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Lia's House of Anarchy
Where Evens Are Odded
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This is just a collection of thoughts that have been rattling around my head for a while. There's no conclusion because I have no recommendations or solutions. In other words, academic post is academic.

So, Red Tails. It's not a bad movie, but it's not really a good movie. It starts after the story begins and ends before the story is finished. The characters aren't terribly fleshed out, and were I a betting gal, I'd wager Terrence Howard and Cuba Gooding Jr. gave themselves those roles without offering them up to the masses. And I just don't really like war movies. Generally, for my personal enjoyment, I need people getting shot to be secondary to the plot.

That said, here's what else it's not -- It's not Tyler Perry Movie Part 756, and it's not another installment of Blaxploitation 2.0.

I get that Tyler Perry has a pretty firmly installed fanbase and a broader audience of people who will just pay to see black people on a screen doing something that isn't robbery, rape, or murder, but the movies are preachy and not so much individual works as volumes in a series and, of the ones I've seen, they pretty much focus on valuing women based on the quality/qualities of the men they choose to sleep with and his level of commitment to them. If you manage to marry a guy who doesn't hit you or cheat on you or rape your daughter by the end, you must be a worthwhile individual. Good job! Can't really fault his grasp of reality there, though, as black women are in actuality pretty much entirely measured by the men in their lives. Women who reach, say, their mid-twenties without being married, having been married, or having had children are obviously defective, and men within five minutes of meeting them often feel it's their right to demand to know in what way, so as to determine to what degree these women are worth pursuing.

Side note: I couldn't tell you whether this is true among other races/ethnicities/cultures, only that I've only been asked the series of questions -- Are you married? Do you have kids? How old are you? What's wrong with you? -- as such by black men.

Then there's the urban (read: ghetto) comedy. And as much as low-brow humor based on cheap stereotypes really grates my nerves, I can't even be mad at Friday and its spawn because I see it as a sort of pendulum swing from the gang dramas of the '90s, and I have respect for those. I don't know if it's that I was so young and naive at the time and haven't watched them in this millennium or if it's that as formulaic -- and as they grew more numerous, largely uninspired -- as they could be, I remember them as a genuine expression of pain from a subnation in self-destruct mode.

So I feel like the turn to from urban drama to urban comedy was a sort of a natural counter to the hopelessness, and the best way I can try to explain it is to go to one of my mom's favorite mantras that she got from her mom -- you may as well laugh as to cry.

But the thing is, that's, like, all there is for black people to get to speak three sentences in a movie, along with the occasional YA inspirational flick -- Akeelah and the Bee, The Great Debaters, Stomp the Yard, and you get my point.

All that said, going back to Red Tails. This is a project from an actor with a Best Actor Oscar nom, an actor with a Best Supporting Actor Oscar win, and one of the most financially successful producers of all time, and studios refused it. So against that background, it makes a World War II movie fucking revolutionary, doesn't it?

So by a miracle, the project is able to get made and released, and this miracle is George Lucas' riches. And now it's a case study. For all future movies featuring predominantly black casts that don't fall into the genre of Thing By Tyler Perry or Tales From the Streets, it serves as a precedent, whether it wants to or not. If it fails, this project from the man who brought you the Star Wars and Indiana Jones franchises could not make white people pay to see black, and if he can't, then whoever could? And if it makes money, then hey, it turns out black people are people, too, and whoda thunk?

Well, maybe those aren't the right terms. Maybe it's more like, is there room for black actors to be anything more than black characters? Or black caricatures? Morally, the answer is obvious -- black people can be whatever they want to be (I can be president! Not really) and if racial prejudice stands in their way, they should just break right through it, etc., but how? As long as studio execs think people won't pay to see the movies, they won't make them, so there has to be some evidence. Back to the case study.

Will the audience pay? If I'm the consumer and potential audience and my answer is that yes, I will pay to see a movie giving black people a chance to take a small step out of the box, do I have a responsibility to see this movie and encourage others to do the same? Even if I don't love the movie, am I obligated to reward the risk to encourage others to take it in the future?
jaeliyah
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jaeliyah
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Went to the doctor on Friday. Need to elevate my feet, which I'm not doing now, and consume less sodium, which I'm going to try to do starting tomorrow. And apparently, I have benign tumors in my feet, which is sort of gross. He says we won't know what they're made of until someone cuts them out, which makes me sad because it will be that much longer until I can wear sandals again.

*sigh*

I suppose that's news-like. Sick and tired of being sick and tired. Bleh.
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Two things:
1) Meds. Apparently, Synthroid is a tier 2 medication. This means that even the insurance company recognizes that generics aren't perfect imitations or at least can't justify denying it. Also, that means I pay $30 for it instead of the $50 it would cost if the insurance company decided that a generic would work just as well.

2) Being sick like this feels weird. Like, the fact is, I feel bad. I feel tired. I feel irritable. I don't like not being able to identify it because it feels like I don't have a reason. So I can't argue with my review at work saying I'm unmotivated and unreliable. I can't argue with my parents telling me how lazy I am because I sleep too much. So I have this accompanying guilt because I feel like I should be doing more things. I should be making and selling jewelry. I should be reading more books. I should be prepping to go back to school. I should be doing...something.
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OK, so thyroid thing. I've been exhausted for weeks now and the sleep I get isn't good sleep. When I'm at work, other people keep borrowing my blankets to battle the arctic atmosphere, and I feel no need for them. I'm comfortable temperature-wise even though I'm told it's freezing. I've been, like, STARVING for the past few weeks and craving pizza all the time. My cycle has been off time-wise and symptoms have been super intense.

I thought this was all attributable to thyroid wackiness. But twice now, I've been told my thyroid levels are within normal range. Only the insomnia and menstrual insanity are getting worse. That's making me really worried because I'd been working off the assumption that once my thyroid regulated, it would all go away. Except my thyroid is regulated, and I still feel crappy.

I don't know why it only just occurred to me, but I googled my prescription, and it turns out these are side effects of the medicine, and it's not unheard of for people to experience these symptoms with their thyroid hormone levels falling in normal range.

So I emailed, and the suggestion I got back was that I get more blood work done in 6-8 weeks and see what it looks like. I am right now literally holding back tears at my desk in my office at the thought of feeling like this or getting worse for another 6-8 weeks with nothing being done about it.

ETA: Just heard back. New suggestion is to make sure I'm getting the brand name instead of the generic meds, which is a difference of $40. A month. Likely for the rest of my life. Dammit.

I had more to say, but I don't remember what. *tired*
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Just need to unload this from my brain.

Have you ever had someone say something to you flippantly or jokingly that just hit you in the middle of some confluence of circumstances in such a way that it managed to just knock the wind out of you?

1) I've been following Sociological Images and racebending for a while, and I can accept that I'm more sensitive to racial issues than I once might have been.

2) I have always been sensitive to my personal racial identity. Most of my close friends are white, and people have been kind of resentful, for lack of a better word, of this about me in the past.

But the fact is I'm black, just as I always have been. The farthest back I can trace my family in any direction is five generations because I'm descended from slaves whose identites were stolen from them. People look at me and make the same judgments.

But I guess people get comfortable and forget this about me. In their defense, I tend to let them because people find racial tension so uncomfortable, and nobody likes a downer.

Yesterday was the anniversary of a fairly important and historically celebrated day in African-American history. For those who don't know, the Emancipation Proclamation officially took effect January 1, 1863, but June 19, 1964, is when it was actually announced to the slaves.

So I made a post on Facebook yesterday wishing everybody a happy Juneteenth, followed by something to the effect of "Cheers for black people not being slaves anymore and for them actually finding out about it." Within minutes, I get a comment that reads, "Says the whitest black person I know."

I don't think I could've been more surprised if she'd punched me in the gut. And I know random strangers and acquaintances think that about me, but what gets me is this is a person I've considered a friend for 20 years. And here she is basically telling me and everyone I know on Facebook that I'm not worthy of the gratitude I feel for not being born into slavery because I don't behave the way she thinks a black person should?

And more than offensive, it was hurtful. I do think she thought she was being funny, but is that funny to people? Am I deserving of that little respect? Is all I am to my friends the punchline of a racist joke?
jaeliyah
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I was raised to believe/realize/understand that too much of my presence is undesirable and to be avoided at all costs. My mother was always very emphatic in explaining to me that there is a time threshold in human interaction and once I passed it, the people I cared for would no longer tolerate me, and she was careful to ensure that I observed this threshold in my time with friends when I was young.

I have also learned throughout my life from various outlets that I'm too verbose, too loud, too hyper, too much. My mother, father and brother, the people who've had the most interactions with me in my life, have told me on countless occasions how selfish and unpleasant I am/can be.

So I always bristle when people talk to me about "when" I'll get married and have children. As though finding this mythical perfect-for-me man (henceforth known as my unicorn) is a given to be automatically followed by offspring to whom I will inexplicably find myself unconditionally attached.

Because even if I did find this unicorn and even if I did love him and even if we did have children and even if I did love them -- none of which are even close to guaranteed -- am I really so selfish and unpleasant that I would inflict myself on people that I care about forever?
jaeliyah
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Wow. I'm having a spate of good luck financially, of which I'm naturally suspicious, as is my way. Still I'm enjoying it. Got more than expected for my tax return, actually got tax return paperwork in the middle of January instead of early February, and the deposit showed up in my bank account a week later.

Add to that the twist of circumstances that allowed me to entirely forego rent next month, and I can get all my credit cards paid off entirely within the week. Which is pretty frigging awesome. I feel positively liberated.

Also, went to the endocrinologist on Friday and found out that with my upgraded insurance plan, even though it's more expensive, my co-pay is cut in half. For a specialist. That means my endocrinologist, my dermatologist, and those weekend visits to Care Now now cost $20 instead of $40. Hells to the yeah.

It feels like the fiscal gods have finally stopped shitting on my head and smiled at me. I don't know if it means they're just taking a break, but if it does, at least this gives me time to recover before they start again, and I'm sure as hell about to take advantage of it.
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I guess I'll start with the obvious -- I haven't posted in ages. But there hasn't been anything to post. I'm not really sick anymore, but I'm still exhausted all the time with funky/ineffective sleeping habits. I'm frustrated with my job situation. I feel stuck in this place because my brother is kind of a snob and doesn't want to live in the kind of place he could afford on his own, and I promised him we could move in together for a while and I'd help him out. Trouble with that is he's not really doing much to move out of our dad's house, so I'm getting a bit annoyed with him. And I think he still resents me a little bit for moving out into an apartment by myself before even though I told him the day I went apartment hunting I didn't intend to come back without a lease signed, which is what I did, and asked him if he wanted me to look for a 2-bedroom then, and he said no.

None of this is new or any less exhausting or tedious. It's just...still. I'm just stuck in this place in my life.

But I made a different kind of resolution this year. A real one. One that I want to keep. One that I enjoy keeping. As of January 12, I vowed to make something every day. It hasn't been very long, and it hasn't had any terribly interesting plans to compete with, but I've been doing well so far and tracking my projects on my Tumblr:
http://epoxymoron.tumblr.com/

It's been almost entirely chainmaille jewelry thus far, and I've been posting the pictures of the better pieces on the Facebook page of one of my suppliers. And I've been getting really positive responses. It's kind of awesome. It's so encouraging, and the project itself keeps my brain moving, trying to determine if I have enough ideas for the day, the week, the month (yes, yes, and no, btw).

I feel so much better. I'm excited. I don't feel so desperately frustrated. I mean, it's not terribly social, and I'm spending a lot of time listening to music and watching TV, but it's really cool to think of myself as capable of creating something good or pretty or valuable.

In fact, over the weekend, I got to talking with the owners of a small local craft supply shop and showed them said Tumblr, and they were very complimentary and even (very casually) raised the possibility of me teaching a class, which would be about 17 levels of awesome.

So maybe this will be a good year after all.

On an unrelated note, the latest episode of "Being Human" BBC was entitled "Lia." It has my name. I haven't watched it though. I'm only a couple of episodes into series 1.
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I'm kind of wigging out. Like, I have all these ideas of things I want to make, but it takes time to make them and time to acquire the materials to make them, and this all has to wait anyway because I don't have money and because I have prioritized other things to make.

But I'm really afraid I'll forget the ideas. So, like, how do I chronicle something like that? I can't take a picture of it because it doesn't exist yet. I can't draw a picture of it because I can't draw anything that even remotely resembles anything. And I don't know how to describe it on paper in such a way that it would make sense to my future self.
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The Countess of Win at the Table of Awesome
User: jaeliyah
Name: The Countess of Win at the Table of Awesome
Website: My Etsy Shop
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