I’ve been on radio silence for the last few months as my life has been completely devoured by my new-ish job as a Hollywood personal assistant (still love it, though). England is everything I had hoped it would be, my … Continue reading
I’m breaking my long radio silence on the occasion of my 29th birthday.
The last time I found myself jotting notes on these pages, the world was crumbling after the election of–ugh, I’m not going to even go there. It’s my birthday AND HE WON’T BRING ME DOWN.
Lots has changed for me since then. Namely, I’ve relocated to another country, albeit temporarily, and I’m the happiest I’ve ever been in, quite possibly, my entire life. That’s not hyperbole or exaggeration. I am so sublimely happy working as a personal/writer’s assistant to a really cool actor that thinks I’m the bees knees (sucker!). The feeling is entirely mutual. It’s a literal love fest every day of this job. I’m sure it’s sickening to hear about, but just be glad you’re not witnessing it in person. You’d probably barf in three different colors.
Naturally, as a result of this euphoria, my anxiety and panic disorder has me catastrophizing anything and everything. You name it, I see the danger in it.
Eating gummy bears? I’m going to choke and die.
Boss does a really simple stunt. Boss will be injured and it’s all my fault for not swooping in and magically being the savior.
Showering? My, but these floors are slippery.
But I’m trying my best to put my irrational fears to bed and just live a little. Working on a movie set has been an education, to say the least. There are a million different acronyms, a million faces to put with a million names, and a million snacks to eat at Craft Services.
I considered writing more in depth about this life-changing experience, but going into detail may violate the well written, iron-clad Non Disclosure Agreement I’ve signed. If I do anything to fuck this job up, I WILL NEVER RECOVER.
Yep, 2017 has already been good to me, there is absolutely no denying it.
But I must say, 2016 was a roundhouse kick to the face so I am in no doubt that I deserve the positive changes that have been heaped into my lap. That may sound conceited/vain/entitled, but if you could’ve seen me last year…
I was a steaming pile of Hot Mess, littered with Epic Fail, and sprinkled with Deep-seated Regrets: relationships (ugh), career prospects–both survival and aspirational–(dismal), basic hygiene (putrid).
It wasn’t looking, or smelling, at all good for Short and Feisty.
And then the actor that I’d been doing PT writing work with for over a year decided to kick things into hyperdrive, offered me a chance to come on board full-time, and put me on a plane to London with 3 weeks’ notice.
Not. Playing. Around.
And now I’m sitting in my hotel room, about to wander over to set, wondering how I got so lucky. Forgetting the years and years of blood, sweat, and baby poop that got me to this point in time. Forgetting the vastly large amounts of rejection I’ve gotten as a writer and as an actor. Purposefully ignoring the miles and miles of road left to trudge before I get to where I ultimately want to be.
Because now I have that elusive mistress HOPE in my grasp and I’m not letting her go.
Here’s to 29.
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I keep trying to turn my blog back around–to be happy and cheerful and funny (at least to my own personal standard of funny, your mileage may vary)–but I’m just not there yet. It’s sad to think that this country elected a man that supports and espouses so much hate. That some people can just roll their eyes and be like, “He’s not REEEAALLLY going to be awful, he’s just not PC. He’s actually going to be miles better than Hillary because I hate Hillary and BENGHAZI and EMAILS! I love you, though, but I’m gonna go ahead with the go ahead and vote him in.”
What’s even sadder to see is all of the various hate groups crawling out of the rotten woodwork to do things like hold “Victory Marches” in places like North Carolina.
I posted that link to my social media last night with the caption:
“Grab your hoods, y’all. Your dude won.”
I almost immediately got a response from someone in my acquaintance that voted for Trump. She stated that she was “angry at those comments.” Being the naive little optimist that I am, I thought she was angry that the KKK were marching, that one of the most despicable, hurtful, violent groups in the history of this country is experiencing a furiously growing resurgence.
She was mad at my caption, said my caption was racist, and said that comments like my caption are what’s tearing America apart because she’s not bad like one of “those people that always brings race into things.”
So here is my response to this woman (who, anecdotally, is white), and who will remain anonymous here for privacy reasons:
Dear Mrs. X,
I’ve had the privilege of knowing you for almost my entire life. Your sister was an excellent 5th grade teacher and I have many happy childhood memories with your daughter.
But here’s the thing: Your vote did this.
Whether you realize it or not, whether you like it or not, your vote put this man in the highest political position of this Great Nation and, by doing so, you gave everyone license to hate out in the open again.
“Hello pre-Civil Right’s Movement–welcome back!”
And what I don’t think you realized about my caption is that it’s nuanced (I’ll shoulder some of the blame if it wasn’t obvious). I know you’re not a card carrying member of the KKK–remember, I have been the recipient of you’re smile and your joyful greetings. The fact of the matter is you are complicit.
You KNOWINGLY voted for a man that not only accepted, but appreciated the endorsement of not only the the Ku Klux Klan, but also the American Nazi Party. Speaking of the Nazis, do you know what the worst part about Nazi Germany and the murder of over 6,000,000 people was? That their neighbors let it happen by remaining silent.
That their neighbors remained SILENT. Let that sink in, because you didn’t just remain silent, here. You spoke up with your vote and actively put this man in power.
Now, you may think my caption is racist (though, it does not ONCE mention the race of his supporters, you’re assuming I’m only addressing white people), and you may bemoan the fact that “those people are always bringing race into this”. But do you know what the KKK is? THEIR HATE IS ENTIRELY BASED ON RACE AND RELIGION. The color of my skin is SO distasteful to them that they are actively trying to disenfranchise me and millions of others. The fact that certain people don’t recognize Jesus as the Messiah sends them into a tailspin. And GOD HELP THEM if they have to sit next to “a gay” at the Golden Corral.
I never thought I would bear first hand witness of the KKK in 2016. I thought all that junk was something my mother, and uncles, and aunts, and grandparents suffered through in the past. That they fought long and hard so I wouldn’t have to live in a country where people like that are handed a microphone and spoon-fed government support. But now, this reality is my present.
Your vote did this.
But you don’t see it that way.
And therein lies the problem. And that’s the reason for this letter: I took a step back and realized that you simply didn’t know. There are those that did and happily checked that box for Trump. But you didn’t, and I know because I know YOU.
You don’t see that your vote means we will most likely be adding bigoted voices to the Supreme Court who will be hell bent on stripping people of their basic American rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
You don’t see that you had any responsibility in causing the country’s Jewish population, Muslim population, hispanic population, disabled population, black population, it’s myriad of rape victims, etc to begin a new life living in fear. You don’t see that by saying “yes” to Trump, you were saying “do your thing!” to all of these terrorist groups bent on hating other Americans, some of whom you may even have in your own friend group.
It’d be easy for me to say I’m not afraid because I don’t live in NC–I don’t live in VA or The South anymore, so I’m not near it. But you know my nephews and nieces. You see them almost every day during the school year. And I’m afraid for them–there’s no hiding that beautiful brown skin AND THEY SHOULDN’T have to. I fear for the children that bear witness to all of these heinous actions and are scared out of their minds. Children that are already being bullied in school.
Hell, my college campus is 30 minutes from you in Southern VA and minority students there are already being bullied:
So maybe your privilege allows you to live in a little bubble of being “color blind”–race is never “the issue”. I can attest to the fact that my elementary school, where you work, is just like that–its own little Utopia. But outside of that, others are forced to see the full spectrum of color.
And I don’t think that’s a bad thing!
And I know that makes you uncomfortable to even think about–that you had a hand in this nonsensical hate.
And it should.
Maybe it’ll give you an inkling of the discomfort that all of the other Americans being targeted, not because they’ve behaved egregiously, but simply because of being WHO THEY ARE, are feeling.
There’s no undoing the election now, it’s done.
But I’m glad I’ve sown this seed into your conscience.
Now, I just need you to think about what I’m saying. Listen to what others are saying about what’s happening in our lives NOW. Maybe, if you truly listen, you’ll learn. And my most ardent hope is that maybe, just maybe, what I’m saying in this letter will inform your decisions in the future.
Short and Feisty
How does it feel to know that you’re their target demographic?
How does it feel to know that your neighbor doesn’t secretly hate you because of the color of your skin? Because of your heritage? Because of your religion?
How does it feel to know that, even with the shift in power to someone who espouses hateful and vitriolic rhetoric, you’re going to be ok? Your life will go unchanged–you’re safe. You’re part of the fold. Because you’re one of them?
How does it feel to know the American Nazi Party and the KKK isn’t bothered by your presence among these amber waves of grain? That they won’t forcefully attempt to disenfranchise you over the next four years because you weren’t born heavy with melanin and you were raised worshipping one particular Nazarean?
To know that you won’t be mocked because you weren’t born physically different or not as able bodied as them?
How does it feel to NOT feel unwelcome in the country you’ve called home your entire life? That your grandparents, great-grandparents, etc called their land, as well?
To feel your marriage rights are not on the line? To feel your safety isn’t threatened by people who want to do you harm simply because of who you are?
I’d really like to know.
Because right now, all I feel is sad. And sick. But mostly sad.
Yet hopeful that the phrase “We never thought it could happen in America” isn’t something that you’ll be uttering within the next 4 years.
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In college, I always felt like the odd woman out because I wasn’t particularly politically minded. I went to a school for high achievers, children of senators, and an alumni list counting among its ranks several US Presidents, diplomats, Attorney Generals and, ahem, *notorious FBI Directors*.
Before Obama’s first term, I always saw myself as politically moderate with no affiliation with any political party–I had my fair share of conservative views that lived comfortably along with the liberal ones.
The good ol’ days, if you will.
I never in a million years thought Obama would win, and I wasn’t old enough to vote to make a difference, anyway, so I wasn’t particularly invested. 16 years as a minority woman in America convinced me that this country could never get over its racial issues and put an African American in the White House–SURPRISE!
I’m quite sure that I would’ve tried to stay in the center of the political spectrum post-election had it not been for the shenanigans of Sarah Palin. When I saw the Right embrace such an uneducated, dithering, hypocritical harpy, John McCain’s relevancy was completely washed away and I was nudged to the left of center.
Then Mitt Romney rolled up with Ryan 4 years later and I wasn’t completely turned off by the idea of voting GOP. However, his out-of-touch millionaire views regarding the poor ended up being a turn-off, and I cast my first vote for US President for Obama. I knew the obstacles he had run up against with an obstructionist congress during his first term and wanted to see what he could do with a second.
Though left of center after Obama’s re-election, I wasn’t forcefully catapulted away from the Right until recently when Donald Trump decided to get a new hobby and run for President. I’ve already written a piece on the many ways he insults a majority of the US population with vigor and unabashed glee. And, get this, he’s picked on even more people since then. I have to admit that Hillary Clinton was not originally my candidate of choice; however, I can now say, without doubt, that I am a literal Hairy Legged (I hate shaving), No Bra Wearing (at least at nighttime), Pacifist (war is expensive) Liberal.
There really is no other way for me to vote at this point–I am female, I am hispanic, I am African American (or one of “The Blacks” that Trump is always referring to). Not only does this dude automatically shove me and my kin in the rapist/criminal category–he feels entitled to grab me by my genitalia because he’s rich! And famous! And he can!
Angela Merkel and Theresa May better put on some iron undies if this dude makes it into the White House.
But I’m writing this post in the hopes that someone on the fence (who are you, really?!) will read this message and decide that they do care about their neighbors enough to stop that from happening–their Muslim neighbors, and their disabled neighbors, their war veteran neighbors, and their female neighbors, your LGBT neighbors, and any other group of people that Trump and his most virulent supporters have attempted to crush beneath their feet.
Because you can’t say that you love these people and then vote for Trump–you can’t look any one of those people in the eye, grab a beer with them and say:
“I know this dude despises you, sees you as a subhuman-second-class-citizen. I know that what he’s done has contributed to the rise of white nationalists and other hate groups that intend to breed violence against you and yours, but I love you man. Let’s agree to disagree. It’s nothing personal.”
It is. IT IS PERSONAL. There is nothing more personal than selecting the leader of your country.
I can only assume that a lot of people are turning a blind eye to their friends that have been categorically maligned and abused by Trump and the Right because they’re living in a “color blind” world (or at least that’s what they tell themselves).
“Oh, I know your black/gay/muslim/etc, but you’re not like the OTHER black/gay/muslim people that Trump is talking about–THOSE are the ones we’re voting against.”
Uh-uh. Doesn’t work that way, homie.
You may not see me as the racist stereotype of one of “The Blacks”, you may not see me as the racist stereotype of hispanic people, and you may not throw me under the bus with the negative stereotype of a feminist woman. But I am black, I am hispanic, I have been half of an interracial relationship, and I do believe in equal rights between men and women so I am most certainly a feminist.
To all the minorities thinking about voting for Trump: PAUSE. Let’s take a second:
Think about who the ACTUAL Nazis are voting for (it’s Trump). Think about who the ACTUAL KKK is voting for (it’s Trump). Do you genuinely feel like you share the same political interests? Do you genuinely feel like you should be voting for the same candidate along with a group of people that probably lynched and/or enslaved one or more of your ancestors?
I had and still have friends who voted for John McCain.
I had and still have friends who voted for Mitt Romney.
I will not be able to keep connections with people who vote for Trump if this guy wins.
Not this time. Not this election.
The outlook for my future, personally, will look much different than yours (and not in a good way), if that’s the case.
Things are going to go south, fast. That’s not a prediction, that’s just a preview of reality–it’s already started. Just watch the videos of ANY Trump rally and you will see for yourself what America looks like when Bigotry is given a Soap Box.
And I, for one, will stand with the people that reject hatred and bigotry and I won’t “unite as a nation” behind someone that has expressed his disdain for actual human beings that make up a YUGE number of this amazing melting pot.
His KKK supporters have already vowed to show up at polling booths on election day. I certainly won’t be holding their place for them in line when they need to take a pee break, but I won’t make a ruckus about their presence, either.
And I promise you that I won’t be afraid.