International Women’s Day – Book Edition

I’m recovering from pneumonia but I couldn’t let the opportunity to share some of my favorite books by some amazing women.

Some of these books I’ve discussed or reviewed on the blog but all of them are invaluable to me and my experience as woman and a lover of literature.

1. Americanah – Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

americanah

2. Seraph on the Suwanee – Zora Neal Hurston

SeraphOnTheSuwanee

3. Annie John – Jamaica Kincaid

AnnieJohn

4. Kindred – Octavia Butler

Kindred_Book_byOctaviaButler

5. Daughter of Fortune – Isabel Allende

DaughterofFortune

6. Unbowed – Wangari Maathai

Unbowed

7. The Goddess Chronicle – Natsuo Kirino

TheGoddessChronicle

8. Interpreter of Maladies – Jhumpa Lahiri

Interpreter of Maladies

9. Sassafrass, Cypress and Indigo – Ntozake Shange

Sassafrass Cypress and Indigo

10. Push the Button – Feminista Jones

PushTheButton

Please keep in mind, this is a small list in my mind. I tried to select stories told by women of different walks of life with a variety of genres to choose from. These 10 books to me are essential to me because they all helped me understand more about the world and myself.

If you do read one of these on my recommendation, I would love to hear from you. If you’ve read it before, I’d still love to hear your thoughts.

Who are your favorite female authors?

The Dubious Task of Depression

Depression is a real thing, and as we continue to lose people to the emptiness they can’t fill, I hope we can be compassionate. How can someone begin to explain? It’s a lot easier to self medicate or over medicate with illegal or legal drugs to try to dull the pain. The relief that you feel is nothing short of bliss, even if you know it’s temporary – even if you know it isn’t real.

When the mask crumbles and you’re forced to deal with the anchor of pain that you can’t even justify in words that make sense to anyone but yourself…its a humbling and scary thing.

Most of the folks that (I know, who) suffer from mental health issues are constantly afraid, not only of their depression but how it will manifest itself next: the racing thoughts, the over thinking, the surety that your life has no meaning and love will never find you in the darkness. Your mind becomes your own worst enemy, replaying your failures. your doubts and your insecurities.

Sometimes its a flash of knowing, other times its lingers like an old hateful friend that’s overstayed their welcome on purpose to rob you of happiness.

Speaking for myself: I’m fully aware of the stigma around mental health and mental health care. While there are more folks talking about it, Mental Health Illness is regarded as preventable or only at opposite sides of the spectrum; you’re either cutting and suicidal or you’re the goth girl in the movie who has an attitude and is later exposed as being mentally ill. The portrayal is ridiculous, the conversation is generally unhealthy after all of the jokes are made.

How do you reconcile this as someone who suffers from Mental Illness? I was there for all the Whitney and Bobby Kris jokes on Social Media and now, am I supposed to believe everyone had a sudden change of heart and is willing to be understanding and compassionate now that Bobby Kris is fighting for her life? I don’t want to find compassion as I’m playing chess with Death. We often reverse the care we give those who suffer the most – while alive we assist their road to infamy so we can more access and more information with which to pretend we know someone – while dead we extol their many virtues.

I would love a world where Mental Illness is treated as what it is; sickness and for myself, I would like a world where I’m not afraid to be myself…which does mean that am depressed from time to time…and be accepted as a whole instead of as a broken person.

You may never know the ways in which someone is struggling but the one thing we all have in common is that we have experienced pain or loss. I urge you to be gentler, kinder and more compassionate toward those who really are begging for a chance to walk with you in the light and to be understanding of those who simply can’t reconcile a decision to stay and suffer – there are some who need the escape more than they need the pain and we must respect that.

Only the phoenix arises and does not descend. And everything changes. And nothing is truly lost. – Sandman #74 – Neil Gaiman

Margaret Cho’s Golden Globes Skit Was Minstrelsy, Not Comedy

Asiaelle:

A step in the right direction.

Originally posted on TIME:

North Korea—particularly the Kim regime—has long been a goldmine for laughs, ripe for a comedic take. Comedian Andy Borowitz has racked up 273,000 followers channeling Kim Jong-un on Twitter with jokes that parody North Korean news. A recent tweet: “You mess with N Korea’s Internet, you mess with me, coz I’m the only one here who has Internet.” Borowitz isn’t the only one to draw content from Pyongyang. Long before North Korea’s entry into the axis of evil, ripping on the Kim dictatorship had become commonplace; it was easy, a comic release for situations—be it famine or labor camps or weapons—that nobody found very funny.

The most recent example: comedienne Margaret Cho’s running gag at the Golden Globes on Sunday. Uniformed as a pop-culture-savvy Army General, Cho mocked North Korea as her vermilion upside-down mouth spewed broken English. The reaction was split: viewers clamoring over how her performance was…

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2015 Strand Books – Reading Challenge

It’s pretty straightforward. As I fulfil the requirements, I will check it off the list and post the title.

Here is the challenge:

Strand Books 2015 Reading Challenge PDF

Even if you are not an avid reader, this is a great way to challenge yourself to step outside of your comfort zone. For the voracious readers, it should be fun trying to find books that meet the requirements. There are 25 different challenges on the list and no, I couldn’t find a jpg, I could only find it in PDF format.

Who’s in?

New Year, New Books

It took me a few days but I finally got the first few books I’m going to be reading this year:

Book One:  Sassafrass, Cypress & Indigo by Ntozake Shange

Sassafrass Cypress and Indigo

Book Two: The Indigenous People of the Caribbean by Samuel L. Wilson

Indigenous People

I look forward to new explorations, amazing characters and moving prose in this upcoming years reading. Since I’m also in support of #WeNeedDiverseBooks movement, most of the books that are featured this year will be from writers from every possible junction of intersectionality.

How are you starting the year?

Hashtag Revolution

It started with Trayvon Martin.

We were on Twitter, bullshitting and the news hit and within hours it was an internationally trending hashtag. (I’m not taking credit for anything,I’m using the collective “we”) Social Media started to become “more” for young, minority (black) americans who were starting to understand the depth of the problem that the generations before us are leaving behind.

Since Trayvon Martin was murdered, there have been countless acts against black men and women by Police Officers / Authority figures that it’s become common place. Movements like #NMOS14 started by FeministaJones became an easy trolling ground. It was easier for most to make fun of the hashtags or use them to sell their soundcloud mixtapes.

No, GZ was not a cop but he was a self-appointed law enforcer using the guise of protecting the community to further his need to exert his idea of what safe meant. I won’t get too deep into GZ’s many issues but I will say that I’m disturbed by the trend of folks who killed black men and women, making money and being able to support themselves on monies raised for them by their supporters. GZ passed the million mark and DW made a pretty penny; he was able to get married comfortably and has a baby on the way. He resigned and will not have to work for a while he waits for the arrival of his first child.

DW will never have to worry about his son being randomly executed by a cop in the street. While I would never wish harm on anyone’s child, I feel like this stark difference is the most hurtful. You take away someone’s child and by the grand jury indictment, you are expecting one. I hope that he is able to reconsider his actions on that day and see that a young man is nothing like a demon and Hulk Hogan just because he was your height / weight.

I’m not a revolutionary…not by any means. I recognize this and I’ve made peace with it. I don’t have the answers. I can’t quiet the pain and silent rage that the community holds to it’s chest in place of their lost children. However, I do what I know I can. Everyone can’t be a soldier or a speaker; some folks need to be able to feed those that are marching, others need to clothe them, encourage self care, check up on them. I know my anxious heart is not built for the front lines but I will retweet, I will read, I will share and I will breathe this in and out until the day I die.

We should not be afraid of those meant to protect us. I shouldn’t have to have “the talk” with younger family members about how to be the most passive version of themselves whenever a state official presents themselves in uniform. Those who wear the uniform, those who vow to enforce the law should be able to uphold the law in their own communities. These are not unreasonable wants and desires. We are people, we hut, we bleed and we are crying out for some understanding and a bit of compassion.

Leaders are stepping up and we need to support them and find our roles in this. There is no need to be at the fore front; there is room for everyone. This is not a one point issue. This seemingly recent uptick in violence against the unarmed is just a symptom of a more alarming sickness that is most comfortable when black folks are not. As we try to correct the manifestations of institutional racism let’s not get too focused on one on one instances of racist behavior. We have the will, the strength, the intelligence and the voice to make a difference for ourselves and our children.

And they said a revolution could never come from a hashtag.

*chuckes*

50k protesters shut NYC down and there have been protests nationwide and worldwide in support. Yes, Black Lives Matter and we’ll scream it with our last breath if we have to.

#That

Onward, Upward

2014 has been more or less a bust for me. Other than leaving my job and deciding to focus more on elevating myself and the folks around me it’s been uneventful but with new breath comes new life and there can only be upward mobility from here.

The hardest part of the year for me has been letting go of toxic relationships and situations, as a relatively solitary person, work was a way for me to connect with people. Working in Customer Care allows you to help and serve people a few people who really appreciate your help and it makes up for the terrible ones who scream at you because they don’t know what to get their Husband for Christmas. As much as I disliked some of the aspects around my working life, I loved the folks that I worked with and removing myself from them really impaired me in a way I wasn’t prepared for.

Time for yourself is a novel concept until you realize that you are alone with the thoughts in your head and there is no more of the familiar understanding that comes with a group of folks who you spend 9-10 hours with, 5 days a week. It’s been taxing.

How do I reconcile my need to be there for others and be helpful with my need to grow? I’m not sure yet. School is still an intimidating mass of debt and anxiety and life in these still waters are even harder to navigate that rough tide.

With my 28th birthday approaching, I feel this unnatural amount of pressure to succeed and make some resolutions that will take me into the new year.

I endeavor to live in my own light.