Slap Stick Comedy That Wasn’t Funny.

Everybody loves a good joke. Laughter is good medicine. But not at the expense of someone else (although America has a slew of comedians who built massive careers on it). We’ve all laughed at jokes targeting people (stop, before you get to lying and denying, ask yourself why do you watch sitcoms and/or reality tv?) But when you target someone’s disability or health condition with the intent to embarrass or humiliate, it’s no longer comedy, it’s malicious bullying and abuse.

So that’s where we found ourselves Sunday night during the Oscar’s live broadcast (I didn’t watch in real time because I was listening to The Wheel of Time Book 6: The Lord of Chaos – thanks audible!). Chris Rock, love him or hate him, tickles a lot of funny bones so the Oscar’s felt he’d be a great emcee for the show. Little did the producers know he had a surprise joke line-up for them, at Jada Pinkett-Smith’s expense.

For those who don’t know what the G.I. Jane reference is from, it was a movie from the early 1990s starring Demi Moore (a white actress) who played an army soldier. Demi had to shave her hair for the role. Here’s where the problems start. Demi Moore CHOSE to shave her hair for work. Jada did not. Jada chose to shave her hair due to a medical condition she has been struggling with for years. A condition that causes the same angst and anxiety felt by those affected by chemo therapy.

So, based on the LOUD and DISRESPECTFUL commentary that flooded the internet streets IMMEDIATELY after the slap heard round the world, people wanted to BLAME Jada for the outcome of Chris Rock’s tasteless joke. Would he have told a similar joke in regards to Angelina Jolie while she was ill? Or to Sinead O’Conner who recently lost her son? Black women sacrifice for the greater good daily but it’s supposed to be acceptable to disrespect, humiliate, and degrade us after all our usefulness has been milked dry?

During my little bit of years in life I glean lessons from all who are willing to share and one lesson I received from an older woman years ago was this: people may not remember what you said, but they ALWAYS remember how you made them feel. Chris Rock and Will Smith will have to live with how they made Jada feel, at that moment, for the rest of their lives. How do you make others feel? How do others make you feel?

Spring Has Sprung!

I don’t like Daylight Savings time for one simple reason: I lose sleep. My sleep is precious to me. I need it! But at the same time Daylight Savings time is a reminder that Winter is just about over. Yay!

The sun comes out and people seem more pleasant. I definitely like the idea of being outdoors in the sunshine. That is, until I read an article about palm-sized spiders paragliding on their webs coming up the east coast this May… 🤯 Wait! Paragliding, palm-sized spiders?! And the lantern bug eggs are hatching too! Are the murder hornets coming back as well?! This almost makes me want to stay indoors…

Speaking of which, the option to stay indoors is a privilege denied to some right now. While many are bracing for pollen season, some are bracing for military fighting in their hometown. While newscasters made it clear that they believed military insurrections are normal in African and Middle Eastern countries, they are unexpected and horrific in European countries. Wait, didn’t Hitler start a whole second world war behind racism and violence in European nations? Didn’t Rome become famous for it’s vicious violence in the quest to dominate Europe? Where did Hannibal conquer with his army of elephant riding soldiers? Excuse my McGraw-Hill textbooks from elementary through high school for the misinformation, if the information I learned was inaccurate.

Spring is supposed to represent rebirth and new beginnings and here we are, as the ‘smartest’ species on the planet, still having the same fight over our inability to treat each other humanely. And I mean ALL OF US. Here in the U.S. the House of Representatives recently passed the Crown Act, which makes it illegal to discriminate against someone based on their hairstyle or hair texture. Yes, in the year of our lord 2022 Black people are still being discriminated against because of our hair. I guess discrimination over skin color just wasn’t enough. But yup, spring has sprung! Take time to stop and smell the fresh air.

War. Why?

Every war in human history has always been about two things, power and control. One side strives to take it while the other side fights to hold on to it. The loss of life during these power plays are saddening because it takes away from the progress that could be made collectively.

This attack by Russia against the Ukraine has been a long time coming. I say this because of how the conflict was summed up in a post I’ve seen several times on social media. For those who survived abusive relationships, we see the parallels. The gaslighting, the lies, the denials of wrong doing. We feel what’s brewing but no one believes us…

Not only has the Ukraine been attacked, but her allies have been threatened as well. Control. Power. Abuse. Force. Trauma. All of this playing out in real time, on a grand scale. And when it’s all said and done, what will we have gained?

Parental Reflections

How often, as parents, do we really sit back and marvel at our children? We birth, nurture, protect, provide, and guide them into adulthood, but do we really just look at them? As the people they are?

Today I am doing just that. As much as possible anyway. As I type this, it is exactly 9:10 am EST in the United States. 20 years ago today I was pregnant with my twin sons and sitting in Thomas Jefferson University hospital being prepped for induction. You see, I had fed my twins so well during my pregnancy that they didn’t want to come out, lol. Yet, they were too big to stay in and I made the mistake of watching a cesarean section video on YouTube. Nope. I told my doctor she would not be slicing open my innards. I already had insecurity issues with my body so a C-section was a hard no for me.

I had gone into false labor twice (at work) over the last few weeks but at 3 cm dilated, the hospital kept sending me back home. My preschool students were fascinated at watching my body change over the months and had adopted my babies as theirs, especially since two of my parents were also pregnant. My co-workers were concerned about me working, the deacons in the church had been trying to convince me I needed to be on bed rest for months (because of how huge my stomach grew early on) but my doctor said I was perfectly healthy to work up until I deliver. In hindsight, I think my doctor was excited to see how far I could carry as all of her previous twin deliveries never exceeded 26 weeks. I was induced at 35 weeks.

My pregnancy was normal for me. No morning sickness but constant hunger, and constant cravings. I did experience nausea when I tried to eat some of my favorite foods like shrimp fried rice and any kind of chicken. My boys said those were hard nos for them, lol. Their personalities were distinct even then. My eldest was pretty chill. Twisting and turning mostly to get comfortable. My youngest was energetic and constantly hungry. My stomach growled as I was eating most times.

Now, as young adults, I see them watching to see which direction they want to go in life. They are quiet and introspective, for now, until they discover what lights them aglow. I am excited for when that moment comes and they flourish in their passion. I knew this phase of life would arrive but it is as bittersweet as the day of their birth. I was excited for their new chapter yet sad that our chapter, in that capacity, had ended. Work and bills will always be there as a reminder of responsibilities but remember to take time to enjoy your children before they branch off into their own lives…

What Does Depression Look Like to You?

As I celebrated my birthday this weekend I reflected on my life, how I gave away power in search for love and acceptance and strayed from discovering my purpose during this life time. I also reflected on the many blessings I have because the headlines have shown prominent individuals who reportedly committed suicide.

Whenever the topic of suicide comes up, many people ask what was wrong with the individual. Many state things like, “They looked so happy”, “But they were so successful”, “But they acquired (fill in the blank)”. There is no compassion, concern or understanding in any of those comments. Society has become so commercialized that many believe that monetary or social success equates to happiness. Social media has made it too easy to hide behind filters, on top of the societal filters we already wear daily.

Depression is not something only poor people or drug addicts deal with. It is a mental health disorder that does not go away. It has to be managed daily. Every person is different, with different experiences contributing to their particular situation. Medication is not a cure all for every case either.

Depression: n. 1. Feelings of severe despondency and dejection. Synonyms: melancholy, misery, sadness, unhappiness, sorrow, woe, gloom, despair, dejection, moroseness…

The former Miss USA, Cheslie Kryst passed away over the weekend with headlines stating it a suicide. Just a few days before, actress, Regina King’s son was reported to have committed suicide. Last month Sinead O’Connor’s son committed suicide. There are a lot of should have, could have, would have comments from people but think to yourself, would you recognize the signs of depression in any of your loved ones? If you struggle with depression, do any of your loved ones know or would they recognize the signs?

I lost a friend in 2017 to suicide and I didn’t recognize what was going on with him because I was wrapped up in my own battles. Now he is gone. Each time I think of throwing in the towel I see his picture in my mind as though he’s telling me “You better not even.” So I fight through for the both of us. It is a daily battle, so my goal is to plan how I envision my future, but focus on conquering today.

We all need to be able to have a safe space to talk about how we feel openly and without judgment. But not everyone has that person or place of safety to retreat to. If you or a loved one is dealing with depression, please talk to someone, this is a 24/7 mental health hotline: 1-866-903-3787. You are not alone. If you need help, please reach out to someone.

Another Cycle Around the Sun!

I have entered level 42 today and the lessons of the last 20 years have prepared me for today. I woke up thinking about drafting a knit pattern for pants. Also, the thoughts of how my experiences have shaped me as a person. It’s amazing how the most humble and empathetic people on the planet have endured and survived a variety of disappointment, abuse, betrayal…

Pain has a way of bringing the simplistic reality of life to the forefront of our consciousness. Amazingly, in the midst of that pain we have the ability to learn, grow, and teach through our experiences. Growth opens us to new levels of being, new energetic vibrations that attract individuals to us. Harmonious vibrations bring harmonious interactions and in my new year I want to be more conscious and intentional about my personal vibrations.

Over these last 6 months I have become more intentional about what I create with my hands. Crafting with love, being aware of the energy I craft into my projects. And being intentional about making time for myself. As a gift to myself, I have knitted a sweater and a matching Beret. One, because I wanted a new sweater and two, I wanted to prove to myself that I could successfully knit a Beret. I have done it and what a wonderful way to begin my new level, knowing without doubt that our biggest obstacle in life is mastering our minds and the thoughts we allow into it.

Knitted Beret and matching Sweater

Take this moment to reflect on the thoughts you allow daily and whether they help you or distract you. Then decide how you want to proceed. What would you accomplish with the mastery of your mind?

2022 is Coming Out Swinging!

We are 9 days into the new year and 2022 is not playing. Prince Andrew under investigation, Sir Sidney Poitier passing away, the Omicron variant shutting down 46+ schools in the Philadelphia area, my Instagram account was hacked by a group of folks out of Lagos, Nigeria and Covid mandates are threatening employment everywhere.

I feel like I am living through the live-action version of Animal Farm by Orsen Welles. If you haven’t read it, I highly recommend it. It’s available on audible.com. Our society is moving into very dangerous territory and most people don’t seem to notice.

These mandates smell the same as these outrageous abortion laws being passed in some states. How are these unyielding controls meant to benefit humanity? How are these laws meant to improve our lives, or are they just meant to exert control over our ability to decide for ourselves?

If you could decide on one thing that would improve society as a whole in 2022, what would you decide and why? What would you like to see improved?

One Stitch At A Time

These last 18+ months have taken a mental toll on many of us. Far too often we are unable to take much needed rest because of life’s obligations. Jobs, children, aging parents, even pets have all still needed us performing at an optimal rate. But what is an optimal rate when burnout is looming around the bend? How do you protect your peace of mind and recharge yourself before spazzing out on an unsuspecting person? What can you do?

I don’t know about you but I have tried returning to my poetic place of solitude… nope. My inspiration tank was as dry as my mother’s first Thanksgiving turkey 🦃 🤣. Love you, ma. That in itself was concerning to me because poetry was always my go to place of relief and release mentally. Next I tried baking. Cookies, cakes, bread and pies. Delicious 😋 things smelling up my kitchen and swelling up my waistline 😭. No good. I tried forcing myself to interact with others outside. I attended some vending events, showed support for some of my IG friends in real time but it just didn’t do it. I still felt blah.

Ok, I thought to myself. Music is always a sure fire mood lifter. I scrolled through Pandora. Nope. YouTube Music. Nope. I even dug out my box of old cds from the late 90s-early 2000s. Not a happy toe tap to be found.

I couldn’t kick the funk I was in and it was seriously affecting my interactions with everyone around me. I was always irritable and cranky (and no, it was not that time of the month) and was ready to snap on anyone at a moments notice. Work pressures didn’t help. At that point I did 2 things. I called a friend for a referral to a therapist and I picked up my knitting needles.

I am so glad I did. My therapist is down to earth and real. She listens. We meet weekly through video chat on Duo and I couldn’t be happier with my choice. And since I’ve picked my needles back up I have been knitting consistently for the last 2 months. Today I decided to bring my current wip (work in progress) to work with me, to work on during down time. My commute was crazier than normal this morning (3 road construction slow downs and 2 road closures with a clogged detour) so instead of sitting in traffic frustrated as normal, I picked up my project and started knitting at every stop light and slow down. 🤗 I wish I had thought about doing this sooner. Now I look for the red lights so I can knit more stitches and my irritability is fading one stitch at a time.

Vanilla Sock Pattern by The Crazy Sock Lady

Knitting may not be for you, but then again it might. You won’t know until you try. My sure fire recommendation is to try something new to you. If you like it, go for it. If all else fails reach out to a professional for help. It’s confidential and that may be just what you need to release what’s on your mind. At the end of the day be good to you because today is yesterday’s tomorrow…

Quiet Inflection

It has been several months since I last posted. I am still learning about me. It’s a scary journey looking into the dark corners of myself, but necessary for my growth. Usually when I go into retrospective mode my pen comes alive and the words flow like a beautiful river but not this time. My river bank of poetry was dry. I started to panic. And then I grabbed my crochet hook…

Amongus Mini Crewmate pattern by Why Yet

Years ago I taught myself to crochet and to knit using kits I’d found at my local Wal-Mart. Learning these skills was a challenge as the patterns were written in a language I didn’t understand and I knew no one who could teach me. I understood the basic crochet and knit stitches and mastered how to make knit scarves and crocheted hats. Patterns for baby outfits and clothing terrified me because my understanding of both languages was limited. So I allowed my fear to stop my progress.

Here I am, almost 20 years later, reading patterns, following patterns and crocheting and knitting garments freehanded with less fear (the fear hasn’t gone away completely). What I learned is that my perception of my ability to learn and understand the language of knitting and crocheting blocked my growth. Making mistakes is how we learn. Mistakes, when acknowledged and learned from, is how we grow.

Chunky-Knit Cardigan pattern by Ashley Lillis

I have been inspired these last couple of months to grow through needlecrafts instead of poetry. At first, I was nervous but with each project I’ve completed and shared, I have gained confidence in my understanding of the language. I have realized that other areas of my life are no different, complete one project at a time and learn from any/every mistake made to grow in confidence. I plan to challenge my fears one at a time and hope this helps someone remember that we are not expected to know it all. Enjoy the process. Today is yesterday’s tomorrow, be great today.

Chunky-Knit Sweater Dress pattern by Why Yet