And Here We Are.

And all at once you feel a merging of what seems like every feeling your body is capable of. This must be living. This must be dying. This must be the answer to why or what or when or how you got here. Here being Earth, here being in this moment, here being with her. 

And all at once you are at peace. You have always been taught that peace and calm is better than war and conflict. But really, at least for you peace comes with conflict. It comes with bumps, it comes with daggers that cut deep. Peace is not the silence of the things that hurt you. It is dealing with those things and not letting them control you. 

You stand next to things that started breathing millions of years ago. And while you are with them your body catches their air. How beautifully overwhelming. Waves crash onto the shore, the way branches crash into the ground. They are not necessarily unkind, they are however completely independent. Nature is a freedom that many of us will never ever even have a taste of. And rightfully so, for look at how we treat her – or him. We are tourists that have overstayed our welcome and instead become parasitic. 

And all at once I am guilty. Look at what we have done. Trees slaughtered for shopping malls and mansions. Who will be filled with consumers who know nothing else but to consume more and more. Mansions that will house families, who will barely say “how are you’s” over dinners that were prepared out of necessity, not out of love. 

The sun and you have never spoken. Yet the sun provides you with everything. Even on the coldest days of winter, there above you beaming, she never stops. 

And all of a sudden you are crying. The tears you hold inside are the fears you wish you could bury the ones you hope one day will die, and leave you feeling more alive. The shore is always changing, because the ocean has no time for the complacency that for humans is simply a way of life. 

For you it’s always been the quest. The search for love, for laughter, for mornings that don’t make you hit the snooze button in anger. Because you are turning over to the eyes you’ve waited all night to see. You have always wanted to shake the insatiability that was so valuable to you as a kid. If you stayed hungry for something more than what you were being given, then what you didn’t have didn’t have to matter as much.

Learn to live with possibility. 

Every heart knows heaviness. God knows, if your heart was further away from your lungs it probably wouldn’t be able to beat. And because of that, for that reason you should never forget to breathe. 

And all at once I know what I want. But am skeptical of if the world will agree. I know that I never want to know what the future holds. I can’t pave a road before I walk it. They say to look before you leap, but I think it’s really that you should invest in the commitment of the water being either much to shallow or way too deep. Nothing is ever as it seems, but that’s what makes this. This life. This struggle, this beautiful yet terrifyingly stabbing sometimes majestic but often times debilitating. This is why your heart need your lungs. You need to breathe in the things that will make your heart sing. Because when you don’t, if you don’t, that’s heartbreak. 

And there is no point in living, with a broken heart.  

Standard

I (don’t) Want My MTV

It is no surprise that 3 things occurred on the same day.
1. The anniversary of the destruction of Pompeii.
2. The biggest earthquake the bay area has felt since the 80’s.
3. Beyonce literally performing every song off her album at the VMA’s. Which absolutely only existed for her. Which like let’s talk about for a second. I am not sure when the VMA’s fell completely off the boat, but Jesus guys. What even was that Robin Williams tribute? It looked like an intern fell asleep using Microsoft Powerpoint (which ok we all have) but then decided to turn in the half assed project anyway (which ok we all have) BUT OUR PROJECTS NEVER MADE IT ON TO LIVE TV. I also think that maybe I have crossed into that threshold of “adult” because when these kids won a moon man I literally had to Google.

186732537-fifth-harmony

Also. Ariana Grande. Is 1. A human Bratz doll. 2. Clearly the actual fountain of youth. And like not necessarily in a HURRAY WE FOUND IT WAY. No like kinda the opposite.

1405256728-ariana-grande-wallpaper

3. Sounds like Mariah Carey if Mariah had bronchitis. Like her falsetto is stuffy. Kind of like she has to cough but jussst can’t get it out. I sound like I am totally hating on Miss. Grande. and I mean I am a little, it’s just because I miss THIS:

http://youtu.be/H2THNB8961A

Also also I have never enjoyed an Usher performance less. Which has never happened ever. Because I fucking love Usher. Errrsher. But. No no no.

nicki-minaj-usher-butt-bump-lol

Also also also I have absolutely no more commentary on the VMA’s because they were fucking horrible.

(oh and in related ((I guess)) news: Suge Knight got shot at Chris Brown’s pre VMA party which I mean…when you go get sushi you’re probably going to get a spicy tuna roll…where there’s smoke there’s fire…when you hang out with human q-tips you get into waxy situations etc etc. – I am convinced at this point that Suge is an Avatar because this is literally the billionth time he has been near all the gunfire and cha cha slid away)

Now it has been said in jest many times that Beyonce controls many things. For example:
The internet – Bey released her latest album with not one peep, and not at a normal hour either. She literally forced you to wake up and buy her album. Conclusion: Beyonce is the sun.
The weather – When Beyonce (and some muggle named Jay-Z) played in San Francisco a weather phenomenon occurred in which a sound bubble of sorts was made. Meaning everyone in the city was treated to a free concert. Beyonce made the Earth create surround sound. All you’ve ever managed to do was use a Solo cup at a picnic in the hopes that your iPhone would get a little amplification. Conclusion: Beyonce is Earth. Or Earth is Beyonce.

And if Beyonce is both the Sun and the Earth.
Then Beyonce is actually the Universe.
And the illuminati are real.

AND FABULOUS.

I have never felt an earthquake before. And Beyonce if you can hear me, I would like to never feel one again. I understand that you were nervous about taking the stage with Jay-Z and Blue to shut down the world and all of the rumors and make all of Jay’s mistresses flee the country in fear. But like shaking the ground. It is taking your whole Who Run the World thing too far. With great power comes great Beyoncability.

Beyonce-super-bowl-gif-6

Remember that.

Actually wait, I do have one more thing to say:

Jesse J killed it.

Standard

Youth Comes Back Home

One of the first things that you realize is that it smells exactly the same. Smells can bring you right back to any moment, any point in time. They are memories, capsules of people and places. The buildings have the same smell. It’s surreal that after years, for me a decade that everything hits me as if I were twelve again.

Days seemed absolutely endless when you were young. A week spent with friends much like camp, but instead of counselors there were trees. There were endless paths to walk down, endless amounts of water to swim or boat across, and if you wanted you never has to interact with your parents for longer than a kiss in the morning, a wave at dinner, and a mumbled goodnight before bed. You were already a second away from being asleep, and by the time your head did reach the pillow – it was morning.

That’s how days went. They rolled into each other but without a solid end. And then suddenly it was over. A week of memories that would last all year. Friendships that would, have, lasted a lifetime. And scents that even as an adult bring you right back to your first kiss on the dock. Right under the boat slip, before you knew that the lips you were kissing belonged to the opposite gender of who you would ever love later on. That a few years later not more than 100 feet away you would come out to someone for the first time.

Everything can change all around you, and yet you can return to certain places and realize that for them all the change that could possibly happen has already. The mountains, the lake, they were shaped before you were even a beam on a star sending it’s light down to the Earth that would raise something we call humanity. Here you question if you even need anyone. You’d be just as peaceful alone with a boat and a book and maybe a home to love. Love, you found that here. This is where you learned what it felt like to see the person you had dreamed would be forever go off with someone else. You learned what it was to have friends that you could talk to forever, and promised would stay forever, and surprisingly some of them did. Attachment was formed here. The feeling of not exactly knowing why, but wanting to spend a suffocating amount of time with someone else. Because you could be your true self. And summer after summer you found yourself becoming that self. You allowed yourself to be more vulnerable here than you ever would have back home, because you knew here it wouldn’t matter, that people would treat you as if they had always known the person you would end up being.

Think back and realize how awkward it all was. How awkward we all were. But no one cared. How amazing to be embraced for the gangly kid you were. Realizing that New York is such a big state, and someone calling themselves a New Yorker did not automatically mean they rode the subway, or in so many cases ever seen a subway. Concrete kids and farm kids, suburb kids and somewhere in between kids. Every day you would meet at group and you were just – kids.

A week without any form of plugged in visual entertainment. The week before you questioned whether you would be able to make it. A week without your favorite shows, without internet, and gossip from friends. You were being disconnected, a terrifying concept for your adolescent mind to comprehend. You would get back home, and your friends surely wouldn’t be able to connect with you. As soon as you woke up from the drive and saw that sign, that sign that said Silver Bay – none of it mattered.

And yet you have stayed away. It has been a bit more than a decade – every summer you tell yourself that you will make it. But somehow the opportunity passes you by. The last time was a different time, it was a hard time, it was goodbyes and tears in everyone’s eyes. It was apologies from family friends, long hugs and forced smiles. Every other week that you spent here is highlighted in your mind, but that one has been lost by the protective mind. Pushed away and deep, almost like a secret you had even forgotten you had made. A promise that you made by mistake, that you would forget this place and that day. But your heart it seems is shifts you easier than you dreamed. As time goes on, those memories come back at random, they catch you when a scent floats by on a breeze. And there you are, 12 again jumping off cliffs your parents would kill you for going near. Learning that stepping off of rocks is the hardest part, that second before the jump, and then suddenly it all makes sense. Suddenly you find yourself seeing that sign for the first time in years. The smells are back and so is that feeling of absolute content. Your youth has come back home.

Standard

Let It Lay

In my mind I have always had this dream conversation with my dad. He would sit there and listen to me talk about my childhood. He would take in all of the things I had to say about how shitty things really got. He would let me cry and vent, and support my words. And when I was done, he would say how he saw things, why he thought things had played out the way that they had, and then he would apologize. He would look me in the eye and apologize for all of the bullshit. For all of the late nights I spent being screamed at, for his wife, for his tantrums, for being kicked out. It would be a heartfelt apology, one that meant he had sat down and thought about all of these things, and realized that maybe a good chunk of my teenage years were unfair. We would then hug and kiss, and maybe go out to dinner, or go for a walk, or really do anything because MAGIC, the air would be so crystal clear for us. Right?

My life has always seemed to be a stream of connections and unsettling disconnects.

Recently I have come to realize that 1. My dad will never apologize. 2. I no longer need him to.

If you met a stranger, and that stranger told you that they loved you, what would you say? At large family gatherings I often feel that way.  The way in which there are people I see maybe at most once a year, but when we embrace or leave each other at the end of the day “I love you’s” can be heard, under the rifling of jackets, the packing away of leftovers. It is engrained in all of us, that we love our family. We do this without question and without much thought; because you are SUPPOSED to.

As I get older my life begins to have more and more layers. And with those layers, come secrets. There is no doubt that there are some members of my family who I can dive into those deeper layers with, but there are others who stay at the surface. We stay on the surface. There are other family members who I have a much deeper more blood stained relationship. And there comes a point, where you don’t so much as give up, but you let go.

We are taught that blood is thicker than water. That there is nothing more bonding than a family, and therefore nothing that you should hold on to harder. Just like in marriage family is “for better or for worse”. Can it maybe be time that we moved past this thought? I will in no way say that family ties should be cut for simple fights, traditions and culture are engrained into us, and when we have families that uplift and hold those things true, well than we are in luck. But not all families are this way. Just because you are related to someone does not mean that you like them; but it does mean that you love them? This concept seems so crazy when you put it on paper and think about it. Those who come from overall great homes may not be able to grasp the concept of not wanting anything to do with a family member, but for those of us who grew up in fragmented homes, the idea does not sound far fetched.

Maybe because I am queer, and embrace many thought systems that cis society shuts away, this whole idea of breaking up with family makes perfect sense to me. The same way that poly relationships and pansexuality make perfect sense to me. If someone is making you excruciatingly unhappy why on Earth would you keep them around? If your friends boyfriend was abusive, would you encourage your friend to stick it through because he does at the end of the day love them? We do not apply the same rules to those we meet in life, to our families. We are taught to be tethered to our roots. No matter what happens, no matter how bad things get, you do not turn your back on family. But is that really healthy?

I look at certain members of my family who are miserable. They have exactly what society wanted them to – a home, cars, a spouse, kids etc. But what they do not have is inner peace or sanity. I look at so many of the adults in my family and their relationships with their parents and just shudder. No one ever broke the cycle. This is not to say breaking the cycle is packing up all of your shit and never being heard of again, but no one ever sat down with anyone and had that dream conversation that I used to pine for, with my dad.

Maybe the problem is, that we put all of the pressure on those who enter our life, and not enough on those who have always been in it. We expect girlfriends or boyfriends to change bad behaviors, otherwise we leave them. We call out friends on their bullshit, and give them ultimatums. How often do we do that with family?

Both my grandfather and father have always said this one phrase to me: Listen to what I say, not how I say it. Which is word by fucking word, absolute bullshit. It is them giving up on pursuing ways of checking themselves before blaring out hurtful words at others. It is them checking out so hard in fact that they have left all of the sorting, unpacking, and understanding up to you. It is selfish as all hell, but it is also the way that they have chosen to be. Now I love both of these men dearly, but it is this mindset that has severely hindered us being able to have conversations centered around emotions as opposed to black and white subjects like finance.

Family unlike friends provide for us. For better or for worse, your parents did probably feed and clothe you as a child (some more than others). Your family is basically obligated to make sure that you make it as a human. That obligation I feel makes some parents absolutely lose their minds. The obligation of taking care of, sculpting, minding after, and BEING A GOOD PARENT to a kid. Jesus. I am too young to know what qualities an individual most possess to be a good parent, but I am old enough to know that I have met a lot of folks who do not fit the basic criteria. But society tells them to have children, so they do, and then their kids spend their lives waiting for apologies that they will never receive.

Telling a straight cis man who has been life tracked to have a good job and 2.5 children, that he is not fit to be a good parent, sounds like a quick way to end up nursing a wound. The media still to this day shows women as milk machines, who are meant to throw dinner parties, shuffle the kids off to school, have dinner on the table, build a rocket ship for Timmy’s science fair, etc etc. Of course we as individuals and many of us as feminists have moved away from this all American ideal, but that is only SOME of us. To many people that is the future that is expected of them. They will go home to family on the holidays and be asked about jobs, and about their love life. But what if we DID start telling certain people that they should maybe wait out parenting for a bit. Get their own shit together before they tried to (literally and metaphorically) start taking care of someone else’s.

How are people like my dad, who came from mindsets like my grandfathers, supposed to raise emotionally stable children?

At what point will we as a society see the importance of therapy and mental health diagnosis? You know that friend who often refers to her mom as crazy? What if her mom had the means to see a therapist before she had kids, and was therefore able to find the trigger of that “crazy”?

It’s funny, growing up I ran away a lot. I would drop off the face of the Earth and go sulk in unknown cities. My family would always say: Running away won’t solve anything. Thinking about it now, I realize that while I have always had the literal flight response those who I am close to in my family run away in their own ways. They run away into their own heads, and don’t talk about things out loud. Which then creates tension whose core you are totally unsure of. Just because we aren’t yelling, doesn’t mean that everything is ok. In my house it was either screaming, or silence. There were no casual conversations, no dinner time laughs, we were all separate bodies barely co-existing. The thing is I don’t think my dad sees this at all. Sometimes I wish I could dive into his head and see how he replays scenes, scenes that I play over and over in my head and try to break down, burn, and forget.

It is terrifying to realize that some of the memories that haunt you the most, are forgotten by everyone else who was there.

Relating to people is one of the hardest things we are faced with in this life. Understanding when to let things go is something I feel we will all always battle with. For better or worse we all have our own egos to cradle and defend. Our own egos that get in the way of us saying: I’m sorry. The words of our parents ring in our ears without us even realizing. The weight of fights we had years ago sit with us. I can still remember the worst nights of my life. You can too. But it is what we do with those residual feelings of pain, how we finally figure out how to extinguish those flames, yet still realize that those embers may never fully turn to dust. Realizing that love is just as much the most amazing feeling in the world, and the feeling that will cause more pain than hate. It is the love we inherently have for our families that will break us again and again. That is. until we get right with ourselves. You are not always right, but you are in control of steering yourself towards what seemingly is.

 

Standard

Enter Life Plan Here

 

I think I’m growing up.
Or something.

I have a new big kids job, across the country,I have friends who I love more than anything, who I know will be in my life for longer than a season and I am genuinely pretty god damn happy. But about that growing up thing, for the past few months I have found myself becoming more and more bored by what I was doing with my life. I have fallen into a routine: the same bars, the same rotation of groups, and active dating life that had some amazing highs but ultimately kept on feeling wrong or lackluster. Everything felt like a colossal let down. For the fist time in my New York life, I felt out of place. I would go to parties and feel like I was watching from behind a piece of glass. My mouth would instinctively work on autopilot but my brain was a million miles away. I was a million miles away. My feet knew the path they had to take me on everyday, and so I got where I needed to go, where I was supposed to be, but I was essentially wandering. I also wasn’t writing.

I’ve been experiencing a very extreme form of writers block recently, not necessarily the head pounding excessive whiskey induced kind but instead one in which I literally could not string together sentences. Words were swirling around my head but they were not manifesting into anything.  I felt like I was in a washing machine. I had a sudden influx of newness in my life. The past year of my life has been this absolute blast of change. From relationships to work environments to my gender representation and my sexuality. That swirl of words was in direct correlation with the tornado my life was. Tornado is probably the wrong word to use, no part of this past year has felt destructive it has actually felt the opposite. And yet I felt incomplete. And for the first time in a long time I felt this mixture of being both out of place and left out.

 

I like to think of myself as someone who is usually very up on music. Actually I like to think of myself as someone who is very up on most things that are trending on the internet, after all I literally get paid to do social media. Living and working in New York makes this hyper focus on all things new and “cool” easy. A majority of people who move to the city do so with the very serious goal of being either part of or the reason for hype generation. I have always actively told myself not to get too engrossed in the politics of trendy. To happily comment and take part but not let being a dun dun millennial shape who I was. Hidden party in Bushwick? Cool, yeah I’ll totally go, but by chance you know? Not because it’s like where I have to be. But god just being in Brooklyn you feel like if you aren’t going (somewhere) you aren’t going (anywhere).

 

I recently accepted a job in San Francisco. That sentence alone makes me feel like a solid adult being. It also makes me realize that I am leaving behind the place that I have called home for my entire life. It means not being able to walk into bars and coffee shops and get free drinks and shoot the shit. It means having to ask people for the best spots to go to, instead of being able to direct others. It means getting lost and actually not knowing where the fuck I am. It means walking into parties and having no idea who anyone is, and in return them not knowing who I am. I am too overwhelmed to be scared, and too excited to be cautious. For the first time in the history of absolutely ever, I am thinking about the future. I am thinking about everything I want out of life, and being scared that I won’t be able to attain it all. I feel like a sky diver who is just about to jump. I have been toeing the edge for years now, with the mindset that eventually certain things would naturally change. My brain would calibrate itself to whatever the hell my family meant when they said: adulthood.

 

I have realized that my brain may never ever get on the same track that my family planned for me. And with that realization has come so much relief. I have also realized that my feet are not tethered to any location. That my ears are not bound to specific genres of music (thank the lord). My sexuality is not set in stone, and is evolving and will continue to evolve. My gender is this thing that like totally exists, but also totally doesn’t. My family are a base of support, but are not the only base. I can do it on my own.
Shit New York I am going to miss you. I am going to miss hot dogs at Crif. Burritos on Bedford. Dumplings in Chinatown. Beer and shot specials that come with free pizza. Korean BBQ available to me 24 hours a day…
Basically I’m just going to miss the food.

 

This city has taught me so much, and by this city I mean all of the people in it. The friends and lovers that I have met and made and fallen in love with and hated and then fallen in love with again. All the new bands that have pounded my ears. The art of the unknown, the art of the most famous. Being in New York you know that whatever happens, happens here first. I am ready to be second or maybe even third. I am ready to relax and revamp. To meet a city full of strangers, and fall in love with them the way that I have fallen in love with New York.

 

P.S.
I figure this is the best place to leave this little dating anecdote. Aka I have gotten all of the out of touch: A few weeks ago I had a mild tiff with a girl I had been seeing, I was a bit tipsy and we were having a disagreement about something pretty medial when she said this:
“‘You don’t love me like you say you love me.”
To which my response was:

216

HOW WAS I SUPPOSED TO KNOW IT WAS A DRAKE LYRIC?!? I have also spent an absolutely ridiculous amount of time recently, trying to figure out what the hell Jason Derulo means when he tells me to: Go ahead and go ham sammich.

sandwich_ham-and-cheese

Jason I’m a Jew.
Am I finally at that place where I do not understand what the youth are about? Or has popular music actually just turned to shit? What is happening? Will I ever be able to get on a dance floor again? Is this like the point in my life where I start solely listening to classical music AT A REASONABLE VOLUME? I’m out. Me and Mozart are OUT New York.

Bye_bye_bye
Standard

The Hardest White Struggle

The color of my skin makes a difference in how I am seen by society every single day. Let me repeat that: THE COLOR OF MY SKIN MAKES A DIFFERENCE IN HOW I AM SEEN BY SOCIETY EVERY SINGLE DAY.  After reading this article : http://www.ijreview.com/2014/04/134388-freshman-shames-ivy-league-college-personal-story-white-privilege/ it is safe to say that a new generation of white men are growing up COMPLETELY missing the point of what privilege actually means.

“I actually went and checked the origins of my privileged existence, to empathize with those whose underdog stories I can’t possibly comprehend. I have unearthed some examples of the privilege with which my family was blessed, and now I think I better understand those who assure me that skin color allowed my family and I to flourish today.

Perhaps it’s the privilege my grandfather and his brother had to flee their home as teenagers when the Nazis invaded Poland, leaving their mother and five younger siblings behind, running and running until they reached a Displaced Persons camp in Siberia, where they would do years of hard labor in the bitter cold until World War II ended. Maybe it was the privilege my grandfather had of taking on the local Rabbi’s work in that DP camp, telling him that the spiritual leader shouldn’t do hard work, but should save his energy to pass Jewish tradition along to those who might survive. Perhaps it was the privilege my great-grandmother and those five great-aunts and uncles I never knew had of being shot into an open grave outside their hometown. Maybe that’s my privilege.”

Look bro, no one is saying that white people haven’t been through shit. My family (who are a mix of many races) also escaped Europe during the Holocaust. But you are missing the ever loving mother fucking point.

“Wow, you are so articulate; that is just so nice.” Do you know how many times I have had to hear that phrase in some form or another from an older white person? “

O wow, you’re music taste, it’s really…unexpected.” Oh is it? Why because I am not blasting Drake from my headphones at this very moment?

“YOU JUST, YOU SPEAK SO WELL.”

Have you, white sir ever had someone fucking compliment you solely on your articulation, because in their heads that can not fathom that a dark skinned being could possible be well read. On your campus daily do people question your background? Do you get looks or hear whispers suggesting that you got to your school on the backs of affirmed action? Do campus police single you out, and question what you are doing late at night? Do you feel pressure EVER because of absolutely nothing? Do you feel eyes stare at you, women cross the street? Do people ask you questions about your hair, your taste in music, do people essentially treat you as a god damn martian? A specimen? How long does it take for you to get a cab? This is what we mean by white privilege.

Thank god you are only a freshman, hopefully a wave of racial truth will hit you at some point in your 4 years of school. The fact that you’re little piece is receiving viral attention should fucking be a sign of how privileged you are.  You did not write anything astounding, this is not a piece that showcases any form of genius. It is however a piece that showcases exactly what is wrong with our country. No one has ever sat you down and explained to you how big a factor race plays in our country. I guess it easy to whine about how no one will throw you a bone AS YOU SIT WRITING ON THE CAMPUS OF ONE OF THE COUNTRIES BEST UNIVERSITIES. There in that bubble you are being told to exercise your creative voice, your piece will be read by other white people and they will pat you on the back. See that is how it goes when you are writing directly to your audience. You are not brave bro. You are using every fucking inch of your privilege and using it to troll the internet. And the sad thing is you have NO IDEA.

“Perhaps it was my privilege that my own father worked hard enough in City College to earn a spot at a top graduate school, got a good job, and for 25 years got up well before the crack of dawn, sacrificing precious time he wanted to spend with those he valued most—his wife and kids—to earn that living. I can say with certainty there was no legacy involved in any of his accomplishments. The wicker business just isn’t that influential.Now would you say that we’ve been really privileged? That our success has been gift-wrapped?

That’s the problem with calling someone out for the “privilege” which you assume has defined their narrative. You don’t know what their struggles have been, what they may have gone through to be where they are.”

Brown vs. Board of Education occurred in 1954. The arrival of the first slaves in America was 1619. IT TOOK MORE THAN 200 YEARS FOR BLACK PEOPLE TO BE ALLOWED TO GO TO THE SAME SCHOOLS AS WHITE PEOPLE. That is more than 200 years of catch up an entire race had to then fucking play. The education system in this country gave 0 fucks about black people until the fucking late 50’s bro. So even if a black person “worked hard enough” it didn’t bloody matter did it? Because there was nowhere for them to go. Struggle and Privilege are not related. Please just say that to yourself a few times as you put on your khakis and head to class. You being bad at math is a struggle, it is something that if you work hard enough at you may be able to overcome. Privilege is not something you can work hard to gain, it is something that society gives you upon birth, or doesn’t. A rich white person and a rich black person may have similarities in their bank accounts, they do not have similar daily interactions with society,  Your bank account does not negate how society will treat you; because society is not judging you off of the money you possess, they are judging you through eyes that are influenced by the media and by years of racial scrutiny.

“The truth is, though, that I have been exceptionally privileged in my life, albeit not in the way any detractors would have it.It has been my distinct privilege that my grandparents came to America. First, that there was a place at all that would take them from the ruins of Europe. And second, that such a place was one where they could legally enter, learn the language, and acclimate to a society that ultimately allowed them to flourish.”

Did you ever hear that story? The one where thousands of Africans got on boats and came to America in hopes of a better life? They had heard in America you could be free, other Africans had recently left and wrote back home that life while hard in America was good for them. They could find work in America, and feed their families. America would welcome all Africans with an open heart.

I am confused, because surely as an Ivy League student you had to take AP History in high school. Did you really look at slavery and immigration and find similarities between them? Did you make a lovely Venn Diagram and see on paper just how startlingly similar your grandparents and my ancestors stories were? Are you actually just being ironic?

“I am privileged that values like faith and education were passed along to me. My grandparents played an active role in my parents’ education, and some of my earliest memories included learning the Hebrew alphabet with my Dad. It’s been made clear to me that education begins in the home, and the importance of parents’ involvement with their kids’ education—from mathematics to morality—cannot be overstated. It’s not a matter of white or black, male or female or any other division which we seek, but a matter of the values we pass along, the legacy we leave, that perpetuates “privilege.” And there’s nothing wrong with that.” 

Are you drunk? I think I may need to be. Is this real? Imagine that your grandparents couldn’t read, because they had not been allowed access to any form of education system. Your father would then have been taught skills; probably some form of labor. He would never have gone to college, because all he would know was work. Hard work and hard labor. Which is what black people have basically been doing since they set foot in this fucking country a few hundred years ago. Can you not see that the fact your grandfather even had the fucking time to sit with his son and teach him these things negates a certain form of privilege? Your good morales (unfortunately) will not get you a job. This dribble that you have managed to write and create into a manifesto for the new white young man re-enforces the words that you are trying so hard to tell the world you do not have. Do you know why you are told constantly to check your fucking privilege? Because you are still going home after class and feeling these words. You are so entitled that you have become absolutely blind to that entitlement. I am not sure if you feel guilt, or are actually angry that ANYONE would ask you AS A WHITE MAN to check himself. That right there is privilege bro. In case you were wondering.

Standard

The Party

It’s like constantly showing up late to a party; my life that is. A party where everyone else already knows each other. They have inside jokes and stories, have known each other’s partners, had dinner with each other’s parents. A party whose guests accept you yet don’t really know you past the game of flip cup you just played together.

I have always felt late to the party.

My family is my family. There is no confusion in my heart or head that the people who adopted me as an infant fill the roles of mom and dad, of aunt and uncle, of grandparent. They talk of a past that isn’t mine. My ancestors weren’t Russian immigrants. My birth family were never called kykes or denied jobs because they were Jewish. They knew no Holocaust.

They looked like me.
Black like me.

My parents divorced when I was still a baby, and both remarried. Two new families where I felt the outcast. My dad and his wife had a child together and suddenly my life at home was divided. I was a tag along. The third wheel of a family whose house I happened to share. I was a target, and on my own. I threw myself into friends, people who had known each other since they were babies. This was the suburbs, you had your friends from childhood but I was new. I came from the city, wide eyed and mystified by these tight knit circles.

Late to the party once again.

I squeezed in. Loud, opinionated, but soft hearted and funny; it was never hard for me to hop from group to group at school.

I never opened up about my family. My friends were from cookie cutter homes with moms who cooked dinner and dads who played basketball on Saturday mornings with them in the driveway. But every family is good at pretending. Every kid goes to school with secrets slammed behind their locker doors. In reality so few of our families were perfect. So few marriages were working. But being an outcast at school, would make being one at home too even worse.

What does it feel like to have people tell you that you look just like your brother? Have the face of your mother? Your fathers laugh and your families knack for sports?

Tall and black. Thin and athletic. Emotional and sympathetic. Scared and anxious. An extrovert with overwhelming needs to be alone. They are not like me.

My acting teachers always said that I had excellent projection. My dad and his father are easily better than me. Anger that resides in me results in words on paper. Either reading or writing, for me the fighting gets done between a book cover. I want to talk to you for hours. I want to your voice, your past, your choice, what led you here. Why that thing I did triggered you then. And when and if it happens again, how to deflect the tension. Amend it. Jesus would they yell. To see red in someone face as they storm around and pace. My dad would throw tantrums like a child. Break things and curse like a fuming bull charging through the streets. And then he would break. And sigh and often cry and hold me.

If this is the party, I would like to leave.

We deal with death. But we really never deal with death. If life is a joke, death is the punch line that went over everyone’s head. Everyone should feel the feeling of being on a roller coaster without a harness. Because as you feel yourself falling, grieving, twisting and screaming, you realize that you’re going to be ok.

I don’t know what her last words were. But I can guess her thoughts. Summers spent outside painting each other’s nails. Christmas stockings whose contents overflowed on to the mantle. Trips to bookstores where hours were spent, where I was allowed to roam and explore. The smell of coffee every morning as we shared the bathroom getting ready. Flowers.

Always fresh like Spring. Colors like a Pollock. A laugh that was louder than most car horns. Eyelids that were always ready to shed tears. Arms always willing to cuddle. A mouth unafraid to sound off. Love times a million the kind that radiates from so deep within, that you wonder if their is a trap door.

Fall off that coaster into darkness. But realize that breathing eventually becomes easier and the wind around you dies down. As you finally touch down.

I miss you at the party.

If I ran into one if my siblings on the street, would they notice me?

Have we ever crossed paths?

We have the internet now. This is could be so easy.

But do I want it to be?

Do I want to crash another family? Another group that’s had it’s history. Who know each other inside and out and maybe have always thought about; that baby that left them years ago. Maybe wonder how that kid came to be and if they had grown, tall like their father. If they have laugh lines like their mother. Passing thoughts as they have moments alone. But not enough to press the issue. And what about my other set of parents? The ones whose genetics make me into whatever it is this body can be.

Sometimes I walk for hours to quell my anxiety. If I leave town for a day or two when I get back the mundane will feel new. I often feel like a polka dot. The literal black sheep. I fear that they can’t hear me, that I showed up too late for them to get me. I am a vortex of change in every way. My gender picks up where nature left off and strays. My sexuality is magnetic towards so femininity and beauty. The men of my family are so different than the boi I’ve come to be and we all know there’s love there. But it can be so hard to show it.

The backgrounds of our slide show keep changing so rapidly. The projection of his light and not my light and the colors don’t exactly feel right when they bounce off the wall together. Yet they have been told that they are bound and belong together. So they stay illuminated for the party.

Waiting for the guests to leave.

Standard