Tag Archives: spirituality

Perfectionsm, Perfectionsim, Perfectionism

There are countless things that happen and I think to myself, “I’m going to blog about this.”

Like:

  • That one time I took my Granuelita to the oral surgeon’s office…  A young dentistry intern arrogantly, cruelly attempted to humiliate and degrade the kind older nurse that was attending us.  Blood boiling, I thought to myself, “I’m going to blog about this.”  Topics of discussion: Elitism, Inequality, Sadism, Classism, Social Darwinism.

Like:

  • That one time my aunt wanted me to invest extra time and energy at work that I did not have.  A request which I counteracted with a clear, strict and unbreakable boundary.  A flabby muscle I’m working to strengthen.  To which she reacted with a tearful, “You’re just so gringa, Vanessa.  So much more AMERICAN about giving than we are.” Topics of discussion: Guilt as a form of manipulation, unhealthy co-dependence, you owe me, I owe them, self love vs. unmediated self-sacrifice for another’s “love”, family values in Cuban Culture, family values in Gringa culture…

Like:

  • ETC.

I didn’t blog about either experience, however, because I just didn’t have all the time I needed to get a perfect grasp on them.  Or so I believed…

What within the amassing pile of daily complications and contemplations ultimately proves THE MOST helpful or inspiring to someone else?  Which private details of one’s dirty laundry should be shared or withheld?  Hell if I know.  The perfectionist inside rages on with such strangulating questions, urging me to excavate the truest (most perfect essence) of every wrinkle and gray hair, each quip and camera angle … until I’ve extracted its perfect version.  Only THEN should I put it on display.

“You are to Work HARDER. DO more x,y,z. On everything. Until you’ve reached its BEST: Your blog, Your art projects, Next Sunday’s Yard Sale … PERFECT is the only option.”

I can’t.  I say it here, now, in front of my 8 subscribers, one of which is me, I can’t do this whole Perfect-thing … perfectly.  I can’t choose the perfect topic of discussion and blog about it perfectly.  I can’t financially capitalize on all of my talents and capabilities perfectly.  I can’t take a picture or write a poem or organize my emails or say “no, I can’t” or say “yes, thank you” … perfectly.  I can’t do anything perfectly.

I must accept the indisputable truth that certain versions of imperfect are the most perfect anything is going to get.  I must accept imperfect manifestations of perfect concepts if I’m to continue creating and taking professional risks and making jokes and hugging people.

What I’m getting at is that I’ve decided to give up working toward the ideal manifestation of an ideal because it’s impossible and torturesome.  I’ll do my best, nothing more, nothing less, and then get some rest.  Just like kids.  They have it made.

What exactly am I talking about?  Hell if I know.  I accept that I only know the gist of what I’m getting at and it’s okay.

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photo by Greg Sand

My beloved Amor Eterno — grouchy black toy poodle with a head of grey — my family, my friend passed away a couple of days ago.  You were deeply loved & will be greatly missed.  See you in 30 yrs, mi negra linda… Rest in happiness and peace.

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“I Apologize” – Oscar Brown Jr.

I apologize for being black
All I am plus all I lack
Please sir, please m’am
Give me some slack
‘Cause I apologize

I apologize for being poor
For being sick and tired and sore
Since I ain’t slick
Don’t know the score
I do apologize

I apologize because I bear
Resemblance most black people share
Thick lips, flat nose, and nappy hair
Yes I apologize

I apologize for how I look
For all of the lows and blows I took
On those Lord knows I’d close the book
As I apologize

I apologize for all I gave
For letting you make me yo’ slave
And going to my early grave
Yes I apologize

I apologize for being caught
For being sold, for being bought
For being told I count for naught
Yeah I apologize

I apologize for all I’ve done
For all my toil out in the sun
Don’t want to spoil your righteous fun
So I apologize

I apologize and curse my kind
For being fooled, for being blind
For being ruled, and in your bind
Yes I apologize

I apologize and curse my feet
For being slow, for being late
Because I know it’s me you hate
Why not apologize

I apologize and tip my hat
‘Cause you so rich and free and fat
Son of a bitch, that’s where it’s at
And I apologize


Once We Were Warriors & Still Are.

Eating an amazing Pastrami Sandwich (on wheat 😉 ) from one of my fave Huntington Park Restaurant’s Tom’s while scenes from Once We Were Warriors flash through my mind.  It’s healthier than a cheeseburger, right?  Meh, who knows.

I was 12-years old and kicking back in the living room of our old Downey house with my cousin Danny  — who’s older than me by 9 months.  We were bored on a school night flipping through 200 or so channels of cable entertainment and for whatever reason the remote sat still on HBO.  I think that’s the moment we began fighting over the last slice of pizza.  Anyway, by the time we turned our angsty pre-teen attention back to our most cherished babysitter & life coach — The Big Screen TV — there it was unfolding, Once We Were Warriors.  A narrative film about a broken family from New Zealand’s “throwaway” population — the aborigines.

IMDB SUMMARY:

A family descended from Maori warriors is bedeviled by a violent father and the societal problems of being treated as outcasts.

We watched it, jaws dropped, eyes dry from the lack of blinking, and when it was over we both looked at each other — bonded by a deeper awareness or understanding or maturity or all of it — and said, “WOW.  Dewd.  That was Really REALLY great. Dewd …”

 

Since then I think about the movie off and on, some periods in my life more than others.  I think about the Maori community, being representative of many indigenous spirits around the world, raped and broken by a brutal and demoralizing colonization.  How the Europeans cracked their cultural, spiritual, and psychological foundations in half and ate them bit by bit with tea & scrumpets.  I think about how centuries have passed since that happened, but their dismissed & unattended ACHE, their communal scream of defeat has manifested into self- & family- destruction through alcoholism, violence, and personal-intolerance.  I think about the dejected state of their internal realities — how they carry the shame of warriors who lost the fight that forever cost them their “home.”  While European descendants now “New Zealanders” scowl at their “uncivilized natures” on the same land, but far removed from their neighborhoods.

I was once at a luncheon with people from group therapy, and there was this girl from New Zealand there.  She came from an upper middle class family and had problems with self-esteem, men, body image issues — you know, usual Western Society probz.  Anywho, I asked her if she had seen Once We Were Warriors and what she thought about that communal state of self-destruction, and if she felt the New Zealand government (as a form of restitution, if not out of pure humanity) could do something to help its aborigine populations heal — psychotherapy, group therapy, personal empowerment workshops, etc.  She replied to me, “They’re just living in victimhood.  If they’d stop victimizing themselves, drinking & fighting so much, and actually cultivated a desire to educate themselves, they wouldn’t be such a mess. That’s not the government’s fault or responsibility.”  Says the privileged girl who drinks bottles of vodka because a boy doesn’t like her.  I think about how in that moment images of me performing my own version of Maori Warrior vengeance upon her filled my belly with fire, yet how I instead — passionately disagreed with her opinions and then let the conversation die because, after all, she’s also hurting and trying to heal herself.  I think about how since then I’ve disliked her anyway.

I think about how she like her ancestors, and her government don’t give a flying dung and never will about the way they emotionally dismembered their aboriginal communities or help them heal through any consequential crippling anguish.

I then think about the Maori characters in Once We Were Warriors, and that if they only realized they were still were warriors, they could have healed themselves.  They need nothing from their government or its privileged self-consumed.  I think about the daughter in the movie — Grace Heke — bright & studious, unique, an indispensable young woman coming into her power in the midst of this communal self-destruction.  I think about how she’s woken up one night by a drunken “uncle” / party guest raping her, and then hangs herself in her backyard.  I think about her body dangling from the grey-bark tree and her mother whaling at the sight of it …

I think about her whenever I realize how blessed I truly am.  Whenever I’m overwhelmed with gratitude for the opportunities I have had and continue experiencing that lead to massive amounts of internal healing and perception change.  All the therapy, recovery, spiritual practices & philosophies, psychology-revealing literature & seminars, that have unveiled the depth, color, and health of an otherwise seemingly futile & imbalanced existence.

I think about how I wish I could I have told her all that I know now.  I think about how they were all just characters in a movie, but it still makes me sad that they didn’t believe they were still warriors.


My Tooth Hurts & Reality Bites – Sorta.

“Sunlight is an Antiseptic” – Seth Godin (On Transparency)

My tooth is KILLING my other teeth.  They’re all in a row screaming at me to help this one tooth that I have neither the insurance or money to do.

It’s been a week since I last blogged because — well — writing is an act of honesty, of transparency.  For me, anyway.  It’s hard to put on airs or keep up facades when I write.  I mean the act is after all — Me in a silent room with my aunt’s borrowed iBook G4 computer.  And, as the Cubans say, “presumiendo” makes me feel “tan fina como el trapo de la cosina.”  That translates into: Presuming makes me feel as refined as a kitchen rag.  It makes more sense in Spanish.

Anyway, WHAT I’m trying to get at is that I’d like to blog about something helpful, positive, face-saving, but the truth of the matter is that’s just my ego trying — yet again — to avoid vulnerability, shame, and outside judgment.  It turns out I can’t help that I’m a flawed human creature thing, and my tooth hurts, and I don’t have any money for health insurance or a dentist right now.

Also, although I LOVE my art (writing and making movies), and doing it obsessively (non-stop until I pass out from physical exhaustion), the rest of my life feels beyond unmanageable.

My Part Time B Job (although I’m grateful for it) — well — hurts.  Financially, I make enough money to put $30 in my gas tank per week, eat off the Jack’s $1 menu twice a day, and go see a play once a month.  The rest of the little $$ Bling-Bling Cha-Ching I have left I always invest into my art materials — a hard drive, complimentary books (for reviewers), packaging materials, mailings, etc.  Oh yeah, and rent.

I hustle for the rest — give a little here, take a little there — in an ethical spiritual way, of course.  For instance, my aunt ROCKS and lets me use her iBook G4 laptop and I write kick arse letters on my aunt’s behalf and stay later at work to help her with her tax stuff.  My friend Linda Marie helped with all the complex formatting/tech stuff for my book The Voting Booth After Dark: Despicable, Embarrassing, Repulsive in order to submit it to my AMAZEDAWG (highly recommended) book distribution company Lightning Source, and I bought her dinz a bunch of times aka Ceviche Loco and paid her a bargain-price sum in small installments whenever I got paid.  Also, I am ALWAYS there for her if she ever needs help on a project, which she knows.  Etc, Etc … The poor man’s life in a capitalist system proves to be the only time communism actually works.  Tribe Members helping each other  — organically, fluidly, with an abundant spirit — realize their dreams.

I’m profoundly grateful for the blessed life I have, for the supportive, loving, brilliant, and generous group of people I am surrounded by, and privileged to call my family and friends.

That being said, I’m quite burnt out on living hand to mouth, paycheck to paycheck, the hustle & bustle of keeping head above water …

SO, first step to changing this dynamic in my life is admitting to myself — very frankly — that it’s real and I need it to change.

What exactly needs to change?  Well, I’m not exactly sure …  These are the things I know for sure:

1) My sole purpose in life is to grow spiritually and make the art I love (movies & books).

2) Since I graduated college 7 years ago, I’ve tried to make money working full-time jobs and part-time jobs within the movie industry as a runner, receptionist, office & on-set PA, executive assistant, assistant editor, & editor in the mainstream studio system, the indie fiction world, and the documentary world (that def. being my fave).  I’ve made up to $1500 a week, yet none of these jobs quelled the restless ball of barbed wire bouncing restlessly within my chest — hankering for something more. After 1 week at a gig (like clockwork) dissatisfaction & depression would kick in and I wanted out.  Still, I’d muster up enough energy to stay between 3 months – 10 months.  After all, rent is due!

Then I thought: WELL, maybe I’ll just cut the crap and admit to myself that the only career that could make me truly happy would be one centered around the films and books brewing in me cabeza & corazon — to work on my art and help my friends out with their art.

Case closed.  Understood and accepted.  I’d relentlessly and unabashedly work on my projects and my friends’ projects because really that’s all I’ve ever wanted to do.  I understand that building a career as a writer & filmmaker is going to take time — no prob, let’s get to work 🙂

Still, I need money — for equipment, rent, food, gas, car … Hmmmm, well okay I’ll apply to grants!  I know lots of artists, writers, and filmmakers living off grants!  My first short fiction film in college was funded by a $5,000 McNamara Arts Grant and it was the first grant I ever applied to!  In the meanwhile, I’ll work b-jobs I don’t have to take home with me: Sold packing tape, was a tutor, sold more packing tape, and then settled as a part-time executive assistant.  Jobs that drain bones of their luster, but kept them fed.  I applied to various grants over this 3 year period: Film Grants, Writing Grants, Minority Grants, Woman Grants … Grant Applications that usually took an entire Saturday & Sunday and probably most of Monday to do.  40 hours of work per application, thanks to that perfectionist watchdog a-hole — me.  Nothing. Got no grants.

All right then — next plan …

Well, all of my film equipment is 7 years old by this point — hanging in there with me, my body hasn’t been checked out by a doctor in about a year and a half, and hospital/credit card/school loan debt grows interest by the day.

My book is getting good reviews, my feature screenplay is one draft from being its ultimate best, and by now it’s ready to start researching/approaching appropriate producers … Which is beyond RAD.

But I’m still broker than a stripper on crack.

SO, I applied to grad school for my master’s in film theory!  I’d LOVE to teach film at a junior college while I continue making my art.  The school loans will keep me alive while I go to school (I can also afford to upgrade some equipment & buy some more necessary materials), and once I graduate — the degree will get me a professor-pay job that I’ll most likely LOVE (since I love watching movies, discussing them, and writing about them more than drinking 40’s, eating tres-leches cakes, and making out with beautiful chicas, which = A LOT OF LOVE) AND the mula made there will help me invest in my art projects and pay off debt.

Woohoo!  Now, there’s about 4 months until I hear if I was accepted by grad school and 6 months until grad school begins … Getting out of bed to make it to my exec assistant part-time job seems an almost impossible task by this point … for the barbed-wire ball is bouncing in my chest again and the money’s hella tight (close to non-existent).  GAHHHH!  This. way. isn’t. working. anymore.

Please baby jesus let me get into grad school and receive massive amounts of fafsa money and in the meanwhile — help me figure out what to do!

I must chuck my pride into the toilet and apply for an EBT card so that I can afford to shop at Trader Joe’s, which will stop the fast food industry from raping my cholesterol and blood sugar levels!

UM, so there you have it.  Transparency.  Godin’s right.  Sunlight is an antiseptic.  I feel better already.  Doing the “I’m so fabulously together I blog about it” song & dance is FAR more humiliating and boring.

I’ll finish with a quick fun little story:

2 weeks ago I was honored to be invited by event sponsor Moet & Chandon
as a guest blogger to renowned spanish newspaper La Opinion’s esteemed Latina Leader Awards (Mujeres Destacadas Awards/Luncheonat the beautiful Millenium Biltmore where 30 inspirational leaders of the Latina community were recognized for their priceless contributions to American society in 4 different categories: Leadership, Health, Arts & Culture, and Education.

After the valet parks my car (there was no street parking or affordable parking lot nearby), I rush to a stall in the women’s bathroom and text my mom this:

Mamushka, please transfer 50 bucks into my account. I have no money to pay for parking! Lol! I get out in 2-3 hours. That’s when I would need the money. This place is swanky!!! ;)”

The first half covered my Chase account overdraft, and the rest of it went to parking.

All that said & done, I’m comforted by the fact that Winona Ryder sorta went through something like this too.  Even if only in a movie.  One of the funnest movies EVER!: Reality Bites … It does sometimes, Winona.  I agree.


The Nothing hankers for more …

I can’t sleep.  Per the usual.  Restlessness ringing through my ears.  Had an amazing weekend.  After coming off of an almost crushing week of grad school application and article deadlines.  I just have two more pieces due this week!  Woohoo!

I wonder if there’s anything on my mind worth sharing or if I’m merely indulging in uncomfortable squirmishness via public platform.  Maybe a little of both?  Meh, who knows.  I’ve been working so hard on my book and film stuff that I’ve sort of taken a breather from my spiritual & psychological homework, and been coasting on the healing breakthroughs of other weeks and months.  This can only keep me sane for so long though before The Ache for deepening explodes tingling chimes into my arteries and rushes them down center chest into the entrails of my stomach lining. Thus producing cravings similar to the ones I get to eat and/or be fed at 5:20 in the morning.  Or the craving everyone gets to chug a cold 40 oz bottle of Mickey’s Malt after a long hard 14 days of back to back deadlines …

I think I’ll spend much of this week tending to the call for more … not with booze, food, women, or artwork / careerwork, however, but with the spiritual & psychological work I’ve been avoiding … To heed the ringing restlessness by listening to its needs, which call for me to tend to the deepening of my experience by evolving its point of reference: my perspective.

Unfortunately, outward blessings do little to tame inner The Nothing, which, as of now lies dormant, but once awakened wreaks reckless havoc on my spirit, mind, body … and consequential life.

Only spiritual & psychological maintenance / rigorously honest and thorough work on the dimensional levels of my inward experience will afford me the perspective I need to remain centered, humble, serene, and grateful for my outward experiences. Alright, I’ve rambled on enough.  Time to get into action.

But before I peace out, here are some passages I came across last week that effectively lulled The Nothing into REM for a brief set of savory hours.

They passed a warm palm down its chest, and quelled its ominous hunger pains …

Excerpt from a poem by Stacy Gnail:

‎To have demanded each seam celestial, appealed for planetary pleats. And when you saw the sun a sequin, the moon a button shaped from glass, and in the stars a pattern for a dress … to have stood then at the edge of the wood, heard a hound’s bark and my heart hark in return.

Excerpt from a poem by Troy Urquhart:

It begins.
Simply, or not.
It begins
as a word or a phrase
or a glance.
Or a sentence.
Frost would say
“it begins with a lump
in the throat.”

Excerpt from a poem by Rosa Alcala:

The body’s hidden face

The question, as we sit
by the grill, becomes:
What is the real animal
between us?

A poem by Suheir Hammad:

his approach
to love he said
was that of a farmer
most love like
hunters and like
hunters most kill
what they desire
he tills
soil through toes
nose in the wet
earth he waits
prays to the gods
and slowly harvests
ever thankful

Excerpt from a poem by Emily Dickinson:

Let us discourse – with care –
Powder exists in Charcoal –
Before it exists in Fire –

And finally, by my friend Dare Williams:

Love is a stranger in an open car…

– Img from my fave blog RileyDog


Transgender Film Fest, rah rah rah! The 2011 Oscars, hellz nah nah nah!

Alright, I’ve got movies on the brains.

On Thursday night, I attended the Los Angeles Transgender Film Festival at the Echo Park Film Center with my little sister who identifies as bisexual.  Twas’ a gaydies family night!   We had a blast.

I am madly passionately in love with cinema, more now than ever before. Probably because the passing years have exposed me to a multitude of films that reveal the medium’s innate power for educating and changing people. For educating and changing me.

Back in 2007, I was a femme lesbian who was attracted to other feminine women. Never lesbians — always bi-curious potentially bisexual women or straight women who questioned in secret.  I mainly hung out with gay men and straight girls, rarely any lesbians.  Maybe 1 or 2 lesbos from time to time.  My hair reached down past my shoulders, I wore stilettos and was obsessed with my weight — how fat and ugly I was, and how well I did or didn’t hide it.

I’d developed an aversion, a disdain really, for all things masculine — especially in women.  I had not yet begun to question why it was I proudly owned and cultivated this prejudice within me.  Until Outfest: The Los Angeles Gay & Lesbian Film Festival accepted my lesbian short film A Two Woman One Act in June 2007.  That year at Outfest, I became aware of the fluid nature, and varying expression of human gender and sexuality.

On a gender front, the films at Outfest explored the lives of butch women, feminine women, androgynous women, boyish women with soft feminine edges, feminine women with strong masculine edges, women who identified as / were transitioning into men — transmen, and men that conversely fell under similar categories.  On a sexuality front, they depicted the experiences of bisexuals, gays, lesbians, closeted homosexuals, the bi-curious, and transmen and transwomen who identified as straight, bisexual, & homosexual.

I spent most of the festival watching documentaries on the Transgender community because my film fest partner-in-crime was gay filmmaker Dante Alencastre whose documentary works focused on Transgender issues and rights. Through these Trans-world expositions, I became aware of my own internalized homophobia and began the lengthy process of understanding the wondrous, brilliant, NATURAL NORMALCY of our “otherness,” our “queerness” and how negatively affected I’d been by a media-centric society where the media predominantly represents the white straight population’s take on normal.  In learning about the Transgender community through these movies, I began uncovering the layers of my identities — as woman, lesbian, and feminist — and learning to whole-heartedly accept their often unboxable nuances.  These films united me in understanding, solidarity, and passion with my GLBTQ cause and community.

The Movies have always been my great love — ever since I was a wee little girl watching The Neverending Story on repeat.  Long before I understood the terms “woman” and “lesbian,” I connected with, felt impassioned by the word “moobie.” The older I’ve gotten the deeper I’ve fallen in love with cinema arts.  The Transgender Film Fest provides a great example of why.  The Transgender (TG) community is an underrepresented group of people that are often trivialized, villainized, and dehumanized by mainstream culture — both in media and mass society.  Their lives and identities are often ignored, pigeonholed, and misunderstood.  Sadly, even by some of the GLB’s  (Gay, Lesbians, & Bisexuals) in our GLBTQ community.   I’m grateful to relay, however, that the TG community has taught me much about their experiences and causes through film.  A medium of expression that stirs the viewer’s individual mind by touching their universal heart. In other words, one person’s experience is another person’s experience no matter how different their outside circumstances may appear.  In my opinion, it’s through empathy that one little movie …  a string of little movies …  a narrative feature film …  a documentary … changes someone’s perspective.

Over the past 4 years I’ve seen about 15 films on the Transgender community at film festivals, Laemmle’s Movie Theaters, and streaming online.  Following the triumphs and tribulations of their oft overlooked tales, I’ve come to relate with a group of people I had little knowledge of or interest in before 2007.  Films like the 1987 narrative feature Vera (An Outfest Legacy Project restoration) and the 2008 long-form documentary STILL BLACK: A Portrait of Black Transmen have transformed my relationship to my own gender-expression (female) and sexual orientation (lesbian) from a place of self-loathing and ignorance to one of self-knowledge and acceptance. They’ve broadened my consciousness and conscience …

Movies are a powerful tool for education and change.  I am honored, grateful, and proud to be a part of the Queer Film community.  I am constantly blown away by all I have left to learn on the human “being” itself — especially being its self in TRUE form.  I was thrilled to take my little 18-year old bisexual sister to a film fest by and about Transgender people where she learned more about the profound and complex GLBTQ community she embodies and represents.  Especially since, unlike myself, my sister tends to be romantically/sexually attracted to women with a more masculine bent, butch women, questioning trans.  I’m glad to say that in these years I’ve healed that senseless prejudiced self-hating side of myself, and grown to relate to, respect, and appreciate the varying expressions of human sexuality and gender-identity.  As a result, I’ve been blessed to form beautiful priceless friendships with butch lesbians and transmen in my community.

That being said, I also acknowledge that movies — being a powerful medium that affects change on individual and mass scales — can also be used to oppress people. Sadly, many movies still often perpetuate negative stereotypes or ignore an entire section of the population by choosing to spotlight one group experience over another. This is especially evident in Hollywood.  The world according to Hollywood films tends to center around Anglo, straight, and Jewish populations.  Once in a while, when Hollywood films do stray from depicting formulaic characters in regurgitated plots and strive to convey the stories of “minorities” — a.k.a. all other members of society — we’re often victimized, marginalized, or turned into one-dimensional caricatures of ourselves.  The Token Black, Gay, Latina, etc. gets to star in their own token movie … yay!  Not yay.

One of the many reasons I won’t be watching The Oscars this year.

Another reason is because I’m tired of supporting the community-destroying system of Meritocracy.  Meritocracy: A competitive system in which human beings earn self-esteem through achieving merit i.e. outside validation. A system where professional colleagues are pinned against each other, compared, and then anointed “1. Better than the rest.”  Maybe that system works for boxing or sports, some physical game built around the accumulation of points, but I believe Meritocracy has no real constructive place in the arts — a subjective realm of individual expression.

At the Oscars, 5 supposedly “best” actresses, writers, costume designers, etc. of films — that were LOBBIED into nomination by usually affluent companies — go up against each other for the Homecoming Queen crown.  Nominees wear abhorrently expensive outfits, blow winks at each other, and weep at tha’ podium o’ “success” upon receiving a statue of naked golden dewd while shouting, “I haven’t had an orthodox career, and I’ve wanted more than anything to have your respect. The first time I didn’t feel it, but this time I feel it, and I can’t deny the fact that you like me, right now, YOU LIKE ME!”

I once bought into that?  Yuck & sad.  (P.s. I think Sally Field is an AMAZING actress.  Her acceptance speech just makes me sad.)

My dislike for Meritocracy isn’t just limited to The Oscars, however, but stretches outward to all award shows with set nominees.  You want to take a fair vote and choose “best” film or “best” artistic anything of the year?  Fine.  Let all the Academy members actually vote for THEIR favorite film of that year then.  Don’t choose their nominees.  Just ask them very simply, “What’s been your favorite film this year?,” “Who’s been your favorite actress this year and for what role?,” etc., tally the votes up, and then announce the results at the award ceremony like so, “We’d like to congratulate Sophie’s Choice for being chosen by The Academy members as their favorite film of the year.”  Let’s call a spade a spade.  The Oscars like most award shows are not an objective forum where “high quality” projects get the recognition they deserve.  It’s a circus tent where rich people who know other rich people entertain their egos by jacking each other off in front of a TV screen for millions to see.  The Oscars are, in essence, a televised 4-hour group masterbation session between professional exhibitionists.  At least when they have a comedian host — like Ricky Gervais — who calls out the event for exactly what it is, the audience derives some joy from the lewd acts of heavy petting taking place on stage.  The Oscars enjoy pretending they were created to award the most worthy piece of art (i.e. film) and artist (i.e. director) of the year the acknowledgment they deserve. When the truth is, and everyone knows it, The Oscars are as objective as art/film itself, which is NOT objective at all.

Maybe I’m just annoyed by the fact that The Oscars confuses its 100% subjectivity for 100% objectivity, takes itself too seriously, and then doesn’t hire Ricky Gervais to host.

If you’d like to read the brilliantly hilarious introduction Ricky Gervais drafted (in jest) for this year’s Oscar hosts Anne Hathaway and James Franco, read below or directly from his blog!

—->

(Drum roll)V.O.
Ladies and Gentlemen.
Please welcome your hosts for this evening…
James Franco and Anne Hathaway 

(Music and applause)
(James and Anne walk out looking absolutely perfect)

JF
Hello and welcome to The 83rd Academy Awards,
Live from Los Angeles.

AH
That’s foreign for City of Angels.
And this room is certainly filled will those angels.

(Applause)

JF
Thank you. I’m James Franco.

AH
…and I’m Anne Hathaway.

JF
You probably know me from 127 Hours where I play a man trapped in an enclosed space who decides he would rather cut his own arm off than stay where he was. Now that sounds “way out” but wait till half way through this fucking ceremony and you’ll start to identify with him.

AH
And I’m the new Catwoman. The first white woman to play that role since Michelle Pfeiffer. I want it to be an inspiration to all white people everywhere. Your dreams can come true in Hollywood too.

JF
It’s a daunting task hosting The Oscars but we’re not alone. Presenting awards tonight will be a string of Hollywood legends and some other actors who have a film out in March or April.

JF
Usually they hire comedians to host The Oscars, but tonight, instead, you get us!

AH
No comedians tonight. And do you know why? Because comics are ugly.

JF
Especially that rude obnoxious one who played the Steve Carell part in the English remake of The Office.

AH
But you can all relax because Ricky Gervais is in London…

(Nervous laughter)

He’s doing some charity work.
Yeah, he’s visiting orphans with cancer.
He’s telling them what bald little losers they are…

JF
Yeah, cos he’s rude right?

(Applause)

Thank you.
No rudeness tonight.
It’s going to be a night of the most privileged people in the world being told how brilliant they are and thanking God for loving them more than ugly poor foreigners.

(Applause)

That’s not to say that we don’t care. No, apart from all the great movies we made this year we continued our life-saving philanthropy. Mega stars like Angelina Jolie, George Clooney and Ben Stiller brought light to third world poverty and famine and shocked the world with visions of children so hungry they’d been living off dead beetles all their lives.

AH
Yeah and Yoko Ono said. “What’s wrong with that?”

(Laughter)

JF
Oh Anne you are naughty. In a respectful, wholesome way.

(Nodding and smiling)

That Ricky Gervais should do more for charity.

(Murmurs of agreement)

Ricky Gervais is now worth $80,000,000. The obnoxious Brit confirmed the figure, adding,”Yes and my dentist hasn’t seen a penny.”

AH
Yeah, why doesn’t he get his teeth straightened and bleached like everyone else in Hollywood?

JF
It’s a good question Anne. For the same reason he doesn’t have botox or suck up to important producers – there’s something wrong with him.

AH
There must be. Why isn’t the stocky, fangy, little slob more like us, right?

JF
That ugly dude needs to get a Hollywood makeover, big time.

AH
Quite. And even though most of the actresses here have eating disorders, that’s better than being fat right?

JF
You bet it is gorgeous.

AH
You are so handsome.

JF
Exactly.
You know Ricky Gervais used to be bulimic.

AH
Really?

JF
Yes. He’d often gorge himself for hours with cheese and cakes.

AH
And then vomit right?

JF
No he left that bit out…

(Mild laughter)

AH
That’s because he couldn’t get his fat fucking fingers in his stupid mouth.

(Big laugh)

JF
Anyway let’s get this show on the road.
There were some great kids’ movies this year.
I took a five year old to see Toy Story 3 last week.

AH
Did you enjoy it?

JF
No it was ruined for me because the little brat was screaming and crying all the way through the film saying, “Who are you?” “You’re not my daddy.” “Take me back to the park where you grabbed me…”

(Laughter)

AH
Oh James, you are a card. And your slightly risky jokes are not threatening because you’re one of us. And you are so handsome.

JF
Absolutely.
So let’s get this show on the road.
Our first presenter is a Hollywood legend whose boots Ricky Gervais would not be fit to kiss…
The wonderful…
Mel Gibson…

(Standing ovation)

And so on…



My Baby Sister Grows Up.

So, my baby sister turned 18 years old yesterday and I’m a bit of a stressed out worried mess right now.

I’m mortified for her.  Why?  Because she’s officially in charge of her life.  Neither I or my mother can dictate to her now what time she’s to be home, what she can and can’t drink, that she can’t do drugs, that she can’t date x, y, and z, that she must go to school, that she must do anything good for herself.

This reality both deeply panics and relieves me.  As an older sister, 9 years her senior, I have not been the most perfect elder sibling (in my opinion), but I have tried my best.  Namely, I’ve always tried to protect her from harm and guide her towards safety, wholesomeness, and working for her dreams.  Quite honestly, I didn’t do this in the healthiest way possible.  While we were growing up, I didn’t really know any other ways so I scowled, screamed, guilted, grounded, and spanked.

Not all the time, of course, but when I felt “the fear” and therefore, that she “needed to be taught a lesson for her own good.”  I don’t regret my intention, which was to protect her from the perils of the world or to teach her how to stay out of harm’s way, but I do regret many of the methods I used in doing so.

Over the past 2 years, however, I’ve become really conscious of the dysfunctional 1950s Dad-style discipline I was inflicting on the person I loved the most and its ramifications on our relationship.  I sadly realized that a distance and distrust had developed on both our ends towards each other while I was “teaching her the right way and protecting her.”

She, like her older sister (me 😉 ), has turned out to be much of “A Wild Child.”  The only difference between the two of us is that she started at age 12 and I started at age 18, and I knew how to hide it well.  I was a straight-A student and career-driven workaholic. My motto was always, “Work Hard and Party Hard.”  Also, there’s a saying in Cuba that goes “Si nadas desnuda, guarda la ropa,” which translates to “If you swim naked, hide your clothes.”  I did just that.

My little sister, on the other hand, wears her “wild times” on her sleeve just like her big heart.  A sweeter, more loving and loyal sister, I could never have asked for.  She’s as endearingly transparent as a puppy who sees the front door wide-open.  Therefore, I ALWAYS know — whether she tells me or not — what mayhem she’s getting into or about to embark upon.

Yet, over these past 2 years, through my own personal healing and self-discovery, I’ve learned that all I can do as a loving and supportive older sister to HELP HER is: A) Let her make her own mistakes B) Love her through them, without guilt trips or harsh judgments and C) Show up for her whenever she needs me, but not at the cost of my sanity.

This is fucking hard … and also, spiritually liberating.

I have to accept more and more each day there’s a limited amount of things I can really do for my baby sis’, at this point and for the rest of our lives, because, as of yesterday, she’s a grown woman.  They go as follows:

1. Listen to her (without judgment)

2. Love her  (without expectation)

3. Give her advice (without forcing her to take my advice)

4. Show up for her when she needs me (without enabling her misbehavior or sacrificing my sanity in the process)

5. Let her make her own mistakes (without worry and fear for her safety … as much as possible)

6. Breathe in & Breathe Out (without thought)

7. Pray for her (with complete faith)

8. Trust she has her own God (in complete surrender)

9. Trust that she’s going to be more than “just fine,” but in fact “Great”

10. Blog about it

and

11. Eat some dynamite cake.

CONNECT 4 CHAMPIONS: TIED AGAIN


Spirituality Apps for Android & Facebook

Sometimes, when the world is revolting and your daily life is held together by an invisible thread of mercy and you feel your horse standing still in the swamp of sadness … you turn to inspiration, affirmation, and spirituality applications for your android and facebook.

Because, you know what, why-the-feck-not lick the clouds if you can reach them and it makes you feel good?  As a friend of mine reminded me yesterday:

You can’t be a grown up all the time.  You have to let your little child inside play.

Play?  But I haven’t earned it yet.  I haven’t done ENOUGH yet.  I’ve done much, but not enough.  I don’t get to relax, be, and release yet.

Or do I?

I’ve decided to brainwash myself into new more childlike forms of thought a.k.a. positive perception and have thus turned to technology for help.

According to the facebook “On this day, God wants you to know” application, she/he/it wants me to know that:

It’s time you let go. Yes, of course, you want to control so everything happens in just the way you want it. But at the end of the day, we control nothing, – it’s all in God’s hands, – has always been, and will always be. So, do what you can, and then let go, and let God handle the rest.

According to my android inspirational quote applications:

We are all inventors, each sailing out on a voyage of discovery, guided each by a private chart, of which there is no duplicate. The world is all gates, all opportunities. – Ralph Waldo Emerson

Be Content with what you have; rejoice in the way things are. When you realize there is nothing lacking, the whole world belongs to you. –Lao Tzu

According to my android affirmation applications:

I can pick and choose what I want to do.

I am healing.

I am beautiful.

The past has no power over me, I forgive all those that need my forgiveness and I forgive myself.

Abundance and good fortune is coming into my life at the present moment.

Sounds good.  Wrap it up Miss, I’ll take it.  Now onto prayer and meditation.  2 of my favorite prayers go as follows:

(Prayer of St Francis of Assisi) — “Lord, make me a channel of thy peace – that where there is hatred, I may bring love – that where there is wrong, I may bring the spirit of forgiveness – that where there is discord, I may bring harmony – that where there is error, I may bring truth – that where there is doubt, I may bring faith – that where there is despair, I may bring hope – that where there are shadows, I may bring light – that where there is sadness, I may bring joy. Lord, grant that I may seek rather to comfort than to be comforted – to understand, than to be understood – to love, than to be loved. For it is by self-forgetting that one finds. It is by forgiving that one is forgiven. It is by dying that one awakens to Eternal Life. Amen.”

“Dear God, I am no longer running the show.  Thy will not mine be done.”

I have many others — “a ritual” of prayers if you will — that help clear the head, heart, and nostrils.  One I’ve recently come across that I’d like to incorporate:

“God, I’m agitated and doubtful right now. Help me to stop and remember that I’ve made a decision to let You be my God. Give me the right thoughts and actions. God save me from fear, anger, worry, self-pity or foolish decisions that Your will not mine be done. AMEN”

By God, of course I mean (as stated in a previous post):

God: The name I give the unifying Life Force we all form part of —  The sum of all our parts.  The vast infinity of endless possibility fully realized.  Ya know!  I see it like this: We’re blood swimming through the veins of a whole body.  Others may call this body: “Wholeness,” “Perfection,” “Allah,” “My Higher Self,” “The Universe,” “Universal Order,” “Baby Jesus in Da Manger,” and “Rodney Dangerfield.”

I actually tend to call It “Baby Jesus in Da Manger” and “Rodney Dangerfield” most of the time.

My spirituality has no definitive religious affiliations just like my politics have no identification with or loyalties to political parties.

Free as a stone rolling about the desert ground.