#mymothermademedrink – April 30, 2016

*rings*

*dog barks*

Hello…

My mother called to give me an update on her boobs. She’s a two-time breast cancer survivor (#fuckcancer)…and she’s annoyed by the scar.

“It’s just a little scar”

“That’s true. Okay. Be careful! Bye!”

“Wait. What do I need to be careful of?”

“Oh. I was watching the news. Body parts being found. Shootings in Scarborough…shootings in Etobicoke…”

“Well. I never go to Scarborough or Etobicoke”

“Neither do I thank god. Because I don’t know what the fuck is going on in this world…”

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I’m just as shocked as you. (p.s. G’head Fran…another survivor)

My mother RARELY swears and if she chooses to use the word “fuck”, she normally muffles it. Yes. She censors herself.

This time she didn’t.

I’m clutching my pearls.

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Beyonce’s Lemonade Explains Why I’m Single…

First, lemme get some things out of the way so that you can understand the context of this post.

  • I’m NOT a Bey stan. I’ve never seen her in concert. I’ve paid to see Solage and Hov, but have no desire to see Bey in concert.
  • I do not tear out my edges and sacrifice them on a bee-covered altar every time she releases something.
  • The first full ALBUM I’ve owned by Ms. B was her last album.
  • If the headline made you think that you’ll find hotepisms or AshyCheyB quotes scattered throughout this post, you have come to the wrong place.

Okay. Let’s proceed.

First Listen

I tuned in shortly after Lemonade dropped. I had ignored social media for the hours leading up to it for unrelated reasons. When I did tune in, my TL was covered in lemon emojis. With a sigh I thought, “what has Beysus done now?” I found a link to Lemonade (HBO Canada, who dropped the ball on this?) and listened with half an ear. Even then, I only listened to a few tracks.

Hey…this is good. The kind where you find you’re screwing up your face as you nod along.

Second Listen

Woke up the next morning and all my chats were LEMONADE focused. Found another link (seriously MTV Canada, MuchMusic…Vice…anyone? Beyoncé could very well be on the $20…she’s guaranteed to print you money) and watched again.

WAIT. “HOT SAUCE” is her BAT?!!? Wooooi. G’head Bey!

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Sidebar: when should I tell a man that I already own a bat?

(I really do. It’s a treasured memento from my days on my Junior and High school teams. First girl to play on my elementary school’s team…)

I’m am HERE for angry Beyoncé. Bat-wielding Beyoncé. Set shit on fire Beyoncé. Rip out her sternum Beyoncé.

Gone is the “Cater 2 U” Beyoncé. The “Crazy in Love” Beyoncé would “…rather be crazy” and I LOVE this.

Friends have started to ask me directly for my thoughts. But there are LEVELS. I’m not ready yet. Instead I gossip about “Becky with the good hair” (my official theory: “Becky”is a composite). One friend admits she had to google where your sternum is located…I admit that I already knew because I have threatened to rip one out before. I joke that hell hath no fury like a Virgo woman scorned. When it’s really bad, we’ll go silent and then rip you apart when you least expect it. This will happen months….YEARS later.

When you thought you were safe.

Third Listen

One of my girlfriends texts me to say we have to go for drinks and discuss Lemonade in depth.

“hahahaha, I legit thougt of you at a couple of moments hahah.” I’ve decided my favourite song is “Sorry”. But not because of Becky, but because of the hook.

“I ain’t sorry…I ain’t sorry…I ain’t sorry…”

THIS Beyoncé I love. The defiantly unapologetic Beyoncé.

That’s when I realized why I was single. Well, not REALIZED, but had something that could confirm it.

This album – and really it IS an album; there is not ONE radio-friendly song on here – examines relationships. Not just THE relationship between her and Jay, but ALL her relationships. She talks about the work, the effort, the struggle, the pain, the joy, the confusion, the conflict.

RELATIONSHIPS ARE HARD YO.

Whenever I hear stories from my girlfriends who are in relationships I roll my eyes and say, “THIS is why I’m single. I can’t deal with this shit.”

(Again. I always forget to add “again”.)

It’s true. I’m not ready to accept a person’s failings. I’ve done that. I’m not ready to put in the effort, especially if I don’t think the effort will be matched.

You ain’t trying hard enough
You ain’t loving hard enough
You don’t love me deep enough
We not reaching peaks enough
Blindly in love, I fucks with you
‘Til I realize, I’m just too much for you
I’m just too much for you

I often say/warn people that I’m a LOT to deal with”. In the past, I’ve slowed down to match someone’s pace. Compromised to match. Conceded to match.

Notice how I frame all of these as negatives? Because that’s how I view what so many others call “balance”.

Let me be clear: I’m not looking for PASSION or CONFLICT or DRAMA. But I am looking for someone to walk in stride with me. Not behind. Not ahead. By my side. Does this make sense?

Fourth Listen

Hold up, they don’t love you like I love you
Slow down, they don’t love you like I love you
Back up, they don’t love you like I love you

Oooh. This I know. I love fiercely. I will be your number one cheerleader. I will “Spend my life in the dark for the sake of you and me.” The very idea of giving that much and not getting that in return?

(Where’s that bat?)

Ooooookaaaaay. Lemme give “forgiveness Beyoncé a listen. On “Sandcastles”, I realize she’s playing the keyboard. I had just been reminded that Prince told her to learn piano and she’d be unstoppable. Sounds like she listened. G’head Bey…

Her voice breaks on Sandcastles, and sigh. There it is. I know that break so well. That break is when you realize that the person standing in front of you doesn’t give what you give. They don’t love you like you love them. They’ve taken all that shine and they still choose to leave you in the dark.

You’re not angry. You’re not even annoyed. You are just so, disappointed.

So very disappointed.

With yourself. Disappointed that you let this person past all your boundaries. That you conceded on things. That you compromised. That you forgave failings. That you slowed down and you are not where you want to be because you didn’t want to leave THEM behind.

That you made lemonade out of lemons..

That they KNEW all this and they STILL fucked up.

You’re not even as mad at them as you are at yourself.

These feelings apply to ALL relationships. Romantic. Friendship. Situationships.

All. Of. Them.

So begins the process of forgiveness and letting go, because YOU will never be able to move forward unless you do. You leave them behind as they cry. But another brick is added to the wall around yourself. A brick that no one else can chip away at. It’s a little piece to remind you.

Don’t hurt yourself.

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So, now I own TWO Beyoncé albums

xo/rr

*NB this post is about how aspects of this album relate to me on a personal level. If you’re looking for a good breakdown of the album and all the themes, read this piece by Sajae Elder on Noisey

Sometimes It Snows In April

It snowed in April. It always snows in April.

Prince taught me that lesson when I was 10. Living in city not too different from his, we both experienced the same strange weather year after year. Every year, it snows in April. Every year, someone expresses surprise. I’m never surprised.

The song is about loss; that’s the lesson I learned.

Prince holds a very special place for me. I’m a fan who can easily spout off tidbits and facts, yes. But I’m grateful to him because he is the one bond I had with my late sister.

My sister and I never got along as kids. NEVER. We disowned each other about six times in one year. Our fights were over everything. They were loud, violent (there’s a wall that bears the imprint of my head somewhere), vitriolic. We disagreed on religion, politics, social issues, sports, and music.

She liked classic RnB; I liked Brit Pop. She liked West Coast; I liked East Coast. She liked Led Zepplin; I liked Guns n’ Roses. She liked Britney; I liked Christina.

But Prince? We agreed on him. She was the bigger fan, but we always agreed.

As adults, we grew closer and going to see Prince became our one sisterly bonding act. We didn’t shop together, brunch together, or spend hours on the phone.But Prince announced a concert…we knew we were going with each other.Boyfriends weren’t invited. BFFs weren’t invited.

This was for us.

My favourite show was a place called Koolhaus…at the end of the show, I was able to use my connections and take her to the after party. As the sun came up, we headed home and along the way, we danced and skipped along the streets screaming at each other, “WE PARTIED WITH PRINCE!”

When she was hospitalized, the only comfort she asked for were CDs to listen to. No TV, no books. She wanted a variety of her favourites, which I took out of their jewel cases and placed in sleeves. She asked for Greatest Hits/B-Sides for efficiency. Those CD still sit in their sleeves…I’ve never returned them to their cases.

When she died on New Year’s Day. My world went silent. I didn’t hear anything for days. During her visitation, I insisted that Prince be played. I listened to the Purple Rain soundtrack while I did her hair and makeup (I didn’t trust the mortician to get it right). I designed her headstone to place the Love Symbol between the year she was born and the year she died. I asked that everyone wear something purple… just like our concert tickets would tell us to.

For four days, I looked at blank screen while I tried to compose a eulogy for my big sister. I couldn’t do it. Finally the words came. I don’t remember much of it, but I know I ended it with this:

Sometimes it snows in April
Sometimes I feel so bad, 
Sometimes I wish life was never ending,
And all good things, they say, never last

Years after she died, I went to one more concert. One of my dearest friends treated me to front row seats and insisted that we go. I danced, I sang, and when I went home, I cried. I felt like I had broken a bond.

I never saw him perform live again. Every time he announced a show, someone would ask, “why aren’t YOU going?” and sometimes I would explain. More often I wouldn’t. Because I’d have to explain loss…and I still don’t know how to do that.

Today my world went silent again. Friends who knew of this connection called and texted. My mother called. I turned off my phone. I sat down and wrote this.

To say thank you.

Thank you Prince Rogers Nelson for giving me time to dance with my sister.

I hope you both find the answer to the April snow.

#mymothermademedrink – April 18, 2016

Enjoying some peace and quiet in the shower and letting the deep conditioner do its thing while I shave my legs.

*phone rings*

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Meh. It’s probably my girl confirming out meeting time of 2pm…

*phone stops. rings again*

SHIT

I now run out of the shower, because if you call me back to back…it’s an emergency.

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Towel halfway wrapped around me, I run to retrieve the phone in the living room. Pick up and drop phone with soapy wet fingers. Pick up phone again and get a mild shock because I’M SOAKING WET AND THE PHONE IS CHARGING.

“Hi! Hang on (drop phone activate speaker). What’s wrong!?

“You’re not superstitious right?”

“I was in the shower! Two calls in a row is an emergency!”

“Well. I didn’t KNOW you were in the shower…So. As I was saying…”

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#mymothermademedrink

If I have to run out of a shower sopping wet, there better be a Ryan Reynolds to trip over and not just a Yorkie Doodle!

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#MusicMood – Dangerous Woman

Oh, yeah

Don’t need permission
Made my decision to test my limits
‘Cause it’s my business, God as my witness
Start what I finished
Don’t need no hold up
Taking control of this kind of moment
I’m locked and loaded
Completely focused, my mind is open

I was called a Dangerous Woman. I was confused at the time (I was 19) and 20 years later, confused and offended.

She may be dressed like a Snorkin Labbit* at a fetish ball…but she can sing

 

Word of the Day: Transmorgrify

I have questions.

These questions have been bubbling for a minute now. But the announcement today of the #BlaccRob engagement makes me want to ask them out loud. This happened with Ciara and Russel Wilson a few weeks ago, and I’m sure has happened with other famous and non-famous folks for years now. I’m just using these two as examples.

A woman is with a dude who isn’t – let’s be fair here – great.

For whatever reason, they break up. The dude who wasn’t…great continues being not so great and living his life like it’s golden.

When they were together, the guy was celebrated by other men for having a “fine ass woman”…a woman who is a freak in the sheets. A woman who has the perfect face, the perfect hair (re: weave), the perfect whatever. When they were together, the woman may have even had a special “designation”:

She has a kid – she’s wifey/babymoms

She gets his named tattoo’d on her – she’s a ride or die

She marries him – she’s a wife

She lives with him – she’s a “girl”

Then. The breakup.

For WHATEVER REASON because that’s not what I’m here to question.

The woman starts a new relationship and this relationship is on new terms. This relationship doesn’t unfold under the same circumstances as the last one. She seems happy. New dude seems happy.

Boom. They get engaged. Or move in together. Or have a kid.

Said girl/wifey/ride or die/wife has now becomes a “hoe”. With a high body count.

This is my question: at what point does that woman transmogrify into a hoe?

Is it when the other dude has sex with her for that first time (increasing this “body count)?

Is it when they commit to each other?

Is it when he says he loves her?

Is it when they move in together?

When does it happen? I really want to know.

Oh. I have another question. When it happens to a non-famous dude – let’s say it happens to YOU –  do  you ever wonder what kind of reflection this has on your character? Your choices? Because if being with a  hoe is a bad thing for a guy to do, and you’re now worried about new guy’s reputation since he’s decided to wife up a hoe. If said hoe has been with so many dudes before she got with this guy.

WHAT. DOES. IT. SAY. ABOUT. YOU. IF. YOU. HAD. THE. SAME. “HOE”?

Do the guys that came before you not count? Are they erased? Did you penis magically transmogrify her vagina and erase all those other penises? OH MY GOD! IS YOUR PENIS MAGICAL? DOES IT HAVE THAT KIND OF POWER? Let’s say it doesn’t. Back to my original question: YOU chose her. YOU dated her. YOU may have even had a CHILD with her. What renders her a “hoe”? Because she chose poorly?

*by “poorly”…I mean she chose you at some point.

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Imma sip this tea while I wait for the answers to my questions…