Dance card full up

Time, as Steve Miller would say, keeps on tripping tripping tripping into the future. WHY AM I QUOTING STEVE MILLER IDK THE APOCALYPSE IS HAPPENING THIS IS ONE OF THE SIGNS. If I start saying Jimmy Buffet things, please proceed to your panic rooms and don’t come out.

All I am trying to say is, honestly, I do not know how my days can get any thicker. I am packing the everloving shit into each and every waking minute, y’all. I feel like there will be a breaking point, but so far the seams are holding. The density of days is contributing to this feeling where time is simultaneously moving slow over the longer term (only one month since inauguration day? HOW?) yet at lightning speed within each day. Can we just take a moment and congratulate ourselves on filling the days to the gills, please? How are we making time expand to fit it all in? To keep up with work, and organizing, and friends, and fam, and community, and projects, and you know, desperately doing all the things to stop that fire hose of garbage spewing at us ? I know that whatever I am doing is never really enough, but let’s not focus on that for just one second and focus on the fact that I am LEGIT HUSTLING, and if you are too, GO YOU. If this shit goes down the crapper, it’s not because we didn’t work our fucking asses off, right? At least we can say that.

I just realized that the lyric is time keeps on slipping slipping slipping into the future. I think? Dipping? Flipping? Quipping? OH PLEASE I WANT IT TO BE QUIPPING. This makes it more appropes to me.

Anyway, just checking in to say WHEW, and OMG, and CAN YOU BELIEVE THESE TIMES, and, especially to you if you are hustling your hardest: WE GOT THIS OR MAYBE WE DON’T BUT WE ARE DOING ARE GODDAMNEDEST SO YAY YOU.

Let’s go, quipping into the fyootch, friendlings.


Self care

Can we talk about self care for a quick sec?

If you were to ask me: should we take care of ourselves? My answer would be, unequivocally, yes. Eat healthy, get some shut-eye, breathe. I was brought up by parents who worked hard AF and never complained a day in their life about it, and so I inherited some, well, let’s just call them (non-judgmentally, please) tendencies in that vein. But I also received from them the beautiful gift of living with a lot of joy and unapologetically loving myself, which means that I think taking care of The Me That Is On This Adventure (to quoth Martin Blank) is important. Not a bad combination, really.

Given this, why do I find some talk about self care helpful, and other talk about it low key annoying? For a long time, I did not know. I just thought maybe it was the fact that the activities that people talked about when they talked about self care were hella corny. Wine, bubble baths, walks on the beach, pampering. Who am I, Mariah Carey? I know, unfair, but I’m trying to say that when I listened to a lot of the convo about self care, I just was not vibing with it.

Recently, there was an article that was going around the bookfaces and other social medias that was talking about self care during these trying times, as people embrace activism with new or renewed fervor. I figured I would give it a read since, although I have been at the activism table for a while, if there was ever a time to make sure we are all healthy in our soul guts, it would be now. Shit be stressful as we near End Times, you may be surprised to hear. Thus, I re-opened my mind to the self care chitty chat.

Y’all, I still can’t get down widdit! Ugh! It kind of made me feel like a ninny all over again. And to be clear, I am not saying it’s not for you. Like, I don’t find it wrong. I just feel like it’s a conversation that alienates me. That’s the bad news. The good news is, I figured out what my deal is. I now know why come this convo isn’t my convo! Wanna hear about it? Allow me this navel gaze. Perhaps we have the same navel and this will help you too. (Sorry, look at me, always Making It Weird).

One premise of the dominant self care talk is that it’s about getting away from the things that are causing you stress. Unplug, tune out, netflix and chill. Basically, the theme is, think about something else. Give the old noggin a break. And listen, I am not going to sit up in here telling you that I don’t like to Hulu the shit out of an eve, because you have met me and you will object. But, the things that are usually stressing me out, as a woman of color in a public servant type career, living in these United States at any time but especially these times, are: well, being a woman of color in a public servant type career, living in these United States at any time but especially these times. And so, fundamentally speaking, I don’t really tune out much. Like, it doesn’t seem doable most of the time, even if I wanted to. When I am Netflix and Chilling? I am not unplugged, because, hi, have you met our entertainment industry at all? Oh pick anything. Mad Max, Fury Road. I am that person sitting there, enjoying the movie, while also thinking all the thoughts about representation. I can’t stop myself. You know this about me. Remember when I got mad about Game of Thrones? And it’s there even when I am not mad. When I am watching The Good Wife, part of my brain in on constant OMG KALINDA I LOVE YOU LOOK AT YOU GETTING IN EVERYONE’S FACE WITH YOUR BROWNESS I CANNOT BELIEVE THIS IS HAPPENING ON TV LOVE LOVE LOVE. If you think this is pathological, I have exactly uno thing to say back to you: it’s the system of racism that is pathological, actually, so don’t hate the player, hate the game.

There is an argument out there that, if we don’t learn how to unplug, to fall back into some state of comfy amnesia for just a little bit of time, that the result is that eventually, the awfulness of the world will be normalized. And that anti-normalization is foundational to opposition to the awfulness. Said in a less ridiculous way: if it becomes normal, we will stop fighting it. In response to this idea, my gut wants to Randy Jackson you and say: wow, dog. Wow. Let me get this straight. Experiencing something in an unrelenting way = normalizing it = getting comfortable in it = no more fighty fight? But the thing is! You know who experiences things in an unrelenting way? Marginalized people. You know who is not comfortable in it? Samesies. You know who keeps fighting anyway? Yeah, now you’re getting it.

So, why do marginalized people keep up the fight despite the historical and current normalization of systems of oppression? Because the stakes are different. That’s all. The power relationship between marginalized people and these systems is different. So, perhaps, the self care conversation needs to be different too.

Am I saying that the conversations about self care, as I see it happening in dominant culture, are wrong? Nope. Am I saying that people should feel bad about that walk in the woods, or their yoga class, or their manicure? Nope. Am I saying that marginalized people don’t feel refreshed by these things also? Nope. OMG GIRL WHAT ARE YOU SAYING THEN MAKE A POINT. My point, quite simply, is that I wish that conversations about self care would consistently acknowledge that stakes are different for different people, and that power is always in play in the ways we take care of ourselves. Yes, I want that in every self care conversation, every time. Because if it’s not said, we perpetuate the idea that power and positionality don’t matter. Which is an act of oppressive power in and of itself.

While we are talking about positionality, let’s just go straight to the article that I mentioned earlier that was being passed around the sosh meeds, which made me balk six ways to Sunday as I was reading it. One of the things in pull quotes was “you don’t have to suffer to make a difference.” Although I understand the point that the writer was trying to make, and I agree with it in certain ways (if I can’t dance I don’t want to be part of your revolution and all that biznass), let’s think about this for a second. “You don’t have to suffer to make a difference” assumes that you are not suffering to begin with. That your suffering may be the very state that propels you to try to make a difference. Also said in the article: do not let anyone shame you for being new to activism. Again, I can see what the writer is going for, and the example used (if you didn’t protest Obama you shouldn’t be protesting that new guy is indeed dum dum talk) makes sense. But most of the “shaming” (a word I wouldn’t use in this context) that I have been around has been very real, very raw critiques from marginalized communities to newly arrived, more privileged activists, sharing how they have felt resentment over not being supported before now. These critiques are valid, and necessary, and are not about shaming. They are about honest feedback on how we can do better as we move forward. Maybe part of our self care should also be about building up our ability to not be so fragile.

So to wrap up this unplugging business. My problem was that I did not understand it, because the conversation isn’t talking to me. Y’all are talking about unplugging and I am all, where is the plug, even? This seems to me to be a fully integrated system from which there is no plug/outlet relationship. There is no off-switch type space for me to inhabit, and further, this is not something I seek, even if I could. And so when you are talking about the plug and unplugging, by all means, go for it. Just at least acknowledge who has plugs and who doesn’t.

What does all this mean for me and my own self care plan? For me (PLEASE UNDERSTAND THAT PHRASE “FOR ME” IN CASE YOU DIDN’T NOTICE IT MEANS IT IS FOR ME NOT NECESSARILY FOR YOU DO NOT GET MAD) what I need is reciprocal self care, which is a term I just made up. This style of self care has three parts.

  1. WHO’S GOT THE POWAH (please say this to the tune of the song by Snap, thank you)

My self care needs to be grounded, really overtly, in the power dynamics that are at play for me and others. This doesn’t mean that I have to live inside a mindset of deficit at all times. I hope I don’t need to remind us that residing in our current sitch means an awareness of oppression and privileges but it also means an awareness of our resilience, strength, and joy. Acknowledging power means acknowledging that power runs in many directions. Greater than the things lost to me because of intersectional racism by far is the love I feel for my own brown woman’s body/mind/heart.

2. DO YOU SEE WHAT I SEEEEEEEEEE (to the tune of Do You Hear What I Hear, Whitney Houston version only, please)

I need self care that is grounded in seeing. Much of my woc life consists of experiencing things that dominant culture either doesn’t want to acknowledge or actively gaslights, and I spend a lot of time simply demanding for those things to be seen AS THINGS. That’s why unplugging and/or “getting away” as the central idea of self care seems off to me. Not that I don’t need time to quiet my thoughts or be alone. But I can tell you this: every time there is a racialized incident, large or small, in my life, the first thing I do and have observed other poc do, is to find each other and say: well. That is a thing that happened, huh? Sometimes this occurs just via locking eyes across a room, or a nod on a crowded bus. It is resistance based on realizing that a fact is indeed, a fact. That just happened. Confirmed. Those instances feel more to me like self care than the most Gwyneth of strawberry facials one could get. In other words, stress isn’t interrupted, for me, from trying to create a neutral space. It’s interrupted by creating an oppositional space.

3. CAN YOU FEEL, THA LUV, TOO NAHHT (say it in that accent Elton John uses when he sings)

Most of all, my self care is centered in loving relationships. Living in a racist system is lonely, y’all. It is isolating. It seeks to break our bonds with each other. The work to oppose it is difficult, and heart wrenching, and full of so much weight. But, as I have done this work in the ways that feel the most right to me, what has come out of that are deep, soul nourishing communities of people that inspire me, make me think, and affirm everything that I am fighting for. Many of those communities face challenges that I have never had, and have so many more reasons to “burn out” than I could ever imagine. But I see, every day, how they meet those challenges with so much energy and vision. I do not feel fatigue when I am around these people. I feel the opposite of fatigue, because I feel accountable to them in a way that nourishes me. Rejuvenation means turning toward them whenever I feel low. I love them, and love is power.

All of that said, I will not say no to a Gwyneth strawberry facial. Just to be clear.


Within the last week, the following things have happened:

I slipped on a wet spot on the ground and fell down in front of a long line of people waiting to get into an event. I managed to not fall completely on my ass, instead ending up in a sort of bended-knee-proposal position. None of the people in line looked at me like they wanted to marry me.

The following day, I slipped and fell down again. Somehow, the only thing that hurt afterwards was my right index finger.

My dude, when coming home, tripped up our front stairs and scraped up his hand.

My dude, while walking on our sidewalk with a box of pizza he was bringing home for dinner, dropped the pizza box in just such a way so that the top flew open and the pizza came out and landed in the gutter.

My computer decided to stop working. After that was fixed, my printer stopped working. Both of these events made me late for things.

Once my computer was working, I sat down the following evening and knocked my glass of water over with such force that it soaked my computer.


The Magnificent Seven

I watched the newest Magnificent Seven. I have exactly and only seven thoughts about it.

1. I have really been having a Denzel renaisaance lately. A Denzelaissance. I had kind of forgotten about how mesmerizing he is. Given that, this should have really just been the Magnificent Uno, because I just wanted him to be on the screen the entire time. YOU GO ‘HEAD AND SMOLDER, D.W.

2. Is Chris Pratt turning into Snide-Remarks Guy in movies? I do not wish this, please and thank you. Chris Pratt without the underlying sweetness is just two steps too many into Brolandia for me.

3. Ethan Hawke was the sensitive one because of course he was. He has that face that looks like a post-sneeze and/or imminent heartbreak at all times. DENZEL GET BACK ON THE SCREEN I MISS YOU.

4. So much shooty shooty, like even for a western. The final fight scene was, according to my internal clock, around thirteen days long.


6. Martin Sensmeier is a Comanche that actually speaks the language, which is a first. Also, the POC characters don’t all die by the end! THEY ACTUALLY GET TO LIVE. *applause*

7. Peter Skaaaaaaarsgaaaaard (I never know how many a’s so let’s go full phonetic-pirate spelling) is the bad guy and his name is BOGUE. GET IT? BECAUSE HE IS SO BOGUE. And he really is. Whenever he does an evil deed, yell out SO BOGUE, DUDE. It will make your movie watching so much better.

I would not really call this The Maginificent Seven. More like the Pretty-Good-to-Medium Seven.

The Sound of Music

I watched The Sound of Music the other day to get myself out of the grumps. This is a movie that I probably could act out for you, all the parts, because of how many times I saw it in my petite bebe years. Before last week I don’t know when I have seen it as an adult though, and it is BREAKING NEWS kind of a great movie. Let’s combat my grumps by talking about my Sound of Music thoughts, pot pourri style, shall we?

First of all, I have beef with the name. Sound. Of. Music. Ok, sure. There is sound. That sound is often music. But Rodgers, Hammerstein, honeys, come on. Could we have picked a more boring name? We have so much to work with here. Let me suggest. Sing and Run, Because Hitler. Whatsa Haps, Von Trapps. Nuns vs Nazis. There are a million options.

As the movie opens, we find Maria the nun twirling on a mountaintop in that iconic first shot. Or, as my mom said as we watched it together: “Woo! Here we go, Maria’s being weird!” Turns out the thing that I never realized as a child is that Maria is a straight up weirdo! Like, she is ODD. Just running around enjoying her twirly skirt on a mountain, talkinbout larks learning to pray. Uh, ok, girl. You do you.

Turns out Maria is late for bell-ringing time at the convent, and no one can find her. Instead of being alarmed (I guess she goes missing a lot, so NBD) these nuns start singing a song about how they think she’s a frigging nightmare. MEAN GIRLS IN THE NUNNERY. They call her a headache, a pest, a flibertyjibbet (which, if you ask Snoop Dogg, def means something not great), and a DEMON. These nuns! Horrible. Don’t believe me? They bring this song back on MARIA’S WEDDING DAY Y’ALL. She is walking down the aisle to “How do you solve a problem like Maria?” You get her married up, that’s how you solve it, apparently. Her problem was lack of government-church-sanctioned sex partnership, which makes people prone to mountain twirling. PUT A RING ON IT TO STOP THAT SHIT STAT.

Speaking of which, the President of the Nuns tells Maria she has to go be a nanny, and Maria responds by singing her guts out on the bus ride there. She arrives and meets Captain Von Hotness, who has this whole dom thing going on with a weird whistle and stuff. The kids are mildly terrible, but not really that terrible (those former nannies must have been severe milquetoast ladies), and before you know it they are singing about their Favorite Things together, one of which, weirdly, is doorbells.

But first! Liesel the teen goes out to the makeout gazebo to meet Rolfe, who is CLEARLY ICKY. They sing a song to each other about how he is going to mansplain his way into her knickers but he spends so much time mansplaining that nothing happens. Good! Get away from him, Liesel, you in danger, girl.

Maria then makes clothes out of the curtains in her bedroom, which, IDK, it seems like one would get permission from one’s employer before doing that, and they all run around Salzburg learning to sing. When they return the Captain is there with Uncle Max and his gf the Baroness. I BECAME KIND OF IN LOVE WITH THAT BARONESS. I mean, she was fabu. The problem is that she is not traditionally maternal though and therefore, in the Musicals Rule Book, we know she is doomed. Although I am absolutely sure, dollars to donuts, that the Baroness would tell Liesel straight up to get the hellfire away from Rolfe. The Baroness ain’t playing that shit, it’s obvs.

The Captain gets mad that Maria has taken the kids out on the town in curtains, which actually seems kind of reasonable in terms of being mad, and fires Maria. The kids sing a song and melt his heart and he unfires her. THAT WAS AN EVENTFUL FIVE MINUTES.

Max is a sort of Simon Cowell type person I guess and he wants the kids to sing for dollar bills. Then he says that, in this time of the rise of the Nazis, the most important thing is to get along with everybody, and Captain Von Hotness is like “I DON’T EVEN KNOW YOU SOMETIMES MAX” with an anti-Nazi steel stare and OH SNAP THIS MOVIE JUST BECAME ABOUT CURRENTLY NOW, THAT’S WEIRD. Think about that, for a quick second, you folks out there that are peddling the idea that empathy with people who suffer from the racisms (AKA ECONOMIC ANXIETY POTATO POTAHTO) is the answer. I stand with Captain Von Hotness on this one. SORRY MY GRUMPS ARE COMING BACK, MOVING ON.

Then they do this really long puppet show about goats, because why? I do not know. Like, what was that whole thing for? To release the pressure from the Nazi talk, I guess.

Then the Baroness is like “Hey Maria, you and my dude are kind of feeling each other, I can tell,” which you may think is a bitch move but to that I say WHERE IS THE LIE. Maria is like “oh my goodness, the only thing left to do is GHOST THIS JOINT” which she does.

The kids sing sad songs and try to play ball with the Baroness but they don’t even throw the ball straight so she can catch it and then have the nerve to roll their eyes at her. You don’t have to chase that dang ball, Baroness. I would wife you even if the Captain won’t. And, turns out, he won’t.

Maria goes back to the nunnery and tells the President of the Nuns why she peaced out. President Nun is like: wait, you did this because you were afraid he would get up in your twirly skirt? And Maria is like, yes. And then Pres Nun sings “Climb Every Mountain,” which WHOA. CLIMB EVERY CAPTAIN IS BASICALLY WHAT SHE IS SAYING, MARIA. That song is about seizing the day, even if the day equals Captain Von Hotness. SEIZE IT.

Maria shows back up and she meets the Captain in the same makeout gazebo that Liesel and Rolfe used. Ew. Get a different makeout gazebo, mom and dad. They actually do makeout unlike the kiddos, except Maria keeps talking about the President Nun, to the point where the Captain says, while he is kissing Maria, “WHAT ELSE DOES THE REVEREND MOTHER SAY?” You guys, he says it right into her mouth. That is some freaky deaky shit right there. Climb every mountain, tho.

They get married and then the Nazis come for the Captain and he is like IMA RIP THIS NAZI FLAG, and Liesel asks Maria for advice on why come Rolf doesn’t want her any more and Maria is like, don’t worry, you are still young, more fish in the sea, etc. Instead of HE IS A NAZI which really should be the only message.”Lo and behold you’re someone’s wife, and you belong to him” is a line that Maria also sings here. I just ask you, would the Baroness being peddling that tripe? Nope.

They get out of town, partly, but then go to Salzburg Idol as a diversion. They sing a medley and win the competition but choose to escape instead, which, good choice. They hide at the nunnery where the Captain confronts Rolf who remains horrible, and then they make it to the mountains. I assume the same mountains we started with. No more twirling, the mountains are for resistance now.


That helped me ungrump a little.

Not Dead Yet

Before we do this, let’s listen to this. TRIBE 4EVAH y’all.

Ok. So I made a list of 50 pop cultures that I loved in 2016, but before I tell you about them, let’s close out this ball-kicker of a year right quick.

There was this one time, when my dad was still alive but very sick, where I talked to him on the phone and I said, with concern: how are you? And he said, in an unexpected sort of joke: NOT DEAD YET! And we laughed hard, kind of surprised. It was so not funny, but yet, jeez louise, it was. It may have been the last truly hearty laugh we shared, pops to kiddo, kiddo to pops.

In the time since he’s been gone, there are a few things that have changed about me. For one, my sense of urgency has gone way, way up. I want my days to be as full, my eyes as open, my mind as awake as can be (insert Morgan Freeman voice get-busy-livin quote here). Life is so, so short, y’all. Time is ticking and we are in a sprint. No dicking around! And now, with the world all fucked up and on fire like it is, my shit is even more ramped up in the urgency department. So, now is the time to say the things I want to say, hear the things I need to hear, do the things that are right to do, find the joy, see the art, create, be a good friend, face the painful stuff, listen, make justice happen, organize, and love: truly and deeply and persistently.

My sweetheart and I will sometimes clink glasses and say to each other, as my dad said to me: “NOT DEAD YET!” like, instead of “cheers.” It’s still funny. And not. I look at that beautiful, kind, steadfast partner of mine and feel deep down in my gut how many years we have been together (it’s a lot of years), how fucking great he is, how short it all seems already, how much I want time to stop for us, and how much it can’t. We have things to do, all the things. So let’s get doing.

50 Pieces of Art That Gave Me Joy in 2016

Lizzo Coconut Oil EP is perfect.

And speaking of perfect: Moonlight.

Atlanta! Donald Glover is the only Donald I want to deal with, honestly. See also: Have Some Love, Childish Gambino.

Blk Girl Soldier by Jamila Woods is the kind of song that makes me feel better about the world, which maybe you need right now too, just guessing?

Insecure. Watch the first season and then let’s fight about how we thought things should have turned out.

Your Best American Girl, Mitski. “Your mother wouldn’t approve of how my mother raised me, but I do, I finally do.”

Queen Sugar is beautiful on so many levels but I will just say this: is there a finer man than Ralph-Angel? Good god. FOINE.

Kiss the Sky by Jason Derulo is like, primo wedding reception dancing music. Your kid brother and your grandma will love it.

The night I went from big fan to rabid Beyhive was during the Formation concert tour.

Nadiyah Hussein from Great British Baking Show, I JUST LOVE HER, thas all.

Cranes in the Sky: is there a Solangehive because I would like to join that also.

Two Dope Queens. Your dream BFFs. Or mine, anyway.

I am so Sorry the Beebs makes bangers but we have to stop fronting like he don’t.

Sooo Many White Guys podcast. I may have a medium-to-heavy obsession with Phoebe Robinson.

All We Got, Chance the Rapper. Actually the whole dang album, front to back. Hiphop artists are really bringing the concept of a cohesive album back.

There are so many ways our shit is broken and most of them intersect in OJ: Made in America.

Too Good, Drake ft Rihanna. Work-chair head-bob dancing, wut wut.

I saw Ghostbusters in a movie theater full of 13 year olds, which was kind of the best way to see it.

My parents came from tiny places and did things outside of power structure expectations. Queen of Katwe made me think about that.

Lie 2 My Face. Kari Faux takes me to a very JJ Fadd place, and I love that place. I could live in that place.

Mainstream American Comic, Hari Kondabolu. “Some people ask me why, when I do impressions of my parents, I don’t do their accents, and the answer of course, is ‘fuck you, that’s why.'”

If you said goodbye to some people in your life this year, like I did, Alaska by Maggie Rogers fits the bill.

SJP is so great at being horrible in Divorce. Actually everyone in this show: GARBAGE. Plus the 70s soundtrack is to die.

All Night, SG Lewis. On repeat.

Hunt for the Wilderpeople. THIS KID.

Who’s a muhfucking Starboy? Me.

Loving. This basically happened five minutes ago, history-wise, and we better not forget it.

Spotify science tells me that I listened to Into You by Ariana Grande a lot, and I can’t argue with that. I apologize in advance to those who go to karaoke with me in the future.

Don’t Think Twice. Or as I like to think of it: “I regret everything, party of one.”

Hotline Bling, covered by Ceresia. This was my walk-into-work-from-busstop-song for a few solid months.


What am I doing Here is a universal feeling sometimes, amiright.

Weiner. Ugh, this guy. But also, ugh, this system. And also, ugh, us, all of us.

Southside with You. People of color don’t get a lot of movies that just show us just dating, romancing, or talking about things as the main plot points.

Death, Sex, and Money are things we should talk about more.

There are lots of things to criticize the Kardashians about, but most people focus on the wrong ones entirely. I hold all the knowledge on this, trust me.

This is cheating because although I Am Not Your Negro was in limited release in 2016 I will not see it until its wider release in 2017 but I CANNOT WAIT.

13th. As an American, this is devastating, required watching.

Kendrick Lamar and Beyonce on BET awards. HOOOOO LORDY

Luke Cage. Bulletproof hoodie-wearing black man superhero? HECK YES.

Get all your cathartic rant needs met via Full Frontal w Samantha Bee and Last Week Tonight with John Oliver.

Please watch The Fits so I have someone to talk about it with.

Judge John Hodgman is usually right about everything, is the thing, and while always funny, is also often moving in his wisdom.

I Can’t Give Everything Away, David Bowie. *sob*

And this wasn’t released in 2016 but Sometimes It Snows In April. *double sob*

Two days after the election my friends and I had a religious experience dancing to Freedom 90 where George Michael convinced us for a few minutes that we would maybe be ok. *triple sob STOP DYING, CHILDHOOD*

Another Round podcast. If you haven’t listened to these, I am jealous that you get to start.


Would you like some joy? Here’s some joy. Down by the Singing Sea video by Walter Martin.

Hey, everyone, I guess this is in question these days but SCIENCE IS A THING, LIKE A REAL THING. Listen to Story Collider for stories about it.

2016 out, 2017 in.

Consumables #158 Watching: Gilmore Girls Revival

I have been so busy being preoccupied with, you know, the world coming to an end, that I neglected to talk to you about the Gilmore Girls revival. If you haven’t seen it yet, I may be about to do some mild spoilering, so hold onto your butts. I have thoughts that I just cannot hold inside. Jerry, I’m BUSTING! (Two 90s references right off the bat, for some reason. UH DOUBLE UP UH UH! Oops, there’s another one. My inner Gilmore is showing itself).

Because the interwebs have already chewed up most angles (Emily turns out to be the best Gilmore, Jess OF ALL PEOPLE turns out to be among the most likable, Logan’s rich douchey steampunk friend group is truly insufferable, etc.), I shall spare you my play-by-play although trust me it’s on the tip of my tongue and I pity the foo’ who I corner at an upcoming social gathering because odds are high that I will get into it, all of it.

The thing that bothered me the most about the Gilmore Girls revival is that it suffered from a thing I call Takedown of Uppity Ladies (TOUL). This is when a tv show gives us smart, witty, confident women and then the writers do everything they can do to bring them low. To teach them a lesson for thinking they are so smart. And, by extension I suppose, teach us a lesson too. Let me give you a prime example of TOUL: Sex and the City. Four confident women, successful in their careers, sexually liberated, in control! But, not so fast. Over the course of the six seasons, each woman learns that everything she defined about herself was wrong, because ladies, pshht, what do we know? Independent Miranda thought putting herself first in life was the core of who she was? NAH all she needed was to move to Brooklyn, a place she has always despised, and devote her life to caregiving for everyone, including her cheating ass husband, and put herself last. Bless her heart for thinking that she wanted something different; what did she know? What did any of them know? NOTHING, BC LADIES BE DUMB Y’ALL, ESPECIALLY THE SMART ONES. Good thing the writers are here to set them all straight.

This is different than a character having flaws, or a character learning and growing. Leslie Knope learns how to navigate her job, how to deal with being an intense person, how to collaborate better. She is not perfect. But, the writers never try to convince us that she isn’t as smart as she knows she is. Even characters as warped as Liz Lemon or Alicia Florrick get to stumble around making mistakes, but the point of their story arcs isn’t to show us how much they aren’t as accomplished as they know themselves to be.

Which brings me back to the ladies on the Gilmore Girls. We loved Lorelai because she was scrappy and opinionated and she dumped her rich parents to work her way up to being her own boss in her own career. Except, it turns out, none of those things. None of her coworkers want to work with her anymore, apparently, and she doesn’t know anything about anything in her life: how should she save her business? Is she happy with the love of her life? Does she want to have a baby? Does she want to go hiking? NOTHING SHE KNOWS NOTHING. Plus, she’s mean. She is mean to the other Wild ladies. She fat shames at the pool. The cool mom is, we find out, so deeply uncool.

And then there’s Rory. Ok, sure, she was a little Special Snowflakey as a teen, and also a little lost in a teenagery way, but we rooted for her because she was a brainiac- at least, book smart, and working on the other kinds of smart. All the nerdy ladies in the audience loved that she read books and thought school was important ansd wanted to get a great education. Except now none of it has born any fruit. She is terribly spolied (just expecting her fam to put her up indefinitely), and doesn’t seem to know anything about her career (showing up to a job meeting with no pitch ideas?), and is rude to the town that she used to love so much (“I’M NOT BACK!”), and is still sleeping with LOGAN just because she doesn’t know what else to do.

And do not get me started about how Paris is left to pathetically have a meltdown about a high school boyfriend and how Lane is trapped in a marriage to a man who refers to their children as having “Korean vitriol” because my NOPES are so giant that you will surely be crushed by the weight of them as they fall out of my mouth.

If you would have said that a thing I would see in the Gilmore Girls revival was misogyny, I would not have believed it. This show is about women who love each other, love their town, and for all their misadventures, are smart and competent. We want them to continue to be smart and competent. My question is: why weren’t they allowed to be? It felt like the writers were trying to punish them for something. And by taking them down a notch, I felt diminished as well.



I had a cold all last week, but it was not bad enough for me to miss work or slow down really, which, what is the point of getting a cold then even. I am feeling better now and I am thinking that I need a few hours based solely in the IDGAF area of my brain. I declared that to my friends in a text earlier today only I said that I needed some IDAF time which made me think the time was already upon me because IDGAF so hard that IDGAF about including all the letters in IDGAF.

So, before I get on with my IDGAFness, let’s have a little check in about this here blogtimes. There have been lots of times where I have thought to myself BLOG, HAH, WHAT IS IT GOOD FOR, ABSOLUTELY NOTHIN, SAY IT AGAIN! I have written posts before about how the ritual of writing my dumb little posts helps me work on things like being less self-conscious about my writing and by extension, myself. I don’t think before my posts, I just write and click publish and there is something that I gain from that practice, like letting go of control, and the idea of being polished, and the idea that people will think I am vapid and silly. And you know what? It works. IDGAF if people think I am vapid and silly. Thanks, bloggie! I am pretty much good on that score.

What else does my blog do for me? Well, in recent years, and forgive me for maybe being a little dramatic, it helps me to connect with joy, if I am being perfectly honest. IRL, I am, at my core, a joyful person. I count that as one of my main strengths in life, if not the main one. Around that core, though, I am a person engaged in many things (as we all are, I suppose) that can pull me away from that core. And so, as I have adulted, I have gathered up practices that keep that joy-fire burning. I shall spare you all the ways, but blogging has become one of those practices. There are so many times when I have no idea what to say when some shiznit is going on in my day that makes it feel like OH LAWD I AM SRSLY GOING TO BLOG MY NONSENSES RN? But I open the blog, and I do it, and like a muscle, it connects me back to my unselfconscious self. I believe that the things I want present in my life: hope, joy, love, happen because I practice. It is the dancer mindset in me, I think. You have to do your goddamn tendus every effing day no matter what and you do them until your mind and body can’t not do them every day. For me, so it goes with joy. Practice, practice, practice.

So, lately, I have not much felt like blogging. Things feel so serious now, and they are. But just like I wrote in my last post, where I karaoke’d, and I saw some dance, and I cried at the movies, we gotta keep that practice of joyfulness going, even when things feel dark. Especially when things feel dark.

This blog post is mostly a pep talk for me, can you tell?

Anyway, I’m going to keep blogging my nonsenses here, is all I am saying. I don’t know if the tone will strike you as glib in non-glib times. That’s not what this is about though. It’s about remembering this part of myself, and not letting that go. To me, that feels like a radical act. Not going to become joyless. IDGAF.

What we wonder, what we know


This is a difficult one. What to say. What a weird feeling, to simultaneously feel the urge to speak and yet have no words. Shall we stream of consciousness it? Why not.

I have been engaged in thinking about race and social justice on some level for literally my whole life. First of all, I was raised by parents who not only had lived experience in this arena, but talked about it a lot. We were a talk-about-politics-around-the-kitchen-table family. It was just a part of what I was expected to know about, and I was not protected from the grown up conversations about injustice or empowerment. What we think politically, I was taught, is part and parcel of who we are. I can tell you who my parents’ political influences are, very specifically, and why, and it seems strange to me that other people can’t do the same with their parents. As I got older, I worked for an arts organizations and academic departments centered on race and social justice. It is a huge part of my current work, that I talk about pretty much every day. I say all of these things not to proclaim myself any sort of expert, but only to make the point that I am not new to the idea that our country struggles with these issues. I know that we try and often fail to be inclusive. I know the stats. I can quote the research. Racism, both personal and institutional, is not news to me. Like many other people of color, the embodiment of virulent racism that was being expressed in the presidential campaign was not shocking to me. I knew this was here, living and breathing, in our country. I just figured I was watching it being given a clear, loud, narcissistic voice.

And yet. This outcome is…well, shocking is the wrong word. Surprising is not the right word. What is the right word? I have not found that yet.

If you are a white person reading this, I am going to tell you a secret. It is a deep, choking secret that it pains me to think about overtly and pains me even more to tell you. For most of us of the brown persuasion, because of the things we have seen, the things we know, our history, data, research, everything about our lived experience, it is hard to trust. We (and forgive me for speaking for all POC so I will stop that now although I am confident about what I am saying)… I see something racist happen, let’s say in the news, or in a movie or tv show. Some depiction of us as less than human, as a caricature. And it’s hard for me not to look around at my white peers, my colleagues, even a lot of my friends, and wonder: Is that what they think of us? Deep down, in their hearts, is that what they think of me? That I am lesser than them? That I do not deserve what they have? And a lot of the time, these questions remain unresolved. There is literally no way to know, especially with nice people, with polite people. People who would never say that they have these thoughts or indeed even understand that they are having them, they are so ingrained. So many times I sit through terrible racism in pop culture and when I point it out, I see that they have not seen it at all. What could that mean? It could mean that those images, so obviously terrible to me, are not terrible to them because that is what they think of us, in their hearts. And so I try to make a conscious decision at times to just trust, to hope, to believe, that people are not thinking those things, even while knowing that some must be. With some people I build trust to the point where I never have that doubt again, like that beloved dude of mine. But not as many people as I would like. Not as many as there should be. Truth be told, when I consider how many people I know, hardly any at all.

And so, in this lifetime of doubt, we come to Tuesday. And when the results started pouring in, it was not a surprise. It was like a terrible awakening. I recognized it right away. Ah, I thought, there it is. Millions and millions of votes for our current president elect. Each of those votes, as clear as a bell, saying to me: this IS what we think of you, after all. You are lesser than us. No wondering necessary, no shadow of doubt. All that speculation that I have had over the years, that many of us have had, confirmed by millions of people, all in one night.

Imagine sitting in a room and looking around and wondering if anyone in the room had qualms about your basic humanity. Imagine wondering if anyone in that room had dehumanizing thoughts about you without them even knowing it, it was so normalized to them. I have been in that room. I am so often in that room. And on Tuesday, that room was our country. And I did not have to wonder. Sixty million people, individually, told me.

I have known this issue to be a reality for my whole life. I guess I just never knew it quite this way, on such a scale.

It’s taking me a while to take that in. I don’t know that I ever will.

Presidential Suspensial

I understand why having voting day be a holiday is a good thing for all the social justice type reasons and the get-out-the-vote type reasons but this year, the reason I am wishing for that to be the case is for the I AM FREAKING OUT reasons. Ugh, so much anxiety, y’all. Can’t we all just use the day to vote and then sit down and breathe? Well, if you are lucky enough to be able to slice it up that way, which maybe you are not because you live in a disenfranchised area whereby you apparently have to stand in lines that are hours long to vote. Anyway, I am stressed out, is all I am saying. Not just at what the results may be, but also about what happens after the results. I feel like some very scary things have become normalized, and by scary I mostly mean things in the racisms and the sexisms family, among other isms of which I am not a fan. These are not isms that should be normalized and increased. We should instead be increasing the feminisms and the anti-racisms. WE ARE NOT DOING GREAT WITH THE CORRECT ISMS IS WHAT I MEAN I KNOW IT’S NOT ARTICULATE BUT DID I MENTION ANXIETY IS HAPPENING.

Not to expand upon the bummerness, but I really wish that my dad was here to vote for a lady prez. He would have been so excited to do that and I would have been so excited to talk to him about it. My parents grew up in a non-democracy situation (LOL what a way to describe colonialism A NON DEMOCRACY SITCH) and when the Brits first started letting us brown people hold local elected office, my dad ran and won in his town, becoming the first democratically elected mayor of that town and among the first in the country. Voting was never taken for granted by him. Add in my mom, a dynamo in her own right, kicking patriarchy’s ass and taking names, and I came up in a politically engaged family where the isms were in the right place. There is something about growing up with a feminist mom and there is a different something about growing up with a feminist dad, and I am so happy I had both. And I wish he was here for this. Then again, I wish he was here for everything.

I have voted in several presidential elections thus far in my life, and here are some snapshot memories I have of them. Ready? Ok.

  1. When I was in elementary school there was a mock vote and I remember that some of the kids were running around saying that the democrats would make us all go to school on weekends so don’t vote for them. THIRD GRADE PROPAGANDA MACHINE, Y’ALL.
  2. There was a vote for prime minister in Fiji one year and we were there that summer and I asked my older cousin who she was voting for and she WENT OFF. Apparently there it is truly a secret vote in that people don’t ask each other who they are voting for. People talk a lot about politics and are engaged, don’t get me wrong. But asking someone how they will vote? DO NOT EVEN.
  3. Maybe my all-time favorite election moment was the year I was watching the Democratic National Convention and everyone in the crowd was doing the Macarena (democratically uncool is how I vote on that) and lo and behold THERE WAS MY FRIEND ALLISON’S MOTHER MACARENAING HER HEART OUT.
  4. The first time Obama was elected all of my neighbors ran out into the street to celebrate in spontaneous joy and the kid directly across the street from me was about 8 years old and he busted out his trumpet and played Twinkle Twinkle Little Star in a very wobbly but loud and jubilant fashion. (That kid is pretty much grown up now HOW DID THE TIME PASS SO FAST)
  5. My parents used to take me to the polls with them when I was a kid. I loved the old ladies that staffed the polling places. I loved that my parents dressed up to vote. I loved hearing them talk about it with each other. I had no idea what they were really voting about but I just loved the feeling of voting day.

The voting part is a big thing. The bigger thing, especially this time around, is all the work we need to do after the voting is done, no matter what happens. Let’s stay excited about the voting thing for today though. A lady could be president tomorrow. A LADY COULD BE PRESIDENT TOMORROW. Just think! And the thing is, my Dad would have loved to see it, but more than seeing it himself, he would have wanted me to see it. So I’m going to see it, and know it, and let that fill me up. Pretty great, right Dad?