Not That You Asked

Not That You Asked: My Lemonade

beyonce-lemonade-compressed

Can we talk about Beyoncé? Or rather, can I? I mean, since everyone is weighing in on it…

*Don’t worry. I won’t speak on the racial aspect of things since I can’t, while also acknowledging that race may or may not play into what I do want to discuss.

Like others before me who were quick to write their think-piece on the matter, I will declare myself a Sort of Fan of hers. Yes, Destiny’s Child’s songs still make me smile and in general, I’ve always enjoyed her music.

But I’m no worshipper.

When Formation came out, I rewatched it about five times in a row, fascinated. I found it powerful, eccentric, creative and tried to understand the meaning of its message without claiming any kind of ownership or overwrought opinion on/about it.

I just liked it. I liked what felt like a political statement and I liked hearing it from someone who had an understanding of it beyond my own.

 

When I watched the trailer for “Lemonade” on HBO Go, I was…confused. And annoyed. I remember seeing her tease something about this upcoming “once in a lifetime” event and felt even more irritated when, from what I saw, she had gone and made some kind of horror movie.

But of course, after hopping on social media, I was quickly inundated with the overwhelming response of people I like basically saying I was missing out on life if I didn’t take the opportunity to watch it.

Well. It was…incredible? Incredible in how it captivated. Incredible in how emotionally connected I was to it. Incredible in how real it felt.

I will choose, for now, to ignore the swirling talk of this all being a huge production, created and made-up by Jay and Bey to garner sales and sign people up for Tidal.

Because honestly? Even if that were even remotely true, you will never be able to convince me that Beyoncé hasn’t wondered if her husband has cheated on her and you will most likely never be able to convince me that he hasn’t.

There are two things I thought a lot about after digesting this visual and audio onslaught.

The first being: We need to talk about how Beyoncé met Jay-Z when she was SIXTEEN YEARS OLD. In a 2007 interview with Charlie Rose, Jay-Z said he met his future wife about ten years prior. She was 16 in 1997.

Six. Teen.

And while further interviews and loose details will point more to them “starting to date” when she was 18 or 19, that seems awfully convenient.

But fine. Let’s give them the 18 and then focus on the fact that he is ELEVEN YEARS HER SENIOR.

Which means, a twenty nine year old MAN was wining and dining an 18 year old GIRL.

Now here is where I’m going to start making assumptions, ones that I believe are probably true and deeply entrenched in what might be going on in Beyoncé’s mind and soul if dealing with her spouse’s infidelity.

Beyoncé was destined for stardom, for queendom, for utter domination. No question. She worked her ass off, night and day, day and night. She has been performing since she was a child. And judging from her relationship with her parents, I don’t think she was really concerned with, nor had time to have a boyfriend.

What I’m saying is, even if she lost her virginity to someone else, maybe even had sex with two people before Jay-Z (which even that I’m doubtful of), he is one of VERY FEW sexual partners she’s ever had.

So there’s this juxtaposition. We live in a society (an American one) where being sexy means you ARE sexy means you know what you’re doing in the sack.

There is no way at sixteen OR eighteen she was sexually experienced enough to know left from right, especially with a twenty nine year old man.

And whether or not she had other encounters before him, he became her everything. And depending on what kind of teacher, nurturer, partner he was, that would become her introduction to sex.

A lot of things have to go right in that scenario for her to come out of it OK.

Because again, we are expected to know what we’re doing. It’s assumed that if we look good and exude confidence and seem sexual in any way, or are sexualized without doing anything other than stand there, we internalize that and never actually talk about it.

We’re supposed to know what we’re doing based on what exactly? Movies? T.V.? Porn? The only way to get good at sex is actually having it and even then, depending on who you have it with and how open your communication is, you may never get good at it.

I’m not saying that people haven’t been able to wordlessly get someone off. But is that all you want? Just the orgasm? Also, why don’t we (as women) talk about all of the times we definitely did NOT have an orgasm?

Maybe it seems unsexy to have a discussion before or during. Why do you feel that way? Is it because everything you’ve ever seen on the screen are two people automatically connecting and having otherworldly intercourse?

Sexual attraction gets you there, but it doesn’t and can’t take you all the way. There is no way of knowing what the other person is into without working it out first.

Back to Beyoncé. Her world is coming apart on many levels due to this infidelity. Do you see me? She asks. Everyone else does. She says. He only want me when I’m not there. She says.

To her, this is unfathomable. She is THE baddest bitch on the planet, oh and also his WIFE (which again, in her mind is the ultimate…the commitment, the vows, the promises, the sacredness…to her, this is everything and being cheated it on is the equivalency of him murdering her.) This makes her feel like she is not enough and how could that possibly be?

Why would he want anyone but her?

To touch on marriage and monogamy, this is what I think causes a lot of damage for some people. For those that consider marriage a holy union, an eternal binding with no exceptions, cheating is the worst sin of them all. And a lot of people cheat.

Because it is actually asking a lot of human beings to only sleep with one person, or in general, “be” with one person for the rest of their lives.

As hard as it is to meet people, it is also not hard at all to make a connection with more than one person. If you have exes than you’ve already proven my point.

There’s no completely shutting that off. We will continue to be attracted to and attracted by other people. We will form relationships with people, get close to them emotionally and sometimes physically because that’s in our nature.

Not because our partner isn’t enough, but because there is no actual limit.

We feel because we’ve given everything to someone that they should be satisfied, fulfilled.

Which brings me to the second thing I thought a lot about: Past relationships. Actually, one in particular. I’ve never been cheated on (to my knowledge), so I can’t really speak on it. Yet I still really identified with the first half of “Lemonade”, with all of it’s anger and apathy and threats and indignation and middle fingers wagged in faces.

And the absolute contradiction telling the guy you want: “Boy, BYE.”

When you are sleeping with someone who doesn’t want to be exclusive, doesn’t want the labels and is generally kind of aloof and non-committal, it will drive you crazy.

The answer is always to not be with someone like this, but it happens.

You have no idea if you’re the side chick. You probably are. Or at the very least, you are simply one of a few, possibly many.

I remember trying to see other people in the meantime. Which didn’t really work because if I was being honest with myself, I wanted to be with him. Even though I knew well enough that we weren’t right for one another, the baseline attraction (mine to him) was undeniable.

I could not extricate myself from the situation. That out of control feeling had me going on dates with other people, having inappropriate conversations and casual meet ups with a friend of his and other people he had connections to.

So when out of the blue, the phone calls and texts stopped, I didn’t know how much of it had to do with him meeting someone else or what he knew about what I was up to when we weren’t together.

I believe it had more to do with the former, but the way in which things were left were because of the latter. As in, maybe I didn’t deserve any kind of explanation or reason or courtesy ending of our non-relationship.

On occasion, I’m still irked by this other girl. She is younger. She is prettier. And she managed to lock it down. The one thing I couldn’t do.

During the entire situation I was constantly questioning my self worth over something that wouldn’t have worked for me anyway. Seriously, at one point I was at a bar hanging out with his friends and he was there. On a date with someone.

Anyway. I’m no Beyoncé.

But I feel a lot of things when I watch and listen to Lemonade. I feel for her and I feel for me.

-Carly

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Not That You Asked: Hurt Feelings

I’m not a big fan of “I’m sorry”, though it’s an important and necessary phrase.

I don’t like it because it can be a really small thing to say after something horrible was done.

I think we’d all prefer that the horrible thing not happen, but sometimes “I’m sorry” plus “I won’t do it again” will have to suffice. Or not. It’s up to you what a forgivable offense is.

But I will not stand for someone who berates anyone for saying their feelings have been hurt. And I will not tolerate the “I didn’t intend to hurt you” pseudo-apology.

Yes, we’re all stupid and we all make mistakes. Yes, we do things that unintentionally hurt people.

Rather than front load our inevitable mea culpa with “but I didn’t MEAN to cause harm”, why not just skip straight to the “I’m sorry what I did hurt you” and leave it?

If you think someone is being overly sensitive, then you can simply not be around that person so much. It’s perfectly fine to decide that neither of you is in the wrong or needs to change in order for the relationship to work. It’s also fine to think another person is overreacting and remove yourself from further engaging with said person.

I say all of this because I get the fear in telling someone they’ve offended you or to be sensitive about issues that the other person can’t understand. I know what it’s like to worry that you’ll lose a friend, co-worker or significant other to stick up for yourself. It gets really old having to point out that sometimes it’s no fun being a woman of color to someone who Just Doesn’t Get It.

But I’m hella tired of the hyper defensiveness of people who can’t fathom the notion that they are capable of being insensitive. Yeah, SORRY YOU GOT CAUGHT.

Please take a moment to ask yourself why you think you’re some sort of special, non-existent snowflake who has never misspoke.

Also, if you find yourself on social media vehemently defending those who offend, please sit somewhere quietly to contemplate why it’s important to do so. Most devil’s advocate stances are boring, unintelligent and useless, in case you didn’t get the memo.

If you don’t like being called privileged because of your gender or the color of your skin, maybe use the very things you are being accused of benefiting from and actually DO SOMETHING USEFUL, like not constantly siding with your ilk. I hate to break it to you, but you’re not enlightened because you think you can flip the script.

It is seriously tiresome to not only be marginalized, stereotyped and discriminated against but to then have people you thought were allies telling people of your kind they all need to SLOW DOWN WITH THEIR FEELINGS AND SHIT.

If you do think this way, feel free to keep those lame opinions to yourself or within like minded company because We don’t appreciate it, don’t need it and think less of you for it.

-Carly

Not That You Asked: My Thoughts Since Charleston

Monday morning I was up from 3 -5 am thinking about writing this.

Bear with me as I try to muddle through the many thoughts that came into my head in those early morning hours and my mostly bad and awkward attempt at sorting out some of these things.

Today marks one week since the shooting in Charleston and like many of us, I’ve had a lot to chew on.

Someone posted an article on Facebook about how even babies discriminate. (I was going to link them to this because I think they are awesome, but decided they may not want to be connected to this ramble.)

It was an interesting and frustrating read, as it gave a lot of attention to what doesn’t work when it comes to talking about race with your children and no clear advice on exactly what to say.

One thing that struck me in particular was that desegregating schools actually seemed to make segregation worse, as schools with a more diverse student body saw kids align themselves with the people that looked like them. There were pretty damning statistics that showed children pretty much stuck with their own kind, especially their closest friends.

I lived outside of St. Louis, Missouri between the ages of seven and twelve in a middle – upper class area of West County. The school I attended had an initiative to bring inner city kids into the classroom. While this seemed like a noble and kind gesture, it was a disaster. With no direction on how integration was just going to magically happen, everyone went about their business as if ALLOWING these city kids through their doors was doing them a favor and lets just leave it at that.

[It’s also worth noting that I lived in Chicago, one of the most segregated cities in the country, where things like gentrification are discussed and debated constantly.]

I believe very much this was the start of becoming aware of my race and understanding what race meant in general. In class, I saw the white kids were treated better than the black kids. I was also treated the same as the white kids, at least by my teachers. But not always from the other kids. I was different to both of them.

My growing brain was quick to pick up on these nuances.

It was better to be lumped in with the whites than the blacks.

This would continue with me throughout my young life, often being one of few minorities and even fewer Asians.

Here is an excerpt from Dylann Roof’s manifesto:

East Asians

I have great respent for the East Asian races. Even if we were to go extinct they could carry something on. They are by nature very racist and could be great allies of the White race. I am not opposed at all to allies with the Northeast Asian races.

Am I glad the racist guy with a gun has no beef with me? Yes. Yes I am.

I always had large groups of white friends, though I was reminded every now and again that I wasn’t actually one of them. Someone would always be there to pull their eyelids or call me a “chink” or on a more minor level, compliment my English and ask where I was from.

I’ve always wondered and feared that my track record for dating white guys had a greater, darker meaning. That I was one of those Asian women people talked about who worshipped white men and wanted their attention because they knew who had the power. I think I’ve mostly been able to disregard these theories based on my friendships in Chicago. When I moved into the city, I hoped to meet non-white people, specifically other Asians. And I did. I even joined a bowling team that my grandfather had been on right after the war, a Japanese American men’s league. There I met a Chinese American guy who was connected to a lot of other Asians, many who were artists, musicians and filmmakers. As a twenty year old young adult, I was completely taken with the late night Korean barbecue, even later night private karaoke rooms and above else, an entire group of people who looked JUST LIKE ME. But this facade didn’t last long, and eventually I learned that not only did looking the same not mean very much, each of us had very diverse backgrounds and experiences that made us likable, or unlikeable, people. My being a Japanese American in Chicago meant very different things than a first generation Filipino or a Korean adoptee, though perhaps imperceptible from an outsider’s view.

To this day, I don’t have a true understanding of Japanese American internment, though my living family experienced it and amazing people like George Takei are trying to keep the story alive. It’s truly uncomfortable to know that thousands of American citizens, like my grandparents, were stripped of their possessions, land, money and homes and incarcerated for their Japanese ancestry not even a hundred years ago.

So yes, I take issue with some white people. And it feels good to commiserate with other brown and black people about our disdain for some of them. If you’ve ever been the target of racism, it’s easy to identify those feelings when someone else experiences them.

But that’s where the similarities end. Each individual has a deep history and personal account for their lives and what being a certain race has meant for them. I dare not compare the trials and tribulations of “my people” to any other.

That leaves me feeling a bit lost on how to handle things like Charleston and inevitably, what can *I* do to make this situation better even if in the tiniest way.

And the only way I think I can do this is through my son.

But how.

How?

I’ve always had a really hard time with patriotism. Mostly because I think there are many, many elements about living in America which I find ridiculous, cruel and unsatisfactory. And yes, I acknowledge that there are plenty of other places worse than here. But I have a feeling they probably don’t drone on and on about how great they are, how superior they are to the rest of the world, all the while lacking statistically in things like education, healthcare, economy and quality of life.

I believe the true root of America’s problem with racism and our inability to have meaningful conversations about it comes from the fact that we absolutely do not talk about what we did to Native Americans when we were freeing ourselves from the ever so oppressive Brits.

That we captured and kidnapped people from other continents and enslaved them in order to build our country to be what we wanted. 

On top of that, we looked down upon other immigrants who came here looking for similar opportunities, and exploited them to again, fulfill our hopes and dreams all the while making it impossible for them to achieve their own.

We are still doing this.

That is America, folks. Yet the stories we tell our children about Thanksgiving and the Fourth of July are fairytales that indoctrinate them into believing we came here to be free and that everyone supposedly has this right as well, that there weren’t hundreds of thousands of casualties as a result of this freedom.

I’m sick of hearing about the American Dream. The American Dream is total bullshit. People who talk about it as if it’s an actual thing have got it all wrong. They think it’s about everyone’s “equal” opportunity to make money, buy a house and say whatever they want to say while bearing their arms.

And yes, I believe most immigrants come here to make a better life for their children and maybe themselves. There probably are more chances to do so in terms of making and keeping their own money. Perhaps they’ve found better housing, more access to essential things like clean water and healthy food.

Maybe they’ve even achieved great success, wealth and recognition, their children have attended ivy league schools, they’ve retired at the age of 50, they own three houses across the country.

And yet.

And yet, if they don’t have white faces, they can still be knocked down by one ethnic slur, one racist joke, one off color remark. Economic equality IS directly linked with ethnicity, but in more ways than the obvious ones. Money and power can only take you so far in this country. Look no further than President Obama if you need an example. Not to mention, do you really think we all start from the same place and are given the same chance to succeed? I’m not talking about work ethic. I’m talking about Maslow’s Hierarchy of Need.

My partner (who is white) and I were talking about the origins of derogatory words to describe white people, like “honky” and “cracker”. It seems “poor white trash” is the meanest thing you could say and really it’s more about money than anything else. Just as there aren’t really terrible things to call men, but plenty of words to degrade women, those in power can’t be brought down by a name. They create words to describe those below them to keep them there.

A true Dream would be a place where we treat each other with decency. Human decency. And that can’t be found in America, my friends. Too many people are dying unnecessarily for us to believe we’ve come very far.

So where does that leave us? Where does that leave those of us who want to make a change, who want to create a generation better than our own?

How do I talk to my son about race?

I’m not totally sure. It’s what kept me up for two hours the other morning. I’m overcome with the task of figuring out a way to explain that yes we are all different, sometimes good, sometimes bad and sometimes because of the color of our skin. That BECAUSE of the color of our skin, we are treated a certain way and then become a certain person because of it.

All I could come up with is this: Children need to be exposed to it all, as much of it as possible, every color, every background, every experience. They need to be in contact with a huge variety of humans to understand that we are all worthy of getting at least one chance to be known beyond the color of our skin and all of the assumptions that go along with that burden. Be it white or brown or black.

We need to be able to talk about why that doesn’t happen already and what we can do to change that.

Maybe I’ll create a book of photos with a different face on each page and underneath it simply write “Person”.

-Carly

Uber, Schmuberlist

I just finished writing my first uberlist.

An uberlist, the idea of which was introduced to me by my friend Danielle, is a list of things you want to do in a given year. You make your list. And then complete each item before year’s end.

My list is 115 items long. It took me no time at all to write, like, the first 70 items, and then coming up with the last 35 was the actual worst. I very nearly cried, I swear. I’m going to revise some of the items to be more specific or more achievable, but there are some items I think are pretty perfect.

Like “Conceive of and execute costume for A & C’s Halloween party – theme this year is ‘inappropriately sexy'”.

And “Either stop complaining about Lena Dunham or give up hate-watching ‘Girls’ and just watch it because you occasionally enjoy it because LIFE’S TOO SHORT TO HATE-WATCH ANYTHING EXCEPT ‘HOUSE HUNTERS'”.

Not That You Asked: Street Harassment

I’ve been trying to figure out how to articulate what it’s like to be street harassed to men. Or men who don’t seem to get it.

I think I figured out a decent analogy.

(As an aside, you’d think when there is a disproportionate amount of men who do things like murder, rape, and assault women, I wouldn’t have to do this. But yeah.)

Imagine going to the store. A store that sells everything you need to survive. You already know what you want. Once inside, EVERY employee inside greets you or asks you if you need any help. In a five minute visit, a dozen workers have tried to engage you or asked you a question, some in very close proximity to your person. Some follow you around the store, not taking your initial dismissal seriously.

You don’t want to be rude. But do you REALLY have to nod or respond to every “friendly” or overzealous sales person? You didn’t ask for assistance. You didn’t even walk in looking confused or lost. You just wanted to walk in, get your item, pay for it, and leave.

Now imagine the store is Outside. Right, like, the place that exists when you walk out the door everyday. Every time you think about going Outside, you have to consider what you are wearing and where you’re going, who you might encounter. You know there will be at least five people who will say something to you. This will increase exponentially if it’s summer and you are wearing less clothing. Because it’s like, HOT. You’ll do things like cross the street to avoid people, or have to move seats on the bus or train. You will wear earbuds and walk with your head down or pretend to look at your phone (though not at night because you don’t want to be asking to be robbed, raped or killed.)

This is all very fucking annoying. All you want to do is go Outside and not have to deal with other people.

Like going into the store, YOU are somehow to blame for even going there in the first place. Why should you expect to go into a place where people are just trying to be friendly and helpful (and yeah, OK, sometimes vultures working on commission) and not have to acknowledge them?

What if the sales person followed you in the parking lot? What if they were outside your door? What if they stood and waited for you by your car? Ya know, just to see how you were doing and if they could help you find something.

Why don’t they just leave you the fuck alone? Because they want something from you and they don’t care how much you ignore or deny them. They feel entitled, because it was YOU who crossed paths with THEM first. It’s your job to figure out who is trying to make a sale at any cost or who is simply making small talk. Besides, look how you’re dressed and your ethnicity and where you are. You look like you are some THING, some KIND of person. In the store, you look like someone with money and are obviously here to spend it. That means you are asking to be spoken to. Notice they’re not just speaking to EVERYONE. No. YOU are special. You and the other people who “look like they need assistance”.

This is your fault and if you don’t want it to happen, just don’t come into the store. It’s not up to anyone else to change their behavior. It’s up to you to accept it and shut the hell up about it already.

You DID walk into the store voluntarily, didn’t you? Forget the fact that you had to. Look, all thirty people working there were JUST TRYING TO BE NICE. What’s the big deal?

I really liked this article in Salon and the idea of “affirmative consent”. If I walk into the store looking confused, trying to make eye contact with you or flat out asking you to help me, that’s your clue to engage with me.

It’s that simple.

-Carly

Not That You Asked: Drive Better

The baby is going to think I’m a yelling, swearing lunatic because the only time he hears me talk loudly is when I’m in the car (or when the Bears are playing terribly).

Is it wrong to think you have a responsibility to be as careful and safe as possible when you’re behind the wheel?

I have seen some of the most ridiculous and dangerous jack-assery on the road since getting a car that I wonder aloud how more of us aren’t dead from accidents.

90% of the problem is people are on their phones.

GET OFF YOUR PHONE WHEN YOU ARE DRIVING.

I see it everyday on my commute. Some asshole in front of me staring at their phone, unable to put it down for five whole seconds to, I don’t know, DRIVE. Thinking just because there’s a little traffic they can let the car in front of them get 500 feet ahead before finally looking up and realizing they should go. Or some people who are so involved in a conversation or texting that they are actually veering into on coming traffic or swerving like they’re drunk.

NEWSFLASH: The Belmont overpass is four lanes. You wouldn’t believe the amount of people driving straight down the middle.

My favorite game to play is to count how many cars make it through a left turn green arrow. Seriously, try it. So many space cadet dummies not bothering to accelerate or move at all.

It really is your job to pay attention for the sake of other drivers. It is your duty to like, stop when it’s red and go when it’s green and use your blinker when you’re going to turn.

I think what really burns me about bad driving is the selfishness of it all. People get into a 4,000 pound death machine and pretend they can basically do it blindfolded.

But since I know my ranting and raving will fall on deaf ears, why not let Werner Herzog explain it in a way you can hear (and see).

-Carly

Not That You Asked: Gay Marriage

Over the weekend, I went to Minneapolis to attend my uncles’ wedding reception.

He and his partner have been together thirty one years and it took about that long for them to be able to legalize their relationship.

As someone who isn’t the biggest fan of marriage, it perplexes me even more that anyone would have a problem with people of the same sex getting married.

Seriously.

What. Is. The. Problem.

The idea that it is ILLEGAL in some states for two people to get married just because they are both men or both women makes absolutely no sense to me whatsoever. Who has the power to make these kinds of decisions and why are they even made?

Just wondering these things out loud is ridiculous to me.

Let me be clear: If you are not a supporter of gay marriage, we are not friends and never will be. I’m not interested in your politics or your religion when it comes to this matter.

In fact, calling it “gay” marriage makes even less sense to me. It’s just marriage, no? Everyone wants equal rights because that’s what we deserve. It should not be a special consideration, a subset of what the rest of us, and by rest of us I mean women who marry men, are allowed to participate in.

But even I found myself in an unexpected thought process when I realized that while I’ve always considered my uncle’s partner/now husband my uncle, I’d never really addressed myself as his niece. I’m not sure if it’s because he’s always been labeled a partner only or because my own view of their relationship not being a man/woman dynamic meant something different.

I have a closer relationship with him then most of my uncles. I may not see him often, but he knows more about me than a lot of my family.

It was a really joyous, celebratory occasion, one that I’m glad I was a part of.

And there is absolutely no reason sex should determine whether or not you can marry.

Plenty of homosexual people get married. We only seem to have a problem with it when they want to marry someone of the same sex.

-Carly

Not That You Asked: It’s Not About You

When people come to any of my shows or performances, it makes me really happy.

A lot of the times, I’m also pleasantly surprised.

That’s because I know it takes effort and time and a certain amount of enthusiasm to come from work or home to be supportive (and hopefully entertained).

I never expect anyone to come (well, except for my boyfriend and even he’s given a pass when he wants to take it.)

I will not beg you to come. I will not send separate friendly e-mail reminders. I will not try to guilt trip you. I will not act differently when I see you again or ask why you weren’t there. It doesn’t phase me. At all.

I want you to be there because you want to be there. When you come, it’s all “oh look, this person voluntarily showed up!” End of story.

What I really don’t care about is when you can’t make it and moreover, why you can’t make it.

I’m not sure if it’s to alleviate your guilt or because you think not being there will be catastrophic, but I’ll never understand some people’s need to not only decline, but to give an explanation.

It’s annoying and unnecessary.

If it’s to stop the notifications, I totally get that. If it’s because your presence is actually needed in some capacity, obviously I’d like to know you can’t be there.

But never why. Never, ever why.

Oh, you have dinner plans? You promised a friend you’d see them with their improv troupe? You have concert tickets? You are dying? Someone is dying? You anticipate having an accident and not being able to make it?

You having a date with your bed and a t.v. dinner versus going to see a 90’s cover band is all the same to me.

Please keep that information to yourself. It’s unimportant to me in this context and your need to excuse yourself from something you have no obligation to be at is unnerving.

I get it: You have a life.

Telling me why you can’t come is 100,000 times worse than just not coming.

Also, if we are friends, I’d hope you’d tell me about your untreatable condition in private or in person and not in a Facebook comment.

Maybe this is some social media etiquette you’re not quite sure how to navigate. But something tells me you don’t provide an explanation for why you’re not attending a wedding when you return your RSVP card with a “No”. You don’t flip over the little card and scribble: “Sorry we won’t be there. We are going apple picking, but HAVE A MEMORABLE DAY!!! =)”

I know Facebook provides this opportunity, but please opt out of it.

When I re-post the event on my wall a couple of times leading up to the actual night, I’m not trying to send You a message. I’m reminding people who forgot they said “yes” a month ago, or hoping to reach people who don’t look at their invites. Or to catch the attention of someone I don’t talk to or see often.

This is not like a face to face interaction when I ask you to do something and you have to decline. I get that saying “no, can’t” and then following that up with silence would be weird. But when you are a part of a mass invite for a monthly show it’s OK to just ignore that shit or hit “No” and never think about it again.

And please, please, PLEASE, do not text me right before the show to tell me you’re not going to make it (and/or why). I am stressed out and trying to get things organized and your message is going to send me over the edge. Want to wish me good luck or hope things go well? Cool. Want to say you’re so sorry followed by a wall of text? Please refrain.

I invited you because I’d love for you to be there or because I honestly think you’d really enjoy it. If you come, I’ll be elated. If you can’t make it, your absence will not devastate me and we’re still totally cool. I do not scan the crowd and make a mental note of your absence.

When you see me next, ask me about the show to let me know you care. That means a lot to me too.

-Carly

Not That You Asked: The CTA Makes Me Sad About Humanity

As nice as it is to not HAVE to rely on a car to get around this fair city, taking the bus and train kinda bums me out.

Actually, it’s the people.

There is ALWAYS at least one asshole.

Someone talking too loudly on their phone. Someone who uses a seat for their bag during rush hour. Someone who refuses to move to the back. Someone who is perfectly healthy and able bodied unwilling to give up their seat for someone who needs it more. Someone who thinks it’s fine to take up four seats with their stroller. Someone who thinks they can just roll up right before the bus comes, even though you’ve been there for fifteen minutes and cuts in front of you to get on. Someone who thinks it’s more important for them to get on than for you to get off first. Someone who litters. Someone who eats a three course meal in their lap. Someone who won’t move so you can get off because they have their earbuds in or are in a really deep and important conversation with their friend. Someone who doesn’t care that crossing their legs is a tripping hazard and makes it harder to go around them. Someone who wants to play their videogame/YouTube clip/choose a new ringtone for everyone to hear.

I’m sure I’m missing another dozen scenarios.

The bus is a microcosm of the neighborhood, city, state, country we live in. It seems people aren’t interested in the fact that we share space with other people. We’re selfish and inconsiderate and it breaks my heart.

-Carly

Not That You Asked: #YesAllWomen

There is nothing that I’m going to say that hasn’t been said already, but maybe it’ll reach someone’s eyes who hasn’t been following this UCSB killings and the #YesAllWomen hashtag.

I think I’ve known for a really long time that there was something inherently “less than” feeling about being a female.

The inequality was pervasive and yet, I had no idea how to combat it.

I was obsessed with the the Anita Hill/Clarence Thomas hearings so much so, I clipped articles from the newspaper and followed the story closely. I was only thirteen.

It took until a couple of years ago when I met Alicia Swiz that I started really thinking about feminism and what it meant to be a woman in this world. An educated and outspoken feminist, Alicia brought so many things to light that I had never thought of or could properly identify and articulate.

And so a floodgate was open.

I see the world through different eyes and I’m grateful for her knowledge and activism. She’s a huge reason why I wanted to create a female-centric live lit show.

But these eye opening moments have been painful and sometimes helpless feeling. All of these things that I’ve been reading about, things like women in the videogame, tech and music industries, have ALWAYS been an issue. It’s just that now more women are talking about it or their words are spreading further thanks to the Internet.

We are still being paid less for the same work. We are still expected to stay home and take care of the house and family. We are still being assaulted, raped and killed in staggering numbers, most often by men we know.

We are still objectified, sexualized and treated like lesser human beings.

I can’t believe I’m only now hearing other women talk about street harassment. You just start believing this is “how it is”. I walk outside wearing a dress and some guy is going to make a comment, or honk their horn or leer at me.

And there’s nothing I can do. You know why? Because I put myself at risk of escalating the situation. I put myself in harm’s way by sticking up for myself.

Every night when I walk home alone I’m aware that this could be the night something terrible happens to me.

This is not paranoia. This is reality. 

I will stand at the bus stop and hope the guy who’s approaching me is not going to try and talk to me. I will not make eye contact with the guy who’s walking in my direction. I will think about crossing the street if a group of men are on the same side of the street as me.

Sometimes I hold my breath when I pass men on the street hoping they will ignore me.

I should be able to walk outside naked and nothing should happen to me. But I’m willing to bet your response would be that I was calling attention to myself, that I was “asking for it”. And that’s the problem. Instead of telling perpetrators to stop, we tell women to not put ourselves in “questionable” situations. We’re not supposed to wear certain clothing, get too drunk or walk down alleys at night alone.

WE SHOULD BE ABLE TO DO ALL OF THOSE THINGS. Do you get it?

“That’s just not the world we live in.”

WHY ISN’T IT?

Men: We just want you to try and understand our truth. We aren’t accusing you of being the bad guy when we ask that you hear us out. And we’d really love for you to stick up for us. We’re not here to destroy you, we’re here to stand alongside you because we’re all humans just trying to make it in this world. Imagine leaving your house everyday and assessing the risk of being harassed or at worst, killed.

We need your empathy and support, because #YesAllWomen.

-Carly