Another black man is dead. Rage, anger, fear, hurt, grief, anxiety, flow through the black community like garbage in a backed up sewage line. It reeks of injustice, inequality, and plain old racial hatred that’s been brewing for the past eight years. The closer we get to the Obamas leaving the White House, the more ominous things become. No one is safe. If you are a black man, woman, and even a child, there is a target on your back.
No, I do not hate police officers. Some of my childhood friends, hell even a couple of crushes are police officers. Even at the height of NWA’s F*** the Police, I wouldn’t utter the phrase because I knew better. Not that I haven’t called a cop a dirty word in my day when irritated, but I know to do so away from earshot, y0u know, the same way you would with other authority figures. There is not a person over the age of 10 who hasn’t disliked a police officer in their lifetime. If you are black, I would narrow it down to age five.
Let’s get another thing straight, I DO NOT condone any wrong doing anyone does, no matter race, creed, color, gender, and the rest, but I seriously question this country’s legal system and the way “justice” is served to minorities. I had the opportunity to work in the juvenile justice system for seven years. Some of the things I saw and heard being done to black children were despicable. A six-year-old girl arrested for stealing a pack of bologna. When asked why; she said she was hungry. A five-year-old black boy arrested for bringing a gun to school. The teacher did the right thing by reporting him for the safety of other students, but handcuffing him like an animal after the threat was gone? Three black teenagers charged with first-degree murder involving a high-speed chase which led to the death of an officer who placed his patrol car in front of their speeding car to stop them. I thought intent had to be proven in order to get a murder charge?
However, pond scum of the earth Betty Jo Shelby got to go home on paid leave after shooting an unarmed black with his hands raised in the air. As the story unravels, about Terence Crutcher and Betty Jo, we discover this woman has serious anger issues and Terence was another black man doing what his mama told him to do when approached by the police. Stay calm, don’t make any sudden moves, and over the last few months, hold your hands up to show you have no weapons. Remember that silly movie Jawanna Mann? When Miguel Nunez dressed as a woman was pulled over the first words out of his mouth was, “Officer, I’m not armed, I don’t have any weapons.” Part of me wonders if that was a part of the script or did it come naturally. But I digress.
My adopted daughter and I had this same conversation after Philando Castile’s murder. Without batting an eye, I told her it was open season on black folks. I feel the closer we get to the end of Obama’s presidency, the more these things will continue to happen. Little by little these third generation Jim Crow seedlings are coming out of the woodwork. For nearly eight years, they’ve seen celebrities lose endorsements for speaking out against the President. They’ve had to deal with black men, women, and children walk around with a sense of pride and believing in themselves. They’ve also witnessed other white people admiring Mr. and Mrs. Obama and they are pissed. Hatred and jealousy are explosive contents of a Molotov cocktail, stuffed by rags ripped from characteristics of low self-esteem, low IQs, and just plain low down bullshit. Racism is the match and heartless crimes like the one Betty Jo Shelby committed are the flames that keep fanning the fire. Every bullet fired, every man, woman, or child killed, bring us closer to the edge of extinction. Love and hate cannot live in the same house.
If you’re unfamiliar with Tulsa’s racial history I invite you to Google Black Wall Street. In 1921, a burgeoning black community in North Tulsa was annihilated because a white woman accused a black man of brushing up against her in an elevator. If we manage to survive a million years we never need to see another genocide of innocent people slain in the name of white supremacy in Tulsa or anywhere for that matter. Yet with everything that has taken place within the last few months; I’d be foolish if I didn’t see the writing on the wall. There is a disturbing ripple in the pool of humanity. A tsunami of hate is barreling towards America.
As I continue to write, I understand Betty Jo has since been arrested on a first-degree manslaughter, but I ain’t ready to bust out the Pink Champale. As a black American, I’m all too familiar with the okee-doke known in white America as the calm before the storm. Flashback to 1992 during the trial of four white officers mercilessly beat the hell out of an unarmed Rodney King while shouting racial epithets (deleted before the trial.) The officers were let go by a jury of their peers in Simi Valley, a community of retired officers. The City of Compton and surrounding areas went up in flames in protest against the wrongfully freed officers. Later that year, LA Sheriff’s Department gave us two sacrificial lambs to calm us down, but for those of us who knew better, we knew it was a matter of time before it would happen again.
And so it has happened over and over and over with no end in sight. Every day Facebook and other social media venues are bombarded with pictures and videos of black men, women, and children being killed. To add insult to injury, it looks all but certain we will be handing the White House to a fool that should be in the nut house because, let’s be real, racist people will rather burst into flames before they hand it over to another black man or any man who actually cared about minorities as people. Oh yes, we welcomed to Bill Clinton to the family as if he were one of our own. Even Toni Morrison called him the first Black president due to his lack of money, prestige, and greedy lobbyists fronting his election.
This is an ugly time to be black. I’m not saying that other minorities don’t have their problems, but when other non-black minorities are under attack, America seems to open their arms, hand out the Puffs, and get a shoulder to cry on. As a people, we are told to get over it, stop complaining and be glad we ain’t in slavery no more. Yet how free are we if we can’t run in our apartments, attend our own bachelor parties, get off with a warning for failing to signal without being murdered by the people who are sworn to protect and serve. There is still a white America that hates black people. Despite the fact that civilization was birthed in Africa, Jesus’ skin was the color of brass, and millions of white people risk skin cancer trying to get a tan, it seems black people exist to walk on a burning tightrope with no safety net to catch us when we fall. Why does it always have to be this way? In the words of the late Rodney King, “Can’t we all just get along?”
Applauding others all the time weakens your hands for the work you have to do.
April G. This is for you.
A recent Facebook post from a former teammate got me to thinking this morning. Apparently, life gave her a loader buttload of lemons, and she didn’t feel like making lemonade (sorry Beyoncé), she felt like bitching about it. This young lady who is probably old enough to be my younger sister, or daughter these days (just keeping it real) is trying to recover from the last ass kicking life gave her only to get a brand new pair of Shaquille O’ Neal size boot in the ass. I do not know the cause of her heartache, but I do know the feeling.
I recently posted how I wanted to hide in the house all weekend with the curtains drawn. I even cried in public because I was so distraught over the cards I was dealt. While I was met with some genuine concern from some, I was told by some life long yet well-meaning friends to suck it up and not to air any more depressing thoughts. After all, it ain’t everybody’s business to know how you feel.
The story of my life.
Because you aren’t supposed to say how sad, mad, angry, disappointed, scared, etc you are, people like me hide behind food, casual sex, alcohol, drugs, and put on a happy face because everyone is watching you. You are blessed, you’re not sleeping outside, you have a great job, you have two healthy children, a nice home, blah, blah, fucking blah. In other words, you have no right to feel anything else but joy in this life. You have no reason to be sad. Then comes the asinine affirmations. Too blessed to be stressed. Change your attitude, change your outlook. Weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning. God doesn’t give more you than you can handle.
I don’t know about you April, but I’m not so sure about that last one.
Up until recently, I felt seriously overwhelmed by financial, relationship and family stressed. I’m still convinced somehow God plays favorites. I revealed this to my mother figure. I went to her house to fix her printer and ended up spilling my guts about the shit I encountered so far this year. Even though I feel okay for now, I know trouble will find me again. I have not exhaled nor am I waiting to, because I know as soon as I do, the shit will find its way to me. Life is just fucking unfair and for some of us, it does us no good to stay positive.
Have you ever been to one of those charity events where they have raffle tickets for shit you can find on Amazon for less? Still, you sit there cross your fingers hoping to win the “grand” prize. You buy your ticket, put it in the bucket and pretend like you don’t want that off brand flat screen, you know the one that you don’t care if you win, but you really do because your 50 lbs flat screen from 1990 something is extinct. Just before they pull the winning ticket, some Nimrod walks in places her ticket in the bucket and sits next to you. She makes small talk and you try to ignore her when you realize she’s never going to shut up. You talk to her to pass the time while trying to listen to the numbers. The toaster, $10 Wal-Mart gift card and other nominal prizes get called out first to build suspense, but you’re focused. That TV is yours, you asked for it, you prayed for it, and you want, maybe need it. The number are called out. The MC has called all but one number, it’s yours, you know it. And then…the last number isn’t yours. It is the asshole who walked in at the last-minute, who has talked your ear off, and who’s gushing like a new bride. She collects her prize, sits next to you with your TV and won’t shut the fuck up about how she bought the ticket to support charity and how totally unexpected that was. Then the asshole continues to tell you she just bought a 65-inch flat screen for her new house and didn’t really need it. She will put your TV in her custom designed kitchen so she can watch The Chew and tried to cook along with the chefs. You politely laugh, all the while thinking, really?
The art of luck can be a real downer in a world where you are told, if you work hard, treat people right, and be an outstanding citizen. There is no such thing as luck, is often said, but when you have worked hard, treated people with respect, and don’t break the law save for a few speeding tickets, and you still get the short end, what else is there? There is the law of attraction that says when one exudes positive energy and thoughts, the universe will reward positive things. And then there is this thing that has never failed, it’s called shit happens. What’s unfair is that more shit seems to happen to some than others. Ever notice how some people seem to experience a steady stream of happiness while others receive a steady stream of shit? One could argue that people like April and me are sending that energy out to the universe and in return, we are getting shit back. Someone else could argue that shit happens and get over it. My argument is that people who aren’t given a break in between shit storms become angry, bitter, and wonder if we should bother. And when I say bother, I’m not talking about ending it all. I’m just talking about not giving a damn.
My advice to April was to hold on to the good. This is what keeps me sane. Even though 2016 has been a big disappointment so far, I have to hold on to the good. I have a beautiful granddaughter. My daughter is becoming a great mother and an awesome woman. Even though I have to dodge bill collectors, for now, I can afford my basic needs. I have friends who check up on me and people I can confide in when it gets to be too much. This is the good I have right now. Can it be better? Yes, but I’m working so things out. I have plans for 2017, God willing and He doesn’t strike me dead for blasphemy. Real change comes from the inside. It will not be easy, but I know it has to be done. Without revealing too much, I plan to unplug. I made up my mind a month ago to give social media a break. I believe it is going to help me refocus on myself so I can move out of this funk. Sometimes, one of the worst thing a person can do is continue to try to be happy for others with their own shit is raggedyApplauding others all the time weakens your hands for the work you have to do..
So April, know there is nothing wrong with feeling the way you do. I wish more people were brave enough to say they are hurting instead hiding behind smiles and harboring addictions to hide their pain. I pray you have someone who will listen to you bitch, moan, and complain. I hope you write a good fuck you letter to the things that make you angry. I hope you cry. You can’t heal a damn thing without exposing it first. You are one of the smartest people I met. I like you and I like your style. You rock! And with cautious motherly advice, I say don’t stay too long in your misery because you deserve everything good you have coming your way!
You have to love what Marvel Comics did for the movie industry. Marvel brought many childhood heroes to life like Spiderman with Tobey Maguire, (sorry Andrew Garfield.) Paramount Pictures introduced us to lust worthy hunks like Chris Hemsworth as Thor. Jon Favreau helped reignite careers from the talent that just won’t die AKA Robert Downey, Jr. as Tony Starks/Iron Man. Just over the CPI generated horizon, it’s a bird, it’s a plane, no it’s DC Comics rewriting the rules on what makes for a great superhero flick. With Warner Brothers studio still counting the money made from Batman vs. Superman; Stan Lee is looking over his billion dollar shoulder because DC and The Suicide Squad is on their way.
Comic geeks, action adrenaline junkies, and the rest will be like beans jumping in a hot skillet for the movie of the summer. Even if you never heard of heroic villains, the star power alone will spark curiosity in people who seldom patron superhero films. Why? Oscar-nominated heavy hitters Will Smith (Ali) and Viola Davis (The Help) star in this film about supervillains being recruited to save the world while dealing with the craziest villain of them all The Joker. Smith fans have been itching to see the actor formerly known as the Fresh Prince in another meta-human role since Hancock where he played the reluctant savior of Los Angeles. Viola Davis is captivating even when she doesn’t speak, i.e. Antwone Fisher, and knows how to enamored her audience with quiet strength and veracity. Casting the reigning king and queen of film and television as Deadshot and Amanda Waller, respectively, will have the crowd buying advanced tickets. Even T-Mobile is giving away free tickets for the premier in their T-Mobile Tuesdays promotion! The movie also will have cameos by a couple of well-known faces that may or may not include another DC hero, but you’ll have to buy the ticket to see who it is!
Despite The Suicide Squad’s lackluster reviews, people are going to patron what they love. It’s kind of like that drunk relative that shows up for the holidays. When he gets through giving you a breathalyzer to prove he just had “a little taste” to get the party started, you give him a couple of dollars just to leave you alone and later a ride home to his dump of an apartment so he can sleep it off. Even though he smells like a brewery, has worn the same outfit to the last family get together, and tells the same story of how he met some has-been celebrity, you put up with him because you love him.
The Suicide Squad comes just in time for the near end of summer when everyone will slowly be getting back to the fall routine but wants to have one last fling before pencils, backpacks, and morning traffic becomes the norm again. Mega movies that appear before summer’s end tend to do well at the box office because of two common denominators. The competition from other blockbusters is almost nil and the chance to see seasoned and new talent work together on the big screen! Remember Beyoncé in Fighting Temptations with Oscar winner Cuba Gooding, Jr? Throw in some hot ladies and great cameo appearances (e.g. Steve Harvey as the radio announcer in Fighting Temptations) and it became the sleeper hit no one saw coming. Hollywood never goes wrong with this formula and past box office late summer hits like The Help gathers Oscar buzz which draws, even more, fans to theaters. it’s a win-win for the movie industry and fans when they are given a great movie to watch starring people who are well worth the price of admission. The Suicide Squad will do well, because with talents like Smith and Davis and a winning formula, how can they lose?
I’m usually late to the news and other events because I have a lot of stuff on my plate both family and personal, but because of the age of social media, I get snippets of news from Facebook, Twitter, and the like. When I do get caught up, it’s stuff I don’t want to hear.
I normally don’t like to comment on things without getting the full story, however, this is a story which I’m all too familiar. I don’t have to know their names, know what high school they attended, or if they liked hot sauce on fries because all of that is irrelevant. What I do is two more black men are gone due to police violence. Yes, I do know that one sought out to kill white officers and under no circumstances do I condone that, but on some level, I get what led him to want to hurt people. As my pastor once said, “Hurt people, hurt people.”
What went down in Dallas is what went down when four officers were freed on charges of beating the hell out of the late Rodney King. What went down in Louisiana is the same thing that went down with Oscar Grant on the subway. What went down with Tamir Rice is the same thing that went down with Emmett Till. It’s the same old story with different characters with the same agenda; kill at will. Emmett Till allegedly whistled at a white woman and his murderers felt justified beating his 14-year-old body beyond recognition. The officer who murdered Oscar Grant felt threatened by a young black man who dared to express his rights while handcuffed. The officers who killed Tamir Rice knew he had to be up to something on that playground so just to be sure…
Don’t think that I’m not torn. I have a love/hate relationship with police officers just like a lot of black people. I have a dear friend who is a police officer; a white police officer. He is a good guy, a great husband, and a loving father. When something like this happens, I pray he is never in that situation where he feels he has to pull the trigger on a black man, woman, or child just because his training says to treat all of us like the enemy. Yes, I do believe there is some suggestive training going in police academies in America. I’m fully aware that current media doesn’t do the best job of portraying most of us as human, but simply saying we are here to protect the public isn’t enough. There are some serious issues going on.
Currently, there is a heated debate going on my timeline about Dallas. It was my intention to read it and then move on until I realized that another dear friend of mine was a victim of racially profiled. She was pulled over less than a mile from where I lived for driving while black. According to my friend, the officer attempted to question her older teenaged daughter on the passenger side before talking with my adult friend who was driving the car. The officer also tried to question her young son who is about age six before talking to her. After she redirected the officer’s attention the pull over came down to what happened in Dallas. The officers were making random stops because they didn’t want to see the incident happen here in San Antonio.
There are just so many emotions, questions, and facts running through my mind like a cashier at the ten items or less line. I wonder if white people in Stone Oak are being pulled over? I wonder how threatening is a mom with her hair in a ponytail, driving a used car with her two children really is? I wonder if Sandra Bland knew forgetting to put her blinker on was going to get her killed? What is it about us that makes us so threatening? Why do officers feel the need to pull a gun and murder us? I naively thought if I follow the rules, trouble wouldn’t find me because after all isn’t that what’s been ground into our heads since birth? I can’t afford to mildly acknowledge our tragedies anymore because this shit keeps getting closer and closer to home. I lived in fear for my daughter because she attended Prairie View A & M University just minutes away from where Sandra Bland was murdered. And now my beautiful friend being racially profiled? What the fuck?!!!!!!!!!!
I really didn’t want to blog about this but the universe kept sending me signs. As I said before, I’m late on everything. I just finished watching BET’s Being Mary Jane on Netflix. The last episode featured her niece being handcuffed and tased by an officer in front of her children who didn’t like her loud music. Just this morning, I watched the BET awards show so I can dance and shed purple tears for the late icon Prince. I heard about Jesse Williams’ phenomenal speech and the memorable tagline, “just because we’re magic doesn’t mean we’re not real.” What I was not prepared for is the other set of tears that threatened to stain my face. Honesty really is the best policy, but you better be prepared for the figurative and sometimes literal bloodshed to come. Simply put, people get tired of being screwed over.
I was bullied as a child. I outweighed my tormentor by at least 50 lbs but this girl made my life hell in fourth grade. She stole from me, turned the other girls against me, and would pretend to be my friend only when she wanted something from me. I tried forgiveness, ignoring her, and even buying her friendship. None of that worked because she was content to make me feel small. Long story short, I got tired of that shit and I slapped the hell out of her in front of her audience; after that, she left me alone. As an adult, I wouldn’t recommend violence to solve problems, but that was before it was easy to get guns to settle a grudge. To make my point, people who are discriminated against, disenfranchised, racially profiled, set up to fail, followed in department stores, nervously smiled at in an elevator, advised by white women that nothing is in the purse they’re stupid enough to leave on the table for anyone to grab, severely punished on first minor offenses, overcharged at the dealership for the same car the white guy bought, and just a little too black for mainstream comfort is fucking tired, fed up, had it up to here with the shenanigans, mad as hell, and don’t or won’t take this bullshit from people who want to keep America white. E-fucking-nough!
Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr, said be part of the solution or part of the problem. My natural hair, my young millennials window busting base from the speakers, my darker hued people is not the problem. Mainstream’s and the police’s perception is the issue. Oprah ain’t the only good black person left on the planet and President Obama is not the devil. American classrooms need to incorporate the 4 R’s; reading, ‘riting, and ‘rithmetic, and racial understanding. If I had to sit through a class to listen how Christopher Columbus invited slavery, oops, I mean discovered America, then why don’t we teach them something they can use because news flash, we’re not going anywhere, let’s learn how to get along; for real.
My last thought for today is my children. I’ve been blessed with a 20-year-old, a four-year-old, and a two-week-old granddaughter. I went to visit my granddaughter yesterday after reading my friend’s post. On the way over, I encountered a police car and my heart started beating, I had my license, registration, I wasn’t speeding but it was the same anxious ball of fear I get in my stomach anytime I see them. If he pulled me over, he wouldn’t find anything illegal, but knowing one wrong word or move to the wrong officer and my children and grandchild would never see me again. Yes, it is that real for black people. I suspect why Micah Johnson did what he did, he was sick and tired of being sick and tired, but most of all he was scared. My heart really goes out to the victims’ families because in that line of duty you don’t know if your loved one is coming home on a daily basis, but real talk, us black folks don’t know if we are ever coming home again either.
Bonnie Harris Price
This blog is dedicated to my beautiful friend, artist, and mom who was racially profiled and to my children and granddaughter. May God watch over you when I can’t.
Netflix is the devil! There I said it, now let me humbly apologize because I freaking love Netflix! For less than $10 a month, you can get TV shows, documentaries, comedy, things for the kids to watch, old school movies, indie movies, etc. Missed a season of Being Mary Jane? It’s on Netflix! Need to find out what all the fuss is about on Scandal? You can catch up to the most current season on Netflix! Favorite show on summer vacay? Netflix! What the hell did we do before Netflix? Oh I remember; we recorded everything on VCR/DVD. For the rest of you who had the coins there was Tivo or maybe your cable company offered DVR. There are other streaming web services out there (Hulu, Amazon Prime) but there is none like Netflix.
Netflix is giving HBO and other overpriced cable shows a run for their money whether they care to admit it or not. Being able to watch killer shows like Orange Is the New Black without a pricey cable subscription is the best thing since fake eyelashes. All you need is a good Internet connection or wi-fi and you are in there. Here are just a few gems I have picked along the way. Sit back grab a box of light butter popcorn, with wine and enjoy.
Bloodline. The Rayburn family lives in a cozy little beach town in Florida. Mom and Dad run a quaint little inn, the second eldest son is a respected police officer, the middle children Meg, an attorney, and Kevin, who owns a boating business, are doing well, and then here comes the eldest Danny, the fuck up of the family. Danny comes home to celebrate his parents anniversary and brings a shitload of problems with him. Secrets are pouring out quicker than beer at a frat party and all hell slowly begins to break loose. The family that everyone has come to cherish is in deep turmoil over Danny and his shenanigans.
What I love about this show
I grew up watching day and nighttime soaps with my mom with my favorite being Dynasty. Joan Collins will go down in history as the bitchiest woman on television, but this family saga is relatable to us working class. Rich people fight about money, sex and power. Working class people fight to keep secrets. Not that cat fights and tossing the b word around isn’t entertaining, but Bloodline goes deep into that dark corner of a person’s soul. Academy Award Winner Sissy Spacek portrays the matriarch of the Rayburn with the same fluidity of her Oscar nominated character Ruth Fowler In the Bedroom. She loves her children, but something in her crystal clear blue eyes tells you she wished she never had them. Throw in betrayal, drug smuggling, and murder, and you have the perfect recipe for one hell of a show.
Beasts of No Nation. Child soldiers. A taboo subject no one really want to discuss because it is heart breaking to fathom that children are forced to carry weapons and kill. This story is set around Agu a boy whose village and family were taken from him after guerilla soldiers stormed into his life. His mother was able to escape with the two younger children while his older brother, father, and ailing grandfather were left behind. Soon he is captured by the same army and forced to lead a life of unspeakable crimes.
What I love about this movie
I had the opportunity to read A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier by Ishmael Beah with my daughter. Reading does wonders for the imagination because it takes you there with the narrator. Yet seeing a story like Beasts of No Nation on film brings you face to face with the horrors of being ripped from the life you’ve known and forced to fight a war you didn’t start. As much as you want, you will try to tear away from the movie, but you can’t. There is something in Agu’s eyes that will call you back. And what can I say about the phenomenal Idris Elba? He embodies the beast in the colloquial sense as his believable portrayal as Commandant the leader who snatches what’s left of Agu’s and the rest of the boy soldiers childhood away. I will admit I had to watch this movie pieces at a time because there is no way I could sit through the whole film without crying. When the credits roll, you will hug your children and if you don’t have children, you will want to find one to hug.
Sense8. If Rod Sterling from the Twilight Zone and Annie Lennox from the Eurythmics had eight children, this is who they would be. Eight complete strangers from around the world are connected by Daryl Hannah, yes the original Little Mermaid herself. In some cosmic event she spiritually birthed these souls. The show was created by the Wachowskis of The Matrix trilogy. The characters are Riley an Icelandic DJ, Will a Chicago police officer, Sun a Korean business woman, Capheus a Nairobi cab driver, Kala the Hindu pharmacist, Wolfgang a German gangster, Lito a closet homosexual Latin film star, and a transgender blogger and computer hacker named Jamie. The story begins as Daryl commits suicide to keep the Whisper, a dangerous adversary from tracking her eight children from being found. She awakens their connections and soon everyone is involved in each other’s lives.
What I love about this show
I will be the first to admit I wasn’t a Matrix fan because I couldn’t make sense of what the Wachowskis vision but I love this one because the truth is that we are all somehow connected to each other. I love that people who will probably would never meet are getting to know each on an emotional level. The lines of race, religion, sex, and sexual orientation are erased as they enter each other realms to assist in the troubles they are experiencing. For example Capheus drives a cab to help pay for AIDS medication for his mother when he is approached by a crime boss to be his personal chauffeur after Capheus (through Sun’s expertise fighting skills) kicks some major ass of a rival gang. In Korea, Sun, a savvy business woman is devalued simply because of her gender, even by her own father. To burn off steam, she competes in underground fights. Despite her father’s total lack of respect, she sacrifices herself to prison to save her family from financial ruin. The two are connected due to bad choices and strong devotion to family. This show reminds me of the adage, we are more alike than we are different. This show celebrates this.
Mississippi Damned. This is not a Netflix original, but one of those movies that landed on Netflix. This movie is fact based on the experiences of Tina Mabry, an indie film maker from Tupelo, Mississippi. If you love The Color Purple, you will love this movie. As Beasts of No Nation, this story does not sugarcoat the horrors of growing up poor, black, and disenfranchised. The story begins with sisters, Leigh and Kari, and their cousin Sammy. Leigh is a young gay woman who wants to come out of the closet, but doesn’t because of fear. Sammy is a talented basketball player who has dreams of playing in the NBA so he can escape the sexual abuse he encounters. Little Kari is the dreamer of the group who finds her escape by learning to play piano. While the children watch the grown ups struggle with their own demons of violence, divorce, and poverty, the children are left to sort out their own struggles. Two of them turn to each other for support, one of them turns against.
Why I understand this movie
As hard as it was to watch some of the scenes, this is a story that hit close to home for me in many ways. I grew up in poverty Memphis, but my father lived in Mississippi. My daddy’s relatives did not welcome me and I was referred to as a “maybe” because I didn’t look anything like him. Financially they were slightly better off than me, but they made no effort to embrace me which is what a child really needs. I can feel Kari’s innocence, Leigh’s uncertainty, and Sammy’s pain through every line. With the help of another gifted director, Ava DuVernay, (Middle of Nowhere) Tina Mabry’s indie film brought hushed topics to light with earnest, humility, and a striking reality I haven’t witnessed since The Color Purple. If you’re looking for an indie film that tells nothing but the raw truth, this is the one.
What Happened Miss Simone? I know there has been a lot of controversy surrounding the biopic Nina Simone. African-American women like myself are up in arms because Hollywood chose light-skinned Dominican Zoe Saldana to tell Nina’s story. Without feeding that topic anymore fire, I love Netflix’s epic piece on the life and times of Nina Simone. I discovered her in my early 20s after watching Bridget Fonda’s Point of No Return. Her character Maggie was into Nina Simone’s music. Miss Simone’s longing sad melodies sometimes played through out the scenes when Maggie was in a bad place. Subsequently Maggie was a druggie punk kid who was given a last chance to redeem herself as an assassin. The music really went well with the scenes so I went to the library and did some research on Miss Simone’s music. I didn’t become a musical fan right away, but after the documentary aired, my interest reawakened. Now you can hear her musical influence everywhere even in the sexually charged movie 50 Shades of Gray.
Why this documentary put a spell on me
Hollywood has come a long way with us African-Americans, but they still have a long way to go. Personally I appreciate an African-American movie winning the Best Movie Oscar. I love seeing African-American women on film, commercials, and magazines, but I still love it when our stories get told. I’d be super naive if I believed all our stories are positive. I love documentaries because they tell the good, bad, and ugly. I’m a movie lover, but movies are made for mainstream. They will delete important parts, glamorize certain scenes by making them more (or less) than what they were, and sadly choose the wrong actors at times. I’m not taking anything away from Zoe Saldana, she is a beautiful force of nature. There are far too many known and unknown African-American actresses that could have done for Nina Simone what Jamie Foxx did for Ray. When Hollywood gets it wrong, thank God for documentaries.
The Life and Crimes of Doris Payne. Forget Bonnie and Clyde and forget what you think you know about gangsta women. Miss Doris Payne was the shit. This is another documentary I trolled across one day. Of course it caught my eye because this was a black woman who was one of the world’s biggest jewel thieves. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not about to brag on any wrongdoing, but I think she would have impressed the hell out of John Gotti. Doris Payne was like butter, she dressed, talked, and walked like the smooth criminal she was. Doris had it all, looks, money, and a streetwise swag that would intimidate most men. Doris stole millions of dollars in diamonds, had the ear of famous jeweler who taught her how to steal, and was rarely busted. And what’s more shocking is that even in golden years, she was still up to it. Now if that ain’t gangsta, I don’t know what is.
Why this documentary stole my heart
I’m going to say this very clearly. I do not condone anything Doris Payne did. I’m just amazed because even with her race and gender; she made a successful criminal career out of white men’s game without a gun! Doris was an expert on the con game. She knew how to lure her marks, take what she wanted, and was halfway across the world before they even knew what happened. That takes some serious lady balls and ingenuity. I feel guilty about walking away with pens that don’t belong to me and this woman jumped off a train after she stole a $1M dollar diamond. There were no masks, no high-tech plans and equipment at her employ, she just took it. If it weren’t for technology, she would still be at it. Doris eventually gets caught, but what a story! Coincidentally, there were rumors about Halle Berry bringing her story to life. If this is true, we are in for a treat!
Fuller House. Who’s ready for some nostalgia? If you were a kid in the eighties and you weren’t old or popular enough to date, then you spent your Friday nights watching Full House. The Tanner clan consisted of a widowed father, three girls, hot Uncle Jessie and goofy buddy Joey who lived under this one roof. Toss in annoying Kimmy Gibbler and a few tag lines “You’re in big trouble Mister” and you have a sitcom that the whole family could enjoy. The scripts weren’t the best, but it was one of the many shows you could let your children watch without supervision. Almost the full cast showed up for this show (sans the Olsen twins, but I don’t think you’ll missed them) for this reunion. The cast looks great, the material is Disney rated with some adult situations that aren’t too raunchy for the little ones. I will be the first to admit I did a mental eye roll when I heard the show was coming back, but I’m glad the Tanners are back.
Why my heart is full for this show
My biggest like is that I can watch this show with my four-year old and he loves it. I thought this show might be a little out of his league, but he is glued to the television set when I play it. Maybe it’s because DJ and Stephanie grew up to be hotties or he likes the catchy theme music. Who knows? Besides how many child actors can you pull out of the way back machine who look and are doing well? I know a couple of the Full House actors went through some trials as we all do in our lives, but judging by Season 2 renewal, they have something to look forward to. Fuller House gives us a reason to get together on Friday night as a family.
The Do Over. This is Adam Sandler’s second Netflix comedy. The first one was The Ridiculous Six which I liked, but I like this one better. David Spade portrays Charlie, Max’s best friend (Sandler) through high school. Max AKA Maxi Pad reconnects with David at their high school reunion. David is a bank manager at a grocery store who married his slutty high school sweetheart after she divorced her first ex-jock husband who is the father of her two twin boys. Max is living La Vida Loca as a FBI agent convinces Charlie to fake his death so he can live the life he really wants. The two buddies are in for a wild adventure and even wilder lessons as one learns to appreciate what he has and the other discovers to make the most of everyday.
Why I’d watch this film over
Adam Sandler is comedic genius. Most of his movies are screwball comedies with a hint of wisdom buried deep in the raunchy exploits of mishaps his characters go through. Charlie is a character anyone could relate to at one time or another. He takes a boring job. He settles for a person who could care less about him. He tries to make the best of a bad situation. Max is a friend everyone wish they had. Max is fun, daring, and if you’re in a jam, he has your back. And what would an Adam Sandler film be if he didn’t have a hot female lead. Paula Patton, divorced from Blurred Lines crooner Robin Thicke is the perfect pick for a love interest. She’s the perfect answer to the question, how the hell did he land that babe? If you ever feel yourself taking life too seriously, watch an Adam Sandler movie.
I’d be remissed if I didn’t add movies like Bully, Bleeding Heart, and the Netflix original series Narco. These are fantastic shows and movies to watch if you’re not in the mood for sticky theater floors or people who are too cheap to hire a sitter. For less than the price of a movie ticket, you have access to thousands of hours of quality entertainment at your fingertips that you can watch on your cell phone, tablet, computer whatever. Feel free to share some of Netflix gems with me and until then happy bingeing!
Bonnie Harris Price
writer, mother, part-time poet
This blog was not solicited by or affiliated with Netflix. I just love Netflix y’all.
Dreams are a sweet escape from reality but when partnered with a plan, it becomes a goal.
There are some things I said I would never do, yet the older I get the more I find myself in contradiction. I’m more confused now than I was at 18. After graduation I had plans to go to college, become a writer, and move to Denver, Colorado. I would gaze outside at the snow-capped mountains in April while sipping on coffee writing my latest novel. I would later adopt two girls because marriage, natural childbirth, and white picket fences just wasn’t my thing. While the rest of my cohorts of Westside class of 1989 didn’t have a clue; I was certain I was going to leave Memphis behind for good. Boy was I in for a wake up call. What do the comedians say, you want to make God laugh, make a plan.
I left college after my freshmen year because it wasn’t as easy as I thought it was going to be. I eventually went back to community college because I convinced myself an associate’s degree was just as good. I dropped out again because the love of my life at the time convinced me to leave school to spend more time with him. After a few mishaps including a restraining order and handcuffs against the jackass of my life, I was free to start over which I did a couple of times. I have a life I’m comfortable with so why do I feel the need to do something else? What is that desire to climb new mountains and explore new territory? Am I freaking insane or is the shelter of unfulfilled dreams my comfort zone?
Okay, now I’m trippin’
The question of the day ponders on why do we keep trying to escape the lives we made? What is so wrong or maybe a better question is why are we so intrigued about the promise of better days when things are just fine the way they are? What’s wrong with having a regular job, working regular hours, for a steady paycheck? What’s wrong with going to church on Sundays, meatloaf Thursdays, and a movie every now and then with your boo. What purpose is served for chasing dreams? Our parents and grandparents seem to get along just fine with one TV, a landline phone, and the evening news. They didn’t have a lot and they sure as hell didn’t have a lot of stress either. The two to three generations before us managed to enjoy life without learning how to snowboard, Vogue, or beat their scores in Angry Birds. They gave us childhoods, home cooked meals, and a sense of family. Why do I and others like myself feel the need to jump off a cliff? Are we crazy? Needy? Loathing in self-hate? Maybe it’s a Molotov cocktail of irrational, penurious, revulsion waiting to be thrust into the place we call ‘better’ only to incinerate the greener grass until there’s nothing left, not even ashes.
Okay, now I’m really trippin’
Dreams are a sweet escape from reality but when partnered with a plan, it becomes a goal. My dream or should I say, my goal, the thing that won’t leave me alone is to write for a living. I really want to write for living. I mean I really want it, I want it, I want it, I WANT IT! I want it so bad, that I find any excuse not to want it. As crazy as that sounds, it’s true. I can’t come up with a good reason for keeping my day job. I don’t like having a back-up plan when my passion keeps picking at me like a relentless bully on the playground. Even though I work from home, I still don’t like being told when to eat or pee. If I didn’t have a family, I would be the 45-year-old intern working her way up the top at a publishing house because I want it that much. I have written poems and presented them as wedding and retirement gifts. I attend open mic poetry to perform and listen to voices. I love reading books from other writers. Most of the apps on my phone are word games. I’m always trying to find ways to make income from what I love to do. I even did the unspeakable; something I said I would never do. I’m going back to school for my Master’s Degree in Creative Writing…in the accelerated program.
There is a part me that knows learning never stops. The trouble is no one really has a clue how to maintain your home fires without burning down the whole house. It’s only a matter of time before something or someone gives. Schedules are stretched thin, patience runs out, money is tight…it’s no wonder why lots of people give up on their dreams. Reality ain’t nothing to be played with. Children need their mothers, husbands need sex, the utilities have to be paid. How can you chase after what you want without everything else falling apart? Is it even wise for me and other dreamers out there to even try? The cruel irony is I will hate myself either way. If I give up, I will always wonder what I could have been and if I keep pushing myself I will hate it if I fail at what I love. All the positive affirmations in the world vanish like fog in sunlight when you don’t live up to your own expectations.
Back in the 80s the legendary Gap Band had one their biggest hits, “You Dropped the Bomb” on me. The song will still get old heads like me on the dance floor. However, on the flip side of that 45 (that’s vinyl for you Y2K babies) had a song called Life Is A But A Dream. Charlie Wilson, who still looks and sounds amazing, gently sang this cautionary tale (click this link to read the lyrics) http://www.metrolyrics.com/nothin-comes-to-sleepers-lyrics-the-gap-band.html I used to listen to this song constantly because I felt like the words were speaking to me. There is a fine line of who we are and who we want to be. It makes me wonder why am I fighting so hard when there is no real guarantee that this is going to work out for me.
Thousands of young boys out there who have dreams to be playing in the NBA or NFL, only a handful make it. What happens to the rest? Are they still out there chasing their dreams or do they decided to give up? If the latter is chosen, are they able to live with that decision? Radio personality and philanthropist Tom Joyner shared a story some years ago about an uncle who washed out the Tuskegee Airmen program. Tom reported his uncle’s decision to quit haunts him to this day. I saw the HBO movie; I empathized with his decision to quit. It had to have been hard enough to be a black man during those times without the additional pressure of trying to complete a program with the odds purposely stacked up against you. Not that my opinion matters, I get it. His peace of mind was important to him than trying to prove a point.
Dreams are good to have, but a goal will get you there. I think dreams fail because no one takes into account the amount of work, planning, and mistakes made to get you where you want to be. Yes, it hurts when I suffer a setback, when I check my stats and see my blog audience isn’t growing the way I want it to right now, but I have to keep pushing. I know I will feel even worse if I gave it up all together. I just don’t want to live out my dreams in my head. I want to touch, feel, taste, and share it with the world. Life is but a dream, and there is no way you or I should give up. We just need to make a plan and stick to it. After all, if all the Wright did was dream about flying, we’d still be taking the bus.
…my life was crazy and complicated enough and then I started listening to country music. WTF?
Is there a place for black folks in country music? My musical tastes have grown since my days of listening to WDIA for the Saturday morning blues on my mother’s old Panasonic radio in the seventies. Musically, I’m a 60s baby. I grew up on Motown phenoms like Steve Wonder, Smokey Robinson and the Miracles, and the Temptations. I had a ginormous crush on Jackie in the Jackson 5 during their popular, yes I know Michael was the star, but I had a thing for older men when I was a youg-un. I was determined we were going to marry until I laid my eyes on his Purple Highness Prince (RIP.) Before Rick James declared his supremacy (I’m Rick James, bitch!) on all things funky, Curtis Mayfield, James Brown and Marvin Gaye raised my consciousness and rocked me to sleep with smooth melodies infused with messages of black love and pride. When hip hop and rap birthed into my urban universe, I experienced a kind of poetic justice that spoke to my needs, desires, and frustration of living in an impoverished environment where it seems that no one would make it out alive unless it was in a body bag or handcuffs. When I wasn’t looking Terrence Trent D’Arby, Culture Club, and George Michael sneaked in there causing me to crave things like neon socks, ridiculously large hair bows and feathers in my hair indulging in my own British invasion.
Look out world, here came the nineties! Hip hop grew by leaps and bounds, Tupac, Biggie, Puff Daddy, were just a few of the megatrons of music storytelling who dominated and influenced the next generation of hip hop hierarchy. And then there was girl power, TLC, SWV, Xscape and a comet by the name of Mariah Carey shut the boys down with harmony that redefined what female artists look and sound like. Somewhere in the industry “crossover” began in hushed whispers. Music lovers like me who usually chose sides were hypnotized by infectious pop music, enigmatic indie chicks and Neo Soul artists. Yes, I dabbled in a little in Alanis Morissette, got dirty with XTina, and dangerously attached to Erykah Badu and Maxwell. In the Y2Ks, I moved to Texas, got married and had my second child. As if my life wasn’t crazy and complicated enough–I started listening to country music. WTF?
Blame it on me for marrying a white man, who by the way is a huge Tupac fan. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying I hated country music. My love for it now really was an accident. I hate long distance driving so I leave it to my husband. The cardinal rule is whoever is driving gets to control the radio. At first I hated it, but little by little, and much to my surprise I started remembering some of the words, and then the whole song. I even managed to make my spouse do a double take when I sang along to Kenny Chesney’s Come Over. Prior to my exposure the only black country singer that I knew of was Charley Pride. The only reason I knew he existed was from infomercials. Those companies could put out a million country themed albums a year and he was the only brother mentioned. What’s even more crazy is that I couldn’t pick him out in a line up now to save my life right. In my experience black people and country music is like black people and the KKK. We just don’t mix. Since my marriage, I find myself listening and loving country music. If my friends back home knew, I would lose my cool points. Remember The Blind Side? I grew up in the same housing project. There wasn’t any country music being played anywhere in Hurt Village unless white police officers were coming through to do a sweep in the projects, but I digress.
In some of her books, fictional author Terry McMillan refers to country music as blue-eyed soul. Being raised in Memphis, the blues were all around me. My earliest memory is taking a picture on Easter Sunday standing in front of WC Handy statue on Beale Street. My mother would hum tunes from legendary artist BB King (RIP) and secretly wish she was Lucille, his trusty guitar. Blues tell the story beneath the story. It is gut wrenching, makes you pick a fight with your significant other so you can spend the rest of the night making love and helps you to cry the tears in front of the one who done you wrong. They take you there. Country songs or the ones I grew up hearing seem to be about dogs, tears in beers, and the twangy twang, yodeling, yee haw type of noise that would only be popular among people who still had outhouses and looked like refugees from the movie Deliverance. Country music just wasn’t cool…when the country music category would come up on the award shows, I took the opportunity to use the bathroom or get a snack. Country music, pfffft!
But wait! Listen. Oh say can you hear Shania Twain, Tim McGraw, Faith Hill? See hairstyles that don’t create a bigger gap in the ozone, clothes that were made by someone other than Wrangler, and even black people singing in the backup. Luke Bryant featuring a cute black girl in Country Girl (Shake it For Me) video? Jason Aldean featuring African-American boys in the background playing football paying homage to his high school? An African-American man wrote American Idol tenth season’s winner Scotty McCreery #1 song? Say what? African-Americans are slowly but surely coming out of the closet to tell the world it’s okay to want to hear something different. It’s okay to be country.
Doing some research I found out that we have always been around, so no Darius Rucker didn’t resurrect blacks in country music. Recalling the movie Ray, the autobiographical masterpiece about jazz and blues artist Ray Charles got his start playing piano in a country music band. He often played country music during his shows because he loved the stories. Tina Turner, yes Miss Sexy Legs herself released a country music album in the UK before her Grammy winning album What’s Love Got to Do With It? Before Lionel Richie danced on the ceiling all night long, country music was his first love. Don’t believe me? Listen to Sail On. And let’s not forget Whitney Houston’s tour de force performance of Dolly Parton’s beautifully sad love song I Will Always Love You.
The more things change, the more they well, change. Every time I watch a country music video I continue to be amazed at the diversity of artists. The Brothers Osborne Stay A Little Longer video feature couples of all kinds, African-American, gay, interracial attempting to sort out the facets of their relationships. Ludacris, Beyoncé and Jamie Foxx performed at the CMAs a few years ago. Country duo Florida Georgia Line are changing the way country artists look with their tattoos, skinny jeans, and Tyler’s bad boy biker look. I’m loving the direction country music is going and quietly appreciate the classics from artists like Willie Nelson, Patsy Cline, and Loretta Lynn. So yes, I’m more familiar with country songs than I admitted earlier. I’m a late bloomer just arriving to a place where I don’t give a damn about what others think. I like what I like.
I love writing and one day I hope to write a hit country song. I’m dead serious. As soon as I get the right words, I plan to tweet someone like Jo Dee Messina, Reba McEntyre, or even Carrie Underwood to take me on. My blues may be a different color, but they come from the heart. Until then, be on the lookout for me, and as Minnie Pearl would say, “Y’all come back now you here!”
I tried to be everything a good girlfriend could be patient, kind, loving, understanding. I lived I Corinthians 13:4-13.before I even knew what it was. I wanted to be loved so much I was willing to endure any kind of torment to keep the someone around.
If Beyonce’s Lemonade didn’t teach us anything else, we all fully aware that beautiful people have their problems too. Most of us don’t get the luxury of expressing our pains on top of a car hood, pulling a Jasmine Sullivan slaying a Robert Cavalli dress, but thanks to social media outlets others know that we are hurting or have been hurt by others.
Despite the rise of African American women finishing college, holding white collar positions, and rewriting history, no one cares that we are walking around bruised and abused from those who are supposed to love us unconditionally. During a segment entitled Daddy-less Daughters on OWN (Oprah Winfrey Network), Iyanla Vanzant voiced black women have too many -uns. Black women are unloved, under nurtured, and under appreciated. Even the campaign blacklivesmatter was geared towards the death and destruction of black men by the hands of police and self serving viligantes. I grieve, anger, and cry out with those mothers without sons. I literally and figuratively pumped my fist in the air at the conviction of Jordan Russell’s murderer Michael Dunn. Tears of frustration wet my face after watching Fruitvale Station, the story of Oscar Grant’s murder by a L.A.police officer who was charged then released after serving less than six months in jail. Pain should never be discounted or disregarded, but who cries for the sisters?
Even after the “trial of the century” open conversations regarding domestic violence; it is still a swept under the rug topic. Yolanda* is a luminous brown eyed, cafe au lait skinned young woman, with curves in all the right places. We work together but never really talked. We’re Facebook friends through mutual acquaintenances. I’d smile at her in the hallways and occasionally we might like or laugh at each other’s post. Yolanda radiates beauty, poise and confidence. Imagine my surprise when I was trolling my Facebook page only to see her recent post admitting the biggest secret we or someone we knew carried. Yolanda admitted that she suffered years of physical abuse from her husband. I was appalled. How could this bright, wonderful star be tarnished at the hands of someone who promised God he would love, honor and cherish? How did she manage to keep a smile on her face like everything was okay and go home to a prison? Why did she stay so long?
Minister TD Jakes describes abuse as the abnormal use of persons or property. We all suffer from abuse periodically. It may come from your children or coworkers trying your patience. Your boss or friends who constantly depend on you for things they are more than capable of handling. Maybe it’s that guy in traffic who hits his brakes every minute in heavy, stagnant traffic. Abuse of time, resources, and money can be controlled with behavioral modification, but what do you do about abuse of spirit? Long after the bruises have healed and disappeared emotional scars remain as fresh as a gaping wound. Every time she passes a mirror or hears a song, her memory will make her relive that horrifying experience. How do I know? I was Yolanda.
Nearly every relationship I encountered outside of marriage has ended in tears, physical abuse, and even a restraining order. What was it about my younger self that drew in psychopaths, abusers, and other dregs of society? I tried to be everything a good girlfriend could be patient, kind, loving, understanding. I lived I Corinthians 13:4-13.before I even knew what it was. I wanted to be loved so much I was willing to endure any kind of torment to keep the someone around. While I didn’t last as long as Yolanda did in her relationship, I know the way of misery. It feels like you’ve been with a bulemic vampire; you’re drained. But here comes the hard part…trying to leave an abusive relationship is hard. Don’t believe me? Then you haven’t seen What’s Love Got to Do With It? Tina suffered twenty years of physical, emotional and financial abuse at the hands of Ike Turner. Some of those violent scenes would go down as some of the most horrific in cinema history, but it is nothing compared to her autobiography, I, Tina. Why did it take her 20 years to leave him? Why did it take Yolanda eight? Why did I stay with him nearly two years? The answers go far beyond the bumps, bruises, and even death threats. The answer lies within that deeply wounded girl. The girl who sought her abuser out with an unopened mind and eager heart to love him like she wanted to be loved…because no one on earth felt that way about her–ever. Even after the bloody noses, swollen eyes, round the clock insults hurled at everything you do or say, the common denominator is every abusive relationship is fear. Fear is the invisible noose around the neck of a soul trying to break free.
The fear of being alone.
If there was bucket list comprised of things we didn’t want to do or be, alone would make it in the top ten. By now we are aware that people in relationships live longer than perpetual singles. Ever tried to have lunch alone or enjoy a book on a park bench? Someone who happens to walking or jogging by will take a break to ask about it, even though you barely moved past the acknowledgement page. It is in our nature to want to be a part of something or someone. Women in abusive relationships will stay with their tyrants if he promises to lighten up on the physical and emotional abuse. Women like me reveled in the good times and prayed the bad goes away quickly because being alone is the universal sin. Growing up as teenager, I was often teased because I didn’t have a boyfriend. My friends never understood why I went to the movies or shopping alone. They took pity on me and introduced to my first abusive boyfriend because they thought I needed a “man.” Although this guy wasn’t physically abusive, he made it a point to let me know he wasn’t interested in me and was just passing the time until something better came along. I accepted his callous behavior because I didn’t know any better, plus back then I thought that’s what boyfriends were for, to take you places and flirt with other girls, then brag about it to you later.
The fear of him hurting you and others you care about
In my first serious “adult” relationship, I was introduced to a guy because I was feeling sorry for myself for not having anyone special. The pressure of not being alone and my low self esteem led me to date someone who didn’t value himself, let alone me. I was a college student, he was a high school dropout. I went to church on Sunday, he smoked weed. I’d pay for our dates; he had another “friend.” Everything about him was wrong, but I kept going because I didn’t want to be alone. I eventually quit school to spend more time with him. He moved in, I got pregnant and hell began. He didn’t want me going anywhere without him, but was content to leave me alone while he hung out with his ex. After a confrontation with him and his friend, I threatened to leave. He threatened to kill me and our baby. I ran away to a nearby women’s shelter where a nun told to get the hell out of Dodge. The stress caused a miscarriage yet I stayed with him because I didn’t want to die. Little did I know I was already dead.
The fear that everyone will judge you
Make up, dark glasses, long sleeves in the summertime. Oh this? I ran into the coffee table. I couldn’t make it the party because Tommy wasn’t feeling well, again. Abused women are the master of excuses. I should know; I have lied my way out of numerous commitments and situations all in the name of keeping my pain to myself. The shame of captivity in a prison made of heavily armed threats, punches, and isolation is the heavy cross abused women bear. The mere idea of anyone knowing about your trouble at home is enough to send you into isolation. Why wouldn’t you want anyone to know? Maybe they can help you? The truth is most people underestimate the gravity of living in domestic hell. Once the shit hits the fan, here come the stares, the whispers, the judgement and then the questions. Removing the mask is hard enough without the constant questions and redundant opinions of “that couldn’t have been me, I would have…” No one wants or NEEDS to hear that. When the cat is finally out the bag, offer up a safe place to talk, cry, or just be.
Fear immobilizes a person even when they know salvation is right around the corner. I was in my early twenties when I was in my first physically abusive relationship. The same man who painted my toes pulled a gun on me while pregnant with his child. I’ve feared for my life, my unborn child’s life and feared what could happen next if I stayed with him. The fear of not being here was enough to make me leave with the clothes on my back and seek shelter. It wasn’t easy. I worried about what others would think. I dreaded carrying the weight of raising a child alone without a proper education, housing, or finances. The fear of it all enveloped me yet despite the fear, I had a decision to make. I fearfully chose to live, whatever that meant. I made it. Tina Turner made it and I know Yolanda will make it. Fear in the right circumstances can also be a great motivator.
This is for my fearless girls who dare to keep living in spite of the fear that tries to snuff out the wonderful light awaiting the dawn, you are not alone.