Archive for the ‘musings’ Category

#3 f’d up people you admire- personal, regional & iconic

Our 3rd installation of the f’d up series features our sensational 6

sharing 3 people they think are pretty f’d up:

who they are + how/where we met + how they’re f’d up + links to the original video + links to their works around

#2 what do you do in your personal life that’s a little F’ed up?

Links:

Victims Speak Out

Women of Antigua: When a Woman Moans

addfyahandstir’s bookshelf

Full length individual videos with transcripts:

| hair removal |  make upconversation & speaking upVictims Speak Out | performance arts |  reading and writing |

Sheltered/Grown/Loved

I’ve been having a rough couple days – both my body and my emotions have been out of whack. Yesterday, I promised myself I would write about bits of my experience being back in St. Kitts but today I  didn’t have the capacity for that either. Determined to share something, I came across this piece I wrote for my parents’ 25th anniversary. A lot of being in St. Kitts is about being in my parents’ house since I rarely leave it. And being home, I am reminded once more of the love my parents have for each other and for me and how much those loves have shaped who I am and how I love.

I have grown up in the shelter of my parents’ love.

When I was younger, I understood the key word in that statement to be “shelter”. With the help of private primary schooling, my parents protected me from everything it seemed to me. Every party in high school meant a new argument about the curfew imposed on me… all I knew was pick up time ended in “p.m.” as opposed to “a.m.”. Every argument meant a fight I would lose… I heard stories at school about friends receiving permission from one parent to do something after the other parent said no, but my parents were a unified front – no divide and conquer techniques would work on the pair who answered my questions with an “I’ll talk to your father about it and get back to you” or a “Sounds ok, but don’t take that as a yes, let me check with your mother.” And every lost fight meant an explanation after – slammed doors would be opened, their momentarily raised voices would be apologized for, my shoulders tense with effort to hold onto anger would be hugged loose.

I have grown up in the shelter of my parents’ love.

The “grown up” part is very important. I have been amazed at how much my relationship with Daddy has bloomed with music – erratic but smooth jazz melodies, witty kaiso lyrics and simply chill reggae meditations. The jazz I didn’t love at first, the kaiso I didn’t take the time to know, and the reggae I could just never take the time to sit with him in silence before. And now, I wear my mother’s clothes, wrap my head in her fabrics, and am seeing more of her face in mine everyday.

I have grown up in the shelter of my parents’ love.

Now I know the most important word is “love”. My parents as a unified force have loved me in ways I could not begin to know how to thank them for. They have given me a blueprint for life, not only in the way they treat me – but in the way they treat each other. Forever understanding. Forever supporting. Forever growing together from ballroom dancing lessons, to raw food diets. I have grown up seeing a love that most persons can only dream of… and as I return each year and see them look happier and more in love than before, I know that for them, 25 years is only the beginning.

In Defence of Bad Decisions

One of my guilty pleasure celebrity crushes is Vince Vaughn. His characters are the same in all his films and he often talks about getting together, usually in party situations, and making some good old-fashioned bad decisions. He is speaking about alcohol inspired bad decisions which are not endorsed by Addfyahandstir, but ice cream, pizza, deep fried anything, sleeping in a little longer, giving your number to  that cutie you met in the streets, buying an item of clothing you love but don’t need. All these things can be classified as bad decisions but don’t they sometimes make you feel oh so good.

Disclaimer: this is not about obviously dangerous and risky behaviour, but the deviations from your linear plan that can bring a smile to your face, I want to propose, are good bad decisions that can bring light and joy to an otherwise dreary day/time/space.

I spoke to a wise woman this weekend who told me about a time that after a particularly bad day at her job she stopped off at the store and bought a pint of ice cream and six candy bars. She went home and used those six candy bars as a spoon (my heroine) and finished the pint of ice cream while watching television. The look on her face as she retold this experience made it clear to me that her therapy came at the bottom of that pint of ice cream.

A once in a while splurge, leap of (blind) faith, or release can be just what we need at times in our lives. You know others may not agree, you know that tomorrow’s gym session may need to be a little more rigorous, or the budget may need some tweaking next time or you may have to avoid some phone calls for a bit but there is something to be said for a even a little bit of instant gratificaiton/rule breaking/ brukking out, once is a while. I think we all deserve it.

Disclaimer again, don’t tell people that I am  suggesting that you derail your emotional and physical  health, financial goals, career and general well being for a quick fix. Keep your overall goals in mind but a treat once in a while can be what I  need to take me through the Mondays (like today).

For me I think it’s listening to slackness ( this song may be a problem),  buying make-up (the pretty-pretty colours) and splurging on a meal. I know that my sensibilities, budget and belly take their hits but what can I say, it makes me feel good.

Do you agree with my line of defence? What are your good bad decisions?

In Complexity and Complicity

I watched the Melissa Harris Perry show  for the first this weekend, and I think I’m hooked.  #nerdland stand up!

On Saturday’s show, one of my feminist mentors  Joan Morgan and a few other panellists were talking about the 15th anniversary of the death of  the Notorious B.I.G  and hip hop culture in general and it was a amazing 20 minutes of television.  There were biggie quotes and music clips and a shout outs to female emcees and a discourse on hip hop that you would be hard pressed to find on any other mainstream show.

What really struck me was when Joan Morgan spoke of her relationship with hip hop being one of complexity and complicity. This was one of the clinchers in her 2000 book When Chickenheads Come Home to Roost. How can we be feminist when we sometimes *cringe* like/accept/promote the very things that we are seeking to challenge? It is present not only in music, but all over our culture and manifests through interpersonal relationships, cultural events (sigh, my beloved carnival) and socio-political life.

I was hoping that this discussion, among others that I have had or listened to, would have some magical answer for addressing this issue, something that I could add to my feminist care package to carry around along with my cell phone and keys and eloquently whip out when I am challenged by others and even by myself. Don’t know if that answer exists.

What I do get from these discussions is the dynamism of this cause we call social justice. We have lots of suggestions and ideas but cannot declare any as the way. We question and we analyse and we make choices individually and in our collectives that we hope to chip away at inequality and oppression. I also come away renewed that feminism actively engaging women and all marginalised groups in all our interconnectedness is the missing piece to the puzzle. Our voices, our action, our curiosity is critical to our survival as long we strive towards social justice.

Music Wednesday

Happy New Year!

I have been listening to music on shuffle am thoroughly enjoying the randomness and re-discovery. Allow me to share some gems that i have happened upon that made me laugh, shake my head or do the body wave.

1. Madonna– Take a Bow

I really really really love this song. I remember listening to it on repeat when I was in high school, amazed by the rawness and sincerity. I very likely was going through a puppy love situation at the time and juxtaposing my life into the grown-womaness of Madonna’s words in only the way a 14-yea-old could.

2. Home T, Cocoa Tea and Shabba Ranks – Pirates

My home was always full of music and I have fond memories of long car rides with my Dad in particular where he would be blasting all forms of music from the old Subaru stereo system as we would be traipsing across the island. My Dad would tackle many complex societal issues through these songs.

I remember asking him about Buju Banton‘s song  Love mi Browning. What’s a Browning? I asked. Daddy took the time to explain colorism  and the resulting discrimination to me in a way I could understand and even introduced me to Buju’s peddle back  Love Black Woman and invited me to think on motivations and reactions to both songs.

Back to Pirates. I was amazed that Shabba and them had to fight to be able to play their music in the UK where this song is set and my Dad was able to show me that there was similar discrimination right at home in the island where certain artists and genres were vilified. The UK offered up more racial and xenophobic (at that time it appeared that way) motivations and tensions and he told me about how Jamaicans and generally Caribbean people were treated when they migrated north in search of ‘ a better life’

3. En VougeMy Lovin (Never Gonna get it)

This is a great song but when I listen to it I am drawn to remember the video and the dance sequence featuring the lovely ladies of En Vouge. Their sweeping hand movements and deliberate hip thrusts, is EXACTLY how my Mom dances. I always tease her that she was the lost member of the group but she ignores me and slow body rocks her way through any and every form of music, and it always seems to work.

Hope u enjoy and cheers to randomness and memories and dancing and old tunes and youtube.

Things I hate writing

I’m applying for schools and am trying to get everything arranged to send off my applications in the next month or two and so much writing is involved – so I was inspired to write this post.

  1. Stuff about myself – whether the personal statement for grad schools, the “who am I” for this blog or the short bios for conferences, I HATE writing things that are supposed to tell you who I am. How am I supposed to sum up twenty something years of fantabulousness in 50,000 words much less 500? Synthesizing, summarizing and all other ‘izing’ things that I’m supposed to do in order to give people a “short description” of myself are processes that frustrate me no end. Maybe this means I shouldn’t be going to grad school?
  2. Cover letters – Resumes I can get down with, all I have to do is google a few job descriptions, sit down a few hours and play with margins and fonts to get it to fit onto one page. Tedious but very doable. This falls under point #1 but I really feel it needs to be it’s own point – telling you who I am in one page is ridiculous! When I was last ardently searching for a job, I felt like I was going through an identity crisis – when you’re applying for work as a Teller in a bank, an anti-oppression Workshop Facilitator and an Administrative Assistant at a University, you’re recreating yourself using the facts of your life on an hourly basis and it’s easy to forget who you are.
  3. Emails asking people to do things – I had to email profs to ask them for reference letters. I just hate it. I’m awkward, especially in my head, and have yet to figure out if I’m supposed to pretend I’m writing you to catch up by asking  perfunctory questions like “How are you?” and “How are your classes this year?” or just get straight to the point because you know and I know I’m only writing you to ask you for a favour.
  4. Prolonged sext messages– I’m not even going to get into the whole issue of someone having a transcript of my wutlessness. Let’s pretend there’s a real thing called trusting someone completely for this item on the list. So I’m perfectly capable of sending out a suggestive/wutliss text/IM or two, but the prolonged back and forth just gets, yes, awkward for me. Really are we typing back and forth about who’s going how in where with what? There’s only so long this can go on before it gets ridiculous. Get a webcam (remember I said, we’re operating on the complete trust thing), buy a plane ticket or something. There’s only so much I can take seeing written without feeling like I’m reading a bad Zane novel.

Am I missing anything? What else should I hate writing?

Mid-September thoughts

  • I live in a small island and there are many people that I am not even causally acquainted with but I know a lot of their personal business. I may know their business through girl talk,  observation or plain old being in the right place at the right time.  When I see some of these folk in the streets I chuckle or mentally big up or empathise according to the situation and I am pretty sure that these people have no idea that I am all up in their lives. I often think about the possibility that there are people who may see me traipsing around and know all my drama as well. I don’t think my business is half  as sensational as that of some of the people who I learn about but still,  I try to keep it interesting. 
  •  I gotta get off Facebook. Stupid arguments, annoying ‘inspirational’ status updates, the over 600 ‘friends’ I have managed to accumulate ( of which I actually know maybe 150) what more can I say? The recent changes regarding FB deciding to tag your friends without your permission and their other flagrant privacy fouls over the years are really about to push me over the edge.   I have never been an active Facebooker and I *sometimes* use it to gather some of the intelligence I spoke of earlier or more recently kick up some dust in a rousing game of Words with Friends, but other than that it’s a mess. I often advise folks who don’t have an FB account ( there are a few out there) to stay away and there are times when I just cannot bother.
  • I wish I could saang! Sigh, I wish I could sing, I admire and envy people who can belt out their favorite songs and those that can make a living from voice talents. From Billie Holliday to Lauryn Hill to Adele to Queen Ifrica I so enjoy the different ranges and intonations styles and perspectives. The real talk is that I would probably be insufferable, singing at every chance I get and I would be one with a million youtube videos kindly soliciting your support :). For now, I will sing in my room and in my car and for those unlucky  friends that catch me trying a thing.

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