Small Forks

I have an unreasonable dislike of small forks. Not just any small forks, just the ones I own. You may even say, I hate them for the feelings they invoke in my spirit.

Let me attempt to explain how my head sorts through just one of many things that courses through it on an hourly basis, and then I’ll leave it to you to imagine how every basic element of my life goes through these types of thought processes…times 100. Daily. Exhausted yet? I am.

Let’s say you purchase a set of utensils and organize them in a drawer, waiting for an occasion to set the table with style and flair. My small forks are hidden. Why don’t I get rid of them? I don’t know, when am I ever rational?

I remember a time in my life when I would see my small forks and only be reminded of the lessons we learned from a debonaire and toupee’d Hector Elizondo in “Pretty Woman.” We all knew if given the opportunity to attend a formal event, we would know exactly which utensil will be used for what based on the placement on the table. What a gloriously naive time in my life. I often wish to go back there.

For the last 5+ years, small forks are a tangible representation of my depression. Weird, huh?

How I’ve dreamed of this elaborate romantic table setting for two where I’d prepare decadent meals for my beloved. You have no idea how much I love to be domestic when given the opportunity. I would give anything to spoil a man regularly. It’s not something I tire of, it’s something I love to do. I LOVE IT. I can make my own money and bring home my own bacon, but let me crumble that salty delight over the cream sauce I made from scratch enveloping the baked chicken atop the seasoned noodles…..for you. Let’s share this dessert I baked from an old family recipe – one plate, two small forks.

FORKS - 2b

At some point, those small forks would be the utensils for those tiny humans with my smile and his ears. They would need to use these because the larger forks are difficult to maneuver with such short fingers. They would help set the table at this point in their chubby-legged lives; each one having their own small fork they use for every meal. Maybe we’ve marked them by this point because we’ve learned the sibling rivalry at meal time isn’t worth it. Over the heads of our babes, we’d steal a glance and half-smile at the memories of those small forks in our courting years. The incredible salads we ate & desserts we fed each other using them; the joy of those moments almost eclipsed by the absolute bliss of the family we have now despite the many hardships relationships face. We prevailed and look! Look at what we made.

You see, small forks aren’t just four mini-tined metal objects I toss into my utensil organizer that’s stuffed in my kitchen drawer. A depressed mind can project these unrealistic expectations and importance on things you’ve probably walked by/used/ignored/had collecting dust in your everyday life. There’s not a day that goes by where I don’t take a peek where I’ve hidden those small forks. For the way I loathe them as this glaring reminder of what I feel is missing in my life; there’s also an imperceptible nudge, just behind my heart that feels too much, that one day believes I’ll need some masking tape & a Sharpie to distinguish between them.

Hmmm…maybe.

Untitled (#BlackLivesMatter)

Here’s the good and bad of it: I really don’t think this conversation will stop. Nor do I think people will ever be able to see past the black and white because we’re so inside of the “black and white” of it all.  So this is by no means an end-all/be-all post, but it’s a few thoughts I needed to get out of my head on the matter of what is happening right now.  It’s not that it hasn’t been happening before the murders of Tamir Rice, Eric Garner, Mike Brown and countless others.  It’s not to take away from the lives lost of individuals, young or old, from any other race or culture out there.  This is coming down to the simple facts of the matter.

Photo by: GIORDANO CIAMPINI from Torontoist

Photo by: GIORDANO CIAMPINI from Torontoist

The world consists of the good and bad despite your upbringing. I can only speak from my own experience as a black person growing up in Canada. Was it all bad? Of course not. Do I look back and realize why some things happened the way they did? I sure do.  Am I more aware of the injustices, prejudices and discrimination now that I’m an adult? 100%. People…the fact is, whether you want to believe it or not, whether you are like this or not, black people are not valued the same way as white people.  I wish I didn’t have to make such a blanketed statement, but there just isn’t enough time or words in this post to break it down any more.

Now, here are some things I need to point out:

Being black is not a weapon. Being black is not a crime. I mean, are we saying that because evil and bad things are associated with things that are dark in colour/nature, we’re going to use this mentality to dictate how we treat……..HUMANS? I mean, black people have done it to ourselves for years. People with lighter skin were and still are coveted more often than those who are darker. People who are darker are using lightening agents to achieve this for whatever reasons.  Light = good, dark = bad. C’mon, 2014, we’re better than this. Listen, I’ve dated interracially since I began dating. I’m not ashamed of it. I don’t think white men or latino men or aboriginal men are better than black men. I’ve dated black men. But I can tell you from my experience (and only my experience), when we’re getting to know each other and the music I dig, the fashion that gets me off, the sports I “stan” for…more often than not, these black men don’t necessarily relate. I don’t hold it against them, I don’t care. There are black men I’m friends with who love the same things I love, but I can assure you, they are not interested in me romantically. Do I hold THAT against them? NO! Why? Why can’t everyone like who they like despite race, religion, instilled childhood beliefs, blah blah blah. There is a difference between being interested in someone BECAUSE of the colour of their skin (curiosity, fetishism) & falling for someone who happens to be a different race. Intent is a huge things, folks and more people need to focus on this. It would solve a million issues from the get-go.

Standing up for black rights does not mean you are anti-white people in any way. There are those who take it to that extreme, and I’m not in that category. The same way there are many white people who don’t fall under the category of “racist.”  White does not equate to racist and I really wish some of the people fighting for the #BlackLivesMatter cause would refrain from infecting the movement with that hatred. It doesn’t help the cause; it doesn’t help anyone.

White privilege isn’t a myth. Many white people take offence to this term because it shines a spotlight on a life they may take for granted. There are a lot of white people who had hard lives growing up, so hearing the term “privilege” doesn’t sit right with them. How were they privileged when they were/are homeless, had abusive parents/spouses, dropped out of school, on welfare, etc? The only way I can try to explain this is if a black person had the same set of circumstances they would be looked upon as “ghetto” or automatically assumed to be criminals or bad people even if they’ve never done anything wrong. A watchful eye would always be around because “they must be up to no good.” Whereas when the person is white and they DO something illegal, there seems to be this underlying understanding : “They fell on hard times,” “they always meant well,” “they deserve a second chance,” “I never would’ve thought…”  That’s privilege. Not having to second guess your outfit when you leave the house because of how you might be treated is white privilege. Then realizing it doesn’t really matter what you wear WHEN you leave your home is white privilege. It just is. It’s just facts. And if that makes you feel weird or uneasy, THAT is the feeling we want you to have to help us bring equality to EVERYONE.

Guys, I fear for this world. It keeps me up at night. It seems everyone’s true colours (no pun intended) are coming out full force. I, for one, have unfriended/blocked people whom I thought were my friends. Not even for saying anything TO me but just what they’re putting out there in the world. If they disagree with something I feel so passionately about, then they can’t be here to support me. It’s…impossible.

There is a lot of good coming out of these protests and people organizing raising awareness to the inequality and injustices. People are tired. All people. That’s encouraging to see. But there’s a lot of work to be done. There’s a lot of educating to be done and lessons to be learned.  Everyone out there isn’t doing it for the greater good. There are disturbers of peace and vigilantes who are using their anger in a negative way. While I sometimes feel like I want to smash something because I’m going to be seen as a criminal anyway, I know that’s not the way to help the cause. For anyone.

These are a scattering of my thoughts. I needed to get some of it off my chest. I realize the people who are set in their ways, will immediately fly off the handle and not read the words I’m saying. I’m not accusing anyone of anything, I’m not saying that I’m jealous of your lives, I’m just saying this is the world we live in. And if you can’t see that….THAT is privilege.

I hope for so many solutions to be found in my lifetime & I hope the world keeps me alive long enough to see some of these happen.

#BlackLivesMatter to us and we just want them to matter to you too.

We’re Different

One of my favourite pages to follow on Facebook is called White Guys.  And before you jump to ridiculous conclusions about the content, please go to the page and see what it’s all about. These guys are going to change things and I’m all for it. They linked a post from Gawker entitled Lena Dunham’s Race Problem written by Rebecca Carroll. There are many things I agree with in this post and she outlines some questions I’ve had in my mind for a long time.  And not specifically about Lena Dunham, I’m one of few who isn’t particularly a fan of hers, but about race and it’s depiction right here, right now.

One thing I dislike about these conversations is the black-and-white of it all. We are not the only two races in this world and while you may see an article about Asian men who deserve leading roles, it seems the discussion is between all the white people of the world compared to the number of blacks on tv, in movies or media who are portrayed positively. It happens during fashion weeks around the world; someone, somewhere is just waiting in the shadows to count how many non-white faces are on the catwalks. I am not against racial diversity. OF COURSE I’d love everything to be even and equal and relatable but if I am watching a McQueen show and I don’t see a black model, I’m not enraged. What does the colour of a model’s skin have to do with the design and structure of a beautiful garment.  You can argue, “Are you telling me there weren’t any other models of colour who could’ve done what this white model is doing?”  Yes, there’s probably a bunch of them but as I’ve always said, intent should be the basis of any argument you have in this situation.  If you know people of colour were intentionally ousted for one reason or another, then yes, condemn them all!  But if that’s not the case, then hush and watch the pretty clothes nuh man!

If you haven’t realized yet, I’m black. And I feel the focus of a lot of arguments are not entirely where they should be.

Rebecca writes: “…if Dunham were to say to Remnick and Apatow, “Guys, you know what would be awesome? If we did a movie or an entire issue of a magazine or dedicated the whole New Yorker festival to conversations about centralizing racial representation in media,” they would likely listen, and that would be radical.”

Yes, this would be radical.  But do you know what the reality is, if Lena did this, people would take issue with it. “What does this privileged white woman know about racial representation in the media?” “This isn’t an accurate portrayal and who gives her the right to…”  Like, it will never be okay for a group of people. It just won’t.

In a world where everyone has a voice, and they want to make sure you motha-f*ckin’ hear it, this will be another thing on the laundry list of injustices. Now, here’s my loud voice, listen to it!

I have always been a black female. Always. Can you believe it?!?!??!  My life as a black female is different than other black females. And it’s sure as hell different than any other man or woman from any other race. If I hear we’re in a “post-racial era” one more time, I’ll scratch out my own eardrum. We will NEVER be out of it. The differences are what make us, they shouldn’t be what break us.

Going back to the Gawker post; Lena Dunham lived a different life than I did. I don’t expect her to relate. Could she be enlightened? Of course. We tell our stories and sometimes people learn something new and perspectives are changed.  There is no denying that as visible minorities in North America, we are taught a lot about how life works for white people. Now, just go along with me on this because I’m not about to bash caucasians, I’m just explaining something.

The history we’re taught in school (at least mine) is primarily about things that happened to white people, involving white people, were written by white people. Then, in February we had special lesson on Black History. And occasionally we’d touch on the Native lives that built this country.

I’m generalizing A LOT here but you must see my point. People who are not white, learn about the lives of white people and from that we learn to adapt our lives to fit in. We’re taught we have to work harder, be stronger, smarter and better to just be on the same level as a white person. THAT is a reality.  Do you know what it’s like getting a job or into a school solely based on filling the visible minority quota? Like, this is a thing I can’t believe people aren’t aware of. Still.

“Hey Bruce, we don’t have enough ethnic diversity here so keep an eye out for Jermajestys and Harpreets in those resumes. Let’s get up to code.”

We are a product of the world we’re raised in. I would never expect Lena Dunham to be vocal in the world of racial diversity; I’m not saying she shouldn’t or couldn’t be, I’m just saying her not doing so is not disappointing to me. Rebecca also mentions THA GAWD, Issa Rae (and if you don’t know who she is, you better do some damn research). She IS a fan of Lena Dunham and there’s nothing wrong with this. They’re two young women making names for themselves in the industry of their choice. The point is, a lot of you have never heard of her or seen the genius of The Misadventures of Awkward Black GirlLike Lena, Issa Rae creates, writes, acts, directs and produces. Her series is award-winning, she’s had development deals and yet, she hasn’t garnered the same excitement and fanship from the masses. Issa Rae writes what she knows, from her experiences and understanding of the world. Her perspective is unique to her even though people like me can relate.

I hope one day we’ll be able to see the differences and simply accept them without bitter conflict. Without bringing things down to our genetic makeup and ethnic backgrounds. You have lived in a way that isn’t the same as I’ve lived and that’s…okay. Let’s share our experience. Let’s learn from them. Not in an effort to be right, but seeing things from other points of view will only lead to a more enriched life.  If we don’t agree with each other, we don’t have to attempt to hurt each other with words. What good comes from this?

Listen, Lena…do you. I mean, you have been doing you, so keep on doing you. All I ask from society on a whole is to be open to all voices from everywhere. Not everything is about fame and social media presence but I promise you, there are some of the most interesting voices coming from the most unexpected places. If you shared those as much as you shared a photo of Lena’s new haircut, we all might shift toward a better tomorrow.

But I mean, you don’t have to listen to me…I’m just another black girl.

We outchea...living. (Photo by: Lippfoto)

Black people and their hoods; you just can’t take them seriously. (Photo by: Lippfoto)