN is happily distracting me. Results from Kentucky are rolling in. Donald Trump currently holds 87% of the vote with 1% of the vote in. No surprises here. Poor white people have a long history of voting for people who don’t do anything for them. Those coal workers who can’t even afford the Trump ties made in China think Trump will get their jobs back.

At least I’m getting the results I expected. As long as I see Nate Silver’s (my statistics boo) map fill in as expected, I’ll be happy.

18:00 EST

I’ve never been an angry drunk, but I’m finding myself yelling at the TV. Every time they say something I disagree with…

But I’m still my normal happy drunk self. I’m giving my husband lots of kisses and hugs. I’m sure he’s amused by my current behavior.

17:48 EST

Drunk confession? I’ve been fussing in my head that half the damn screen is being taken up by CNN having all this info scrolling at the bottom. And I’ve also been fussing that they haven’t been releasing the exit poll results yet.

#drunkfail

The info scrolling at the bottom IS the exit polling results!

Duh…

That’s my bad. So, I’m gleaning no useful information from those results. Things like, 68% of American are ashamed to be American doesn’t capture a proper picture. I’m sure that large number encompasses those who are ashamed that xenophobia, racism, and misogyny is such a driving force for Republicans and large amounts of it aren’t enough to make someone lose the vote of the base. But I’m also sure that a large number encompasses those who feel America has gone too far away from it’s values and we’re doing too much to embrace immigrants and the gays and the Muslims.

For the record, I’m all about embracing all the newness every wave of immigrant brings. In my job, every shift, I struggle to understand the nurses and doctors who call us to report potential donors. I hate that I don’t have a good ear for accents. I know life would be so much easier at work (and when I call customer service for almost any company) if every had an American accent. But so the fuck what? I prefer this melting pot. I love that I live in a city where I can get authentic cuisine from almost any culture made by people who are from there, wherever there is.

I don’t want the world Donald Trump wants us to go back to. i want to move forward. Even if that means I’ll never clearly understand another doctor or nurse ever again. The American dream doesn’t mean shit for me. The least I can do is welcome the people who it actually exists for.

17:41 EST

My husband is home! He’s amused that I’m tipsy. But I’ve given him a Brooklyn lager, so he can start catching up. He didn’t bring me butternut squash. He brought zucchini and yellow squash. I would’ve preferred the flavor of butternut squash tonight (with brown butter sauce, drool), but at least he brought me the easier squash to prepare. #drunkbenefits #blessed lol, definitely crossing the line from tipsy to drunk

17:25 EST

I finally heard a Trump support talk about real things, like actual reality for Trump. He pointed to a number of counties in Florida where the voting is up, counties that traditionally go for Republicans. He spoke (of course with no details) of plans that Trump has to fix a lot of problems for blue collar workers.

They should’ve had this guy out a lot more speaking for Trump. I mean, his words are falling on deaf ears for me, but there are bound to be people he could’ve resonated with. Maybe some middle America white folks with half of a college degree, a high level of pragmatism, no black friends, and a ton of family members that are factory workers or police officers. Surely those people would love his message.

Of course, those folks are probably already voting for Trump. Plus this guy isn’t very attractive. I dig his facial hair (and eyes, and voice and style), but he isn’t classically handsome, and we all know Trump hates to send out people who aren’t 10s to talk for him.

17:15 EST

I’m definitely tipsy. I keep trying to fast forward through commercials because DVR is how I watch most TV. At least my nails are almost dry. I’ve only messed up one of them. This is the benefit of dark nails, you can’t really see the blemishes.

Unless I’ve missed it, we still don’t have any exit polls results. Still 45 min away from the first polls closing. Soon after that, we’ll start to get results. My anxiety is building, but it’s starting to feel like an anxious excitement.

Watching CNN is helping, believe it or not. To see all of Trump’s supporters choosing to suspend reality as their candidate’s only path to victory is reassuring. I’m not saying it’s impossible for Trump to win. I’m just saying that his own supporters don’t seem to think the reality we all currently share makes it likely.

17:02 EST

Waiting for the results of the first exit polls to be released. First polls on the East Coast close in an hour. Starting to get nervous. My heart rate is up according to my Gear Fit 2.

Hillary Clinton’s camp is reporting that she is working on two versions of her final speech tonight. I’m hoping the victory speech is the one we’ll hear.

I’m still on my first, admittedly large, glass of wine. I’m gonna check to see if the chicken and italian sausage are defrosted.

heart-rate

16:48 EST

CNN is giddy because Clinton’s motorcade is leaving Chappaqua, NY to head for the city to setup camp to hear tonight’s results.

Also, women are gather by Susan B. Anthony’s grave to put their I Voted stickers there. They’re hoping tonight is the culmination of her fight. A white woman will hopefully be president. Don’t mistake my focus on color for a lack of support for Hillary Clinton. I want her to win. I’m just not foolish enough about history to forget that the fight for women to vote didn’t include women that looked like me. My anniversary of voting right’s ain’t the same as Clinton’s.

16:44 EST

Nails are drying currently. and I’m a bit tipsy, lol. Sounds like a good time to start cooking, right? Luckily I cook while drunk often. But I gotta wait until my husband gets here with the veggies for tonight’s dinner.

Meanwhile on CNN, the anchor is mocking Trump for not knowing the difference between country and county. Peak Trump… it’s in his best interest to get facts wrong.

The dark blue nails are so fall, don’t you think?

blue-bails

16:06 EST

They’re talking about how both candidates are having their parties tonight in Midtown Manhattan, which has never happened before. As a New Yorker, I think it’s kinda cool too. I’m just even happier that I’m safe in Brooklyn today.

I feel badly for my co-workers who have to work today though. My office is on 34th & 10th, which is so close to the Javits Center which is on 34th & 11th. Security and traffic over there is gonna be crazy.

Painting my nails now, so I gotta take a break from the keyboard so I don’t fuck up my right hand.

16:00 EST

CNN pissed me off for a second white white people and their dogs. But now we’re back on track. Interviews with people at the polls, and opinionated responses from the panel.

And more ridiculousness and separation from reality from that black guy who’s there for Donald Trump.

Let’s be honest here, there’s a chance Trump can win today, but it’s not happening by secret black and brown voters. His only chance is uneducated white men showing up in large numbers.

And more wine for me.

15:52 EST

Geez, now they’re interviewing Russians on their opinion of the possible outcomes of this election?!?! I know they have a lot of hours to fill today, but geez. Who cares?! I guess we’re back to CNN to see if they’ve finished talking to that Trump woman.

15:40 EST 

As soon as I turned to MSNBC, those fuckers had that video of Jimmy Fallon mussing up Trump’s hair on his show a few months ago. Ugh, this guy. I loved Jimmy Fallon before he decided sticking his head in the sand about politics this year. I get it, it’s not your jam, but it is my jam, so you can go off my TV screen.

Ole making-Trump-look-amusing, focused-on-the-wrong-damn-thing, why-is-he-even-on-your-show-in-that-case, would-rather-be-silly-than-focused self. Ugh, I need wine.

As I’m watching MSNBC, I’m not familiar with these anchors, I’m used to watching later in the evening with Rachel Maddow and them. And now I’m hoping Maddow has a better stylist this year. She always looks great, but she had Snuffleupagus eyelashes going four years ago. Don’t do that to her again tonight guys!

There is good news from my fridge though. I found the rest of my bottle of Sancerre, I thought that was finished when out mothers visited last week. But it wasn’t!

wine-1

15:36 EST

I just checked Twitter and 538.com says their prediction model is locked. No more new information in there. The prediction I have screenshotted below is what the polling model Nate Silver (my statistics boo) setup says about who will win tonight.

At 7pm Eastern, the map will change to begin to reflect the polling results as they come in. I wonder what effect results from earlier states have on the voting of later states, if any. With so much early voting these days, I’d be surprised if it has a huge effect.

Okay… Lara Trump just showed up to CNN to be interviewed. I honestly could care less about her opinions of what life has been like for Trump in these final days. Heading over to MSNBC.

15:23 EST

Of COURSE Trump is trying to say the votes are rigged. And his team have already filed in Nevada about the polling place staying open, which they are required to do by law. Anyone already in line when the polling place closes still get a chance to vote. Gladly, the judge threw out his claim.

But seriously?? Saying that ballots that were filled out for the Republican candidates switching over to Democrats? Um…. that’s a big no. As usual, no actual evidence, no actual specific polling sites mentioned, no actual people this has happened to.

I pity the people who believe him without question. If he were winning, he’d swear the electoral process was perfect.

15:13 EST

My husband just messaged me that he’s jealous because I’m drinking and he’s not. I have no sympathy, lol. I made sure I had today off from work, he didn’t do the same. He had a rehearsal today for a new band he’s gonna be playing with every other Thursday.

While I was chuckling and thinking of which drink my husband will go for first when he returns home, Paris Dennard started speaking on CNN about Trump’s chances for winning Michigan. He’s saying the same bullshit that Ben Carson was.

Why does every Trump supporter say, “let’s throw out the polls”? It’s because they all need to suspend reality to give their candidate a chance to vote.

And why the hell do all the black men supporting Trump sound like Stepford wives who’ve taken 3 Xanax in less than 3 hours?

15:01 EST

CNN is going over whether or not polling places have had glitches. A few have, and they are requesting the ability to stay open later as a result. Mostly at places with electronic voting. When I voted this morning, I used a paper ballot with a pen filling in bubbles, and then it was fed into and counted by a machine. There seemed to be no glitches, so that was nice for my polling place. We’ll see what happens in other polling places.

I’m thinking of painting my nails. It used to be my Monday night therapy while watching Dancing with the Stars before I started doing so much yoga. But I think I could use it today. I’m going for a nice sparkly turquoise shade of blue.

I think before I do that, I’ll pop over to fivethirtyeight.com and see what they think about who will win today. Nate Silver, my statistics boo, was 100% right in 2012. Will he have a repeat performance this year?

538-prediction

14:41 EST

There is a reporter interviewing two people outside of an election place in Orange Country in Florida. A lot of people see that is a decisive county that may decide if Clinton or Trump win that state.

The New York Times says that Trump can’t win without winning Florida. Fingers cross that there is some truth to that.

Back to these two voters. This woman said that she was voting for Trump because she wanted change and no more Clintons. I can understand that sentiment. But I would like it a lot more if those words didn’t come out of the mouths of people who can’t articulate what change they’d like to see.

The reporter asked the woman how she felt about the first woman voter, and she was basically like, “meh.” When asked about friends of hers who might be excited about the first woman president, she said, “yeah, I have women friends.” What does that even mean? I’m guessing it means this woman has zero male feminist friends. Surprise, surprise.

14:35 EST

Watching Ben Carson talk about how black people are called Uncle Tom if they are publicly supporting Donald Trump. Then, he follows it up with repeating all the Republican tropes of black people. Babies out of wedlock?!?! Really?!?!

I’m just glad I was able to stay awake in spite of his zzzquil voice.

14:25 EST

Love that damn near every episode of The Flash ends so emotionally. All the feels. Glad to have this moment of happy heartedness before heading into the trenches of election coverage.

And my tea is done!

tea

13:44 EST

Now I’m getting antsy and I’m wondering what the pundits are saying about early election returns. This is a great episode of The Flash.

I love seeing Draco Malfoy all grown up but still wonderfully British-ly snotty. But… I’m itching to see what’s going on over at CNN.

I’ll probably make myself a hot toddy then head over on to CNN after this episode finishes.

13:38 EST

Why is the scary guy on this show black? Ugh, at least he’s a smart science guy.

13:34 EST

I could scream that they’re let another Wells into their mix on The Flash. These multiple Harrisons are NEVER up to any good. They always turn out okay, or develop enough of a bond with the other characters to not want to kill them completely or whatever. But damn, not on any Earth does Harrison Wells have pure intentions.

And they all keep voice diaries, lol. This may make me start drinking sooner than CNN will.

drink-options

13:06 EST 

Hi everyone! I’m sitting on my couch, having just watched Lin-Manuel Miranda’s monologue on SNL for the thirtieth time–escapism! I told myself that after I voted and stocked up on wine, I’d start watching CNN for election coverage.

after-voting

But… I just cant do it yet. I’m catching up on the DVR, watching The Flash right now. I haven’t started drinking yet, and all I know about the election is who’s been posting on IG that they voted. Oh, and Clinton won Dixville, New Hampshire shortly after midnight.

Let’s see where the day takes me.


“We’re All Gonna Be Okay, No Matter What,” She Says

Tonight was like many Monday nights I’ve had. I didn’t have to work today, so I spent most of the day on the couch, catching up on the DVR.

There are so many shows on TV, new and old, that I absolutely love. Pitch, Rosewood, NCIS, Bull, Modern Family, The Good Place, etc. are all so good. We really are in a new golden age of TV. But I digress.

Back to my night. When I’m off on a Monday, I go to vinyasa yoga at 6:30p and aerial yoga at 7:45p. I’ve been doing these back to back yoga classes for a few months now, and it really gives me life.

I have so many endorphins running through my veins after two yoga classes. But tonight, there is something battling the endorphins: anxiety.

I’ve been feeling a continuous low level of anxiety for a few weeks now, keeping my baseline heart rate higher than I’d like. I’m not sure what’s going on with that yet, but the anxiety at least lessens when I’m in the middle of yoga class.

The election is tomorrow. The country will decide whether our next president will be Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump. The thought there are enough people in this country who are thinking of voting for Trump to give him a chance of winning the presidency gives me chills.

And anxiety. It gives me anxiety.

Then tonight in yoga, the teacher said, “we’re all gonna be okay, no matter what.” She was talking about the outcome of the election.

I thought about how many different privileges went into her making that statement so wholeheartedly. This woman, who is one of the few people I’ve met in Bed-Stuy that I liked immediately without knowing well, has got a lot going on in her world where she can say something like that so casually.

She said this right at the beginning of class, so I spent most of the class swallowing my responses to her statement. I’ve been trying to teach myself to pick and choose when I share my unrequested opinions. I felt like this wasn’t the time.

But I was thinking of Ana Navarro, who finally decided to vote for Hillary Clinton. This woman has a lot of good reasons why we aren’t “all gonna be okay” if Trump is the one who wins.

Then I was thinking of Shaun King, who made a deeply personal plea for for voting against Trump. This man has a target on his back, and he’s not crazy to think it’s only going to get worse in a Trump presidency.

For me personally, not too much in my life would change in a Trump presidency. I’m not a member of the media. I’m not an immigrant, though I did marry into a family of immigrants. I’m black, and I live in what probably counts as a gentrified inner city, but I fall smack in the middle of the middle class.

Heading into tomorrow, I can’t think of only myself. I have to think of all the groups of people whose lives really would be made worse under a Trump presidency.

I wonder who the “we” is that my teacher was thinking of when she said that. Maybe she doesn’t know any immigrants. Or Muslims. Or female journalists. Or black activists. Or Native American activists. Or military reservists who aren’t interested in being sent to go and get Iraq’s oil on a whim. Or every part of the population who would suddenly get targets on their back with a national stop and frisk policy.

She was trying to be reassuring, that much I know. It just so happened to have the opposite effect on me.

I will feel much better in about 24 hours. In 12 hours from now, I’ll be back home on my couch, watching CNN or MSNBC, having just cast my vote for Hillary Clinton for President (alone with some other important down ballot votes). In another 12 or so hours after that, hopefully we’ll have enough election results to have a new president.

Even though my vote won’t help her win New York (that’s happening no matter what), my vote will add to the total number of votes for Clinton. I’m hoping the margin of victory for the popular vote is very large.

Once she wins, I’ll feel better. Even then, we won’t all be fine. There will still be work to do, policies of hers that need changing and evolution. But at least she won’t be a demagogue who is a real threat to innumerable numbers of global citizens.


Thoughts on Getting Millennials to Vote

Do you know who Representative John Lewis is?

He’s a rather inspiring man who currently serves in the US Congress. He is an old head civil rights activist whose name is in the history books, and one of the few alive today to tell the tales of what really went down in the fight for equality for African-Americans in education, voting rights, and housing back when my parents were just children.

He thinks young people need to get out and vote because people fought and died for their right to. Because he fought and his friends died, young people today need to quit thinking whatever they’re currently thinking and go exercise their right to vote.

I happen to agree with him that everyone should vote. But his line of reasoning….. um…. I don’t think it’s effective. And it definitely can come across as a bit out of touch.

A lot of older people are dismissed as being out of touch with younger people. They try to appeal to younger people based on values (perhaps values of days gone by) that are no longer shared. Young people respond with some variation of, “I don’t appreciate your set of values because I’ve been taught something different. Where were you when the teaching was happening?”

When it comes to Rep. John Lewis, I can happily say that he has tried to be a part of the voice of education for youth. He reaches out in ways big and small to try and make sure some of his values and beliefs are seeds sown into the next generation.

In spite of the ways he works so hard to reach younger people, I still think his closing argument needs work. I say that while also believing that the reasons that he and his friends and colleagues fought for their rights and our are unimpeachable.

They fought for a better tomorrow. They fought so that I can vote and theoretically not be discriminated against for my color. A lot of people died so I can go on a 15 min morning date with my husband to the polls on Tuesday morning. That argument resonates with me because of the values I was raised with.

For those not raised with that set of values, it’s a harder argument to hear and have resonate with you. Honestly, the reasoning that made sense to them then and still makes sense to them now is… well, it’s about them. It’s about their fight and their legacy and their opinions of themselves.

It’s no wonder that younger Gen Xers and millennials (and whatever they call those born from 1975-1979) give that argument the side eye. We are the royalty of navel-gazing, self-focused, introspective, thinking-about-me-before-you, personal-happiness-above-all-else thought processes.

If you wanna reach more of us, you’ve gotta answer the question:

What’s in it for me?

I don’t have the answer on what to say. I haven’t been successful in getting people who don’t plan on voting to change their minds. But I’ve seen engagement work in some instances.

There is success in some areas by actually talking to younger people instead of at them. Engaging people my age in a conversation about why it’s important to vote (and to vote in the interest of yourself and those you care about) is not easy. There is no one tweet or tweet thread that will get the job done.

That level of engagement has to happen in small conversations. But they’re powerful conversations. Not a lot of millennials understand the electoral process and fewer get or even care why it’s important. Giving them that small bit of knowledge works, as long as it’s followed by one important question:

What’s in it for you?

If you can get a real answer back, you’ve just gained an engaged citizen, who will hopefully take part in many elections over the course of their life.

John Lewis and his books and crowd-surfing can’t get it done alone. If you believe in our democracy and our electoral process and you know younger people who don’t, bone up on the basic facts of how elections work and what decisions elected officials are in charge of at the local, state, and national level.

After you’ve done that, talk to young people. Share what you know. Pass on the knowledge. Maybe, just maybe, you’ll be personally responsible for helping continue the legacy of equal voting rights that so many fought and died to get.

 


Heading to Times Square, After Some Prayer

I thought I’d have a funny story to tell for my first consistent blog post in months. My girl is in town with her cousin for her birthday. They’d never been to New York before, so she wanted to visit.

I know her  through some degrees of separation. My best friend joined a fraternity in college. Her husband is one of his line brothers. The first time we all hung out is when he brought a very pregnant her to their fraternity’s annual party called The Champagne Sip (don’t worry she didn’t drink).

We did have a laugh-filled night at The Waffle House though after the party. And they cemented themselves as the favorite couple I’d met through my best friend. Over the years, we’ve had some good times though we don’t see each other nearly often enough.

This couple now has three children, all of whom call my best friend godfather. There have been many gift-help-picking-out moments over the years, which always result in something fun & educational… and maybe noisy.

But I didn’t see my girl last night. She arrived to her hotel in Times Square yesterday and we planned to meet for drinks at my favorite bar in Times Square, Havana Central.

But then I started hearing about everything happening in Paris, every terrible detail as it arrived in a push notification to my phone from CNN.

I said a prayer for the people of Paris, and decided I wasn’t going out.

Since Chris and I moved to New York, I’ve been more aware of what it means when a major city gets attacked,

I know Chicago is a major city, so is L.A., and a few others. But when I worry about American cities, my first two thoughts go to D.C. and NYC.

Whenever there is a concern for the safety of major cities, my first thought is to stay in/immediately head to Brooklyn. Manhattan is where I spend a bunch of my time, but I live in Brooklyn.

I don’t know if I was overreacting, I just know that I live in New York now.

The world kept turning, people kept coming together in Paris to deal with a tragedy, and I went home last night.

At the time I’m posting this, ISIS has claimed responsibilities for the attacks in Paris last night, Belgium has already begun to make arrests, and Paris is still treating the over 300 people who got injured.

It’s hard to wrap my head around what’s happened, to just continue with a normal day knowing that so much has changed for so many people.

But I’m going to try because that’s what we do, right? We say a prayer, put something supportive on social media, donate some money to a fund, then… keep it moving.

It never seems like enough, but I don’t know what else to do. There’s power in prayer, I do know that.

I’m going to go see my friend today. In Times Square. They say it’s safe. I hope they’re right. I’m definitely going to pray some more before I go.


I Can’t Do Nothing Anymore

Recently, my sense of justice has taken a hit. I’m speaking specifically of LGBT rights. I really cannot explain why, but recently their issues have taken precedence over other rights issues in my mind.

I think I got close to the tipping point when I came across an article published on my birthday last year. Michael J. Klarman from Harvard Law School wrote an Op-Ed article entitled Gay Rights May Get It’s Brown v. Board of Education.

I’ve noticed that black people sometimes have a knee-jerk reaction to LGBT civil rights struggles being compared to those of black Americans. The only argument that resonates with me is that under most circumstances, you can’t look at someone and tell they are not heterosexual, but you can’t hide blackness.

There are many fallacies to that argument. Black people don’t always look black. Gay people don’t always blend in. And someone seeking to discriminate usually doesn’t have to search too hard to make it happen.

That being said, the comparison to Brown v. Board of Ed really made sense to me. It was a landmark decision that altered the future of black people in this country. All Michael Klarman was saying is the gay community was on the cusp of getting their version of a Supreme Court ruling of that magnitude. They were on their way to getting a ruling that would alter the future of LGBT people in this country.

At the bottom of the article, it mentions that he wrote a book called From the Closet to the Altar. At the time, I barely noticed that line and moved on with my life and my birthday celebration.

Then around Christmas, there was another article in the New York Times called Utah Ruling Means No Respite for the Supreme Court on Same-Sex Marriage. They have a quote from Michael Klarman in there. It’s only one sentence, but it stuck with me for some reason and before I even finished reading the article, I went back to his line and read it again.

Then I went to Amazon and bought the Kindle version of his book. I’ve always enjoyed non-fiction as long as it was on a topic I actually cared about, and so I really enjoyed reading this book. I can’t believe I’m saying this, but some part of the book brought tears to my eyes. Some of the people he talks about went through so much and fought so hard, but the fight isn’t over yet.

Also, he mentioned Nate Silver. Nate Silver is basically a rock star in my mind. He’s the most amazing statistician. He was over at the New York Times doing politics, but now he’s at ESPN with his first love, sports. Nate Silver has a model he created that predicts exactly when the states will cross over to 50+% approval of gay marriage. Anybody wanna guess who’s last?

After reading this book, along with the time I spend at the soup kitchen where I volunteer, I have gone from feeling supportive of gay marriage and LGBT rights to feeling even stronger. I want to do something about it. I want to have an active role in improving the lives of people who cannot marry the person they love today. My 2 year anniversary is in 2 days, and there are people who currently live in places where they can’t have that yet.

For years now I’ve donated money to the Human Rights Campaign. I signed up with one of those street volunteers they have out asking people for credit card information and a monthly donation.

Usually I give those people the side eye and keep it stepping, but even though I hadn’t even heard of this organization, their message resonated with me, so I signed up. That was almost five years ago, but it’s not enough anymore

This weekend, HRC is having their annual gala at the Waldorf Astoria. But those tickets are around $500, so that isn’t the way I’ll help either.

I’m going to keep looking for a way to get actively involved with the cause. Something other than buying a t-shirt with a rainbow on it or dancing in the streets during a pride parade. I haven’t done either of those things yet, but I think I will this year. As long as it’s along with something more substantial.

When I think of people defending “traditional marriage,” my feelings are hurt. How could a grown man being in love with another grown man and wanting to make it official for their family and their future be bad?

Heterosexuals aren’t doing a great job with marriage. The divorce rate is awful and when some people are on their third marriage, or getting an annulment because they made a decision to marry after 24 hours, the argument of a rock-solid institution being taken apart by gay marriage doesn’t fly.

Then there are the arguments that the bible is very clear about sodomy being wrong. The bible is very clear about a lot of things, but our interpretation of it over time changes.

For instance, when you sin against your home, do you go to the priest, slit the throat of a young goat, flick the blood of that goat on an altar then rub in on the earlobe of that priest? The bible is very specific about that too.

My point is that quoting one part of the bible as immutable when you eat shellfish, openly disrespect your president, and don’t celebrate three chosen festivals each year is a bit hypocritical.

It’s been hard for me as a Baptist to reconcile how I feel with the teachings of my religion. The church I attend has yet to mention the topic, like at all. The husband loves that church too. I don’t know what I’m going to do about that, but for now, I’m keeping my ears open for any sign of intolerance.

Because I’m a black woman, I know making discrimination go away is frankly impossible. But just because something is hard isn’t a good enough reason not to try.

When I was younger, if I saw an interracial couple, specifically a black man with a white woman, it upset me. I was a teenager at the time, so what the hell life experience did I have to feel so strongly about it? None, that’s what. I’ve dated guys of every race, so I was being such a damn hypocrite.

What changed it for me was moving to an area where there was more interracial couples than other types of couples. After making friends in the checkout line with the hundredth cute biracial kid, I got over myself and my gut reaction to that type of couple. Looking back on it, I feel like such as asshole.

My family raised me to see color, and I’m glad I was. I just wish I wasn’t raised to judge color. Who am I to have an opinion on how someone else lives their life? I keep coming back to that question because that’s the crux of my issue. Who are you to judge? None of us are in a position to judge someone else’s life. If you are living your life and you’re not hurting someone else or making their life worse, live on.

I am at the point where I feel that so strongly, I want to actively stop other people from infringing on other’s happiness.

I was walking down the street to work today and I saw a couple with their children. It was a black man, a white man, and two small children of indeterminate race. I two men were holding hands and making flirty eyes at each other. I noticed a lot about this couple, even down the color coordination of the family’s outerwear.

But you know what I noticed most? Their comfort. I don’t know if they’re married or not. And I don’t care. What I care about is that they are as free to live life openly as the husband and I are. They aren’t hurting anyone. In fact, looking at those two children, I’d say they are helping a lot of people. Those kids were healthy, happy, and full of life.

Any kid would be lucky to belong to that family.

Y’all just give me a few weeks. I’ll be back with a real plan to help make a difference for families like that one. I’m sure there’s some version of this family just waiting for the opportunity to thrive. Maybe they’re in Utah. Maybe they’re somewhere else. This Op-Ed Column I read in the New York Times today by Frank Bruni titled Love, Death, and Sochi reminded me that this isn’t just a domestic problem.

Like so many other stories, I was left feeling frustrated with tears in my eyes. I have to remind myself that as awful as I feel today, there are people who have been in this fight for decades. I have to have strength if I’m going to sustain to help progress move forward.

And strength is something I have no shortage of. I have strength. I have resolve. I have passion. Now, I just need a work assignment.

Google will help me figure it out.

I also have loyalty and confidence.

Pretty soon, I’ll also have a plan.


Waking Up To A New Day

I’ve gone radio silent, it’s true. But I had a good reason. I was on the edge of my seat waiting to hear about my possible promotion at work. And then there was the campaign. And my dog ate my homework. You know how it goes.

Well, all is well in my house. The husband is off to St. Louis, the land he loves for a quick weekend tour to promote his CD. He loves making travel plans and playing all different venues with his music.

I also have good news for myself. I got the promotion! It’s exciting and potentially overwhelming. In my new job, I’ll still be working in organ and tissue donation. I am switching to working mostly only in the daytime. That will take some adjustment because I’m not generally a morning person. If anything could get me to get my butt up every morning without hesitation, it would be a job I love to go to everyday.

So far, I’ve gotten good support from the folks in my office. I’m hoping it stays that way. If not, you’ll probably notice I never mention work because I don’t want to bash anyone. Let’s just hope I’ll be saying, “work is good,” and moving on from there!

As far as the election goes, I’m happy to report my mother kept her job. She is an elected judge (have I mentioned that before?) and this year was a retention year for her. The people have asked her to stay and she’s happy to oblige. And of course, Obama won. I’m quite happy about that. The husband and I have been making globetrotting plans since we met and we figured we’d have to move up the schedule on a move to London if Romney won. You know, there’s no better way to show your political loyalty than threatening to leave the country if your side loses. [Insert sarcastic face here]

Election was such fun. We had friends over to my parents who just got engaged. We had dinner and a fun little drinking game I made up based on the swing states. Having learned from 2008, the plan wasn’t just to drink every time Obama won. No one wanted alcohol poisoning, so we only had a shot if he won certain combinations of states. There was, of course, beer and wine to supplement while we waited for election results. We popped a bottle of champagne when the official results came in, then turned from MSNBC to FOX news to giggle at their attempts to undermine the results. Nothing like putting negative spin on facts to make them less fact-like.

After the election night fun, it was back to the grind. Settling into my new job has been interesting. Lots more to do, and I’m looking forward to it. It just hit me now while I’m writing this post that I’ve spent no date-like time with the husband in a while. This weekend he’s in St. Louis, last weekend he was on the East Coast. And with my changing schedule, there just hasn’t been time. We’re going to do something about that so we don’t ever slip into complacency. It’s the choices you make everyday people. If we can’t make it happen while it’s just the two of us (plus our crazy cats), we’ll have no hope once we make offspring.

Any good date ideas for me and the husband?


Playing Catch-Up All Weekend

I had gotten quite used to working just two days in a row and then having a day or two off. That is officially my favorite way to work, at least at my job. There’s virtually no chance of emotional or mental burn out. But that is not always my life. This weekend, I’m working three days (Friday-Sunday), and I’m trying to be okay with it. But there’s just so much to do. As I’m writing this, I’m half-way through the weekend, but I already feel behind.

My job is doing this annual competency review thing. It basically means we do all the things we normally do every day for work. But instead of it being real life-saving work, we’re doing it for fake. And we’re putting it into a binder for our supervisors to go through. My opinion on this project can be deduced, so I’ll just not state it.

My job is pretty extensive, so my binder is freaking huge. It’s due in a few days, but I haven’t had the time to work on the fake job assignments because I’m too busy doing real job assignments. I long for last years review when I wasn’t fully trained yet so I was exempt from several parts of the binder.

To make like just a bit more crowded, I had to get up early before work yesterday. A girl from my church I mentor is headed to Hampton for college on Thursday. HBCU whoop whoop! Her trunk party was yesterday. I was representing both of my families: my parents/sibling, and my husband/in-laws.

I had to drop off a gift, grab a snack, a snap some pictures before heading to work. Her parents live about 35 min south of me and work it about 35 miles northwest of me. That wasn’t a fun driving trip, but it was worth it because otherwise I wouldn’t see her before she left.

I feel good about taking care of my girl. I gave her an ATM card that goes to an emergency fund. Anyone who has been to college without a silver spoon in their mouth knows having that emergency fund is a lifesaver when you can’t take the meal plan or you need to bail a friend out of jail. What? You didn’t bail at least three friends out of jail while you were at college? Well, she is going to Hampton and not FAMU, so maybe she won’t need to use the emergency money for bail like I did.

Once I got my butt to work, I decided today was the day for some serious multi-tasking. I had a big stack of charts to QA, so I figured I’d watch the Olympics while I was working. I know, the Olympics have been over for a week. I don’t want to hear it though because I didn’t get to watch a single event. I was always at work, or sleep, or doing laundry at my apartment without a laptop or cable. So I didn’t get to see anything. I’m playing late as hell catchup.

Mostly the events played in the background and I kept and eye out for runners crossing the finish line and things like that. The rhythmic gymnastics made me pause my work and really pay attention. Luckily, I had break time to use to do this because I’ve never seen anything like it. I don’t know how I missed this is previous Olympic years, but I had missed it. I thought the floor routine and balance beams were great. But those things don’t have anything on this team event. It was like ballet and Cirque du Soleil and that one scene from Old School with Will Ferrel all mixed in. The things they could do in synchronization. Okay, I’m done going on about it, but seriously, if you’ve never seen it, you should check it out.

As the night came to and end, it really hit me that I am to getting enough sleep this weekend. I know I’ll pay for that on Monday when I’m still playing catch-up with chores. And working 5 days out of 6 makes it hard. I’ll have to clean the floor, the mirrors, the laundry, the cats’ area, etc. all in one day. So even though I do get one day off, I won’t be doing anything fun with that time. Unless you count whatever lingerie the husband picks for me to put on after my workout. Giggity.

I’m also looking forward to next weekend. The husband is playing in downtown Chicago. Then one of the bands he plays with is having a CD release party. If it goes well, I will be taking notes on things we can make happen for the husband’s CD release party which will hopefully be next month. If you like jazz, check out the group the husband will be playing with. It’s called Marquis Hill’s Blacktet.


Supreme Court Keeps It Real

Unlike with the Citizens United case, this time the Supreme Court acted like they know how to interpret the Constitution. Well, at least some of them did.

Focusing on the constitutionality of each part of the Affordable Care Act, they realized they should uphold it.

Just like we all have car insurance, now we’ll all have health insurance too. Like every other commerce law, some people will fall in the gap. They will make too much money to get Medicaid and too little to afford insurance even with the subsidies. I can only pray that some new not-for-profits pop up to help those people.

Now Republicans will campaign on repealing their law. They will claim the only hope for America is to elect them. More of the usual “the sky is falling” crap.

It’s up to the Democrats to finally start making some memorable sound bites about the provisions of the ACA. All the polls about the law say the law is unpopular, but most of the provisions are popular.

We won the fight about the constitution. Now let’s win some battles in the media. People like not being refused insurance. They like that there’s no cap on benefits. They like that their kids can stay on their insurance. Lower income people will love being included in Medicaid. Let’s talk about that a bit, shall we?

As I finish, Antonin Scalia, Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito, and Anthony Kennedy, you all suck.


Thoughts On A Move To NYC

I love Chicago. I was born and raised here, and except for college, have not spent more than 15 days in a row anywhere else. But I also am enthralled by the excitement and adventure that comes from grabbing life by the balls and stepping into the unknown.

I am blessed to be married to someone who feels very similar to me in that respect. The husband want to move to New York City at some point. I took it one step further and decided that once we were through with NYC, we’d go to Europe. Because I work in organ & tissue donation and he is a musician, we can both work almost anywhere on the planet. That type of mobility leaves me feeling hopeful for our future globetrotting.

One thing that takes my hope and douses it with ice water is a current issue facing New York. No, it’s not the de-criminalizing of marijuana or the ordinance against large drinks chock full of high fructose corn syrup. It’s the stop-and-frisk policy that the NYPD unfortunately still follows.

I’ve been reading several articles over the last several weeks, and they always get me down. I will admit I’ve had a sort of, “it’s not really my issue yet” reaction to the situation. But something about this latest article really gets into my head.

Personal accounts from young black and Latino men really drive home how fucked up this whole policy is.

“The husband and I will be living in NYC. His father is from Honduras and his mother is an African-American. The husband is a young man who will be all over NYC because of his music at all hours of every day and night.”

These horrifying thoughts went through my head. There have been a couple of situations in Chicago in which the husband was stopped by the police and it left a bad taste in his mouth. He’s never carrying drugs, weapons, or open alcohol. He never has anything stolen in his possession. He seldom even resembles someone enough to “fit the description.”

Once we’re in NYC though, it won’t matter. The husband will be stopped and frisked, and if he’s  lucky, he’ll get a wallet sized card with an apology from NYPD saying they “regret any inconvenience.”

That thought has me on a complete What-The-Fuck loop. I can’t believe we’re going to a city where this shit is okay. The New York Times and several other media outlets and public figures are drawing attention to the situation. If 88% of the stops result in nothing except spreading ill will amongst  the minority citizens, why does it continue?!

I can only pray that this mess gets sorted out before we change our address. I’m gonna be on some civil disobedience shit for real if I end up living in a New York City that condones having so many of its people treated this way.


When I Say Supreme, What Comes To Mind?

Do you think of Diana Ross? Only a slim maybe.

I bet you think of all that’s going on with the Supreme Court right now. Maybe you don’t live in America, so the rulings aren’t a huge deal.

But if you live here, and you don’t know, I’m here to help.

They don’t rule on healthcare until tomorrow, Lord help us all.

For Arizona, they kicked in the balls the most egregious part of the law. The part where they can marginalize and detain people merely for looking “illegal”, whatever the hell that meant, is no more. Unfortunately, those they arrest will still be checked for legal status.

They refuse to re-examine campaign finance laws. Big f-ing surprise there. I can’t wait for the day when we actually start paying attention to the finances of certain judges so their “impartiality” can be looked at with truth.

They ruled that some minors sentenced to life can apply for parole. When I think of the sick sociopathic and psychopathic folks that end up with life in prison at age 15, I’m a little worried. But when I think of the poor kids who made his or her life’s biggest mistake and got made an example of, I breathe a little easier. This was a good ruling.

The whole point of this post is so I can say the main reason I hope Obama gets re-elected is so he can name at least one of the next Supreme Court nominees and balance out this mess a little better.


Keeping Track of the Candidates

I follow politics pretty closely. I don’t often blog about it because I’m usually thinking about other things. But in light of the recent Republican presidential primary races in Michigan and Arizona, I simply must comment.

How great has this been so far? A reality TV producer couldn’t come up with such twisted machinations. The rise and fall of front-runners, the changes in who wins or loses, the roller coaster polls are all just so delicious.

As a supporter of Obama, it’s really satisfying to watch the field of candidates get less and less desirable. I can’t wait until Romney is chosen as the nominee and all those who don’t trust him to be conservative pretend like they support him.

Or better yet, Santorum could be chosen as the nominee and all the sane people have to pretend they support him.

The only one who could probably beat Obama is Gingrich, but he’ll never be the nominee. It will be between a man with 3 degrees and a devout religion who’s against college and for freedom of religion as long as his is the only one people listen to and a man with unlimited money and an odd religion who makes a buffoon out himself anytime he mentions either.

Good times. Nothing makes me happier than reading the latest New York Times opinion piece by Maureen Dowd, Charles Blow, Frank Bruni, or Gail Collins, especially when they’re about Republicans.

Here’s what I know: the Republicans aren’t leaving a lot of room for moderation. They want someone who’s on the fringe, or at least that seems to be the Tea Party’s wish. That isn’t a recipe for success. Too bad for them. Well, not really.