Friday, February 25, 2011

Hisashiburi desu ne?

Wow, it's been forever since I last posted. I'm just no good at this whole "chronicling my life" thing. I really do need to get better, though. I have far too much in my head, and I think my life would be better if I got some of it out. Made room. Like a Pensieve.
It's not as though I don't have thoughts on the world around me, I think it's more fear of sharing them. I always doubt myself. I doubt my intelligence, my personality, my looks, and the list goes on.
Somehow, I feel like I'm a fraud - like everyone else thinks I'm this good and smart person, but I'm not. So I'm constantly trying to prove myself and putting so much pressure on myself to perform. Which really doesn't help with the getting over the anxiety. How do you deal with performance anxiety when very nearly everything you do feels like a performance? I'm 25 years old, and I'm still going through all of the same problems I had as a teenager when it comes to my self-esteem. But it isn't as though I feel like this everyday, or rather, I'm not always aware of it. It's always there, though. Lurking. Making me feel like I don't really belong anywhere. Keeping me from making new connections, and keeping up with old ones.
Except for one.
I talk to my ex nearly everyday. I think it's because I really have nothing else left to prove to him, or to myself in regards to him. I mean, the relationships already over and I'm not trying to keep him, so there's far less pressure. I hate to think of what that makes me. I feel rather pathetic about it though. Is this really where my life is right now? Talking to my ex because it's easy and I'm afraid to try to reconnect with old friends and to make new friends?
This feeling is made even worse by the fact that he's not clinging to me in the same way. He's living his life feeling unafraid of being himself because he's comfortable in his own skin. He never did need me, and never will. Yet, here I am, looking forward to talking to him so I feel just a little bit less lonely, even if it's slowly adding to the crushing weight of feeling like there's something wrong with me.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

On Hair

As I sit here typing this post, my hair is pulled up in a perky side ponytail. Straight.

I straightened it, or rather, my mother did for a job interview. I know, I know, that's a terrible thing to do, but we were all curious about my hair. Besides, I was getting a free hairstyle out of it.
I'd been agonizing over what to do with it for a while, but still feeling too lazy to really do anything about it.
So, I washed my hair, applied (way too much) coconut oil, and blow dried it so that my mother could flatiron it. I said that we were curious earlier because by that time, it had been months since I'd flatironed my hair. I saw no need for it, and was perfectly happy wearing it in a professional looking bun for interviews. Still, I think we all wanted to see what my hair would look like straight.
It reaches my shoulders curly, so it should come as no surprise when I say that it literally takes me upwards of two hours to straighten it myself.

When it was all done, my head felt naked, and the feel of the hair falling down my back was alien. It was heavy and light all at once. It felt a little less like me, and more like someone else Something else.
I love my hair no matter what it's doing, but it always takes some getting used to whenever I change styles. The straightness just adds a bit more novelty to it.

I love my hair, but it just feels like I'm wearing a veil when I'm wearing it straight and it blows in the wind. It draws just as much attention as one too.
People look at me differently when I wear my veil. They respond to me differently, and I to them. I've been told once before that I look younger with my hair straightened, but really, I think the perceived youth is really that of innocence and concealment.
My veil conceals my age, my self awareness.
My eyes look that much more innocent - unknowing - when they are seen from behind my veil. When I place it over my head, the knowledge of what I am to everyone else is hidden away. People look at me, and they see a pretty black girl when I've got it on. When it's off, my eyes are too keen. They are that of a woman who knows that you're making assumptions about her. They are the eyes of a woman who hears the self loathing and hint of judgment when you tell me that my hair is so pretty as though it is some sort of rarity. As though you cannot conceive of something so wonderful growing from my head, much less your own.
Without my veil to cover it up, people and black women especially can no longer pretend that the veil isn't the way it's supposed to be. Without it, they must tell themselves new lies.

"My hair could never do that."

"You must have good hair."

Whenever I have my hair straight, I leave it up for about two weeks simply because it would be a waste to wash all that work away after only a few days.
But in all honesty, it weighs me down after only one.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

How about some homophobia to go with your morning coffee?

I was listening to one of the "Black" radio stations in the cab this morning, and they were doing a segment where a listener writes in about some problem and the hosts call upon the listening public to weigh in.
Today's "problem" involved a woman engaged to be married who had some concerns about her fiance. Apparently her fiance had confessed to sexually experimenting with a man in the past, and now she's worried about marrying him.
I'm going to call this woman "Weak Love" because if this shakes her when she's been with this man long enough to know up until his revelation that she wanted to spend the rest of her life with him, then her love for him is a weak one.

I'm sure you can just guess how the discussion went after that. Lots of laughing and joking abot the man's sexuality, and the hosts saying in varying ways how that's just "not right."

They then read a text from a listener who said something to the effect of "there is something in a man's anus that causes pleasure just like a woman would receive in her vagina. Why should it matter what this man did in the past just because society has a problem with it? Don't let society tell you how to live your life!"
While a very simple statement, it goes right to the point. Why should it matter whether he had sex with a man in the past? It's really not all that complicated, and perhaps that's why that one listener's statement was so fitting. The past is in the past, and if he loves you, he loves you. Why should his having sex with a man matter any more than it would if he admitted to having slept with other women?

An then all of my hopes for a potentially progressive discussion were crushed.

Female host: "That's probably the person at the toy party who goes for the beads!"



And then from there it only got worse as they were encouraged by callers backing them up and providing their own "insight."

One woman outright said that Weak Love should just leave him because his having sex with a man in the past means that he must want men, and that it's wrong of him to be with her because a "real man wouldn't sleep with no other man," and that "a real man wants a woman."

Even though I know that people say those sorts of things all the time (I even live with some of the same sort), it's still just mind-blowing every time I hear it.
Just the other night I was at my cousin's house, and he was talking about someone walking "gay." I gave the politest "wtf" that I could considering my aunt and uncle were there as well and I can't debate these sorts of things with them like I do with my mother, and made no effort to hide my distaste every time something like that was said.

I suppose what bugs me the most is how it everyone likes to play oppressor. I won't get into any discussions of "whiteness" and privilege in this post, but the same attitude exists even within minority groups. One would think that with all of the oppression suffered at the hands of the white patriarchy, that women and minorities would at least recognize that they are only emulating the very behavior that causes them to suffer.
While I don't personally have an opinion on whether or not homosexuality is morally right, and I don't think that I should as what someone chooses to do with his or her own body is not my business, I do believe in equality. I believe that no one has the right to infringe upon another person's independence, where they are causing no harm.

If God is about love as evidenced through the teachings of Jesus Christ, then who am I to send malice toward another person just because of how they choose to live.* If God loves us all, then how dare anyone hate another? I think that hatred is a much greater wrong than homosexuality could ever be.

Note: I also don't have an opinion as to whether sexual orientation is a choice. The only "choice" that definitely exists is in what sort of lifestyle one chooses to lead. A person can be flamboyant, closeted, butch, effeminate, or can present any other face to the world. The choice of whether you'll be true to yourself is the only one that I can say for sure that I believe in.

Friday, October 2, 2009


This whole Polanski business has really been bothering me. Aside from people's protests over the extradition, the thing that's been bothering me the most is how the crime is being reported.

He raped her.

There is a distinct difference.
In saying he had sex with her, it is implied that not only was it consensual, but that he was a passive participant. Sex is the coming together of two willing individuals capable of engaging in that act. This is not simply a case of statutory rape in which she willingly participated despite not being able to legally give her consent. He drugged her and pushed on despite her protests.
He did not participate in the act with her, he acted on her.
That is the difference between having sex and raping someone.
Sex is something you participate in, rape is something you do.

Reporting the crime as "having" sex downplays his active role in drugging her and taking advantage of her body which he felt entitled to. Wording it so passively seeks to remove that responsibility, and is highly indicative of how our culture views sexual conduct.

The responsibility is shifted to the woman for the acts of the man or attacker. So, instead of a man raping a woman whose body he felt entitled to take control of, he instead "has sex" with a woman who really should have known better than to:
Have that drink
Let someone slip something in her drink
Go out on a date
Wear those clothes
Walk alone
Leave her job at night
Leave her home at night
Return home after dark
Ride the subway
Wear makeup
Say no
Be afraid to say no
Exist in a world that she has no rights to

The list of responsibilities the woman has over the man's "nature" goes on and on. It's not in a man's nature to rape anyone. It's not about sex drive or enticing clothing. Rape is about power, not attraction. When you cross the line from wanting to have sex with someone to wanting to act on them, it is no longer sexual. It is about dominance. How dare she say no? I'll take it from her.

And then we have victim blaming and slut shaming all around as though it was the victim's fault that the (generally) man decided that he had the right to act upon her.

I don't mention men as the victim in that rant above because our culture doesn't even see them as victims due to the same mentality that holds the woman responsible his sexual conduct. Our culture sees men as un-rapeable. This holds true especially if the assailant is a woman because after all, what man doesn't want "sex"?
Whereas, when the assailant is male and in the context of prison rape, it's a joke.
Strangely though, that's hardly ever referred to as "sex."
Perhaps it's because that act is seen as damaging to so-called "manhood" whereas rape against a woman is affirmation of her "womanhood." Women are just there for "sex" right? And men just "have" it, right?

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

On Love

Much of this likely comes from the recent breakup, but I felt this way long before we ever got together.

What is love good for, really?
Sure, it can make life more bearable, but it certainly doesn't bring happiness or make the pain of living go away.
Love doesn't pay the bills. It doesn't mend things that are broken, and no matter how real or true it is, it certainly doesn't keep people together.

Or perhaps it takes a certain amount of love to make things right. Having witnessed my parents' divorce, and having had my heart broken by someone who says that he still loves me, I wonder if there just isn't enough love in the world.

That could be a rather simplistic way of looking at things, but it's hard to believe that love can be real or true and hurt someone so much when it's supposed to bring happiness.
It doesn't make much sense at all.

So, if love can be real or true, why doesn't it matter as much? People hurt, hurt one another, and do insane things in the name of love. They live and die for it.

Perhaps it's my broken heart speaking, but I kind of don't see the point anymore.

Or perhaps the love I've known and witnessed really was neither true nor real.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

I think I may have found something to help me get through the coming days...

Yes, I think this will improve my mood nicely. :)

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

And now it's time to move on, people

I understand that Michael Jackson was an international superstar and pop icon who inspired people the world over. His music brought light into people's dark worlds, saved lives, and paved the way for artists of color and otherwise.
However, it's time to let the man rest in peace. He's gone, and his pain is over. There's no need to dissect every one of his actions, or speculate endlessly about the whys and the hows.
Let him go

There are other things to talk about, and it's bordering on escpism the way people are clinging to the stories. Life is majorly sucking for people everywhere, why don't we pay attention to their plights for a bit, rather than focusing on this story which we can swallow a bit more easily?

For one, there's Iran. Yeah, the country's still there and the conflict is still going on.


Large scale ethnic unrest. Shouldn't we be having discussions about ethnic differences, and how those clashes hurt all?

Perhaps if we want to keep discussing MJ's legacy, we should talk about one of the major points in his life, of bringing different people together. Perhaps we should talk about cultural and ethnic unity, and how even in the most advanced societies, people are still largely seperated.

Sorry for the semi-rant. There are so many things going on in the world right now, and everyone's focusing on talking about how much they'll miss MJ, all the while ignoring some of the biggest parts about him.
The man loved the world, and wanted to make it a better place.

Why don't we talk about that?