Category Archives: Ezra B. Dotty

Snapshots of My 20’s (so far) As Told by a Pending Playlist

Volume 1
The Strokes, Is This It

24 years old

I bought this album when I was a junior in High School. The garage rock revival was big back in 2002-2003. I should know, I was the music ambassador for my school’s newspaper. In my head I was. If you look back at the archives for my High School’s newspaper, I wrote a lot of music articles. But that is neither here nor there. I bought this album when I was 15 or 16. I saw The Strokes twice in my teens. Then they faded away after their second album, Room on Fire, and I just got tired of the first album and didn’t play it again until years later. My early twenties were riddled with booze, confusion and love sickness. I used to have drunk sex and felt confused while suppressing my intense feelings of love. It all came full circle a lot of the times. I was only having sex with one person. The only person I ever wanted to have sex with at the time. But I also wanted to watch movies with him. I wanted to have dinner with him. I wanted to go shopping with him. I wanted to help him pick out clothes and new glasses for him. I wanted to share my fears, dreams and desires with him. I wanted him to share his secrets with me. He did. All of that happened between us.

One night, as I was driving home after one of our sex rendezvous, the song Is This It started playing. You know how it goes. It starts out with this weird synth like recording that slows down after 4 seconds and the snare of the drums kick in. I think they’re snares? I don’t know the jargon but you know what I mean. Then Julian Casablanca’s sweet voice starts singing, “Can’t you see I’m trying. I don’t even like it. I just lied to get to your apartment. Now I’m staying here just for a while…Is this it? Is this it? Is this…it?” At the same time the guitars synchronize into a warm harmony like the rose blush on my cheeks on a good day. Then the second verse comes in and the bass does as well. The bass sounds as if someone is skipping in slow motion. When all the elements are combined, bass, drum, guitars and voice, it’s a sweet melody that feels nostalgic and defeated. It feels bloated with that sickness that unrequited love brings. Naturally, that night I began to cry on my way home. I didn’t want to leave his bedside but I knew the drill. It was a routine. Put the sheets back on the bed. Put my clothes back on. Never a kiss goodnight, just a tight hug for a job well done and a coy smile for the things we had done. In the morning, it never happened until the next night he felt lonely.

Joy Division, Isolation

20 years old

My grandmother died when I was twenty years old. To this day she is the only loved one that has passed away. The afternoon before she passed, I was working. My cousin called me at work to inform me that I should leave work because my grandmother was not going to make it another night. I thought I was okay upon hearing that. She had slipped into a coma a couple days before and we knew she was not coming out of it. I went into the restroom and my knees started to bend involuntarily. It was that feeling you get right before you pass out but I wasn’t passing out. My lower body was just caving in. I felt this immense weakness throughout my body and I sat on the dirty restroom floor and I cried. My grandmother died on a Saturday around 12 or 1am. In fact, I think this month was the anniversary of her death. The anniversary of her funeral is March 2nd or 3rd. I am sorry I can’t remember the dates. If you knew my grandmother, you would know she probably would not have given a shit about the exact date of her death.

It was later on that March in 2007 that I took a trip to Mexico with my best friend Hector. Hector and I are like brother and sister now. In 2007 we were just friends not quite adopted blood yet. In retrospect, it was half a disastrous trip and half amazing. Back in 2007, my self-esteem was at an all time low. I was still dealing with the death of my grandmother. I neglected school and withdrew from all my classes. I never told that to anyone though. I did not know what I was doing or where I was going. I thought the trip to Guadalajara and Guanajuato would be a good escape. Instead I just dwelled in my self-loathing. It did not help that the morning of our flight I started my period and wanted to die. While in San Miguel De Allende, a small bohemian like but mainly American populated city in Guanajuato, I hated Hector. God, I hated him. I wanted to cry over how much I hated him. He didn’t know how I felt. He’s never been ugly or fat. In Guadalajara we stayed with his family and they were all thin and light skin. His cousin’s friends were Mexican hipsters and he introduced me to them. Me, this chubby brown 19th century corn mestizo-looking girl to a bunch of Diego Luna (well not as good looking) Mexican hipsters. Yes, I was being over dramatic but in San Miguel, in our hostel room, while Hector went to drop off postcards at the post office, that is what I was feeling. I did not want him to come back. I just wanted to be alone. I wanted to lie in that bed all day and cry.

…Isolation, Isolation, Isolation…

Ian Curtis’ deep voice resonated in the deep cracks of my brain, that monotone voice that conveyed all the sadness and loathing that was bubbling deep inside me. I know Joy Division is something you discover when you are a teenager, and I did. However, when you are a teenager every song represents exactly how you feel. That is why Limp Bizkit was so popular. As a teenager, I felt like breaking shit up but thankfully I went with the route towards classic emo, also known as, post-punk. Instead of breaking shit, my soul just tore apart in an Ian Curtis kind of way, sort of.

Hector didn’t (and still does not) know how to deal with my petty emotions. At the time, they were real and legitimate. Now at 27, I am confident and strong…most days. Though, Hector, my best friend, is the type of guy who will tell me during my PMS ridden days that there is a bright side to gaining weight. I like clothes, right? Well, at least it’s an excuse to buy more clothes. He means well and I love him but he’ll never live that comment down.

But like I said, the trip was not all disastrous. Hector and I wound up drinking Palomas (tequila and grapefruit soda) at a corner café bar. We watched the sunset while a Mariachi group played. He recorded it for his ex-girlfriend. I apologized for being a downer. We exchanged drunken memories of how our weak childhoods made us feel. We walked back, somewhat drunk, to our hostel on the cobble stone sidewalks. Sidewalks that I like to imagine where there since the 19th century. Cobble stone sidewalks where corn mestizo brown girls stepped on every day in the days leading up the to Revolution.

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The Limits of My Pacifism

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A couple of weeks ago I was involved in a bar dispute. I wanted to tell my mom but I knew she would judge me for being at a bar in general. I was fairly proud at the way I handled it. However, there was a split second where I looked at the beer glasses in front of me and clenched my fist and thought about throwing one of those glasses against the face of the woman who was testing my patience.

I’m not the type to fight. I always say that if someone wants to hit me, let them. I’ll press charges because that would be my ultimate revenge and lesson against them. I’ll ruin their record, hindering them from getting a decent job or at least making it harder for them to do so. They’ll remember me every time they apply for some aid and are denied and I’ll faintly in a ghost like way say “Was it worth it?” That’s my ultimate revenge. But if they end up murdering me then I’ll just haunt them and that’s just as good a lesson.

So this woman drops her drink on my back. Complete accident but I’m on my third or fourth drink so I’m annoyed. She keeps apologizing to me and I accept it, still annoyed. Her friend tells her “Don’t apologize. She’s making a big deal” I’m not but I say “Uh, yeah it’s a big deal” so she looks at me and says “Don’t apologize, maybe that way she’ll lose some weight”

HOLD THE FUCK UP. WHAT.  I’m trying to internalize what she just said. “What did you say?”

“You heard me. Maybe you’ll lose some weight” Oh yeah, because getting beer spilled on my back somehow will change my eating and exercise habits. It was that moment when cheap Bud Light beer started to run down my back and onto my butt crack that I said, “Oh man, I’m going to lose some weight. If I were 20-30 pounds lighter, this would have never happened”

I stood there for a few seconds deciding to either cry or retaliate.

I was teased horribly throughout my elementary and junior high years. These are scars that are still fresh and I revert back to when I’m feeling singled out, rejected or talked about. I was teased over my weight, my skin color (even though we were all brownies. Kids always justify their dumbass logic. “Yeah but I’m not as brown as YOU,”) my hairy arms and my looks. Basically, I was teased for just being ME. For years I never knew how to defend myself. I never knew what to say back. I never learned how to stand up for myself. Then I worked in fast food, retail and at a public library and now at 27 my skin is a reinforced steel tank with grenade launchers. Kind of.

So I turn to her and say “That is a rude fucking thing to say.” It wasn’t the most earth shattering thing to say to someone who feels this pointless superiority over you. I’m a smart lady and I know that these people just want a reaction. They want to feel better about themselves by putting other people down. I won’t give them that satisfaction.

Other things were said and I can’t remember all of it due to the level of alcohol but I do remember feeling the bar around me going deaf because as she spoke non sense and pointed out her husband to me, “I don’t give a fuck who your husband is. You’re a rude bitch,” I felt this anger boil in me. This anger that has been boiling up inside of me for 20-23 years. I kept looking at the glasses feeling ready to just throw one for the satisfaction of my impulse and to shut her face up.

In those moments, my friends stood up for me. My co-worker called her a Cunt. Her husband came over, “Hey bro, this is between the ladies. You hurt my girl’s feelings you know?” WHAT ABOUT MY FEELINGS! I did manage to yell that over to him. Her husband seeing they were severely outnumbered grabbed her by her arm and left.

I still wanted to cry. I felt incredibly embarrassed in front of my friends. Someone had called me fat in front of them. It made me feel insignificant. It made me feel like I was 7 again and these two girls came up to me and kicked me in my legs for being ugly. I ended up crying on the way home. But I wasn’t crying because she made me feel fat or because I believed it. I thought of Mindy Kaling in that moment. “I’m not overweight. I fluctuate between chubby and curvy.” It’s one of my favorite quotes from her show. I was crying because I let some dumb stranger get the best of me. I wasn’t proud of calling her a bitch. I vowed not to use that kind of insult against anyone because it’s cheap and ignorant. In hindsight, calling her a bitch was probably a better decision than hurling a glass at her face. I had to choose the lesser of two evils and I daydream of working at The Huntington Library so I value my clean record for that reason.

I started crying because I was crying. It makes sense when you’re drunk.

“She’s not worth it. She is dumb. You’re beautiful”

“I know I am! I am smart. I am awesome. I am way smarter than her. Her life is over. She has saggy boobs, that other lady told me so. She hates me because I am obviously cute and awesome. But what’s the only thing wrong with me? I’m “fat.” I’m not fat. I am but I’m not. I don’t care. I like being thick but that’s the only thing ignorant people can attack me with. And I hate that and I’m crying for that”

I know I’ll never see this woman again. She has three kids and an obvious inferiority complex. She probably doesn’t have a very good life or didn’t have a good life. Someone who is secure with themselves and happy with themselves does not verbally attack strangers. Normal people do not do that. Everyone commended me at the way I handled it. The lady who originally dropped her drink on me told me “No you’re beautiful. I’m way fatter than you and she has saggy boobs and you don’t!” Bras are really awesome at making boobs look great. I told her she didn’t need to say that. She didn’t need to put herself down. It wasn’t about being fat.

When I got home, I woke up my sister and started crying to her. It wasn’t about being fat. I kept crying because I just thought, why do people need to be that way? It’s a rhetorical question. Why do women need to be that way? I know why. Millions of psychological issues. Not knowing how to control impulses and passions. Not being able to internalize the differences between people. Not knowing how to let go of petty thoughts and insecurity. I’m a fucking nice person and I really just wanted to go back and ask that woman, “Hey, chill out. Why are you so insecure? It’s ok. We can talk about it” Call me a sissy or a little bitch, because I’ve have been, but if people talked about their problems and had a healthy outlet for their thoughts, the world would be a better place. That’s some hippy utopian shit but I know a lot of people that quote John Lennon’s Imagine but would never actually practice peace, understanding or pacifism in altercations.

I almost didn’t. I don’t think I would ever actually hit someone or throw a glass at them. But it’s scary to think that I contemplated it for that second. I don’t want to be that type of person. I also don’t want to be the type of person who hurls cheap insults. It’s a reflection of your character. But it’s also hard to keep a stoic temperament when you’ve had three or four drinks.

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21st Century Happiness

This week is international Stoic Week. A week where one lives according to the principles of Stoicism, a philosophy founded in the Hellenistic age of Athens, made prominent during the Roman Empire and demonized by early Christianity. Throughout the years, Stoicism has had a bad reputation. When one describes a person as being stoic, a connotation of indifference or cold comes to mind.

I like to explain Stoicism as a way of life that could have ended the war in Westeros, Rob Stark could have kept his head and Joffrey would have died at the hands of the Starks. If Rob Stark had been a Stoic, he would have put his passion and love aside for the good of his people, his land and his family. But no, he chose to wed Talisa and break the alliance between The Starks and The Freys. Everyone was rooting for Rob Stark. That moment when he looks over to Catelyn, chest pierced with arrows, and says “Mother…” is both heartbreaking and enraging. I was rooting for you Rob and not only did you betray bitter old Frey, you betrayed me. ME. This is something that keeps me up at night and is probably a big reason of why I am still single.

But to those who don’t watch Game of Thrones, the principles of Stoicism teach us that humanity belongs to a single universal order. We are all part of nature, equal in reason and free of mind. It teaches us to keep our passions in check (Ahem, Rob Stark.) Passions such as love, greed, vanity lead us to stray from “the good life” or a virtuous life. Well, you can love partners and family but when it starts to cloud reason and judgment or when your army and kingdom depend on you marrying a Frey girl, then it’s a problem. Pursuing glory and fame for ones name is not a virtue. Apathy in state affairs or apathy in ones well being and health is not virtuous in Stoicism. Promiscuity is not virtuous. Marcus Aurelius, the last great Roman Emperor and Stoic, believed that homosexuality was not virtue either. Most ancient Stoics probably didn’t include women in their philosophy. The more I start to go on, the more it starts to sound like some early blueprint for Christianity. If this were a research paper, I’d make a case for that and I’m sure I’m not the only one.  Hell, I’d say Plato was a proto-Christian.

But this isn’t a research paper tracing the beginnings of Christianity. This is a whiny post about war tactics in Fantasy worlds and post modern anxiety. Despite some of the negative attributes and connotations about Stoicism, I believe it’s a relevant philosophy that can and should be incorporated into some of our daily lives. I don’t consider myself a religious person but I wouldn’t go so far as to say that I am an atheist. Mainly because I don’t like to be associated with groups. I do me and only me. I am a spiritual person. I do believe in natural order, justice, equality and some universal energy that predates human, animal and cosmic existence. Not science necessarily but just something that has guided life, air, water and energy. I want to believe there is some purpose to our existence. Whether its defined by ourselves or by something bigger than us, we do have a purpose. It’s scary to think there is nothing outside of this realm of existence. I am a firm believer in balance. Naturally, I am a libra but whatever that’s some new age shit I won’t get into. If there is Balance in my life, I am happy. Stoicism is teaching me balance and patience so I can achieve a happiness that is bigger than my self.

I bring up Stoic week because I recently became obsessed with Marcus Aurelius and the Roman Empire. I started to read Meditations by Marcus Aurelius. I began to read it just after my holiday meeting at work where some of my co workers where recognized for their hard work throughout the year. I was not recognized. It was a serious blow to my ego because I as I sat in my chair, I began to think about what kind of strut I should do while I went to collect my Nightmare Before Christmas bobble head or some shit. I just thought, I’m going to be recognized. Why wouldn’t I? I’ve taken the responsibilities of a superior knowing full well I’d only get a quarter increment in my pay. I do it because I like taking care of shit and I do it well. But I didn’t get my stupid bobble head nor the recognition of my store in front of my peers. Naturally, I thought fuck this shit. My performance as of late has been flaky. I’ve called out more times than I should. I can’t do the minimum job requirements because I just don’t work that way. I planned out all of our Black Friday plans without the help of anyone and detailed and outlined it for the managers, because I’m just that person. But I still think, fuck this shit. 

For the record, I am not one those people that is obsessed with The Nightmare Before Christmas. I actually have to repress my disdain for those things because everyone seems to love all that shit. I already have a reputation of being a hater. It’s not that I hate it, I’m just not into it.

Anyway, what does this have to do with Stoicism? After reading some of Meditations, I came across a passage where Marcus Aurelius talked about glory, fame and name. One must not seek these things. Simply do your work, do it well and go on with your life because there is always work to be done and if you seek glory for your work, you risk falling into the trappings of the vanity of your ego. I thought, well isn’t this appropriate? I always seem to think that the Universe is somehow against me. That I try and I try and I try and the Universe is just some mean dick yelling ha-HA at me constantly. Along with Meditations, I started to read Boethius’ Consolation of Philosophy. Now this is a guy who got bludgeoned to death for elevating Philosophy near Religion. In it, Philosophy is this angelic figure telling Boethius to quit his whining because everyone suffers; how dare he think that Fortune was forever. Laugh now, cry later motherfucker. That was my scholarly interpretation.

So I didn’t get recognized. For a few days I was depressed about it. It wasn’t just solely that act but just feeling alone, rejected and just frustrated with my lack of career or social level depressed me. The fact that I work in retail and I am part this empty failing corporation brings me no satisfaction. I can’t thrive in numbers. I don’t thrive on quotas or sells. I tell people not to buy dumb shit because it’s expensive. I can’t accept this as a livelihood but I am forced to because of my circumstances. And yes, I realize I sound incredibly whiny and privileged (big popular word now a day.) I know I am being self centered because there are a million and billion things that could be way worse.

When I walk into work thinking fuck this shit and I do the minimum or act like I am at least doing the minimum at work, I daydream about what it is to be happy. The definition of happiness that is. I’m sure this isn’t an earth shattering thought but Happiness is never out of fashion. From the moment we became self aware we started to ponder our happiness. Every philosopher and rich lazy thinker have written so many books throughout history about it. Happiness has never changed. Technology evolves, regimes rise and fall, revolutions come and go but we still can’t figure out what makes us Happy. Well, we still can’t figure out how to keep happiness. As Hobbes put it, the joyless quest for joy. I hate him so I’m not quoting him because I like him. I daydream about what makes me or what would make me happy and I get sad. Oh how I suffer, sarcasm. I’ve learned to be grateful and patient but what happiness is to me is simple: I want to ride my bike to a job where I contribute to  something much deeper and greater than consumerism. Where my worth is not a number. Where I have a level of creative freedom and serve a part of a community. To be part of the greater good. To contribute not just in my own pursuit of the good life but to influence other people to pursue the good life. I want to be part of something much bigger than myself.

But when I come back to reality, I look around me and I think uuuuugh. 

If I summed up my 20′s it would be uuuuugh. 

I know I went into a terrible tangent because I am sleepy and I am a terrible writer but getting back to Stoicism, I’m slowly adopting some principles of this ancient Philosophy. It goes really well with the spirituality of yoga, it meshes well with Religion and it restores a balance that is sometimes offset by our 21st century anxiety. I can be really egotistical and self centered but Stoicism (and getting back to my History studies) has been teaching me to practice patience, letting go when I need to and living virtuous according to the law of own spirituality. So what I didn’t get recognized at work, I am going to school to get a better job. So what that boy didn’t text me back, there are a million other dudes in the world. I am not happy right now but there are going to be worse things in my life, in my future, that these moments will be completely insignificant. Just as there will be worse things, there will be way better and happier moments to come and I will be that much stronger and grateful for them. These are just my uuugh years and they will be over one day.

However, I do admit that this Friday will be one of my biggest challenges as a baby Stoic. Like I said before, I work in retail. I cannot harmonize my spirituality and philosophy with my work. I work with books but we all know most people buy shitty books anyway but that’s okay because at least they are reading. I don’t think I have ever been this angry or bitter about Black Friday. I don’t expect tons of people being at my work but I just get so angry at the idea behind Black Friday. I will try to stay patient throughout the holidays and try hard to think of the purpose of each human that I encounter, even the mean ones. I kind of had the same attitude last year, until a man sneezed on my face and left snot in my hair and dress. I just wanted to cry. What would Marcus Aurelius do? I think he would have probably said, fuck this shit uuugh. 

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Like A Dirty French Novel

If you have read my “About Me” on this blog, it’s just a Velvet Underground lyric. It’s taken from Some Kind of Love. It’s one of my favorite songs, not just from The Velvet Underground but one of my favorite songs, period. It makes me happy because it’s so simple and it expresses that playful dirty charm that one experiences when they discover a new kind of love. The Velvet Underground have been with me since I was 15. Since I purchased Andy Warhol Presents The Velvet Underground at Tower Records. I bought it for $15. I’ve seen it now for $6, new. Lou Reed’s voice was always my favorite, obviously. Nico is an acquired taste. Not Lou. Lou was something special.

What can there be said that hasn’t already been said? Countless Rock and Punk documentaries will always showcase the tremendous influence Lou and The Velvet Underground had on music. It’s a given. Like The Beatles, like The Rolling Stones, like The Blues and Elvis, VU is among them. Lou was the James Dean of Rock N Roll. When you look at the black and white photographs of Lou back in the 60′s, there is an idealism within those snapshots. It’s this idealism of true artistry. A raw power that he held behind those dark Ray Ban sunglasses. There was no bullshit in his expression.

Back when I bought that iconic album, I only had one incentive. I bought it because  I read an interview with Albert Hammond from The Strokes and he gave me this image of smoking pot and listening to The VU. But then my mom found out I smoked pot so there went that vision. I listened to the album in a complete normal state of mind and I felt something incredibly new within me. It exposed me to music that I didn’t knew existed back in the 60′s and 70′s. It exposed me to literature and poetry. It exposed me to the avant garde and post modern art and thought. It exposed me to different aspects about sexuality and sensuality. Of course this didn’t all happen when I was 15 but it certainly was a trickle down effect throughout the years. Most of my phases can be traced back to Lou and The VU. I went through a Beat phase, because Lou had been compared to Beatniks so I thought “hey what’s that?” I went through a phase where I only read dirty “high brow” literature. It started with Venus In Furs by Masoch because, well, I don’t have to explain. From Masoch, I went to Miller, Nin and Batailles (who combined the absurd with the vulgar, trust me.) Lou introduced me to Patti Smith, the goddess of Rock N Roll. Lou’s voice was there when I was enthralled with a boy. He was there singing, “Sometimes I feel so happy, sometimes I feel so sad, but mostly you just make me mad. Baby, you just make me mad,” when my heart broke every time with that boy. 

On Sunday, I woke up hungover and checked my phone. I saw probably five people quote or put up a Velvet Underground video with the letters R.I.P next to it. I gasped. It’s a really different type of sadness that is felt when someone you never knew but was there all the time passes away. There was a kind of selfish or vain guilt that I felt for being sad. Since I didn’t know him at all I just felt like I was taking away the sadness or the feelings of those who did know him well. I immediately started listening to Sunday Morning. A fitting song, right?

Later on that afternoon, I went to pick up my sister at Starbucks and when I was getting ready to tell her bummy news, I chocked up.  I dropped her off at home and ran errands on my own. While driving around, I took the long way to the places I need to go and back home. I was driving around listening to Lou and The Velvet Underground.  And I just started to cry. Full swollen tears ran down my face.

When I was hearing Stephanie Says and Candy Says through the speakers, it felt like this will never happen again. Not the moment I was having but the music, the lyrics, the song. Lou Reed will never happen again. I don’t mean, oh he’s physically gone. People die, that’s life. He lived to 71 which is a pretty damn long time. What he took with him was almost the end of an era, a generation. It might sound trite to say that but in his death, a little bit of truth, raw artistry and originality went with him. At least in the public spectrum he lived in. I’m sure there are real artists out there but I can’t shake off the feeling that with him, the idea of just making music for the sake of rock n roll, broke. We live in very vain times.  We live in a society where the pressure to be seen rather than heard is valued more. Maybe I’m just cynical, I don’t know. But in my car, my fat swollen tears just kept squeezing out with every word Lou sang. Lou Reed was just one of those people, artists, that you never think will go away. They just grow old, make weirder music, comment about the state of mainstream music once in a while, collaborate with Metallica and embrace Kanye West. Lou was just being Lou and he was supposed to just be all the time.

But we’re all human and we’re all destined to experience a final flash of white light. We all have blood circulating that makes our heart pump, like Mo Tucker’s drum beats. We all go through an agonizing love affair of some kind that leaves our soul pale, for a moment at least. We experience little or big moments of love from the touch of a shoulder. And some of us drink Sangria in the park. Moments that Lou captured in his words, his music and his eternal soul.

Thank you, Lou.

between thought and expression, lies a lifetime…

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Nostalgia

Sometimes nostalgia waltzes in aggressive meters up against my spine,

In the dead of day, in the gray chill of an afternoon,

Like a Spartan soldier, like a raven

Perched upon my chest.

 

The shards of my sanity scattered throughout my sleep,

In the blood and chills throughout my day, you flicker in and out

My eyelids and in the form of bad prose structured

In terrible sentences that my ego calls, Poetry.

 

I guess I loved you because I never loved anyone before or after

In the struggle of retrospect, I cannot say

Yes, yes I  always did

No, no I never did.

 

But if I loved you, I loved you like a still life painting

In silence and boredom, your face on a ten foot frame

Hung on the Louvre, I stood in front of you

Pretending to understand everything that made you, You.

 

It’s unfortunate what a piano, some violins

A British voice suffocated in blue

And a repeat button can do to me

When my ovaries start to run down my thighs.

In the Pursuit of Knowledge and Virtue

This past New Year’s celebration, before reaching that level of intoxication where there is no return, I sat in a stool against the wall fighting off a virus sprayed onto me by the snot of an awkward middle aged man at work. I sat there, sick in body and brooding mentally. I began to feel old. I began to feel inadequate. I began to feel unfulfilled. Love has never been kind to me. I find no comfort in the embrace of lovers because they’ve always been temporary and mostly trivial. Part of it is my fault since I am too selfish to give up my time and pursue or care for someone else. But I am prone to constant silly crushes that make me act like a 17 year old. For most people, if they have nothing else they at least have a companion. The moment I think I may have a companion is the moment the universe spins the other way and scoffs at me “Did you really think it would be that easy?” I sat there wishing I could just turn off my brain, so I got drunk. I got drunk and made out with some guy that was in awe of my “nerdiness” and kept declaring he really liked me and I kept assuring him that he was really drunk. After the excitement of swapping spit wore off and telling everyone about it, I felt pathetic. I felt self conscious, maybe I had been a last resort? I haven’t made out with anyone, I’ll take that dumb drunk chubby girl there. That’s probably what he thought. And soon I started my first bout of private depression of the year. It’s fairly common for me to get depressed after things escalate from light flirtations to full make out sessions or drunken hook up sessions. Don’t get me wrong though, these aren’t things that happen every week. They happen very randomly, sparse and unexpected. One thing is for sure, I always get depressed. It’s hard to find people to make out with or sleep with who have any remote concept of the passions defined by Anais Nin. I daydream of that bohemian kind of love. That abstract passion that brings an undefined kind of longing found in modernist literature. Sure, misery is a by product as well but it’s the type of misery that yields itself to the beauty and power of ones unrestricted passions.

But this is 2013 not Post WWI Paris. Hemingway is dead so I get texts that read “why you gotta be like that yo” or get called a prude if I don’t want to shove my ass against a guy’s crotch in public. Whenever I seek advice about my post makeout or hook up blues, one of my best friends will often ask me, “Did you at least get anything out of it?” and I will respond, “I guess so? Maybe. I don’t know. No. Not really.”

Socratic ethics taught me that the good life lies in virtue. A virtuous person is a happy person. A virtuous person can transcend their passions. A virtuous person lies neither in extremes nor disparity. The good life is compromised of moral virtue and intellectual virtue. By nature, we yield to impulse because most of the times impulses feel good at their conception. The pleasure of impulse dies upon reflection. I don’t really tend to think about Plato, Aristotle or Socrates when I’m about to swap some serious spit. That’s just stupid. It’s upon reflection that I think, I must be the only fucking loser who would think about Socrates and sex. Socrates probably never hooked up with anyone. He died not for his passions but for his pursuit of the good life.

I went back to school today after a weekend of being depressed about the condition of my bruised ego and scarcity of love. Giving in to the passions of the moment brought on by pointless Dionysian like nights left me emotionally bankrupt. Sitting in class today, after a 2 year hiatus from real critical courses, I stepped back into my element. This was my first day of “real college.” I’ve been in community college for what seems like an eternity. I let my apathy and depression take over the first half of my 20′s and in turn hurt my goals and aspirations. I decided to stop that shit. I sat in my European History course and for the first time I was confident in my ability to recognize and dissect the material shown to me. I sat in my political science course and my mind flourished with ideas and concepts that I was once familiar with. I sat in my Museum Methods course and absorbed the zen of my hippie like left wing long haired professor. I sat in my Science and Technology course in a room stuffed with 150 students watching a documentary about technology trap. At the end of my day I was exhausted and overwhelmed with the amount of reading I have for this quarter. I got myself into this. I apologize if this sounds flashy or snobby but bear with me, I’m coming up to the point of it all.

I have nothing. I feel like I have nothing. Ok I have my family but besides that, I don’t have much. I wish I had a better job or at least a job that reflected my abilities. Don’t work at Barnes and Noble if you like books. Work there if you’re good at selling people stupid memberships and if you’re good at not taking no for an answer. I wish I was better looking. I wish I was thinner. I ate a cheeseburger yesterday so I’m not really helping myself there. I wish I had that thing that some girls just have. That thing that just makes guys want to get to know a girl. I was told I lacked mystery about me. I’m not really sure what that meant? Maybe this blog is to blame. I’ve been self conscious about my lack of mystery. I don’t even know exactly how I could be self conscious about something I don’t understand. Nevertheless, I have nothing and now I don’t even have mystery.

Nothing. I guess I should define Nothing in this context. Nothing as a first world problem. Nothing in western society. To have nothing means I don’t have what everybody else has. To desire what the many or privileged have. Money, beauty, status, basically to have things that are fleeting and have no spiritual nor ethical relevance. I’m conflicted. I’m a 26 year old brat, at least I’m aware of my faults? The first step is acceptance, totally. I have a week until my return of Saturn so after I turn 27 I won’t be so selfish and self diluted. Maybe.

The only thing I do have is my passion. Sometimes that passion is misdirected. Not being intellectually stimulated detours that passion because I have no other outlet but pointless shenanigans. Sitting in my classes today made me sentimental. This flood of Rousseau like sentimentality overcame me. That, oh my life is so pained but I must yield to and transcend to something bigger than me, because I was born this was way, sentimentality. I was born free but everywhere I am in chains, oh pitiful life. Ok, I’ll stop now. Anyway, it was that sentimentality and grandiose conjecture that I am destined for something bigger. At the end of the day, I was content. My classes brought a growing fulfillment that I haven’t felt in a very long time. I am probably being naive but who cares for now. I may not always show this commitment but I am married and tied down to the history of ideas. That’s the only thing I have. I have nothing else but my education and my passion for it. I’ll probably die alone in a dusty room filled with cherry wood furniture and spiderwebs hanging from the corners of the ceiling. I suppose people who lack mystery die alone, it would just make sense. I guess?

Miley, or the Misfortunes of Sexual Liberation

When my best friend introduced me to Robin Thicke’s song, Blurred Lines, I was immediately into it. It had a good beat. It had the fountain of youth, Pharrel Williams. It had T.I rapping about the kind of sex I like. And then Thicke sang to me about being the hottest bitch in this place. My feminist ovaries shriveled up and were just like “wait wait, nope, back it up. Can’t accept this shit.” I didn’t really think the lyrics were “rapey.” I still don’t, it just doesn’t give me that vibe. What is rapey is Thicke’s comments defending the song, “If I whispered that to a girl in the club [I know you want it] she’d know I was joking.” No, he’d be that creepy guy that just stands behind a girl trying to grind on her without asking. I was conflicted over this song. Eventually I got over it because I just want to dance to it. Being a feminist isn’t about not enjoying anything that’s “wrong” it’s being aware of why it’s wrong.

I won’t lie. I listen to extremely misogynistic hip hop in my car. The other day I was listening to Ying Yang Twins and Bubba Sparxx. I’m not proud of it but I had just left a fitness class called “Bootylicious Bottoms” and I just wanted to hear some ass shaking music. The Velvet Underground and Joy Division don’t give me that same feeling, obviously. At the class, our instructor, Swan, apologized for her music choices. She hoped that we wouldn’t run out of the class when the “B-word, the C-word, the F-word, the P-word and the T-word” came out. She told us she just listens to the beats and the music and she isn’t a fan of the lyrics. There isn’t much rap/hip-hop that’s feminist approved except maybe A Tribe Called Quest, Mos Def or Common but they don’t really make ass shaking music. They make the type of hip hop that make me daydream about going on a date with Mos Def where we talk about politics and disagree but still keep an engaging conversation without getting mad or annoyed. Yeah, I know I have high expectations even in my daydreams. So anyway, at this fitness studio where the class is offered, they also offer pole dancing, belly dancing, burlesque and just sexy classes. I took a pole and burlesque class last year. The pole dancing class was too much for me. I’m a fan of subtle sexuality so naturally I ended up loving the burlesque class. What was more important to me and what I appreciated the most was the confidence and the self esteem boosters I got from my instructors. Not once did I feel like I was being judged, looked down on or snickered at. The rest of the women were a myriad of femininity, old, young, skinny, fit, chunky, white, black, Asian and brown. Even at this recent class that I took, I felt silly doing some of the moves we practice. It takes a lot of sober balls to try and dance sexy next to 8-10 women in front of a mirror. But it is a damn good workout and different than the usual treadmill routine.

So, at Bootylicious Bottoms Swan had us “pop” our booty’s, “drop” our booty’s, get on all fours and pretty much simulate “doggy style” sex while jiggling our asses, all in the name of motherfucking sexual liberation (oh and fitness!.) And I was into it. We were all into it. We all had a different reason for being there but the root of our reasons lie in exploring and playing with our own individual and different sexualities.

When I sat down on the couch on Sunday night I didn’t have any interest on watching the MTV Awards because, like, who cares? I feel bad for artists who take that stuff seriously. I only intended on watching Breaking Bad and proceeded to flip the fuck out over “the confession.” But there was so much talk on the internet on Miley Cyrus and I was getting texts about it that my curiosity just took over. I managed to catch a repeat of the show and I felt expired. Apart from Lady Gaga and Rihanna, I didn’t really know or care for anyone else. I don’t care for N’SYNC because I was a Backstreet Boys girl and they did their reunion way better than N’SYNC. I just want that to be known.

Anyway, as I watched Miley Cyrus, Robin Thicke and 2 Chainz perform, I cringed. It was awkward. It was disturbing. It was slightly pedophiliac. It was just weird. My shriveled up feminist ovaries eased. I think every feminist fiber in me was just confused. We weren’t angry nor offended, just a plain out “what the fuck was that?”

As a professional thinker, I dub myself thee, naturally I had to analyze what I was watching. What I was witnessing wasn’t a girl transitioning into womanhood and exploring her sexuality. What I saw was a little kid discovering her genitals in the corner and going crazy over it. That happens to everyone, it’s ok. Most of us don’t have the inclination to announce it so publicly. Most of us weren’t sheltered Disney stars from the South. I sympathize with Miley. When I first discovered myself as a sexual being, I felt like a 13 year old boy in a 23 year old woman’s body. All I wanted to do was get the attention of just one person. To convince him that I could do all the things those other girls were doing, that I could dance and look sexy too. All I did was just make a drunken fool of myself and look like Miley. The truth is that just because you’re a woman, because you have breasts and a vagina doesn’t mean that is where your sexuality comes from. One’s sexuality or sensuality isn’t dictated by “twerking” or grinding up on 30 year olds. For Miley and for millions of girls and women who look to pop culture for a definition of womanhood and sexuality, tits and ass is where it’s at.

Sexuality is something that happens gradually. Miley’s performance was a hyper sexual display of what she thought was a grown woman defining and owning her sexuality. When we’re shown the myriad of sexuality in popular culture, women are always defined by their bodies. Even a self aware artist like Lady Gaga still uses sex to sell her music and performances. I guess the difference is the thought that goes into Lady Gaga productions because let’s face it, she’s pretty artsy for the mainstream. What Miley wanted us to know on Sunday is here is her body, here is her sex, she’s going to all these extremes just to let us know that she has grown up, we should want her because we want other sexual beings like Rihanna or Beyonce.

Unfortunately, Miley and millions of other girls have that same idea. Even as “nerd” culture becomes the mainstream, women are still expected to retain the sexuality of their physical bodies. Rarely are there messages that one’s intellect, independence or personality is alluring. Those things take effort. Being half naked is instant gratification and twerking is fun.

We don’t always get it right the first time around. People like Rihanna or Lady Gaga eased and played into their sexual roles with minimal effort. For whatever reason, we bought it from them because it came natural to them. Miley was forcing this hyper sexuality that she still hasn’t figured out herself. Nobody looks alluring with their tongue sticking out that many times. Latex isn’t always flattering. Wasted prancing teddy bears and teddy bear onesies borderline on pedophilia. Adopting certain aspects of a culture and exploiting it may be slightly ignorant. We failed Miley like we have failed at society. Miley simply projected back the definitions and expectations that as a society we have come to accept. And she’s the one getting shit for it.

As a feminist, I wasn’t offended. As a person of color, I wasn’t offended. As a woman, I was disappointed. I get accused of not enjoying things because I think too much, I read too much, I feminist too much but if we aren’t aware or discussing little things like things like this, mentalities will never change. It’s not the same as discussing the shit storm that’s going on with Syria. We could and we should always talk about those issues but most people aren’t willing; it’s boring, sensitive or just complicated. Talking about Miley, rape culture, misogyny at least touches nerves immediately. Not that it’s easier to talk about but collectively we might have more common than talking about Syrian politics.

But let’s calm the fuck down because Miley was just getting liberated, y’all. This was her Like a Virgin moment. Once her booty came into contact with Robin Thicke’s 36 year old crotch, he liberated her from a future of domesticity and unleashed her inner sexual animal, her nature. She asked for this. She wanted this. She’s just being Miley.

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Writers Are The Worst Kind Of Exhibitionists, They Keep Their Clothes On

I am reluctant to call myself a writer. I forget how to spell words all the time. I’ve lost my natural flow with words. I find it hard to articulate myself like how I used to. I completely suck at grammar and I’m always self conscious about it on facebook because I have two English professors on my friends list. I am completely grateful for this blog and to Angela for inviting me to be a part of it. If it weren’t for this blog, I’d be on tumblr blogging into the void. Yet this blog in particular is probably why I can’t call myself a writer. All the people who contribute on here are grown up, they have careers, they have babies, they have degrees, they are legit writers but most importantly they just seem to have their shit together. I’m here dreading turning 27 because I’m a fragile genius and 27 is a dangerous age according to Rock N Roll folklore. But I’m no rock and roller(or a genius or fragile.) Far from it. I had my party days, my wild days. Sometimes I’ll go out to LA hipster clubs and grind up against a dude and wake up the next day feeling like I probably looked like that out of place old person at the club trying to rekindle her lost youth, or I’ll feel like the female Michael Cera trying to prove I’m an adult (well if you count the numbers not the merits) with my awkward sexuality.

Faulkner taught me to fuck the credentials. Hemingway taught me to keep it simple, stupid. Miller taught me to keep it sexy. Kafka taught me to stay up all night. Mrs. Parker taught me to keep my head up despite the heartbreaks. And Lil’ Jon taught me to shake my ass and drop it to the floor. All in all, they all taught me one very important lesson, keep it honest. If you can’t strip or bleed on paper, if you’re not willing to face the darkest crevices of your memories, if you can’t face your desires and if you can’t be honest with yourself then you can’t be a writer. I can be a writer.

Right now my stomach is grumbling. I’m trying to ignore it. I’ve been trying to ignore it since forever. I remember my first communion and confessing my sins. On the top of the list, it was a very short list I was 9 or 10, was demanding to eat chicken nuggets. Most of my list involved food because my aunt had told me that overeating was a sin. So I thought, fuck that’s my whole life. I probably didn’t say or think fuck. Even though I was not the chubbiest kid in my family, my cousin was a good 180 pounds at age 9, I was made to feel like I was. That same cousin, clinically obese, would tell me I was fat. I was teased at school for being ugly, short and fat. The way I coped with the pain was to eat more because as cliche as it sounds, food doesn’t hurt you back. Not emotionally at least. Food is comfort. Food is delicious. Food is great. Bad food is the best. I wish I had drowned my sorrows in bags of carrots instead of bags of chips. I suppose my parents were enablers but I can’t blame them. Though, my parents are super thin people. My sister grew up eating worse than I did and she’s a size 4. I’m the Frankenstein of my little family. I feel like my parents just piled on the genes and said fuck it. That was my probably my dad. We have a tendency to start things and just kind of half ass it or give up half way.

My relationship with food is a complicated one. Now in my mid twenties, I am more aware of what I put in my body. I’ve learned to eat vegetables and love them. I love vegan food, vegetarian dishes and I appreciate the simplicity of cooking my own healthy food. I’ll have those vegetarian/healthy kicks. I’ll go to the gym. I’ll ride my bike. I’ll even lose 5-8 pounds and I’m happy because I think it’s easy. I’ll think about how I don’t think about food. I’ll think this is how it feels to be normal. This lasts about 2-3 weeks and then out of nowhere I’ll just feel like pigging the fuck out. I’ll crave KFC even though it gave me food poising. I’ll think about chicken nuggets at midnight. I’ll contemplate going to In&Out and making it animal style, baby. I can recall two awful binges and they stick out like the experiences of an addict. First there is an overwhelming feeling of restlessness. I can’t fall asleep. I can’t read. I can’t watch tv. I can’t do all the things they tell you to do to help you stop cravings. I’ve always been an impulsive person. I want that Barbie and I want it now. I want that dress and I want it now. I want to have sex and I better have it now. I want food and I’m going have it now, whatever time “now” is even if it’s two in the morning. Then the descent begins. I’ve made up my mind and I’m going to buy bad food. I get in my car feeling like a crack fiend. I pull up to the drive thru and I feel an overwhelming sense of shame. I always hope that the cashier isn’t some cute guy because he’ll probably think “typical fat girl getting food at 2am.” Walking from my car to the front door feels like the walk of shame with my fast food bag in my hand and my coke in the other. What must my neighbors think? If they’re up at 2am then they’re losers just thinking about what I am doing with my life. So then it begins. I scarf down the food like I’ve been starving in a third world country. In the moment, while I’m mindlessly chewing my food and its sending electrical waves to my brain and raising dopamine or whatever levels, it’s satisfying. I’m having a fucking Perks of Being a Wallflower moment, “And in that moment, eating a chicken nugget, I knew I was happy.” And then it’s over. And it feels exactly like a cocaine comedown. I just want to die. I’m worthless. Nobody will ever love me. I’m stupid. I’m ugly. I’m fat. FAT.

FAT.  It sounds silly. Even writing it down feels and looks silly. I know, I should get over it. There are worse things to be addicted or sad about. Everyone has their #fatgirlproblems right? I wish I could slap everyone who uses that by the way. I could probably get deeper into the reasons why I overeat or binge. Just like most addictions it’s about trying to replace a void. It’s about trying to find a place where you find sheer enjoyment while everything around is chaotic. You fool yourself into thinking it’s a balance. If I do X then everything is ok but most of the times it’s not ok, it’s worse.

This is a topic I’ve wanted to write about for a while. I don’t think I did it justice and I don’t think I conveyed the seriousness that I wanted to. If you knew me you know I try to see the humor in everything. I once wanted to be a serious and tortured writer, fragile genius at 27. Any creative type entering their 20’s has that wish or goal. I’ve grown a lot. My interests and personality have evolved, as they should. It took me a very long time to find a concrete voice. I’m still learning how to become a writer, a “real” writer. I always have those moments of anxiety where I think maybe what I am writing is not creative nor interesting, it’s just simply too much fucking info. Everyone shares their feelings and their struggles. We live in an age of hyper-information and full disclosure. We put our breasts and penises out there for the world, willingly. Well I don’t but I have sent butt pictures to my friends because it’s funny and the angle and lighting of the picture made my butt look really good. But we need writers. We need real writers. We need poets. We need lyricists. We need writers to convey all the embarrassing, happy, seductive, heartbreaking moments of the human condition in 140 characters or more. We need them more than ever. And this is what I mean about not calling myself a writer because I probably jumped off topic and I’m all over the place and there’s no harmony between my words but that’s ok because I’m a budding 26 year old fragile genius who sees the devil as a piece of breaded chemically engineered chicken nugget.

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Slouching Towards a Happy Death

If death were easy we would all be much happier.

When my wisdom tooth was coming out I thought I was dying. My head hurt, my ear hurt and I had the most unbearable pain in my life. I was sure it was infected and the infection had spread to my brain and my body’s response to the inflammation was this terrible pain that was creeping towards my slow agonizing (but very much preventable) death. That was it for me. I made peace with myself in my head. I was a shit person, I loved once, I had some fun and some people loved me.  I feel into a selfish sleep as the right side of my head continued to throb into death. If I don’t wake up, I love you mom.

I’m a bit of a hypochondriac with a morbid imagination. The older I get the more I think I am slowly slouching towards an untimely death. I passed out after a hot shower once. As my body was shutting down I felt this immense pressure in my stomach, as though I needed to go to the bathroom. I thought, that’s it I’m dying, people shit themselves when they die, I must be dying. Luckily, when I woke up there was no need for a second shower. Diabetes runs in my family and that very realistic thought didn’t cross my head. Not yet at least.

If death had taken me in my throbbing sleep or in a split second of consciousness, I’d be lucky. A lot of the times, death doesn’t work that way. Many of us will die of some ailment, some cancer, some disease. Such is the natural order of things. I force myself to carry this thought with me every day. I have all kinds of scenarios for my death. One of my biggest fears is to die a violent death. I get nervous driving next to big rigs or behind them. I imagine a Final Destination type of death. There was a man who knocked on our door after parking his car in our driveway. He knocked once, lightly and then left. I had a weird feeling overcome me and I refused to open the door. I convinced myself he had come to kill me in some Mexican cartel kind of way. Why? I don’t know. I don’t even have drug connections…not that I know of? I drive on the freeway late at night a lot and I think, what if I get shot randomly like those people on the news that get shot on the freeway randomly?

Almost every day I say to myself that if today were my last day, then so be it. It is written in some universal book up in the cosmos that I will die today and I cannot do anything about it. If I have been a shitty friend, oh well I’m dying. If I have done nothing to make my parents proud, I’m sorry I’m dying. If I have upset needy customers, fuck them I’m dying.

As I sat in the emergency room at 5am waiting for my mother to be discharged, an African American family sat across my sister and I. One lady walks away to take a phone call. “Hi, yeah, listen…they say he won’t make it…”

I remember getting that phone call at work at 6:30 pm on March 2007. My cousin told me my grandmother wouldn’t make it through the night. After I hung up, I went into the restroom and for the first time in my life I felt that split second of consciousnesses, my legs went weak and my vision became spotty. I wasn’t dying but my grandmother was.

My eyes filled with tears as I looked at my sister and I whispered to her, “I’m crying. I feel bad. I don’t know why.” I didn’t want the family across from me to hear me. I felt like an intruder to their universal pain.

My dad brought my mom out of the emergency room. I made him switch with me the last 20 minutes of her stay. We had been there since 10pm. This has become a redundant cycle. They release her because her tests show nothing wrong. She’s hopped on something stronger than morphine and yet we all know that once we get home, it starts all over again.

As my mom cries in pain, she keeps repeating that if this is death then good God, please just “take me away and be done with it.” I feel helpless. I don’t know what I can or should do. In between her pain and tears she tells me not to worry at least there is enough money for a funeral so my dad better not beg around for money. She talks about giving me power of attorney over her affairs. I become frustrated and raise my voice at her “you’re not dying! It’s not that easy to die!” As these words come out of my mouth, I realize how cold they sound especially to such an affectionate person as my mom.

In our silence, I start to think what if this is the beginning of death? She is 48 years old. Lots of people die before hitting 50. She’s always said that she’d rather die than live years in pain. She’s been in pain for 3 years now. Doctors haven’t found any concrete source of her pain. She’s scheduled for a surgery in the coming months. They’ll open her up where it hurts and poke around to see what they can find.

What if what they find is her slow unhappy death?

I’m selfish and she can’t leave because I am selfish. She can’t leave me. My wisdom tooth is coming out, she can’t leave me.  I get mad at her when she talks about leaving me. She can’t leave me because I am six years old. I’m her child and she can’t leave me. I still need to grow up before she leaves. I’ll clean my room that way she won’t leave me.

I raised my voice to her because I am scared. I wish there was a way to communicate that without my pride and fear getting in the way. I forget about all my untimely deaths. I look at her crying and yelling and I hope to whatever and whomever that my slouch towards death will be a happy one. But I really don’t think it works that way.

Bow Down, Bitches

I am renouncing my love of Beyonce. I know she will be heartbroken upon hearing that I won’t be one of the many bitches bowing down to her. I loved her last week and today I’m breaking up with her (my workout playlist won’t follow though.) That’s how it goes in pop culture.

There’s no denying that Beyonce is an amazing performer and singer. She’s strong. She’s independent. Jay-Z took her last name. If that’s not fucking fierce then I don’t know what is. I mean, symbolically, right? Regardless, the world doesn’t need to be reassured of her talent. We would all much rather watch a Beyonce performance than be alone with our thoughts.

The thing is when a public figure gains that much power and ego, their hubris is bound to manifest itself in some form. According to Aristotle, hubris is to ill treat others for the sake of one’s own superiority. Beyonce tells us, hey I’m where you dreamed of being but I got here first and I own it. Don’t forget it, bow down bitches.

That’s when I said, “Um, no. I don’t think so Beyonce.”  That’s a Kanye move and nobody likes Kanye. Bey doesn’t get a pass on this one just because she’s fierce or independent. On the contrary, it’s because of those qualities that I expect better. I expect people like Kim K. to stoop that low and call other women bitches, not Beyonce. I always thought she was classy. I’m not saying she isn’t allowed to say bad words or say the word Bitch. I’m saying it’s irresponsible to give the impression that words like that are ok simply because you’ve earned your place in a society that is constantly trying to bring women and people of color down. And I guess one can argue that she isn’t an ambassador of women. She doesn’t speak for all women when she sings out the word Bitch. That I should leave her alone because I’m just a hater. Truth is, she is a public figure, she’s a role model, she sang (uh, “sang”) the National Anthem. She was picked out to do so because of her influence on society. When one gets to that level, there is a certain responsibility. In this world of 248 characters or less, words have an immense impact, especially if you’re Beyonce.

Bey has never admitted to being a feminist. She believes in equality and women empowerment but she’s not a feminist. Duh. I used to feel this way. I don’t know if I was just afraid of the word or I just wanted to be the really chill girl among the boys. Probably both. As I matured, I realized “Oh fuck, I am a feminist.” I stopped caring what other people thought. I stopped caring about the cool boys club. Especially since that cool boys club would overuse the word Bitch all the time. Ho and slut came in a real close second and third. But it wasn’t just the boys overusing it. The girls too. It sounds so much worse when it comes from girls. I used to think it was just a word but so is n-i-g-g-e-r.

I don’t know who came up with the bullshit saying “sticks and stones may break my bones but words can never hurt me.” They must have been a bitch ass nigger. Oh, they’re just words right?

No they’re not. Bones heal, unless you break your spine and you can never walk again in which case, I’m sorry. But most bones heal; words stick to your memory forever. When I need an excuse to cry I think about the kids that called me ugly, fat, werewolf, negra fea and Quasimodo. These words still bring up a lot of painful memories. They’re the reason why I can’t look in the mirror and feel good about myself, even after 18-20 years. I don’t think about those kids as grownups with problems, families, jobs, no they’re saved in the time capsule of my insecurities. I once saw one of my tormentors at a party after graduating high school. I was drunk and I told him, “Hey you used to torture me in junior high!” He told me he didn’t even realize we went to the same junior high.

It’s alarmingly too casual to say words like bitch. Just like the word nigger, it has been recycled and processed into a false state of mind. Women will use it to describe themselves, “I’m a bad bitch.” Women will use it to defame each other “She’s just a stupid bitch.” I think it’s a word that brings all of us down. In the popular satirical Adult Swim show, The Boondocks, there is a perfect scenario. Two black men bump into each other and start shooting at each other for the sake of their pride. Huey, the militant socially conscious 10 year old, describes this as a “nigga” moment. Later on in the episode, his grandfather is beat up by a blind hate filled black man. His pride is hurt so he sets up a public fight to prove his manhood. A crowd shows up and starts placing bets. Huey meditates on the meaning of all this and concludes that when there are two types of “nigga” moments. A private “nigga” moment shames each individual. A public “nigga” moment shames a whole race. His grandfather ends up killing the old blind man. At the end of the episode, Huey, his brother and his grandfather bring flowers to the old man’s parking space and start praying. Riley, the brother, asks why they have to do that if the grandfather killed him in the first place. Huey narrates that even though the world was better off without the old mean blind man, as black people they have to stick together. What Huey comes to realize is that the number one threat to black people isn’t cops or white people; it’s themselves because they can’t stick together.

My mom owns her own business; she refuses to help any like minded women. In her struggle, women were always bitches to her. My girlfriends will constantly refer to other women they know and don’t know as dumb bitches. My sister wrote to her boyfriend that my mom is a big bitch. Beyonce demands we plebian bitches bow down to her.

In this society where we blame rape victims, where politicians need a definition of rape, where they need clarification on how the female reproductive system works, where pop hits have choruses like “you’re a stupid ho” and “I like bad bitches that my fucking problem,” not just as women but as human beings we need to stick together and promote positivity. Leave all egos behind.

God, if that’s not some hippie bullshit ideal…I’m a hopeless idealist. I’m a dreamer. But, I can believe right?

Words are history. Words are art. Words are memories. Words are war. Words are…my life and you don’t get a pass Beyonce.

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