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?

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.

Happy New Year 2022!

2021 refused to go away quietly. In a last ditch effort, the year snatched Betty White from us. I used to watch the Golden Girls with my mom as a child. As a curious 7 year old I couldn’t understand why Rose seemed so clueless. It angered me because I felt girls were always shoved in a box and told to stay there. “Don’t ask questions, don’t speak out, don’t point out wrongs, just go along with what you’re told.” As a young black girl in a world constantly telling me to shut up and sit down I wanted Rose to fight back. As I got older and saw Betty White in other acting roles, I understood. She has always fought back but in her own way. I am grateful for her being who she was.

For the past couple of days I debated whether or not to even write about the new year. I feel like I’m fighting the same internal battle I vowed to end several new years ago. But during part of 2020 and 2021 I did a short series of Facebook lives where I spoke my thoughts on current events and internal conflicts I had been working through. These lives were to release the conversations in my mind. I ended my lives with encouragement, more so for myself than for anyone else who may have watched. “Recognize you are dope. Share your dopeness. But be careful who you share your dopeness with because not everyone is equipped to handle it.” This is the encouragement my teenage self needed, so I share it for any who may find comfort in it.

Encouragement is more important now than ever before because the world has grown so desensitized to pain and suffering. Growth and progress requires quiet self-reflection and planning and that is not encouraged much in today’s world of chasing riches and fighting for survival. But during the holidays I came across a decorative piece that was simplistic and to the point: Progress Over Perfection. So instead of writing down an entire to-do list for 2022 I am choosing a theme for this year and progress over perfection is fitting.

May you maintain good health and a keen sense of what is right for you, and defend that firmly. Happy new year and may you create the life you’ve always wanted!

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

Is It Justice?

Many are excited because the verdict is in… GUILTY! I would like to believe justice has been served but my experience as a black woman in America has taught me different. When I saw the images of Derek Chauvin’s face during the reading of the verdict, I burst out laughing. Not because of his demise (albeit self-inflicted) but because of the pure shock on his face that he is being held accountable for his decision to murder a man in cold blood.

His expression is purely American Arrogance. Sounds like a cologne sold at Macy’s with the snobby perfume lady who scoffs at anyone who approaches her area with brown toned skin. That expression says, “What? How dare you correct ME?! I’m white! I DO the correcting, not the other way around.”

The memes will be in full swing by tomorrow morning but the scary truth is, even with the murder filmed on tape, had it not been for the major upheaval of protests, riots, and boycotts over the last year (and numerous other cops and civilians murdering black people) Derek Chauvin would have gotten off like soo many other cops. Rodney King anyone? I was in middle school when the gang of L.A. cops snatched him off of his motorcycle and beat him within an inch of his life. I’ll never forget following that story for social studies homework. Every one of those cops walked away scott free.

I find it funny how the police system (which was sown and harvested with the soil of hatred, violence, abuse, and murder) was started by a group of people who committed savagery across the planet from country to country.

But then, in that context, their fear makes sense. If I kidnapped, beat, raped, enslaved, and murdered massive amounts of people while teaching others to behave as hateful and violently as myself, I would be deathly afraid of retribution. Continuous oppression to stave off the idea of retribution would be my only recourse because to apologize and correct the issue would mean I would have to openly admit to being wrong AND I would have to make reparations for the long-term damages I caused.

So, instead of dismantaling the imbalanced and unjust justice system I’ve created and rigged to benefit those who only look like me, I’ll throw a little snippet of something that can pass for humanity… this time.

America, you have the potential to be soo much better. I am done dating potential. As my late grandmother used to say, “Shit or get off the pot.” America your time is up. Healing can only begin when you stop the damage being done and correct the cancerous mistakes from your past.

Feel The Fear and Do It Anyway!

When the pandemic shut the world down last year I felt angry and relieved at the same time. I was angry because I was drafting a plan to cross a few travel plans off of my bucket list. I was relieved because I was challenged to interact more on social media via video. I felt (at the time) that since the world was shutting down, everyone’s forced to stay inside, so nope, can’t do it.

That was my fear speaking loud and clear. Fear had my full attention. The world (as we knew it) was ending, people were stockpiling bleach, toilet paper, soap, spaghetti noodles (but no sauce) and microwavable dinners from the freezer section of the market. 🤦🏾 But fear had me gripped, worrying about whether or not the world was heading into Book of Eli/Mad Max territory. So, streaming live on social media was the least of my concerns… or so I thought.

Chatting on line with a friend about the current state we were in, they casually said “How about you go live and read some of your poetry?” *insert record scratch* What now? In the middle of a pandemic? Read my poetry, on camera? I was shaking in my pajamas at the thought of it. I immediately started to panic. I hadn’t performed any of my poetry live since 2018 and that was at a church’s open mic night event in my neighborhood.

I started to say as much but instead replied with “that scares me.” I hought that would be enough to back them up until I received these words that stuck in my mind like Gorilla Glue, “Face the fear and do it anyway.” A few days after that, I took a deep breath (I was considered an essential worker and still had to report in) and started live streaming during my morning commute. I did this for about 16 weeks before I stopped as I was receiving static from work. Smh.

But as I think back, I had fun. It was scary but I did it anyway. In this digital age I know I will have to return to it, but until then, should there be anyone considering jumping into the live streaming pool (no matter what social platform), give this article a read Learn To Live Stream , you’ll be glad you did. And if this helps, drop a comment below!

Happy 5 Years!

Why Yet's Words logo

WordPress reminded me that it is my 5 year anniversary. Wow! 5 years! I didn’t even realize it had been that long. Thank you for those of you who have been hanging with me since the beginning as I tried to figure out my footing on this platform. I am still figuring out my footing but you’re still here with me, so thank you.

These first 6 months of 2020 is nothing like what I had planned for as the year began. Social and economical chaos has been served up regularly all year and I am exhausted by it. Humanity has been anything but humane, especially this year. America’s skirt has been snatched and all of her personal business is exposed. Saddening. Instead of cleaning up her business and making herself presentable, America is choosing to flaunt her ratchetness for all of the world to see.

What I want for the remainder of 2020, is for people to recognize that we all have our own perspectives of life based on our experiences. Unfortunately too many experiences are created by hateful individuals who feel like they have the right to dictate where someone may live, shop, walk or jog based on their skin color.

Those individuals are suffering from low self-esteem. Classic bully syndrome. Those individuals need to be checked – HARD. To let them understand that they do not own ANYONE nor do they have sole dominion over this country. Only collectively can we survive this cesspool of chaos we are currently in by using common sense and a sense of community. How else do you think the wealthy will take us seriously? Those of us who are not wealthy are the majority and when we unite we can change the direction of things. There is power in numbers and in unity.

Self-Actualization in America

During my early college years I studied about educators and psychologists who had similar lines of thought – that each individual’s primary goal in life is to reach the pinnacle of self-actualization. You know, that moment of clarity where you understand the purpose of your life and your role as a part of the collective called humanity. Each person’s subconscious desire is to reach this nirvana of understanding within us.

I spent the last two weeks grappling with understanding what I was witnessing in real time. Murder, mayhem and lies broadcast far and wide. George Floyd was murdered. By law enforcement. Nothing can justify that. The collective of law enforcement had refused to even arrest the officers involved – that is – until massive amounts of people spoke out about it. Murder. And law enforcement shrugged like – eh, it happens.

So the first amendment allows for freedom of speech and the freedom to peacefully assemble. So the people did just that. Assembled peacefully. Law enforcement took to the protests as though it were a war cry and suited up in military-grade tactical gear (wait, where’d the money for the upgrades come from when there’s no money for education?) complete with tear gas, shields, batons, rubber bullets and fireworks. Yes, they were shooting fireworks at people!

Agitators were sent in to disrupt the protests (which spilled across the nation from coast to coast), pallets of loose bricks were left in plain view (and not near any construction or demolition sites), and police used their bikes, batons, horses and cars to assault protestors. Even the reporters felt the attacks. One reporter was shot in the face with a rubber bullet and lost her vision in one eye. Several protestors from across the nation decided to form a group for those who lost an eye from being shot with rubber bullets (as of 6/9/20 there were at least 8 who had found each other on Twitter).

The devastation caused by gross abuse of power is a major and deadly deterrent to achieving self-actualization. How can we become our best versions of ourselves under the domestic terrorism of our law enforcement whose sole purpose is supposed to be to protect and serve the public?

Photo by Pexels

Changing Times

I haven’t written in a while. Since the last time I’ve written the world has seen a global outbreak of the corona virus that has shut down entire countries. Here in Pennsylvania we are under a loosely followed stay-at-home order. Stores and businesses had to close and millions of people were laid off.

During this time even the schools shut down for the remainder of the school year. The school district began the transition to distance learning for the remainder of the year. Chromebooks have been distributed to the students so they could finish the school year.

Meanwhile, many occupations were deemed essential along with the medical professionals and emergency professionals. As a staff member of a homecare agency, our staff was also considered essential meaning we were to remain open and operating.

During this time of quarantine I have had to re-design some of my goals. Some were accelerated. During this time I have had to utilize online ordering more than I used to… In light of that, I have had to re-order copies of both of my books, Entangled Hearts and Reflections: Past, Present, Future. I have since designing my website: http://www.markishabunn.com and now both of my books are available on my website.

Although many are affected by this pandemic there is some good that can come from this. I look forward to seeing the outcome of this pandemic. Squeeze the most out of each day while you have it.

Black Violin Groove

Happy Friday! We are at the end of February and boy did this month fly by! I have been grooving these last couple of months on music from my favorite violinists – Damien Escobar and the duo, Black Violin.

Only those super close to me understand how deeply music touches me and many of Black Violin’s tracks have touched me in a way that can only be felt, not explained. Let me start by suggesting some of the tracks in my current rotation:

* Triumph

* Virtuoso

* Magic

* Showoff

* A Way Home

* Impossible Is Possible

Now all of these tracks can be found on YouTube so don’t fret. This group is also on twitter and instagram (I know because I gave them shout outs a few times). Who knew violins could get so… deep?

I kept thinking these last few years that this is the time for the strings as in the early 2000s the saxophone had everybody grooving in the jazz listening circuit (especially me) but I have always had a love for the strings and bass. I guess that influence comes from seeing my father’s guitar as a child and being fascinated with Prince in the Purple Rain movie.

Back to Black Violins… I love how they pull you in with their openings and then wrap you up in their melodies. They will be in concert in Wilmington, DE on March 28th. That would be awesome to see them play live! The way their music makes me feel…