August 2008

The environment was electric!  I have been inspired like never before.  I believed in a change for all and so did the people at the Democratic Convention.  I believe in becoming a better citizen and doing my part.  I believe in being kinder to everyone annd everything.  President elect Obama spoke with style and grace.  He said positive things about Senator Clinton.  Uplifting things.  Wonderful things.  And when he talked about John McCain, he did not speak evil about the man, he spoke about his policies.  A refreshing change.  From this day, I hope politicians take note of a new way of campaigning.  We are all sick of the ugliness.  President elect, soon to be President, Barack Obama is going to help us all achieve a more perfect union.  I have never been so proud as I am now of the political process.  Thank you, our soon to be President, Barack Obama. (I hope writes a song about this.  I hope children talk about it in school.  I hope old ladies feel safer…)  Ok, I need to stop it. *wipes tears from eyes*


Michele Obama’s speech at the Democratic National Convention made me feel safe in the knowledge that America could become a more perfect union. Her speech made me proud to be a black woman and proud to be a feminist.  The former Democrats -who turned their backs on their Party, had been doing damage to my feelings of safety.  Ok, I admit that I should have stopped reading their blogs.

I grew up during the era when whites barred blacks from using public toilets, restaurants, schools and everything else.  The ugliness of the blogs of the former Democrats reminded me of white people standing in front of schools snarling at innocent black children.  They reminded me of white people barring the doors when I tried to use a bathroom in a public facility.  They reminded me of an elderly white woman who beat me with her cane when I was just a tiny child because I didn’t understand what she wanted and couldn’t tell her where the coke machine was.  The former Democrats – who now support the Republican Party, were looking and behaving just like the mean spirited people of my past.

In thinking of reasons why people would give up principles they claimed to hold dear, I asked myself these questions.  Was it just because the candidate they wanted did not win the election?  Does that mean they never believed in the core principles of the Democratic Party?  If they didn’t, why did they pretend for all these years?  Then I got it.  I came to this conclusion. They were supporting Senator Clinton because she was a White woman and not just because she was a woman.    Once she was taken out of the equation, democratic principles no longer mattered.  Only principles of skin color were of any importance.  People will show you who they are when pushed into a corner.  Flowery words will not hide the reality of what is being shown.

Many people wondered what Senator Clinton would say at the convention.  I was afraid that she would not support her party’s nominee – Barack Obama.  I am happy to say that I was wrong.  Her speech was very moving.  It reminded me of why I initially supported her in her bid to become our next President.  Her speech made me feel proud of her and for her. My only regret is that she didn’t do it sooner. But can she undo the damage?  Yes she can.  Yes we can.

I fully support Senator Clinton and President elect Barack Obama in working together for the common good.  I am proud to be an American.

First of all I am “spirit” in a body that we call human.  I am spirit before anything else.  I am here to learn, to change, and to develop.  Everything that we humans do is directly as a result of spirit evolving or spirit refusing to evolve.

 As a child I was very aware that I heard and saw things that others around me could not.  I was very clear to me that we were all spirit.  Nothing different about us except the ways we expressed ourselves….in looks, language, food, etc.  What I also learned as a child is that others forced their identity entrapments on me and treated me accordingly.  I wasn’t allowed to eat in restaurants, use public facilities or to be exposed to a system of quality education.  I was limited in my entire environment by being labeled/identified as a skin color.  No matter what I did or said, I could not escape the identity and what it meant to those that used this identity to hurt people. No matter how I look, I have never stopped being spirit in a body.  I am forced to wear the mantle of what skin color means to others because of their non-acceptance of who we all are – and how we are all connected.  By the same token, I gladly accept the mantle of goodness and all things given me under the mantle of being a spirit in the body that is identified as black.  It is a part of who I am.  And its good.

     Moving on to being a female:

I grew up in a chauvinistic household, a chauvinistic society, and a chauvinistic world.  Even though I knew I was spirit in a body…the divinity of who I am was being ripped from me daily.  Having to deal with color issues was only one mantle of my identity.  Having to deal with gender issues became another.  It did not matter what I said or did, people were only able to see me through their prism of what being female meant to them.  Its hard being a child that is meant for so much more and being constantly reminded that you’re actually nothing to the world at large. I was forced to wear their oppressive mantle/identity of being female, even though what their eyes saw was wrong.  On the other hand the body I chose to be born in is that of a female.  Everything good underneath the mantle/identity of female is what I hold dear.  It too is a part of who I am.  And its good.

     More on being a lesbian:

As my spirit reached out to learn new things and experience what brings me closer to being whole; I again was trapped behind a brick wall.  I’ve always thought women were extra special.  Most humans do if they have loving/safe mothers.  As my love for women grew to include the sexual, I was forced yet again to wear someone else’s mantle/identity of what that word means.  I was put in a horrible little perverse box that rendered any self-respect impossible.  It didn’t matter what I said or did, people only saw me as that ugly little box.  Who I was as a lesbian never matched who they said I was.  I was again forced to wear their little mantle because that’s all they can see.  As a woman who identifies with all the good things about being a lesbian, i.e. I love women; I accept the mantle/identity of being a lesbian.  It is a part of who I am.  And its good.

     My real identity has never changed.  I still view myself as spirit in a body.  Even though I have been tremendously scarred by all the negative mantles. I still manage to hold on to the one thing that is true.  I am spirit.  This spirit in a body is no different from any of the other spirits that chose to be born in human bodies.  We are all expressions of that.  Everything is an expression of spirit.  Our mantles are our colorings but are not our entirety.

The first time I got that strange feeling, I was ten years old and enrolled in a typical elementary school in small town USA.  I was sitting in a class full of noisy boys and girls. I turned around to talk to my friend Sandy who had on the shortest mini dress I had ever seen.  Sandy had yet to acquire the skills of sitting with her legs closed and probably should not have been allowed to wear such a short dress.  Every time I turned to talk to her I could see her bare legs, her inner thighs, her underwear, and I dared not look any further.  I would turn away quickly and feel this unbearable ache.

For several months I looked in encyclopedias and dictionaries for an explanation of what I was feeling.  Everything I read was about unnatural acts of perversion. Going to hell was often mentioned.  Library books and adults said that women turned into lesbians because men had hurt them. They all agreed that lesbians were not normal.

I didn’t think about lesbians again until I was fifteen.  While the family was sleeping, I would sneak out of bed and watch Tom Snyder’s Tomorrow Show. It was broadcast from New York City in the late 70s and showed everything my innocent eyes should never see.  I saw women that looked like they’d just stepped out of a horror movie. They were rough, half naked and weird looking. They said they had sex with each other.  The unbearable ache returned.  A few months later I told a friend about the weirdness of the Tom Snyder Show. She invited me to sleep over the following Friday so we could talk more.  We drank her mom’s wine and discussed the fact that neither one of us could figure out what those women do to each other. Later, we drunkenly tried a few dismal maneuvers.  The next morning I was sure I was a lesbian.  The next night she went out with her boyfriend.

What we learn as children helps to form our ideas of what it means to be a lesbian.  Negation of women and of lesbianism is often accepted as factual, natural and scientifically proven.  I no longer accept the negations as facts.  I no longer accept lesbians repeating the negations.

Being a lesbian is about loving women. It is not about how one may or may not connect with men.  It is not necessary to announce that you don’t hate men. It is only necessary to say that you love women.  Being a lesbian has nothing to do with being hurt by men, and not being able to trust them because men have failed you.  Being a lesbian is because you think women are wonderful. Being a lesbian is not about mere sex.  Being a lesbian is about loving all aspects of female energy. Being a lesbian is not about your inability to have emotional attachments to men.  Being a lesbian is about your ability to have emotional, physical, sexual, spiritual, and mental attachments to women.

There is something divinely beautiful about women and I accept that lesbians are women that love women. How we speak of our lesbianism should always be a reflection of that love.

    Black Snake Moan.  Directed and written by Craig Brewer, starring Samuel L. Jackson and Christina Ricci.

 ,     Black Snake Moan came out in 2007 but I didn’t get to see it. As I recall, it was at the movie theater one full day and then disappeared like a puff of smoke. It did not reappear in any of the neighboring towns. A week later, when I asked people that worked at the theater why it had been taken down, they didn’t know what movie I was talking about.  Right.  I thought long and hard about why the movie was snatched out of the theaters so quickly.  The only answer I could come up with was that the south was not going to tolerate a half naked white woman being chained down by some big, crazy, black buck.  That is what the advertisements led me to believe the movie was about.  What else was I going to think? 

     Whenever I saw the trailer on television I would laugh. HA! HA! I know its sick but I’m from the emotionally scarred south.  The land where white woman virtue hood was protected at all costs against the black beast and black women were skewered like pigs on a roast … by everyone. Anyhoo, the ads solicited perverse titillation. As a feminist, I should have been ashamed to admit that I found the trailers showing a trashy white woman being tethered like a wild animal by Samuel Jackson (Lazarus) funny. Oh please.  Oxymorons are supposed to be funny.  Aren’t they?    

     Last week, I purchased the DVD. I hadn’t bothered to find out who was in the film since I imagined it didn’t really matter.  All I expected to see was Samuel dragging Miss Suzy around. I saw the film in private because I didn’t want any of my friends to know that I watched something that looked like a woman was being abused for the sake of male arousal.  Ahem.

     I put the DVD in and settled into my favorite armchair, and waited for the sickness to start.  The movie opened with a man and a woman kissing.  Not Samuel.  A white guy.  Oh my goodness he was kissing that little girl from the Addams Family movies!  After I got over my shock I realized she wasn’t a cute little girl.  She was all grown up and quite hawt. The man looked a pretty picture too.  Their kiss scene was quite sexy.  I kept thinking that the man looked like Justin Timberlake but surely it wasn’t him or it would have been blown out of proportion when they advertised on the television. That’s what I reasoned, so naaah, it couldn’t be Justin.

     As I watched the movie, I realized how wrong my assumptions had been.  The blame goes to the Black Snake marketing team.  I thought I would watch a little bit of nothing but it turned out to be a whole lot of something. Absolute brilliance is what it was.  The story was both strange and beautiful. This combination always works for me. Once I’d realized the depth of what I was watching, I felt ashamed of my previous thoughts.  I was a bad feminist.    

     I’m not going to give explicit details about the movie because I hate it when people do that to me.  By the time I tell you about every scene, detail by detail, you will no longer have a reason to watch the movie.  All I will say is that it is a story about two wounded people finding redemption in an unexpected way. 

     The actors were all fantastic but I’m going to mention only three.  Samuel Jackson, as always, gets two hands up which is way better than two thumbs up. Christina Ricci was stupendous.  Her dyed blonde hair even looked good.  Who knew?  Because of how well she played the role of Rae, I’m now a big fan and hope to see her in more movies.  Imagine my surprise when I found out that the guy that looked liked Justin Timberlake really was Justin Timberlake.  Yikes.  The boy is now a man. His acting wasn’t bad either. 

     Expensive special effects and watching cars and buildings being blown up does not impress me. What’s important is a good story and characters that feel real.  That’s why I love Jim Jarmusch movies. Because Craig Brewer made the story and characters so vivid and mesmerizing in Black Snake Moan, I’m now going to look out for more of his work.

     I recommend this movie to all thinking adults. Go out and buy it right now! Craig deserves every penny.  I do have one word of advice for Mr. Brewer though.  Don’t use that Boy’s Club marketing team ever again.  They sucked. They kept people that could actually appreciate your movie from watching it and solicited males who couldn’t take their hands out of their pockets long enough for their brains to work.  Check out the comment shown on Wikipedia about the marketing.  In April 2008, Christina Ricci commented on the promotional movie poster for the film, claiming it exploited women:  “The way that movie was marketed was probably one of the most disappointing and upsetting things that’s ever happened to me in my career. I have no interest in exploiting women any further than they’ve already been exploited…All they [marketing bosses] cared about was college-age boys going to see it.”

     Pay attention Hollywood.  Your marketing caused this movie not to do as well as it should have at the box office.