Octavia E. Butler: She Knew and I Shall Now Have to Call Her Moon Child


This is basically how I rolled while reading Octavia E. Butler's, Parable of the Sower...

Me: Babe! She predicted everything. EVERYTHING!

(goes back to reading)


For the record, that man has never been screamed at so much. Okay, he's never been screamed at that much... while I'm reading a book. 

Can y'all please read Parable of the Sower and Parable of the Talents? And if you have read it can we please talk about it? I need to talk about this with someone. 

I'm just sitting in all these thoughts on damn global warming, new slavery, water catastrophes, walled communities, illiteracy issues, druggies who burn things and eat people (can we say bath salts?) and I am freaking the hell out. This woman knew too damn much. She wrote this in 1993, y'all. 

Before Mr. Evil Cheetos Chinchilla Head started acting a fool... before the Dakota Access Pipeline and Flint's water crisis...before we started looking at prison labor as slavery 2.0 and folks being elected to positions of power who could do some scary ass shit to our educational system as we know it (google Betsy DeVos and cross yourself.) 

Octavia knew things... She knew. 

This taken from her second book of the series, Parable of the Talents

"Jarret insists on being a throwback to some earlier, 'simpler' time. Now does not suit him. Religious tolerance does not suit him. The current state of the country does not suit him. He wants to take us all back to some magical time when everyone believed in the same God, worshipped him in the same way, and understood that their safety in the universe depended on completing the same religious rituals and stomping anyone who was different...

...Jarret's people have been known to beat or drive out Unitarians, for goodness' sake. Jarret condemns the burnings, but does so in such mild language that his people are free to hear what they want to hear. As for the beating, the tarring and feathering, and the destruction of 'heathen houses of devil-worship,' he has a simple answer: "Join us! Our doors are open to every nationality, every race! Leave your sinful past behind, and become one of us. Help us to make America great again...His opponent  Vice President Edward Jay Smith calls him a demagogue, a rabble-rouser, and a hypocrite."

Y'all... Donald Trump read these books. I know he did. I got chills y'all. Frickin' damn chills. 

So who's read the book? Come on Cletus. Right. This. Minute. Speak up!

I kind of feel like Sebastian from Never Ending Story. I'm just reaching the point where I'm chillin' under a blanket and I'm figuring out the author has been talking to me the entire time.  I see you Octavia. I see you... 

So yeah, if you've been looking for a great book...or you're finally waking up and just now realizing our world is stupid, jacked up (welcome, new woke folk) and you're thirsty for some new perspectives...this is the book for you!

It features a black feminist heroine (who you most certainly will relate to and want to be like.) She sprinkles legit history amongst a crazy dystopian society. So you get sci fi and historical nuggets. It's the perfect introduction if you're down with finally getting that minor in the POC Experience. 

Consider this book club hour. I'll be waiting. 

Peaceful Exchanges


If we're talking feelings: I have felt small, insignificant and unheard. I feel lost and powerless. Like many of my friends and family I've been thirsty AF for information; magic words and magic instructions for how to fix the current chaos. The journey has been maddening. We attempt to start moving in a direction (any direction!) and before the glue has even had time to dry we're berating any and all ideas...they're never good enough...we're ripping the pages out...hitting the delete buttons and we're back in the same.damn.spots. and THAT can mess with your spirit just as intensely as the initial trauma that afflicted you in the first place.

I've been in that space and it hasn't been good so I've been looking for ways I could join the conversation. For someone who has never been super active in the community that was easier said than done. Finding a conversation outside of facebook took some time, but a conversation I did find (shout out to Kim Smith of Kinesis--a gym, workout center, spirit junkie mecca.)

So on a rainy Sunday afternoon I drove my butt down to Culver City and attended an event Capoeira Batuque put on to honor Zumbi (a Brazilian king who represents black liberation and black consciousness.) The discussion consisted of panelists who gathered for a meaningful discussion on current events, providing tools for peaceful actions and solutions. I just couldn't resist the promise of magic i.e. solutions to all the madness.

I wanted to share some of my notes because I think this conversation was meant to leave that studio's walls. Warning: it's lengthy, but collectively it added so much to the conversation and blew my damn mind so I have to share it all. Trust me it's worth it. Get comfy and dive in.

The Panelists:

  • One man read scripture from the Yoruba Bible about the power of community, gathering, and cooperation. He shared passages which explained the divine energy that resides in our heads as well as the significance of putting ones head to the ground to remove the negative energy that clouds our divine energy (something that many faiths practice.) 

  • A professor from Occidental College who teaches history spoke about her responsibilty as a white woman teaching history. Specifically, her responsibility involving centering people of color appropriately. At one point she mentioned that an important objective of slave masters was to destroy the spirit while preserving the body so she read documented examples of slaves (women specifically) who affirmed their humanity while living in a system bent on destroying it. The women who nursed and fed the babies...The women who dressed the wounds of the beaten...The women who stood in the way of the whip to protect young black boys from being beaten. 

  • An officer attended the meeting as well. He shared local programs the police departments have implemented that teach officers tools for tolerance. He mentioned the coffee with a cop program and stressed the importance of needing the community to know that the cop shootings we all keep hearing about are "mistakes...isolated incidents." 

  • A man who runs programs that advocate and assist foster care youth, children who have been in juvenile detention centers and prisons also attended and shared a heart breaking story of a gifted boy who went to jail. When he was released he was sent to his grandmother's to live, but because of zoning laws that prevented a felon from living there he was kicked out and sent to his aunt's home who happened to be a drug addict. Her apartment was raided. He was there and therefore arrested. He was out of jail for only two weeks before they threw him back in. He encourages us all to locate our local juvenile detention centers and work with them to help these young people.

  • A former mayor and congress woman spoke about needing to see those in the community represented by those who live in the community (read: it's all white men. She is the 5th woman in the history of the city to ever serve as a local official.) She mentioned the quote, "If you're not at the table then, you're on the menu." 

  • Another gentlemen had just returned from filming at Standing Rock for a project Robert Redford is leading.  This Mexican American man quoted Malcolm X, stressing how important our history is. He took it back to Christopher Columbus and the Pope's Doctrine of Discovery that encouraged Christians to go out and take the land of Non-Christians. He spoke about the treaty of 1851 and a Lakota prophecy that warned of a black snake that many believe is the Dakota Pipeline. He mentioned the women who are being shot in the face with pellet guns for protecting their water and how we can starve and destroy the snake by pulling our damn money out of the banks that are feeding it. 

  • The final woman, a white anti-racist activist, made sure to stress that conversations like this demand that her voice be the smallest voice on Black Conscious Day. She spoke to the white audience specifically suggesting they and you (if you're white) use your resources to help. It is not enough to be non-racist. You must be anti-racist. Find other anti-racist white people. Meet! Discuss! Do the work together and learn how to help without triggering people of color because it is not our responsibilty to help you figure it out. 
Once the panelists were all able to speak the moderator opened the floor up for questions. A mental health worker spoke about how society is just now researching trauma. They've learned that the body remembers trauma...we carry it in our DNA. The great grandchildren of Holocaust survivors experience the trauma of a period of time they weren't physically apart of... yet they harbor trauma. 

Another woman shared her story involving the father of her child and how he was locked up for marijuana and came out of prison a completely different and broken man who suffers from PTSD.

They asked us to think about how we can be an activist (and not a slacktivist). I pledge to keep reading and keep sharing what I learn. I also plan to be a conscious parent. It's my start.

My overall thoughts: They achieved magic. They identified roots of the problem and had honest conversations. I learned a lot and that knowledge is power. There's a catch though. This is probably the most pessimistic stance I've ever taken on education, but I believe the more you learn about racism and this broken government and system of ours, the more you realize it's an infinite hole of discovery. You will never stop pulling the scarf out of the magician's hat. You just have to keep pulling...keep learning while honoring and appreciating the progress.

I also learned that if you want to do something you have to study history. (A friend sent me a list of great books if you need suggestions.)

I learned if you have privilege or power you have to speak up for marginalized people. The system can't and won't change without folks on the inside actively dismantling these broken systems.

The white anti-racist woman's words keep popping back up: You're not being a true ally if you're defensive. The gentlemen who just returned from Standing Rock urged people to be proactive and not reactive.

I saw the problems that occur when people forget those nuggets of wisdom. One example: the officer. I appreciated seeing him there and was curious to hear what he would add. He shared some personal stories but overall he was defensive. I left early, but every time someone asked him a question about police brutality all I heard were defensive arguments. I heard scared and hurt people who just wanted him to say "Yes, those cops who are shooting men and women are a problem. We want to fix these horrendous issues just as much as you all want to." Instead he just kept emphasizing that they were mistakes and distancing himself and us from the conversation. (Note: people don't want to hear that people's deaths are reduced to mistakes on the job.  And asking us to do the work of reaching out to police and building trusting relationships fell on deaf ears...at least my ears.)

Listen. Learn. Lose your pride. Don't be defensive. This is what I'm sitting with tonight.

Losing A Parent Too Soon


In September I submitted an essay application to apply for a writing grant. I just found out it was rejected. It stung a bit, but I'm not ready to let go of the experience or the words quite yet. I worked really hard on this essay and my friend Bree seriously was THE most generous and amazing friend; editing and challenging me to push further...

So I'm not going to let go. I'm going to share it with you all because I'm proud of this piece...And while I'm tired, tired, tired of hearing no no no I don't see myself stopping anytime soon. This one's for all those who are tired of 'No' but keep pushin' on anyways.

What Remains For My Child

A wise woman who read coffee beans and drank sweet tea, brewed from sunshine told me God had given me the ability to remember because He knew I’d come to count on those precious memories one day.

People never believe me when I say I can remember being two. I remember sitting in my car seat on top of a table while my mother and father argued in front of me. My head followed them as they paced the room. It’s a simple memory, a fragment of a moment, but when I told my mom about the car seat and the table one random day when I was a young teenager she paused and put her hand to her mouth.

When my parents broke up I spent weekends with my father. I remember him taking me to see Pinocchio, burying my face in my dad’s arm during the whale part. He teased me after while driving back to my mom’s. Sade’s “Sweetest Taboo” played on the radio. Her butter-smooth thickness lulling me into a peaceful daze like it always did. He’d stop singing only to encourage me to join in. The sun danced all around the back of his head as he crooned; his hands swayed back and forth.

Then there was the night he performed at the top of the stairs, moonwalking to “Billie Jean” for my stepsister and me, sparkly glove included. I remember laughing as he effortlessly lifted one foot and then the other, moving into the spin and finally landing on his toes. The man could dance.
I remember him teaching me how to brush my teeth. Standing by his side as he instructed me to move the brush from one side to the other in circles. He stressed the importance of touching every tooth with your brush. I loved standing on a chair beside him, both of us facing the mirror. I loved doing it The Dad Way.

...Or the one time I got blisters from my new church shoes. He carried me into the bathroom, took off my shoes and made me put my feet in the bathtub as he poured rubbing alcohol on them. The cool liquid hit my foot, seeped into my blisters and began to burn intensely. I screamed in pain as he fumbled with band-aids and apologies. It was the first time I realized maybe, possibly my dad didn’t know everything. Yet, I still thought he was magic. How else could he make me laugh even though I was in extreme pain?

Those were the type of memories I held onto as a small child. They were sweet and easy. They all followed a visual pattern. They centered on my father, always radiating warm light. I never recall others being around us, even though I’m sure there were people. My brain chose to remember him how I felt him. The memories are hazy and simple, possibly because I hadn’t known they’d bear such importance later. When they popped back up, they brought smiles and a happiness I took advantage of. They were fresh and untainted and useful. It’s amazing what you purposely choose to see and retain when you know what you’re experiencing is rare and precious.

When I was four I moved to Texas with my mother. That was the last year I physically saw my father. My mother treated our move like a new chapter. She never mentioned my father or the life I had with him. The only way I could preserve my family was to rely on the images I had unintentionally, but thankfully, kept.

Once when I was nine I went searching through my home for a book only to find my mother, eyes swollen and tear-stained, in her bedroom being consoled by her mother. She sat up in bed and told me, through choking breaths, that my father had died. This memory
always comes back to me painted in violent reds. Her words pushed their way out, tears and spit flying, clearly heartbroken and crazed. I stood calm and stoic, unable to process or emote. I wasn’t hugged or consoled. Neither my grandmother nor my mother moved from the bed. Instead, I walked to my bedroom alone, closed the door and sunk to the floor.

Then the memory shifts. I remember being cold and still. I searched my room, willed the carpet and wood to teach me what to do; teach me how to grieve and exist. The room was silent and unyielding, empty and alone. Only then did I begin to cry. It was the first time I felt and understood loneliness.
It was also the first time I truly understood the concept of a father. For the first time, I felt his distance. I felt the emptiness of the last five years without him and an overwhelming sense of guilt that I’d never gotten to see him again. I’d never hear him sing again. I’d never have a daddy to love me the way I felt he had.

With my back against the door, I held my head in my hands as sorrow, grief and anger filled the cracks splitting through my chest.

On that day, up against my door, the wise woman’s words came back to me. That night I gathered up Sade, the silver glove, and tooth brushing lessons, and let each one play over and over again. I allowed the warmth of those memories to blanket me in the comfort of my past. I allowed them to block out my mother’s words as I sang Sade songs over and over again... “So if you want it to get stronger you’d better not let go. You’ve got to hold on longer if you want your love to grow. Got to stick together, hand in glove. Hold on tight. Don’t fight. Hang on to your love.”

She would swirl the ice in her tea like she was consulting crystal balls. “When the sugar sits it’ s time to stir things up, baby girl.”

After my father passed, I thought about death constantly. I gravitated toward stories and conversations circling the topic. I watched Beaches and Steel Magnolias on repeat, paying special attention to how those affected by death reacted. I became obsessed with my dad’s last day, what he thought about in his final moments. I developed an insatiable need to know about him, but no one in my family was willing to help. Everyone stopped talking about my father. It was almost as if he never existed.

Their silence made my memories more important. I took them and constructed a man I could relate to, one I could love and keep alive in my heart. I lived with a father made of memories. Though if I saw a father and daughter sharing a moment, a friend hugging her father goodbye, bits of my creation would chip away. Deep down I knew I didn’t have enough.

I’m not sure if it was practicality or pessimism that drove me to keep a journal, but even when I was thick in my own delusions I’d write. I wrote about everything: every insecurity, every passion, every dream, every heartbreak-- all for posterity’s sake. I wrote the reasons why someone would label me as moody (because I never felt like I belonged with my all-white family). I explained why I was insecure about my looks (because my family nicknamed me ‘Ugly’). I wrote about the meaning of friendship. Why I wanted to be an actor when I grew up, and how I felt when I got to perform. I was brutally honest; exposing insecurities, jealousy, anger and weaknesses. I understood the kids who sprayed their names on the walls of the world in hopes of being remembered. I wrote with a
specific audience in mind, an audience that would crave the why and scoff at anything less than the truth. I knew my children would read my words one day and they would never have to fill in the gaps of me with the memories of others, or the lack thereof. At nine years old I began to write with the journalistic integrity of a woman whose truths would be sought after and pursued with vigilance. I ignored the dangers associated with writing it all down. On more than one occasion I was grounded for the details of my writings. Still, I never censored (though I did learn early on never to refer to my mother as a bitch). Even with security breeches, I kept writing. I wrote for children who would want what I wanted from my father: a complete person made whole by a breadth of personal information.

“The truth is like tea. It needs time and sugar.”

For years I was allowed to believe my father was a saint. He was handsome and loving, intelligent and fun, but then I turned eighteen and my family decided I was old enough to hear the truth. The act itself sent me spinning. The realization that I was holding on to thin strands of him crushed the universe I had created for myself to function. My father hadn’t wanted me. He wasn’t always the most respectful person. They told me why he took his own life, a fact I had painstakingly wondered about for years. I’m not sure there’s ever a right time to divulge that type of information, but allowing me to pay tribute to false memories for years felt corrupt. I had created this great father figure in my head. He would have done all of the great things I saw other dads do. He would have avoided doing all of the terrible things I saw fathers do. It’s incredibly difficult to pretend you’re okay with loving a fraction of a figment of your imagination. The truth
blurred my resolve, which blurred my dreams. I had found so much strength in my version of my father, all lost.

I didn’t know what to do with a father who had initially not wanted me... who said I wasn’t his when he saw how light-skinned I was when I was born.

I still spin. Once you know the unknown is infinite, disappointment comes anytime it wants. Now having a child of my own, I try to tackle the unknown for her. Life is fleeting and unpredictable. I know I could pass before old age steals me away and if that happens, God forbid, my writing will pick up where I’ve left off. If I do get to see her reach adulthood, she’ll still have my work when she goes out into the world and makes a life for herself. I can think of no better gift than a mother’s road map. I think my life will make more sense if she’s given the editor’s notes, firsthand. It will be easier if she forms opinions of me herself instead of having to rely on the filters others give her. I hope she reads and learns why I am the way that I am. I hope she sees how her mother thought and felt about the world and most importantly how I feel about her. It’s no secret that motherhood swallowed me whole and spit me out as a deranged, sleep-deprived shell. I hope she’s able to read my words and see the person I was before I became pregnant, how I experienced motherhood and what it was like after the shock wore off (I’m waiting to write that any day now). I write about marriage and the handful of loves in my life before her father. People spend so much time hiding their true feelings and emotions, so when we experience something powerful we question if we’re reacting appropriately. It leads to questioning the carpet and the wood for the answers that humans are too scared to share.

When you lose a parent at a young age you experience two extreme losses. You’re robbed of the parent and of the opportunity to know the person who’s half responsible for your existence. I journal to right those wrongs. I write so my daughter will never lack in her quest to understand and know her mother. Some may call it morbid, but it’s the most optimistic perspective I’ve ever taken regarding the relationship I’ve held over the years with that of memory. My father’s passing may have left me only a handful of memories, but he gifted me with a lesson: I’ll never know my father, but the notebooks I’ve filled over the years will ensure my daughter is never left wondering if the sunshine dancing off my back is enough to carry her through the years without me. 

My Tired is Tired


Woo weeee! I've gone THROUGH IT this week, y'all. I'm tired of going through it now. I'm tired of anger. I'm tired of indifference and dismissiveness but also of the walls and the inability for all of us to listen. I've BEEN tired of the hate, racism and ignorance. My tired is tired.

The conversations are still evolving and (at least among my friends and family) it seems like we're moving into the how arena. People are finally getting that we haven't listened to and heard a large group of our neighbors, friends and family.  New conversations are beginning. It's still a big pile of poo. We still have more work to do (dear God help us all) but it's something.

I'm desperate for news that gives me hope or at the very least doesn't piss me off. Enter Van Jones stage right! Both sides get to speak and by golly what they accomplish is a start. It's a start.

Pantsuit Codes


Okay... we're processing...

Here's where I currently am: Many of my friends and family have been having the same thoughts. My conversations are repeating because we're all in this thing called grief together. (Cue Prince... "Dearly Beloved")  We've shared our stages of grief and cried the same tears all damn day.

We've all experienced rage and fear and sadness...we're going through the phases of grief with crack-like speed. We've reached the part where we finally decide to get out of bed. We're showering and leaving the house and suddenly a brand new realization hits: A SHIT load of people who walk among us believe and support a man who has said racist, bigoted, misogynistic, xenophobic, alarming, no-good, terrible things. These people are condoning and supporting a way of life that puts us marginalized folks in harm's way.

So we're out running errands and we get weird looks. Many friends who are marginalized (i.e. people of color, women, LGBTQ+, non-Christian, etc.) are suddenly scared. Folks have already reported hate crimes and it hasn't even been 24 hours yet. My white female friends and family are terrified, too. They're terrified to know these people voted against their rights, concerns and values, but they're also terrified we (the marginalized) will look at them with fear...questioning if they voted for hate.

We're stepping out on egg shells. We're looking for clues that will help us figure out if we're safe or not.

We need a code. We need some sort of secret language, a nod, SUMTHIN' so that we can exist in our bodies comfortably and know others who surround us support us.

Safe spaces.

I've cried entirely too much today and drank entirely too much wine (before 5pm, too. Judge me.) so the brain is fried. I can't come up with the secret handshake today and we can't all wear pantsuits for the rest of our lives so I need some help.

I do not write "the rest of our lives" carelessly, either. I don't know about y'all, but four years from now when we vote again I'm not going to suddenly have a change of heart and say "Okay, I'm down to be friends with casual racists and bigots because the screaming orange blister is gone."

We're witnesses a fundamental shift.

I need to know who I'm dealing with and then we'll hit the stage of grief where we're all ready to fight, defend, respect and support equal rights for all.

This is giving me some goodness tonight so I thought I'd share.

Luv & Kiwi, y'all...

Love and Light


I love every positive, uplifting, moving moment of this. I wish us all love and light on election day.

I hope the worried are wrong. I hope hate and fear sleep in tomorrow. I hope the time change discombobulates the senses and all we have left is love, understanding and peace.

Tatted Signs


The plan always was to get a tattoo once I booked my first film.

...But then I went and got gangsta and decided I needed to live my dreams...you know that whole "fake it 'til you make it"?  So I stopped waiting and tatted my wrist with "dream" while on my honeymoon. Sweet sentiments in the moment, but every time I have an audition I have to cover that mess up.

I swear I'm going crazy because I think my tattoo is actually getting darker (instead of fading like normal ones) No matter what coverup I try I can't seem to get the darn thing hidden. I sat and cursed the faint 'd' poking thru while waiting for an audition today and that's when it hit me.

My dream is hurling signs at me. It's getting super hard. I need to book so bad so I'm accepting EVERY DANG audition that my team throws my way. I'm rearranging schedules and running myself into the ground, collapsing at night in a heap. Friends with children are telling me they're giving up because it's too much with a small child and I flirt with that dream...being able to stop running around like a mad woman and do normal stuff like work only one job and take care of my kid.

The tattoo is reminding me that there's no fading happening any time soon.

I'm on two avails. I have three callbacks. My head is spinning, but I'm desperately holding on to the faith that sooner or later the good stuff is going to start flowing in.

Thank GOD for supportive partners like Mark... and waterproof mascara.

This is after coverup...
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