#XD30-six-Wonder Woman

Wonder Woman recently hit box offices everywhere and set summer movie records on fire. I got the chance to see the film earlier this evening and it’s easy to see why people everywhere are interested in the story. Let me start by saying that I don’t know anything about Wonder Woman, or any comic book hero for that matter. It has never been my thing, and when it comes to action movies, it’s not really a genre that I go running to the theatre to see. Yet, I have heard nothing but amazing things about the movie.

To be fair, lets go ahead and note that Wonder Woman is the story of Diana, (played by Gal Gadot) an Amazonian woman princess on an Island governed by women, in a world without men. She is linked to greek mythology in that the Amazons were created to save the world after Zeus and Aries fell out, and that is where we find young Diana, eager to fulfill a destiny and save the world.

I honestly thought the story was done quite well. Although I find it incredibly difficult to imagine a society that lacks men, I could appreciate the telling or showcasing of the depth of a people of women. Albeit, older, white women (on a petty note). I love the power and prowess that the film took on for women. The film made every effort to assert women and that’s something we don’t see everyday, nor do we always appreciate it. So, kudos to that!

One interesting aspect I noticed was the transition coming from the amazonian world of their island into the world of civilization. Diana went to sleep on a sailboat with her hair braided back and woke up with it completely undone. I’m not mad about it, but it’s interesting to see how easily the world erases aspects of her heritage. Just something to think about.

As a whole the film appeals most earnestly to the hopeless romantic. Let’s be clear, these women kick ass, but the story is so much bigger than a woman hero on a plight to save the world. Diana is a woman that is true to self and fully actualized. I think it would also be interesting to unpack the way a woman navigates herself when she comes from a world that is matriarchal as opposed to the patriarchal societies that govern most cultural societies. She is bold, forthright, and unapologetic in her quest to be herself, completely. The only way we save the world is through love.

#XD30-five-I Do

If I were to get married tomorrow I know exactly who my husband would be. Well, kind of, and this is all predicated on the idea that I would get to pick, and that my chosen partner would just as easily accept my nuptial offering. We had a conversation on The Sunday Afternoon Podcast this week where I eluded to my marriage. More specifically, the fact that I have a good two and half men (I consider them to be gentlemen callers) that I would be perfectly content in marrying. I know that sounds strange, but when you think about it, just how strange of an idea is it?

I believe in the idea of soulmates. I believe that I have met mine, before, and for whatever the reason our stars have not aligned, and I am okay accepting the fact that we don’t end up together. Really, I have no choice but to be. That was a struggle, it’s not something easy to get over, nor is it easily understood. I would consider him my forever number one on the list of suitors. I make mention of that situation only because it’s left me mildly jaded in several ways. One of the lessons it taught me is the fact that in many instances relationships come down to a partnership and commonality of comfort, and convenience. A lot of the times that’s the sole reason people stay in forever relationships, not because there is this mystical feeling or uncanny tie to the other individual, but because they have lived life (as they know it) with that person for so long it’s something that they are not interest in living without. But, I digress. In no way is that an ideal situation for me, but it got me to thinking that I have to be ok with a second best. When I say second best, I just mean someone who isn’t him. No Mr. Big to my Carrie Bradshaw and that is just fine!  I had an unworldly experience with that man and I would be a total fool to try and compare it or hold anyone else to that standard, the level of intimacy, connective intimacy that we had is unmatched, uncanny, and I highly doubt it will ever happen again. 

That being said, when I found the willingness to move on I realized that we’re all preparing ourselves for marriage at this age anyway! HELLO! I’m thirty. I would be lying if I said I was out here getting to know people just for the hell of it. I am absolutely grooming (and being groomed) for my husband. 

The other two prospects are perfect in completely different ways. Naturally I’m more interested in one than the other because that’s the way I operate. When I’m getting to know someone I really take the time to vest a shit load of attention into them. I’ve never been a serial dater or any good at of it, because all of my energy just gravitates to the one who’s at the top of the list. Laurè said that the idea that I’d be fine marrying one of them means I don’t love either, but I disagree. I can honestly say that I love them both. I’m not in love with either, but I love them both, romantically. Also, I don’t accept the idea that my feelings for one negates the feelings I have for the other. I know both of these men in a capacity that has led me to believe that I could spend the rest of my life with them, both, I think. 

Ultimately, you can only know a person as much as they will allow. And I’ve thought about that just as much. It makes me think of other cultures of the world. All those arranged marriages, where all you have is your faith and a responsibility to meet a person where they are. Learn their behaviors, learn who they are and really be with them. All roads really lead to companionship, and that’s something you can have with, well truth be told, anyone. 

I may not be getting married tomorrow, but I’m lowkey planning my wedding! If I was held at gun point and demanded to pick a man and marry him, I can rest assured that I’m readily prepared to spend a lifetime with the man of at least one of my dreams.

#XD30-four-Lifetime

Some of my fondest memories revolve around Lifetime, Television for Women. I’m not sure when it became a family staple, the movies were always so captivating, about one woman or the next in some sort of struggle or fight to save her own life. This was years ago, before all the options that come with contemporary TV and ratchet reality. I feel like as a family we always found ourselves drawn to a space that was created with the channel. We would commune on the coach, all five or six of us would easily crowd each others space, sharing chips and blankets to cozy around one television screen, together.

A lot of those experiences feel lost with our millennial generation. We spend a lot of time separate, individualized in front of the privacy of the screens of our personal devices to the point where we can miss the chance to continually connect. There are always things that will bring us back. Lifetime still has a hold on me.

We drove through the night and checked into our hotel around 8AM this morning. As easily annoyed as I can be by my family, I love the intimacy of this space. When we turned on the TV to rest up I noticed that we all were watching it together. From Criminal Minds to SVU and finally, Lifetime, we actively participated with each other. Talking back to the screen, asking what was missed when someone stepped out of the room, or even having my sister make me a sandwich when she went to grab her own food, a lot of this day reminds me of childhood.

My mother still asks a million and one questions, as if we all aren’t watching the same movie, or she finds inconsistencies that the production team must have overlooked. There was a movie today that had a young girl treated for an injury in one scene yet in the next her bandage was gone. We still are easily frustrated when the characters make stupid decisions that are common sense, and I can be caught yelling and carrying on just as loudly.

What’s interesting is the fact that just last weekend in MD/DC I found myself having the exact same experience, with friends. A Lifetime movie was on and I was completely captivated! I wanted my friends to watch just as eagerly and I caught myself telling them what was happening, as we watched. I definitely fussed about how stupid I thought the white woman on TV was being,

I probably never watch Lifetime, Television for Women, at home. I can’t remember the last time I’ve seen a lifetime movie, its not a channel I scope out often and I have no desire to schedule time to watch. But I love how familiar it feels to watch it in the company of others. I now see that it’s something I look forward to, that company of others. In preparation for my move to CA this summer I’m moving back home, into my mom’s house for a few months. That doesn’t excite me, at all, but I can’t wait to actively be with my family. Sharing in that love and the joy of our connection will fuel me and I need to store up on about as much as I can get before I am thrown into a new season of isolation.

#XD30-three-I’m Hungry

I’m hungry. I decided to do a 21 day fast after turning thirty. A friend of mine mentioned he would do it, so when asked if I was interested in participating I said (mind you, before thinking) yes. Because that’s the type of friend I strive to be, over a cliff. This is not my first fast. I remember a few years ago I fasted for Ramadan as well. Honestly, I said I wasn’t going to talk about this fast, I don’t want to be misguided by the showmanship of it all, but I’ve changed my mind in order to keep my focus. To center and balance my experience, an effort to keep it cleansed.

I’ve got more than a few reasons to seek God out and gain some clarity. For starters, turning thirty! Ya’ll everybody don’t make it here and I’m not interested in taking that lightly. Secondly, I am moving to L.A. by the end of the summer. That’s a huge deal. I need to know that my efforts are consecrated, that I’m not acting on impulse or want, but navigating my life in a way that services my greater purpose. I completely recognize the impact of living life on purpose, that requires a certain level of discipline, one not so easily ascertained.

It is so easy to convince ourselves that we are making the right decision. I have done it a ton of times in the past and found all too often that I was excusing myself to make the decision that felt the best to me. When I first started thinking about moving to L.A. it had come to me in a frequent of three dreams. I could easily say, “thats it. This is the sign!” To embrace the idea that it had been planted in me, that this move across the country would be the will of God for my life, and that following it would lead me exactly where I should be. I have done that before, but it’s also easy to miss the mark. Lets be clear, I don’t doubt the things that come to me, but if you don’t find a harness to stay linked to that spirituality you will yield nothing.

We live in a world that is consumed with image and the idea of what looks good. Everything is centered around perspective and illusion. Yet, life hardly ever fits that way. One of the biggest lessons I’ve learned is to be true to me, to live as transparent as possible. I am not afraid to move. At this point, I can see all that I have lived through and there is so much to see. That is a comfort to me because the worst that could happen, nine times out of ten it has already been experienced.

So, yeah. The most effective thing for me to do is to fast. I’m a few hours into a drive to Florida with my baby sister, baby brother, and mom. I am starving and irritable, but I’m quieting myself.

#XD30-two-We Sat

We sat. I can still feel the numbness in my limbs as my feet dozed to and fro in sleep. Restlessly. We sat there for hours, an eternity of seconds since the last gasp elapsed my lips, you took my breath away. I’ve never known silence this way. The walls in this room are yellow. They beam a brightness as bold as the mustard sky. You introduced that color to me. The flowers have not escaped the last of their scent, the lavender hovers in the air, I can smell it each time I sniffle. There is nothing I can do to stop the snot and I am too stunned, too wounded and broken to move. So I sniffle, in silence, once every three inhales I wish there was breath in my body I knew how to hold longer. I don’t want you to notice me, in this moment I want the least amount of attention as possible. But, there is no more air so I inhale, so deeply I can feel the exhale rise out of my knee’s, but it does not calm me. There is no more air in this big bold room. The walls have dimmed. Through tear stained eyes I see rust and willowed leaves. We sat for hours. You over there, somewhere else. You feel far, and foreign. I can’t feel you in my spirit, the way I could before. The only reason I know you haven’t left is because I can see your feet. Across the room you sit back to pillow, upright on the hunter green coach you helped move into this space. I had you shift, turn, and cater-corner it in every direction until you finally grew exhausted in all of my angst and sat it down in its place. It fit perfectly.

#XD30-one-Dear Thirty

Dear Thirty,

Here we are, face to face. In all of my dreams I’d never thought we would meet this way. You have always been seen as something foreign, to me. A year and experience that would both be life altering and staggering. By the time I turned twenty five I had enough foresight to see that fear rested in thirty. I had remnants of the same fright at twenty five then twenty six and twenty eight. Feelings of unworthiness, disappointment, and loneliness.

I was relieved when you brought me something different. I spent a week joking about age and how being a year older, thirty, changed everything for the worse, but in all honesty I feel the opposite. There is power in you. Like, a spark that’s been ignited that in so many ways has been the erasure of anything that may have come before. I feel invincible.

My twenties were all about the idea of finding me. From all of the hair experiences to wearing make up and being gay- navigating gay friends and gay culture in Virginia, to unreal romantic experiences and all the responsibilities that come with learning to be an adult.

I have literally spent thirty years learning to be myself. When you look at it that way it is easy to see how thirty is just the beginning. There was so much time spent pretending to be someone else, living for so many other people, to the point that I am ready to cement myself in you. I know who I am and who I want to be and you, dear thirty, are the catalyst to such a greater experience.

I received an email yesterday confirming that I am an official graduate of Norfolk State University and in that moment I realized just how successful I have become. It took me eleven years to graduate from college. I started in 2006. To see that dream deferred, complete, is enlightening. Also, it is so telling of life’s experiences. You really are the new twenty. You come with a new set of challenges; operating on discipline, facing mortality, and cleaning up all those petty insecurities that still lie within me. However, you are a shield to it all.

You give me the next few years to be free. You are the experience that we all spent all of our lives waiting for, freedom. There is no more noise or cloudiness. I can do whatever I want.