Its been three weeks. I am still in my bubble of self preservation. Facebook is something I can only take in small doses. There is talk of Russia influencing our election (no fucking DUH), Jill Stein has raised enough money to initiate a recount of the election, and the President Elect is still a giant man baby who tweets temper tantrums in the early hours of the morning. His chosen administration scares the hell out of me. And during all of this my President who will make me cry when he leaves office in January is disappointingly not taking action regarding the Dakota Access Pipeline. Even so, I know it is time to step out of the bubble and focus on what is important and what I can control.
Last week during my kids’ Thanksgiving break I cleared my head and wrote down what is important to me:
⦁ To be a good parent and wife
⦁ To do instead of just say
⦁ Never stop learning
⦁ A clean house (sense of control in a world of chaos)
The first and last I am always working on. The older I get the more I love to do the third. I lead a pretty sheltered life. I have had my share of struggles but this past month has made me realize how good I have it. And when I start to feel sad, white guilt follows. In order for that to go away (or at least subside), I must read, share, and do what I can to help those who will be most affected by this upcoming administration. I have mentioned before the organizations Planned Parenthood, The Trevor Project, and Girls Write Now. Christmas donations are being sent but I have been also reading and researching. I found this article and it has been helpful. It made me realize as an avid reader I only read books by Caucasian women and men. I read Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates earlier this year. It had a profound effect on me. It felt like Coates picked my mini self up and put me into his daily life and what he has to face as a black American male. It left me with my eyes open, slightly ashamed, and wanting to know more. I vow in the upcoming year and going forward to read more books that take me out of my white washed world.
Doing instead of saying is an obstacle in my life that is controlled by fear and it has everything to do with not wanting to fail, as cliched as it sounds. But the more I write, the less I care if it is good or not. I sound like a broken record but these are reminders that I need at least once a day. Writing is more important than ever to me.
I don’t think the world is going to end with the new President (as much as my anxiety wants me to believe that). But I know these next four years are going to be hard. Being strong for my family, taking it one day at a time, and using education and writing as my shield will (hopefully) get us through it.
I am slowly getting it together after last week. I am still angry and motivated. And since my family and I can’t run away to a deserted tropical island for the next four years, I needed to make a list of things that will help me get through it.
President Obama and babies: There is an actual Tumblr page dedicated to the cuteness that is our current President (PLEASE DON’T GO) with babies. These pictures vault me back and forth between being so happy and terrified that he will only be our President for a couple more months. Either way, they make me smile.
Krispy Kreme Doughnuts: We just got one by my house and I couldn’t be HAPPIER. Freshly made, freaking adorable cups for sale, and the doughnut conveyor belt:
My Voice: Last week had such a profound effect on me that I have ran out of fucks to give. I feel the way I feel and I am done apologizing and making myself feel bad about it. As a result I can’t stop writing. And my inner voice that is always telling me my writing sucks has lost its power. It has been therapeutic when I couldn’t find the light.
Dystopian Novels: Out of all the young adult novels that I have read, dystopian is the genre that I have read the most. The Handmaid’s Tale, The Hunger Games, the Divergent series, and Life As We Knew It series have all prepared me for when this country goes to hell in a handbasket. I now finally understand Doomsday Preppers.
Samantha Bee, John Oliver, and even Bill Maher: Samantha Bee and John Oliver started on The Daily Show before they were given their own shows on TBS and HBO. Every one of their shows is informative, funny, and passionate. They learned from the best (Jon Stewart) and they are doing him proud. Bill Maher’s weekly round table show can be hit or miss but always guarantee guests with different point of views. They will have no problem taking this new administration to task and giving me hope.
Hamilton, Hamilton Mixtape, and Lin-Manuel Miranda: I have never met Lin-Manuel Miranda but he is seriously one of my favorite people on the planet (family aside). He exploded onto the scene with his Broadway show Hamilton last year and since then he has written music for The Force Awakens and the upcoming Disney animated feature Moana. He is also set to star opposite Emily Blunt in a sequel to Mary Poppins. His Twitter and Facebook presence is heartfelt, humble, and funny. Hamilton‘s cast recording has been on repeat in my car since January and with the release of Hamilton Mixtape, my kids and I have fallen in love with the songs all over again with popular artists such as Sia and Kelly Clarkson covering them.
I hope you have a go to list of things that make you happy and you get to enjoy them over the weekend. Thanks for reading!
Its been nine days and I am still angry. I keep hoping this is a lucid dream due to my medication and that I am going to wake up any minute. I feel like I’m walking underwater, every step making it harder to breathe. I have subscribed to my local Democratic party, Planned Parenthood, The Trevor Project, and Girls Write Now. For Christmas I will be making donations to these organizations. I wear my safety pin to show my support. Social media such as Twitter (had to take Facebook off my phone to avoid getting myself into arguments) helped until it didn’t. They are all telling me I have white privilege and white guilt. And they’re right.
Since 11/8 I don’t worry about my family and I being targeted because of the color of our skin, our religious beliefs, or sexual orientation. But I know others do. Yes, I am a woman. Yes, I have a daughter. But this is where Angry Kitty comes in handy. I fear for the man who tries to sexually assault me. And because of this shit show of an election and its results, I have had to tell Scarlet that her body is her body. Nobody else’s. I will teach her to protect it, take pride in it, and not fucking apologize for it. I will be damned if a misogynistic a-hole of a man who has been elected President will determine her worth.
I started wearing my safety pin Monday. And not even a couple of hours later I read this article. I was furious and I felt stupid. Once I calmed down I understood a little bit of the author’s point of view. These safety pins don’t solve the problem. Yes, they show unity of people against racist intentions. But unless we stand up and do the work, the safety pins don’t mean anything. I will be volunteering with the above mentioned organizations. I will never “normalize” this upcoming President and his staff. At minimum the man has no experience (for other reasons as to why he shouldn’t be President-DO YOUR DAMN RESEARCH). I won’t do this for just a couple of months. I will get my kids involved. They need to believe they can make a difference. Now that we have been handed this reality we need to fight for what we know is right. As a white woman, I can’t pretend to understand the reality of Muslims, Mexican Americans, or other minorities. But I can listen. And I can read.
Right now I am not proud to be an American. But I also know I underestimated Donald Trump and his ability to get elected. I acknowledge my white privilege and guilt. I will not apologize for it because that doesn’t do a damn thing anyways. 2018 is not far away and there is a lot of work to be done, even in the blue state of California. I will draw inspiration from this message from our leaders:
Wednesday, November 09, 2016
SACRAMENTO – California Senate President pro Tempore Kevin de León (D-Los Angeles) and California Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon (D-Paramount) released the following statement on the results of the President election:
Today, we woke up feeling like strangers in a foreign land, because yesterday Americans expressed their views on a pluralistic and democratic society that are clearly inconsistent with the values of the people of California.
We have never been more proud to be Californians.
By a margin in the millions, Californians overwhelmingly rejected politics fueled by resentment, bigotry, and misogyny.
The largest state of the union and the strongest driver of our nation’s economy has shown it has its surest conscience as well.
California is – and must always be – a refuge of justice and opportunity for people of all walks, talks, ages and aspirations – regardless of how you look, where you live, what language you speak, or who you love.
California has long set an example for other states to follow. And California will defend its people and our progress. We are not going to allow one election to reverse generations of progress at the height of our historic diversity, scientific advancement, economic output, and sense of global responsibility.
We will be reaching out to federal, state and local officials to evaluate how a Trump Presidency will potentially impact federal funding of ongoing state programs, job-creating investments reliant on foreign trade, and federal enforcement of laws affecting the rights of people living in our state. We will maximize the time during the presidential transition to defend our accomplishments using every tool at our disposal.
While Donald Trump may have won the presidency, he hasn’t changed our values. America is greater than any one man or party. We will not be dragged back into the past. We will lead the resistance to any effort that would shred our social fabric or our Constitution.
California was not a part of this nation when its history began, but we are clearly now the keeper of its future.
The girl hears her mom calling for her to get up. She pulls the pink comforter further over her head. She doesn’t want to go to school. After two more times her mom gives up and finally tells her to get up and make her bed as she has missed breakfast. She takes her time making her bed, stopping halfway to look at her happy board. It hangs on the wall behind her television to the right, next to her bedroom door. It has pictures of her with friends and post its with what makes her happy. The girl jumps when she sees her mom standing in the doorway.
Her brother annoys the girl on the way to school, singing to the radio and swinging his arms. When he accidentally smacks her she gives him a death stare and says, “Do it again and I will hit you with my book.” Her mom tries to touch her hand from the front seat, asking her if she is okay. She yanks her hand back and snaps, “Yes!”
The girl sits in class, listening to her teacher. When the teacher asks a question, the girl looks down. During recess a boy comes up behind her and pinches her shoulder. When the girl whirls around, the boy and his friends laugh. At lunch the girl is sitting with friends. One of them says with a smirk, “At least there won’t be any terrorists coming over here now.” Girl chews her food and doesn’t answer.
She hands her backpack to her mom without a word and gets in the car at pickup. She doesn’t say thank you when her mom changes the radio to her favorite station. She stares out the window and looks out for the “Hillary for Prison” car stickers. It’s not hard to find them. Those drivers are honking their horns in elation. Pickup trucks with large flags (American and one that looks like American but are black, white, and blue) that are waving proudly are also honking.
The girl goes straight to her room when they finally arrive home. She sits at the edge of her bed, staring at her high tops. She doesn’t look up when her mom comes in, gives her a hug, and tells her everything will be okay. The girl doesn’t believe her.
The girl can hear her mom in the kitchen getting breakfast ready. She gets up and makes her bed, wanting to surprise her. Her mom smiles when she walks in the kitchen and gives her a good morning hug. She sits down to eat a bowl of cereal and drink her juice. Her brother won’t stop making weird noises but she ignores him.
The girl grins as she puts the new bright pink “future president” notebook in her backpack, excited to use it at school. She sings the words to Hamilton loudly on the way to school. She wiggles in her chair when the teacher announces it is time for math. The girl loves math. She raises her hand to answer questions when her teacher discusses the book they are reading. She plays tag with her friends during recess.
When her mom comes to pick her up she tells her about her day. When she is done she sings to the Xmas music that is playing. At home she gets her homework done so she can play Minecraft. She grumbles under her breath when her mom tells her she is done playing her IPad and that they are having chicken, rice and vegetables for dinner. She asks if she can help make dinner anyways.
Once she is ready for bed the girl opens her book to read. At 8 pm her dad gives her a kiss, tells her good night and that he loves her, and turns off her bedroom light. She says good night and I love you. Five minutes later she turns on the light again, peeks out her door to make sure her parents aren’t around, and climbs back into bed. She reopens her book and falls asleep reading.
Summer movie blockbuster season is long gone and we are coming to the end of the drought of good movies known as September and October (I was excited for Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children but it failed to live up to my movie-snob-and-I’ve-read-the-book-expectations). In the coming weeks is that time of year when the studios start to release films that they want to be considered for the Academy Awards. As a movie nerd to the nth degree, I rub my hands together in gleeful anticipation. The following three trailers are for movies that have a lot of buzz around them.
First up is La La Land. It opens with Ryan Gosling singing, playing piano, and whistling (be still my heart!). Jewel tones saturate the sky, Emma Stone’s wardrobe, and Los Angeles landmarks like Griffith Observatory, the ocean, and movie lots. They are not shy about showing us that this is a romantic musical about dreamers. Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone look longingly into the distance and smile broadly at each other in dark crowded rooms. The movie premiered at the Toronto Film Festival where it won the audience award for best feature film.
Denis Villaneuve’s Arrival is a sci-fi flick that stars Amy Adams and Jeremy Renner. Over the past few years I have found myself favoring science fiction and fantasy movies over other kinds. Star Wars is where I entered the nerd kingdom and E.T. and Close Encounters of the Third Kind assured me that I belonged there. In college I did a report on Orson Welles’ reading of War of the Worlds over the radio, leading listeners to believe that it was actually happening (is it only me that thinks that would be AWESOME??). The story is about an alien invasion of Earth. The plot is well covered territory in Hollywood. But this one stands out. The trailer opens with Amy Adams playing with her daughter and is overlapped by air horn sirens and groups of people moving with urgency. Adams is recruited by the military in the middle of the night because she is a top translator. She risks herself to communicate with the aliens. The trailer doesn’t give away much (thank goodness) but sets up the story to be a fine line between peace and war with the visitors. The atmosphere feels subtle but sinister. The Rotten Tomatoes rating is 100%, which is just daring you not to see it.
Loving opens with a symbol of love-Richard Loving (Joel Edgerton) promising his wife Mildred (Ruth Negga) that he will build her a home. This is the story of the Lovings, an interracial married couple sent to prison in 1958. It is directed by Jeff Nichols, one of my favorite directors (Take Shelter with Michael Shannon and Jessica Chastain is a must see). There is nothing complicated about the story. Love is the motivation. It makes you fear for this couple who are being punished for falling in love. But their fight and Mildred’s faith (“We may lose the small battles but win the big war”) brought me to tears. I can’t think of anything else to say without sounding corny so just go watch it.
I hope you have a go to list of things that make you happy and you get to enjoy them over the weekend. Thanks for reading!
I recently had lunch with a good friend. She mentioned that she had started writing and had gotten stuck with dialogue. Then she told me how she’s been purging her house to avoid writing (Procrastination is the devil’s playground for writers, FYI). We talked about how good ideas seem like crap after only 24 hours and how wanting to have an organized writing process doesn’t have to impede the creative flow. Talks with this friend always makes me realize how lucky I am to have her in my life not just because we get along so well but because she pushes me to be a better person and tells it like it is. And she did buy me this when I graduated from college:
I now feel ready to become the writer I can be. I am at a point with my writing where I have lots of ideas and the words are flowing. The problem is my process and the voice in my head screaming, “Your story has to be relatable! Your story has to be unique! And most of all, your story has to not suck!” I’ve realized as a person who has struggled with low self esteem her whole life, I am going to have a hell of a time finishing a story if I am constantly second guessing myself. I’m not remotely close to feeling like a good writer. So my other alternative is to accept that it will mostly suck for a while and hopefully there will be moments of good. Try to enjoy writing without the nitpicking. I know this is a common problem among writers, which makes me feel less alone.
I have found that social media, as time sucking as it can be, also inspires me. Many of my favorite authors document their process there. Ransom Riggs (Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children), Tahereh Mafi (Shatter Me), Marie Lu (Legend), Leigh Bardugo (Shadow and Bone), and others show their support for one another by keeping in contact through Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. These authors have all had their journey of finding their voice. Even J.K. Rowling, Queen/Goddess/High Priestess of writing has days where she doesn’t want to write. And then there is Lin-Manuel Miranda, author of the Broadway hit Hamilton. He tweets throughout the day with positive messages, interacting with his fans and friends, always grateful. I look up to all these writers and hope to be like them one day soon.
Over the past month I have written about my psychological state and what I have discovered. With that still ongoing, I want to use it for my stories. I have found the reasoning behind my behavior and what motivates me. That was a lesson in how I will write characters. I will embrace what I have been through and who I am and use it.
I feel like my blog is a place where I can just write what I am thinking and work out stuff. I hope it becomes a place where readers can relate. Writing is a passion that won’t let me go. I always feel better when I finish writing something.
“To gain your own voice, you have to forget about having it heard”-Allen Ginsberg