Back in January, I signed up for the workshop “Getting Ahead in a Just-Gettin’-By World.” Next week, I will be “graduating” with fellow classmates. The graduation is really just an opportunity to celebrate the completion of the 16-week course.
The “Getting Ahead…” workshop looked at the underlining causes of poverty. Folks tend to tell those who are struggling to “get a job” or that “McDonald’s is always hiring,” but these comments don’t acknowledge the fact that many poor people are employed. They are called the working poor. These are people making low-wages and still need help from social service agencies or other community resources.
The class resonated with me on many levels. Despite being a person with a degree, I have often found myself riding up and down the poverty line. It has become even more complicated after having my first baby, last year. Extra expenses I never had to worry about before haunt me on a daily basis (daycare costs).
The only thing I would change about the course is that I would have liked if we talked more institutional oppression. Racism, sexism, and other isms can affect who gets what jobs, access to educational opportunities, etc. For example, LGBTQI folks of color tend to have high rates of poverty due to blatant discrimination.
As folks know, I’m about that zine/self-publishing life. I was pleasantly surprised when a good friend shared she was venturing into DIY (Do It Yourself) work. I know she has always wanted to establish herself with a major publishing company. She said it was I that made her fall in love with small press (yes!) I met Olivia Olivia a few years ago when I organized my city’s first women of color zine symposium. Olivia Olivia was a young woman who let you know she was in the room. We quickly became buddies as we were both foodies at heart. Olivia Olivia writes about her experiences as a Salvadoran author/activist. In her new chapbook “no one remembered your name but i wrote it down” chronicles her time living in Berlin, growing up as an undocumented youth, and the death of a beloved sister.
A great addition to anyone’s zine/small press collection 🙂
or maybe I should say I’m finally back 🙂 Whew, it was a long summer/early fall. I have had so many life changes. I relocated to the misguided Deep South (they still walking around with confederate flags, y’all) and popped out a baby. Yep, you read right, I had a little one. If you’ve been following the blog you know I have stated no babies for me. And as someone in her 40’s figured those days were over anyway. The joke’s on me! I wasn’t going through menopause after all.
I’ve been enjoying my new role as a mom. It’s hard work and you never know if these kids will even like you when they get older, but for now my baby’s gummy smile is worth it 🙂
Now that i’m getting adjusted to motherhood, I’m ready to get back to blogging. There is so much nonsense happening out here from the presidential campaign to the continuing murders of black folks by cops (RIP Corey Jones) to the out of control memes on Drake’s Hotline Bling… there’s no way my keys can stay quiet!
However, before I get too deep into it, I am excited about the upgrade on The Wiz movie. A lot of white folks tend not to respect the 1978 film starring Diana Ross and Michael Jackson and an amazing score by Quincy Jones. The film also features the beautiful song “Home” torn to shreds (in a good way) by Stephanie Mills for the stage version. Many white folks think The Wiz is a tacky take on The Wizard of Oz, but The Wiz is more creative than the original film IMO.
I’m looking forward to the live version that will be shown on NBC in December. Hopefully, NBC won’t mess it up.
The other day I decided to treat myself to a movie. Life’s been throwing me a few curves lately, so I just wanted to relax and let buttery/greasy popcorn take me away. Imagine my dismay to only find repeat offender Fast and Furious 7 (7? Really?!), a kids flick (“Home”), and the boring looking “Longest Ride Home” (I loathe romantic films) playing at mainstream cinemas. I turned to a local indie theater to find something decent. My curiosity got the best of me when I saw the ad for “Kumiko, the Treasure Hunter.”
“A jaded Japanese woman discovers a hidden copy of FARGO on VHS, believing it to be a treasure map indicating the location of a large case of money.”http://kumikothetreasurehunter.com/
The film was very good. I was surprised to learn upon further research that the movie was inspired by the true story of Japanese office worker, Takako Konish. See, I would’ve never learned about this if I had watched Vin Diesel screeching another car down the highway.
Check out “Kumiko, the Treasure Hunter…” it’s worth your dollars.
Up until now, I’ve been kicking it with a prepaid slider cellphone. I prided myself on rebelling against the smartphone apocalypse.
However, after four years of going strong, my phone started acting wonky. It was constantly freezing up and just doing its on thang.
I cried as I skimmed new phones because I knew I was going to breakdown and buy a smartphone.
And I did.
Who could resist the glossy style of the phone. The apps I could download. The fact I wouldn’t have to run to my laptop every time I needed to Google something. It all appealed to me. The information would be right at my fingertips.
I’ve been hesitant to get a smartphone because I didn’t want the hypnotic gaze I see so many folks with these days. Eyes glued to a glowing screen. Fingers mindlessly swiping. Oblivious to the world around them because their ears are stuffed with cute little white plugs pumping jams into their ears.
I didn’t want to be one of those people. But now I am.
I do feel a little guilty about it. My motto is “minimalism.”
However, there are some empowering aspects of the smartphone. The fact that you do have so much information right in your hand. It’s an opportunity to build your knowledge. That’s why I have little patience when people ask me a dumb questions about black folks/culture/history. Google on your phone, fool.
A couple of weeks ago, my blog celebrated its one yer anniversary. Wow, time goes by fast. I have enjoyed blogging. It’s been cathartic. I encourage other everyday black women, to start a blog. As a group, we have been marginalized in and outside the black community. However, this is a good time for black women. Technology has allowed us to finally center our experiences/voices. Don’t let starting a blog intimidate you. You don’t have to be the best writer. You just have to know how to convey your thoughts.
Here are a few personal suggestions on starting a blog:
1) Write about what you know: It’s cliché, but true. Be your authentic self. If you enjoy going to the movies, do a review blog. If you like to travel, write about your traveling adventures. Folks will catch on quickly if you try to write about things you aren’t really interested in.
2) Share only what you want to share: Don’t feel obligated to share everything. I write some off the wall things, but it’s also part of my real life activism. You have to do what’s best for you/your personal reputation.
3) Write one post a day or every other day: When I first started blogging, I tried to write a minimum of three posts a day. I quickly burnt out. One post per day or every other day is good enough. It’s also good to take breaks…so you don’t feel overwhelmed.
4) Be creative:Incorporate videos, images, audio, play around with the font (nothing too wacky, though 🙂 It makes things more interesting for readers.
Back in the day, I used to side eye my mom when she would get upset/cry when one of her fave old school singers passed away. I used to think it wasn’t that damn serious. Now that I am older, I get where she was coming from. When celebrities pass away, who we feel represent our youth, it’s shocking. (1) It’s a reminder that we will all pass one day and (2) our young days are over! :O/
When Heavy D died a couple of years ago, I shed some tears. I consider myself second generation rap/hip hop (late 80’s to mid 90’s), and Heavy D was an icon from those days. A time when Jheri curls, beatbox, and overalls w/ one strap unhooked, ruled the world.
So, when I heard that DJ E-Z Rock had passed away, my heart cracked just a little bit more. They were part of that second rap/hip hop wave. I remember Rob Base and DJ E-Z Rock’s “It Takes Two” being played several times at my prom. Dang. Time goes by so fast…
So, RIP to homey. Also, shout out to other old school rappers who have passed away in the last couple of years: Ms. Melodie, Gangstarr’s Guru, Chris Kelly (of Kriss Kross) and few more I know am I forgetting.
This past weekend, I took my mentee to a chocolate festival. Yes, a chocolate festival 😉 The event was an opportunity to sample varies chocolates/buy chocolate to your heart’s content.You know I was in heaven, as I loveeeee sweets. I grubbed, then grubbed some more 🙂
I really like being a mentor. I decided to apply as a mentor as a way to give back. It’s a great way to provide hands on advice/experiences to a young person in need. I wanted to let a young black woman know that there are so many opportunities out there. The world is their playground…don’t be scurred!
My guy friend has been bugging me to get a bed. He thinks it’s horrible I sleep on the floor. I used to buy air mattresses, but even the expensive ones popped after a while. So, I gave up. I have made a comfortable pallet on the floor. And that’s that. Or so I thought. My guy friend made it his mission to get me a bed (because men just have to solve the problem 😉 He called my good friend and told her of my plight. She was shocked and cried and texted my other friends. It made sense to me later, when I started getting messages from my friends asking me if I was okay and sending me prayers. When I found out what he did, I was annoyed. Mind ya business! My friends were insistent on getting me a bed, so next week I will be going with folks to get a bed. *sigh*
I know my guy friend meant well, but now when I move I will have to drag a bed with me. I told my roommate what happened and why I didn’t want the bed. She laughed. “Yeah, people don’t understand folks that live minimalist lifestyles,” She said. I thought about what she said later and realized that’s what I was, a minimalist. I have always joked that I live like a single guy. But I think minimalist suits me better. I don’t like a lot of stuff. I hate clutter. I am constantly throwing things away. Since I move a lot, I don’t like having big furniture. I just don’t care for a bunch of stuff. As long as I have my books, Netflix, and the occasional whiskey sour–I’m straight. I think because we live in such a materialistic/consumerism society, folks don’t understand this type of lifestyle. Don’t get me wrong, I like to buy stuff. I just don’t need a lot of it.
I was really angry that my guy friend caused so much drama. But then I thought it was silly to be mad. My friends just want the best for me. There are people who would love to be given a bed. There is privilege around minimalist lifestyles (I don’t have kids so it’s easier for me to live this way). I’m just going to take the bed and enjoy it and move the damn thing when I need to. There are worse things in the world. Do you live a minimalist lifestyle?