This weekend my mother came down to help me declutter and to stage my apartment so I can get (yet another) roommate. I figured it would be all work and no play since I have a ton of stuff and we hadn’t planned any activities. In fact, I felt bad that all we could do is hang out with each other. But it turns out that was exactly what we both needed. We actually ended up chilling way more than working but it was so fun. Some of my best friends came down to hang out with my mom or just meet her for the first. We ate well, we drank a lot. We watched rom coms and talked about happiness and our dreams for the future. When it was done, I realized that this was easily the best weekend I’ve had all year and runner up for the most fun I’ve ever had in New York.
And it was all so simple. And that is so awesome. Just spending time with people that you love, that’s what it’s all about. And that’s what I love about New York. It’s not the night life or the shops; it’s that most of my favorite people in the entire world are here. And that it’s close enough for my mom, another one of my favs, to come down for the weekend.
And when it was over, something very strange happened. I missed my mom. Like really missed her. It was more strange considering I had just seen her the weekend before and I can very easily see her this weekend. I can talk to her all the time, in fact, I do. But after this weekend, I missed her. I still do.
But back to the subject at hand, this weekend reminded me that is really is all about the simple things. What a pleasant reminder.
Now honestly, I’m not sure how I feel about this film. On the one hand, I’m glad there is a film portraying how young women feel when their fathers aren’t around. And I really like that he shows the fathers how they make their daughters feel and I’m hoping the filmmaker tries to connect the father and daughter in the end. But what I do not like is a full minute of daughter’s crying, breaking completely down to get the point across. I think it is crazy exploitiative to have a film full of children crying and asking why their father doesn’t love them. And most, if not every, documentary of fatherlessness that I’ve seen uses this.
I am not saying that it’s not painful and that children don’t feel this way. I know they do because I used to feel that way. But there’s a fine line between showing a painful experience and exploiting it. I feel the same way about the documentary Dark Girls which only shows the most hurt of all darker women and portrays this idea that all dark women feel ugly and less than.
For fatherlessness documentaries, I agree that is important to show that it hurts children. I think it is also important to show that it doesn’t have to destroy them. Growing up without a father does not have to be a life sentence of pain, poverty or loneliness. Even if you don’t have a surrogate father to give you what you think a father should have given or taught you does not mean that you can’t have or learn certain things. Thus far in my interviews with adult women who have grown up without their fathers, there’s this profound sense of loss. This feeling that fathers hold a secret to love and to life and that they will never learn them because their father wasn’t there. And because they never learned it, they accept all kinds of grief in their lives because they believe they’ve missed out on some special gift, for lack of a better word, that only a father can give.
That’s not true. And that’s what I see in this film and it makes me sad. Yes, I think it is important. I will most likely support it financially and tell people to watch it. But I hope in the future, these types of documentaries will evolve and show that while it is painful, it is not the end of the world. You can grow up fatherless and be successful and happy and feel loved.
I’m not quite sure when it happened, but somewhere along the way I lost myself. I lost my muchness.
There’s a scene in the remake of Alice in Wonderland when the Mad Hatter meets up again with Alice and notices that she’s different. She’s afraid and she’s not who she used to be. He tells her, “You used to be much muchier. You’ve lost your muchness.” I know, it’s a child’s movie and a silly scene, but lately that’s how I’ve begun to feel about myself.
When I was younger, I was a character. I did my own thing and didn’t care what anyone thought about it. I was myself. And then something happened, I’m not quite sure. From then I began to doubt myself and my abilities. And I became scared of everything – success, failure, trying. And it was sad. And it was exhausting. And I am tired of it.
So join me as I try to regain my muchness again and become that cool kid I know I am.
Yup, I finally did something that I’ve been talking about for months. I chopped of my hair and I’m donating it to Locks of Love. I have literally been thinking about this for over a year, and talking to friends about it for at least 7 months. My inital plan was to do it for my birthday, then do it in the middle of May, then do it September right when school started. And then I realized, I could litereally do this forever. I didn’t want to wait until it got cold because then I’d have no hair to keep me warm, but if I did it in the summer, my hair would be all frizzy and it would impact my beach and dancing in the rain time. All of these are super lame excuses, and so I said to myself, “Self, stop being a pussy and cut your freaking hair already.” So this morning, I told Mo and then I went and did it.
I went to a Dominican spot near school, mainly because they had cut my hair before and it didn’t look crazy and because I knew it’d be cheap. I walk in the store, tell the woman I want to chop my hair to donate it, tell her she had to cut at least 10 inches and waited for the inevitable “are you crazy?” look I get every time I ask to get my hair cut. I was prepared this time. I bought a ruler so she could see that 10 inches wasn’t ALL of my hair, just enough to make some kid a wig. Her mother finally agreed to do it and we were on our way.
After a wash and some blow drying, she braided my hair in the back. She took a little elastic and tied the end of the braid. Then she took out the ruler and measured 10 inches (in retrospect, measuring a braided 10 inches is way more hair than the 10 inches I measured when I pulled my curl out, but whatevs), she measured again and held her finger there. She took a bigger elastic and tied my hair where she had measured. She then took the ruler out again to make sure she had at least 10 inches. I appreciated her attention to detail.
Then she picked up these huge scissors, smiled at me and snip!
Now the ponytail was in my hand and I couldn’t believe I had actually cut off most of my hair to give to a stranger I will never meet. Tomorrow I will put my hair in a padded envelope (I didn’t know hair needed so much protection) and mail off my crowning glory (and let’s be for real, my security blanket) to Florida. I know, now I’m being melodramatic.
But it’s my hair. I haven’t cut my hair since the first time I chopped it in 2003. That time was not preplanned, it was more of “it’s hot as hell in South Africa and we’re all drunk and have scissors so let’s cut Eva’s hair.” That time I also dyed it red, oh the horror. When I came back from South Africa, most of my friends thought it was funny, but what I member most vividly is how much Black men hated it. And when I say hated it, they hated it. I can’t even begin to tell you how many men came up to me to tell me how much they liked my long hair better and how much better I looked before. It was not a fun time and then I vowed I wouldn’t cut my hair anymore.
But having long hair, and long curly hair at that, is a total pain sometimes. It takes forever to brush. I have to gel it up or else I’ll look like Buckwheat. It’s heavy. And during summers like this, it makes you so hot. On the bright side, it looks good and everyone loves it. I didn’t have to deal with unprovoked negative comments about it.
But when I thought about why I was keeping this hair that had slowly begun to drive me crazy, I realized I was doing it for everyone else, to keep everyone else happy. That is not what I’m about anymore. I’m trying to keep me happy. And I knew it would make me very happy to pay it forward and donate this hair to a child, who is probably sick, and could benefit from it much more than me. So I chopped my hair. It feels crazy. It feels light, it’s constantly in my face and far to short to put in a decent ponytail, but more than this, it feels good. I did this for me and it happens to benefit someone else and that’s pretty sweet.
I made a new friend last week and she suggested I watch Skins (British, not MTV) because it was addictive and she was now obsessed with it. I can understand show addiction (south park anyone?) but I kept forgetting to watch it. She reminded me again on Thursday and I’ve been watching it on netflix ever since. She was not kidding, I’ve been up til 3 am for the past two days watching it. I made it through two seasons already but I wanted to talk about one scene that really struck me. It was in the season one finale, and it’s involves Maxxie (the only openly gay kid in the grew), Anwar (the Packistani muslim) and his father. I guess this may be a spoiler but the show aired in 2007, so meh.
Anyway, Maxxie and Anwar got into a huge fight because Anwar suddenly decided he couldn’t be cool with Maxxie being gay based on religious reasons and Maxxie wasn’t going to have that from an alchol-drinking, drug-taking, premarital-sexing-having hypocrite. On Anwar’s birthday, Maxxie calls to wish him a happy birthday. Anwar invites him to the party but Maxxie won’t come unless Anwar is honest with his parents and tells them that he is gay. Understandable, Anwar is hesitant.
Throughout the episode Anwar’s dad asks him Maxxie, where is he and how much he likes him. Anwar can’t spit it out. Later Maxxie stands outside the party but won’t go in. Anwars looks for him but doesn’t see him. Later Anwar calls Maxxie to share some good news and finds him outside. Maxxie still won’t come inside. Just then the dad comes out and talks to Maxxie, and this is when Anwar finally gets the balls to tell his dad Maxxie is gay. His talks talks right over this, so Maxxie tells him himself. His dad pauses, smiles and then says:
It’s a fucking, stupid, messed up world. I’ve got my God, he speaks to me every day. Some things I just can’t work out, so I leave them be. OK? Even if I think they are wrong because I know one day he’ll make me understand. I’ve got that trust. It’s called belief. I’m a lucky man.
Now I know, I know, it’s just TV. But I’ve just got to hope that some time soon more people can take this attitude. You don’t have to like it, but let it be. And maybe if you’re mature enough, you can try to understand it. When I think of David Katu and other gay people in Uganda and other African countries, people having to prove their gayness to stay in America, hell, adults making fun of the princess boy, I get so sad. All this hatred and violence, based on religious ideals, because people can’t put enough faith in their God and that he has a plan that it’ll all make sense some day. It’s wild, wild world dude.
So by now I’m sure you’ve hear of Dr. Gosnell and his house of horrors.
The other night I spent a few hours reading through the grand jury report about the case. To put it midly, it is horrifying. Dr. Gosnell has been running this sorry excuse for a medical center for approximately 30 years. What really surprises me is that he was busted for drugs – not for murdering Karnamaya Mongar in 2009, not for running an abortion clinic so terrible that local agencies stopped referring clients to him, but for being the third largest oxycotin distributer in the state.
We all know that America doesn’t care about poor people and immigrants, but really?
And while I’m sure pro-lifers are going to jump all over this, the issue really is not abortion. Late term abortion is illegal. But what Dr. Gosnell was doing wasn’t abortion, it was murder. In late term abortions, the fetus never gets a chance to breath. It is killed before it fully exits its mother’s body. But not at The Women’s Medical Society. The grand jury reports numerous live births, in some cases the infants were alive for up to twenty minutes before Dr. Gosnell and his staff murdered them. And the murders were barbaric – snipping spinal cords with scissors? There are better ways, hell we put down stray animals more humanely than that.
Initially I was confused how mothers could sit by and watch that. Surely you don’t need that much education to understand how Dr. Gosnell was performing these abortions was incorrect. But then I read about how his untrained staff administered the anestesia and tried to keep the women knocked out during the births so that they would be still and quiet. Apparently the running practice was to get the women in during the day, induce labor and have them sit around the office all day until the doctor came in at night to finish the job. By the time the doctor came, some women had already given birth.
The whole thing is a nightmare. I’m sad for the women who had no other options but to go to this doctor. He overcharged them, hid his numerous mistakes (like leaving pieces of aborted fetuses inside the women’s bodies and puncturing internal organs) and kept them from getting any real medical help when they were in trouble (in the grand jury report there are at least 2 instances), and he murdered two women. I would have thought one woman dying in his clinic would have been enough for a thorough review of the clinic, but no. Apparently some people had reported the clinic to , but no one followed up.
While I would like to imagine the Dr. Gosnell is the only doctor who preys on poor women, I know he is not. I’m scared for other doctors that continue to fly under the radar. While I can appreciate a doctor breaking the law to help someone in need, I cannot appreciate what Dr. Gosnell did. I know that the new health care bill does not include provisions to immigrants, but hopefully low-income women can get assistance they need in a sanitary, safe and caring environment.
I decided to spend this New Years alone because I wanted to get a jump start on my personal plans for the next year. I know that 2011 will be a year of a lot of personal development, maybe even more than this year.
For me, this year is all about happiness. As some who has struggled with depression for years (that’s a whole different post), 2010 was the first year that I spent more time feeling happy or ok than depressed. This was especially surprising because this has also been the year that I put myself out there with more men than before (and more often than not, it ended in heartbreak. lots of heartbreak). Anyway, a lot of this happiness is a direct result of an intentional change in the way I think. This year, I made a point to think more positively, to visualize what I want, and to put it out into the universe (yes, I live by The Secret and now, The Power).
In addition to happiness, this year is also about love and gratitude. Something I’ve been doing is writing love letters to my friends, basically telling them how much I love them and that they are appreciated. This year I plan on spending more time with my family. They are my biggest cheerleaders, they are always happy to hear from me and forgive me for all my faults – mainly my flakiness. This year I also plan on working on my relationship with my father. It is significantly better than it was just a few years ago, but I know he wants to talk more and spend more time.
2011 is already looking promising. I finally get to go to Paris, although it’s for a conference, I know I’ll be able to sneak a lot of sight seeing into this trip. (note to self: reread Black Girl in Paris) Also my mom is coming so it’s exciting to start checking things off her bucket list.
I’ve got a better grip on silkscreening so the t-shirts are coming along smoothly. It’s actually pretty easy to get custom orders and I already have a design that will sell pretty well. It’s pretty incredible how supportive my friends are about this, very humbling.
And finally, I plan on putting a huge dent in my dissertation. My presentation for Paris is a chapter from my dissertation. I have a few people that I can interview for my qualitative section of my dissertation. And essentially when I finish the boys quantitative section, it will be pretty easy to do the girls section. The tutorial I took last semester provided me with a lot of the theory section. I’m really starting to think I can actually finish this by 2013. #holla
Happy New Year.
I kept seeing links to the video all week and finally decided to check it out this morning. Long story short, some asshole rubbed his condom-covered peen on a woman in a not crowded subway and she was not having it.
I thank her for it.
I’ve lived in New York for about five years now. Thankfully no one has felt the urge to expose them self to me, but like most other women, I am constantly harassed walking down the street. I try to keep it civil. For example, if a man says I’m beautiful, I’ll say “Thank you.” Not because I am thankful that he paid a compliment, but because if I don’t say anything I will inevitably get hit with “Why you so saditty?” “You’re not that cute anyway!” or the ever classic “Bitch.” *rolls eyes*
Anyway, I’ve become pretty numb to this weak holleration, but what happened to me on Saturday night still bothers me. I was walking to a party (just stop, I don’t want to hear about how I should not be parading around Brooklyn at night) and I’m waiting on the corner of Washington and St. Marks and this man comes up to me and tells me I’m beautiful. Blah blah, I say thanks and turn back to the street. I’m wearing my headphones but I can tell he’s still talking. I take one ear piece out to hear better. In retrospect, I should have just kept the headphone in and continued to ignore him. He repeats what he said and I make the fatal error of asking him what did he just say because I can’t believe he just said what I thought he did. But sure enough he really didsay “I would love to eat your p*ssy out.”
Whaaaaaaaaaaaaat the hell?! Seriously? When did this become the hot pick up line?
So I’m stuck at the longest light ever and this dude continues to talk about my no-no area, about how pretty it is, about how he’d have me limping in the morning and continuing to tell me that he’d eat it up, because apparently, that is the ultimate compliment he can pay.
I really wish I could have snapped back into reality and say all the things I wanted to say. I wish I would have told him that my very pretty pink petal is definately out of his league and he needs to take all this wack game somewhere else. Alas, all I could muster up is “Wow, that is crazy inappropriate” and continue my prayer to stop light gods that that light would finally turn red so I could run away.
The light finally turns red, I literally run across the street. All the while, this guy is now yelling about how beautiful my vagina is. *sigh*
While holla back has been trying to fight street harassment for years, the reality is that legislation is not going to stop it. Other easy answers, such as telling parents to raise their sons better, or telling women to not engage these men so they aren’t confused into thinking this constant harassment is a compliment that makes women feel good, are also not the ultimate solution. In fact, I’m not really sure what is the answer.
What I do know is that next man that decides he’s going to disrespect and humiliate me like that will get a hell of a lot more than “wow, that is crazy inappropriate.”
I’ve been reading The Power (follow up The Secret), which is all about love and the laws of attraction. Basically, what you give out to the world is what you get back. Give love, get love. Very simple, in theory. Oprah’s favorite things episode came on Friday, I just got around to watching it this morning. The way I was hollering, you would have thought that I was actually getting the gifts. Oprah makes me think of The Power. Oprah has a hit show that people would watch whether she gave away tons of gifts every year or now. Hell, if she gave her audience one gift on the show people would still go crazy. She gives because she wants to, and I believe when she gives and she gets back. This makes me happy.
Of the 25 gifts or so, my favs were:
If you know me, you know I LOVE the Container Store. Almost too much. So when Oprah gave away this Elfa Closet system I just about lost it. My roommate was dying.
I love that Oprah gave a way to give back. Kiva allows you to donate money to fund loans for small businesses around the world. This is pretty sweet also because Groupon (which I just recently came to love) will add $10 to your donation.
These sneakers look soo comfy. I totally want. I will get them, and then I will start running again. (back to #operationfuturemilf).
Of course the diamond watch and cruise are dope too.
Part 2 of Oprah’s Favorite things airs today. I cannot wait.