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Showing posts from 2015

The Importance of Dark Dorothy

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In just a couple nights there will be a live performance, on NBC, of Motown’s The Wiz. If you’re not familiar with The Wiz, it’s Motown’s version of The Wizard of Oz. All different songs, same plot, all Black cast. The original came out in ’78 with Dorothy played by Diana Ross, Michael Jackson as the Scarecrow, Nipsy Russel as the Tin Man, Ted Ross as the Cowardly Lion, Richard Pryor as the The Great And Powerful Wiz, Lena Horne as Glenda the Good Witch, and a few other stars! I grew up watching this movie at my grandparents’ house huddled around the giant wooden tv with my cousins. We sang the songs, tried imitating the dance moves, and felt at home in our brown skin as we watched other brown people be exemplar. This Thursday’s production has me overjoyed and anticipatory.


Again, and as it should be, the entire cast is Black. All the main characters are played by pretty famous people including Queen Latifah, Common, Mary J. Blige, Elijah Kelley, Uzo Aduba, and Amber Riley. The main ch…

"Roles"

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Same sex couples baffle people. Every type of people. Even those in the LGBTQIA community. My girlfriend’s close friend is a stud; quick lesson in lesbian lingo: a stud is a lesbian who has a lot of masculine energy, typically wears men’s clothing and is stereotypically supposed to be more dominant in their relationships with their partners. She, KiKi, is kinda obsessed with gender roles; she adheres to the strict guidelines (there are no strict guidelines) to the Stud-Lesbian Code of Conduct. She believes she should be the pursuer, the aggressor, the leader, the bread-winner, the head of the household. When KiKi first met LeAnna, she thought LeAnna was a stud. LeAnna is not a stud. For the past several months KiKi has constantly been challenged and confounded by LeAnna’s gender and sexuality expression. So LeAnna and my relationship confuses her. When we started dating, KiKi, once again, had questions; they ranged from “Coléa, you’re a girl, do you like this bag?” to very intrusive q…

Young Love

“See that boy over there?! His name is Garrett Brooks and he’s cute and I like him.” Shari Tate confided; I anxiously nodded in agreement. It was my first full day of kindergarten and my first afternoon at after school. When Shari, a super cool first grader, picked me to be her best friend and protege she also introduced me to crushes, boys like girls like boys, and the dirty word ‘sex’, and to the male gaze. Garrett was also a big first grader with an expressive face, a whiny, scratchy voice, and round head with large ears. For the next couple years Shari and I would be best friends. We’d  join hips in the cafeteria after school and put our almost matching book bags together as we rehashed our days. She had a rectangular Beauty & The Beast book bag and I had the Little Mermaid one. We’d visit each others’ homes for playdates and when her dad died, I’d go to her dark house and play with her as her mom laid in her bedroom and cried. I was so proud to be her best friend. She chose m…

Glimpse of fairness

Her and I are both anxious people. But when I'm around her, my anxiousness completely subsides; and when she's around me her anxiety dials down to a sensible realist level. Which is why a couple weeks ago, when I quietly asked if we could hold hands, she said 'no' and explained she felt anxious about it. I gently answered okay and we kept walking, unattached. Her hand-holding anxiety made sense, we were in Concord Mills Malls. It was once the largest outlet mall in the East, and as a former resident of Concord, I remember in great detail the guarantee of seeing at least two confederate flags per day when out and about. It turns out racism isn’t the only thing attached to that fucking flag.
It’s something we’re always mildly aware of, hand-holding and general public displays of affection. It’s also not something we talk about; it’s unspoken when we walk closely to one another, but never make contact while walking through the aisles at the store. We pass by male-female …

Friend faux paw

I was hanging with a friend the other day when I met a friend of her and her husband's. He apparently took a liking to me and offered to buy me a drink, he just "wanted to buy a drink for a pretty lady." I declined because I didn't want him to get the wrong idea/lead him on. She, my friend, then came over and asked why I didn't accept his invitation, I replied that I wasn't interested in his offer, although he seemed like a great guy. She then basically tried to convince me to try dating men again, as if now will yield different results from all those times before.

This is a close friend of mine who, although her mom is gay, sometimes says some ignorant stuff about the LGBTQIA community. Typically, I try to educate/correct her, but this time she was persistent. And I was made really uncomfortable and offended.

I'm not bisexual, although I did toy with the idea whenever I first realized my attraction to women was more than platonic. But all the soul-search…

Mutuals

I had a necessary/awkward/good(?)/brief/deep conversation with someone, a friend, recently that has me feeling some type of way. Long story short:
I was going out with this woman, Pam (not her real name), and things were going great, then things started going less great, but I wanted to hang on because I really liked her and it's in my nature to allow people to repeatedly treat me like shit and still stay loyal to them. She broke it off with me and immediately dived into another relationship with Jan (another pretend name). Pam comes to my place one night to hang out and she reveals that she doesn't like Jan as much as she initially did and has cold feet about marrying Jan, and she doesn't really love her that way anymore; I try to give her advice, stuff like 'it's okay to have doubt as long as you're being honest with Jan about what's going on' and 'when you love someone you have to accept the stuff you don't like about them in addition to all …

This is a blog post about being an ally

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Recently someone asked me how to best be an ally to Black people; she didn't want to offend/step on any toes/misstep. I really appreciated her asking, but I also gave a convoluted answer. I thought instead of being redundant, I would share a great video that succinctly talks about how to be a good ally.


Franchesca brings up privilege, which can be something really hard for people to understand. I remember realizing a privilege I have when I was interacting with someone who has dwarfism, her and I were talking and walking, when she starts taking the ramp and I head for the stairs. It hadn't even occurred to me that the ramp was a viable option, but for her she always took the ramp because it makes her life easier. Here's another super video that's about intersectionality, but is a good illustration of privilege (white-female privilege).



Both of these videos are great, but there's a few other things I'd like to add on how to be (or what to know as) an ally:
1) So…

you're doing it wrong

I mean, I’m a catch, right? I’m intelligent, attractive, compassionate, kinda fit, social, I could go on, but you get it. So why, a few years back, was it so hard for me to catch someone? This was the first time in years, possibly ever, that I had decided to actually try to not be single. I yoked myself to the online dating world and invested time in finding the right guy. In retrospect, I now realize why none of those potentials worked out.
I dated some eligible guys. There was the really handsome anesthesiologist tech who was a great conversationalist and shared my love for breakfast foods. There was the parks & rec employee with a brilliant smile and winning attitude whose one flaw was that he had a cat. And there were a couple of guys who just really weren’t for me. There was the guy who expressed that he was so great that he wanted to have kids so they could admire his greatness. There was the guy who wanted to jump right into a relationship with me and then got upset when I …

Genderally Speaking: A couple of musing on womanhood

A couple weeks ago I was in fitting rooms (trying on clothes I had no business buying) and I was taken aback, encouraged and thrilled, by the chatter I heard among the women in the space. As women, we’re taught that we should always be ashamed of at least one thing on our body. And that we should dress according to our physical insecurities instead of our tastes in clothing. So if she is self-conscious about her fat thighs, then she should only wear knee length skirts/dresses/shorts; and she’s brave if she wears otherwise. In the fitting rooms I heard women building up one another by compliments and best of all by correcting. When someone would say she didn’t look good in something, her friend corrected her and said that she looks great in whatever she feels comfortable in. If she likes yellow, then wear yellow and don’t worry about how others will perceive her; if she likes big prints then don’t think she can’t wear them because of her size. It made me smile and almost brought me to…

leg

You know that feeling
when you stand up from sitting on your leg wrong?
You know you're leg is there
but you can't feel it
yet it's heavy
and then the uncomfortable prickly feeling kicks in
so you try to carry on gingerly
because that leg can no longer be trusted?

That's you.

Clocks

When I was a kid I had two clocks. One I got for my 9th birthday, it was a gold colored wind-up alarm clock; I had seen it on some tv show and asked for one for my birthday. My dad made a big schpeel and rhyme about it when he gave it to me before school. I loved it and had a very particular routine about keeping it wound up. The second was a bird clock; one of my great aunts sent it to me after she thought I asked her for it. Every hour, on the hour, a bird would call. There were 12 different birds, but I can only remember and recognize the sound of the mourning sparrow, its sadness and deep call at 7am and 7pm always reassured me.
At night I would lay in my bed and tune into the clocks. My gold clock moved in eighth notes: 1+2+3+4+; my bird clock, just quarter notes: 1 2 3 4 . Both clocks were at 60 beats per second, but they weren’t in sync themselves so the air was filled with ticking. The ticking seemed to take on musical textures and I would happily lay in bed under layers of t…

Hit on: a dichotomy

This past week I was hit on three different times by three different men in three very different environments. The last one I won't talk about because it was nothing special and I essentially walked away while he was trying to get me to dance with him. But the first two will get all the attention. The first was a pleasant experience and the second was terrible. Here's what happened.
I like to read at Amelie's French Bakery; it's open 24/7 and has unlimited bread. These are a few of my favorite things. Monday night I was curled up on a couch in one little section reading The Great Cosmic Mother. I had gotten a lemonade and a croissant and was comfortably in my own little world. This guy walks up to me and comments that it's rare to see a woman reading by herself. (We're gonna ignore that reading by oneself is actually a pretty common thing.) I snapped out of my world and looked up at him. He asked about my white streak in my hair and said it was sexy. I knew wh…

Hands...People Suck

A few weeks ago I performed for the first time at Charlotte StoryTeller's first ever StorySlam. The two pieces I performed were written by me.


(Don't be an) Apologist 101...(TW: Rape, Sexual Assault)

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I started a new job this week at a raw-vegan restaurant and it's been great! I've had to get back into the swing of being on my feet for hours straight, but it's been a welcome adjustment. The people I work with are stellar; they're super helpful and upbeat which helps when things get crazy. Yesterday it was just me and this other guy working (at the bar) the evening/closing shift and he was (nicely) grilling me on my music taste. Every song that'd play he'd ask me what I thought about that musician. As the night was wrapping up he asked me my thoughts on his favorite director...Woody Allen.
"The rapist?" I asked.
He said they're still on trial about that and I said that doesn't make someone less of a rapist. He said there wasn't enough evidence, again not less of a rapist. He asked if I'm gonna judge someone's body of art based off of something they may or may not have done, I said if they're a rapist then yes. I was aggravat…

Adulthood=Bullshit

Yeeeeeaaaaa, I'm calling bullshit on adulthood. This is my tenth year as an adult and it just gets more absurd, even downright juvenile at times.
As a child I figured that by the time I was an adult I'll have figured out what to do (how to handle) in every situation. But that's impossible, there are plenty of instances, as an adult, that one can't possibly anticipate as a child. As a child, your people interactions are limited to school, family, and extracurriculars; but as an adult everything broadens thus broadening the types of interactions you have with people. And about these people: they don't know what the fuck they're doing. No one does. I have never been the age I am at this exact moment, so I don't know how to be this age. I'm just playing it all by ear. We're all just playing it all by ear as much as we'd like to protest that notion.
I love life and the experiences I have within it. I love life so much that I want to share it with ot…

First 15

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Today (technically yesterday) marks the 15th day of my turning 27. Normally, I don't care about that kind of thing and it's really not a big deal, but I was reflecting a lot today on the past two weeks. Really, nothing that I hoped would happen has happened and random shit that I would've never imagined happened (is that cryptic enough?).
>My actual birthday didn't go as originally planned, but it ended up being perfect. I spent the day with family and Mexican food and day drinking; and spent the evening with a group of people who gave (give) me so much joy. I probably had a giddy grin on my face the whole night. I woke up the next day and was pleasantly not hungover; I woke up feeling intensely satisfied and loved and accepted.
>I had hoped that I would soon hear back from this one particular job that I want really badly, but that hasn't happened (yet). The job hunt is disappointing and discouraging. I hate finding a job that you've been waiting for you…

"Not my type"

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I've heard this twice in the past week and I've angrily cringed each time. It's an expression I struggle to understand, yet always leaves a bad taste in my mouth.
The other night I was having dinner with someone; he said that he needed to get out more, he was feeling lonely. I suggested that he try a Charlotte Meet-Up group to meet some others who have similar interests to him. He said he was on Black People Meet, which is a dating site for, you guessed it, Black people. (This did not thrill me for a number of reasons, but the biggest one is that he claimed to want friends but he's looking for girlfriends, but that's another post for another day.) Then he expressed how disappointing the pickings/results were for him. He winced as he showed me the first page of a lady who'd contacted him, her profile picture/age/city/profile name. Nothing about who she was, just the precursors. She was appropriately aged, appeared to take pride in her appearance (she had cute h…

Pithy Mom and Daughter Story

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I was the only child for the first 7 years of my life; so if one or both of my parents were around I believed it necessary to be the center of their attention. 
One day my dad came home early from work. My mom was clearly surprised and they were chatting behind my back, not paying me any mind. Well I wasn’t having that so I began histrionically laughing to draw their attention to me. The gusto I put into this display made me slip into the little, clear creek I was fishing in with a stick. The water was a bit chilled and only went to my ankles, but the worst part was that my shoes and socks were soaked. I panicked and began wailing once all the sensations were absorbed, I was drowning. I quickly realized I could just step back onto dry land, but it was my parents’ fault for not including me in their grown-up conversation so their punishment was me, their only begotten child, drowning and being swept away by the barely bubbling current. I was quickly rescued and taken inside. Shoes and…

Spare me

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It's great that people are mindful of others' feelings because that means that they are at the very least a decent human being. But while it's important to be considerate of others' feelings it's also equally important to be honest and respectful of one's own feelings. A few weeks ago a friend of mine admitted that she didn't feel like she could be honest about herself and her feelings with me because she felt like she was responsible for my feelings. That could seem like a nice sentiment to some, but I didn't like it at all. I've spent a majority of my life doing that: trying to manage other people's feelings and stifling my own. It made me really unhappy and unhealthy and out of touch with myself and it made me feel like the people I called my friends didn't really know me because I didn't know myself/make myself known. I was always getting lost in others feelings, their world.
Now if I'm being honest, people do have a huge influe…

People suck. But...

Like that time when I watched my dad get all dressed and ready for his bachelor party and his friends never came, so he sat on the back patio and contemplated suicide for the umpteenth time.
People suck. But we crave them.
Like that time when I found out that my visa request had been denied and I was devastated and my best friend said I couldn’t call her because 10pm was too late, her and husband had to get up early.
People suck. But I need them.
Like that time in elementary school when some shitty little kid made fun of me because my ancestors were slaves, so he or she was better because their ancestors owned slaves.
People suck. But I trust they can change.
Like all those times when I was made fun of by teachers and peers for having kinky/curly/black people hair and I cried to my mom, begged my mom, to do something about the affliction.
People suck. But my hair is fucking on point.
Like all those times when I was reminded by that aunt that I don’t fit in with the rest of my family, but at l…

In Orbit

I'm not an astronomer, but I do have basic knowledge about planets, how they orbit (I mostly just know that they orbit), and that they don't all orbit in a perfectly centered circle around the sun. Stay with me here on this metaphor: we're each our own solar system, so that would make each of us a sun. People are the different planets and moons in our solar system/life. There are times when the planets/people are closer to us and there are times when the planets retrograde from us. Some people are merely space trash, some people only stay in our gravitational pull for a designated amount of time, some people orbit in our lives forever. There's a beautiful synchronicity to this solar system, to each of our solar systems.
Lately, I've been thinking a lot about who I want in my 'solar system'; the kind of people I want to be surrounded by and the kind of people I want to orbit around. I think to a certain extent you can choose who's in your system and som…

For Future Reference

For future reference, Colea, you don't have to do, or be, everything they say. And boy do they have a lot to say.
When they tell you what to eat, you unearth alternatives. When they set out to make you feel inferior because you're not white, not skinny, you walk around naked in your blackness and curves. When they reveal their lengthy list of only "do nots" for you female body, you wildly dance in the celebration that is autonomy. When they box you into gender roles, you take your wrecking ball and smash the fucking patriarchy. When they remind you that you are not a man and should therefore be subservient, you catapult fiery, feminist boulders at them. When they tell you in whom and how to believe, you carefully piece together your own spirituality. When they decide for you what to do with your life, you wander down every path that calls your name. When they gaslight you, you dig your heels in deeper into every one of your emotions. When they call you too loud, too …

Cheating

So when I was in university I had to take some english class as a gen-ed. I liked it enough, but the biggest take away was what the professor said about writing, about creating. She said that writing, creating something with words, was supposed to be messy. Yes it was a process, but it should be messy every step of the way. This was news to me, I had always been taught that writing of any sorts was cut and dry; there’s a process, a formula, you must follow when writing anything; there’s always a wrong and a right and this is how you avoid the wrong. Learning this and taking what this professor said to heart temporarily freed me and I expanded this concept to other art forms like music, my major, and to how I perceived art which is a reflection of life. I think life is art…I really do. And I’ve been cheating at it. I’ve been struggling to adhere to these rigid guidelines of what life should look like, and what it should feel like…and that’s cheating. That’s cheating myself of what act…

Still a Winner

About a week and a half ago the person I was dating broke it off with me officially; she had/has fallen for someone else and wanted to be with her exclusively. I had already been feeling the distance between us, I just didn't want to admit it because I liked her so much. The night she broke up with me I was distraught; I phoned friends and cried in their ear; I considered getting drunk, but was too tired; and finally I capped off the night by un-friending her on Facebook. I didn't do this out of spite or malice, I did it because I knew I would just spend way too much time on her profile wishing and hoping, and thus never getting over her. It's with that same reasoning that I deleted all of our text message history. Drastic for some, necessary for me.

The next few days I moped and cried and drank and processed and actively worked to get over her. My regimen worked and by week's end I felt actually really good. I didn't think "Good riddance" thoughts I just…

A Cause for Loneliness?

A couple nights ago a friend called me. She was a little boozy and hanging out at someone's house she feels a deep connection with. She expressed feeling so lonely, and that it's lonely being unique.  I agree(d). This conversation got me thinking: are there specific things in our lives that cause this feeling of loneliness, and can one ever fully eradicate loneliness from one's life?
Loneliness is nothing new to me; I feel it each day in varying degrees and always have.  Even when I'm amongst friends, family, loved ones, it's there. All that to say, I don't know if it could ever truly be extinguished. But perhaps it could be tamed so that it only rears its head under certain circumstances. That'd be nice.
One thing I think causes loneliness are walls. Walls we put up explicitly or inadvertently for whatever reason are ultimately put up to keep others out, but mostly (at least in my experience) to keep something within ourselves safe from harm.  It can take…