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Use These Tools For Good Please

21 Jan

This weekend I had a surprise visit from one of my most beloved long distance friendships.

And while we were brunching he said one of my favorite things.

One of the things I hate about being a black man writing about race is knowing that somewhere out there is some white dude who is going to take my opinion (as of this moment, knowing only what I know and feel as of today) and use it as gospel with which to abuse some other black person who happens to have a different opinion from me.

And if he doesn’t exist yet then just by writing it I’ll have popped him into existence.

I’m paraphrasing.

But you get the gist.

By being a part of this group I get to have an opinion based on my experiences. But that doesn’t mean that you get to take that opinion and run with it, ‘splaining it to everyone who might disagree with me. And worst, using it to abuse them and call them wrong, invalidate their experiences. You get to think a little deeper about the topic. You get to fold it into yourself and make more considerate decisions.

He meta’s even my metas.

Raise a glass to freedom.

I Gots An Agenda

30 Nov

I caught up with an old friend recently and he asked about my love life.

Currently nonexistent.

Oh, I’m sorry.

Eh, I’m not. What would I do with a love life if I had one right now? Leave it at home with a dogsitter? I’m out of town, I’m throwing myself into a new position and I’m sick.

I’m not sorry that I’m not neglecting anyone at the moment.

I’m not sorry that I’m focusing completely on me and my life for the foreseeable future. It’s starting to feel like a real choice I’ve made for me.

I really like that.

How Bad Could It Be?

19 Oct

What would you do if you were given an amazing opportunity; to work for a great company you’ve admired from the sidelines for years. To make money at a clip you’ve never seen before, to work with the best in your field.

But you had to give up a piece of yourself to do it.

You had to commit to living in a city that won’t allow you to live your “lifestyle,” or conform to a more “first family” dress code, or stop cursing.

Would you do it?

Do you think you could take it?

Or do you think it would only be a matter of time until you snapped?

You might as well at least try, right? Best case scenario you realize that it’s not as bad as you expected. It turns out that you have deep reserves of calm you never knew of before. You find it easier to bond with your loved ones now that you’re keeping more things to yourself in your public time.

And who knows, maybe you can do it. Maybe you’ll be great. And you’ll be so busy that you won’t even miss having a flaming red hair mohawk. It was so much upkeep anyway. Didn’t you need to grow up and give it up sometime? This was just a well timed coincidence.

And worst case scenario? You find another job and walk directly to the salon, do not pass go, do not collect $200.

How bad could it be?

Laughter Is The Best Anything

12 Oct

One of the most amazing blessings* in my life is what I do for work. Not because I’m wildly successful at it or respected for it or even particularly good at it. Because it allows me to do the thing I like best. See people and what they’ll do. What a writer thinks they’ll do when in a specific and unlikely situation. What they’ll do when the director has been gone for a few months and they think they can get away with some edits. What they’ll do when faced with something horrible. What they’ll do when they think something is funny. What they’ll do when they are amused that someone else finds something funny. People reacting to each other is my favorite form of entertainment, bar none.

A few months ago I worked with a lovely man who posed to me a question: How badly do you want to go to the moon?

Do I have to pay a lot of money to do it?

How long will I be there for?

What can I bring?

Can I talk to my family on the phone? Am I in an airplane seat for more than 20 hours straight?

Apparently a series of questions was the wrong answer.

Your answer should be “Yes, I’d do anything!”

Eh, Honestly I’d rather travel the globe. And when we asked the rest of our co-workers, most of the men wanted to go to the moon and look down on humanity from there. And most of the women wanted to travel the world for a few months to a year.

I don’t have any insight as to why this was split along gender lines.** I just know I want to see all the people. I want to see them with each other. Up close and personal.

There’s something so beautiful about watching a crowd react, at once, and separately. To a shared stimulus and to each other. Have you ever watched a crowd watching a funny scene? It’s amazing.

A joke is made and while all people can laugh maybe only a few are open enough to vocalize their glee at that

moment, usually snort-laughers. But then there are the few that are just a half a beat behind, the ones that are instantly given permission to laugh because of the first wave. The next wave will be the people who are laughing at the original laughers. And then there’s the third wave of people who are laughing because they’re noticing this trend. Or noticing the performers reaction to being laughed at. And pretty soon it’s a microcosm, an ecosystem, a living breathing thing all on it’s own; like the economy or riding a bicycle, all it needs to not fall is to keep going.

Everyone has a moment when they permit themselves to laugh and everyone has a distinct laugh. Everyone has a soul that’s unique and everyone has an expression that’s unique.

And you can tell in a crowd if it’s full of people who will allow themselves to be cheered or if it’s full of people who will insist on lowering the room. There are so many things you can tell about people by putting them in a room together and giving them a reason to laugh.

There’s no better, no more spontaneous performance in the world. No better way to see group individuality.

——————-

*Note to self, find agnostic word for ‘blessing’.

**I’ll happily entertain theories in comments!

The Useless XKCD Survey Was The Most Fun I’ve Had This Week

7 Sep

This has been a very long and very stressful week, or two weeks plus, actually. And it’s not over yet.

I’m mentally, physically and emotionally drained and I have to get up tomorrow morning and do it all again. I just… ah.

And this is the best thing that’s happened to me.

No right or wrong answers, no one to impress, just a fun little brain game.

Bless you XKCD.

Believe Women

13 Feb

I just literally gasped and teared up during a YouTube video about female ejaculation.

The question isn’t if female ejaculation is real. It’s why you don’t trust women to tell you.

I don’t have a personal investment in female ejaculation. I can’t do it so what do I care? But I do have a personal investment in people trusting women to describe and report their experiences.

I’m tired of people not believing women who report rapes. I’m tired of doctors not believing women’s own accounts of their symptoms and timelines.

Believe women. Believe them in all things.

Yes, a tiny number of people lie about being raped, but almost all rapists lie about raping.

Believing Victims Is the First Step to Stopping Rape – NYTimes.com

 

Friday Against Anti-Feminism

8 Aug

The other day I got in a bit of a fight on facebook (I know, why do I do this to myself?) about Women Against Feminism.

And truly, I don’t want to spend a lot of time talking about this because doing so makes me sad and angry. But a theme I keep finding on their tumblr is “I don’t need feminism because there is no rape culture,” or “men respect me.”

Men respect you?

And there are women who retweeted that comment. And you want to tell me there is no rape culture?