Monday, May 14, 2012

Why I love (and miss) blogging

I haven't blogged in forever.

I say that every time I write a new post, but it's true. But this time when I say that I'm going to make an effort to post more often, I mean it. I need my blog. And I've finally figured out why.

I feel ignored. People do not listen to me in real life. Whenever I get tests or something that ask if I'm a leader, I've learned to check 'no' because no one listens to me. I'd like to believe I'm a leader, I know I have great ideas and a lot to say and a story to tell, (and most importantly, I am right a good 90% of the time) but when it comes down to it, I know no one is listening.

Like when I tell people that I hate being called white. I've blogged about it before. I made a note about it on facebook. I defend myself when it comes up in conversation. I even made an art piece about it in a class, and a couple weeks later, it just popped out of one of my friends mouth, "Essence, you are so white."

But I'm not. I don't view myself as white, and to the majority of the world's view, I am Black, plus I've said a million times that I HATE IT WHEN PEOPLE SAY THAT.

But people don't listen to me.

But blogging brings back some of my power. Even if all of y'all are strangers. Even if you will never meet me, never know me, you randomly stumbled across the tiny space in the world that I have carved for myself, the space where I can rant, rave, cry, laugh, bitch, whine, praise, dream, and create. And you care, even if it's just a teensy tiny bit.

And since I'm already posting, I have to say that today I am sad.

I thought I had a friend at work, but I texted him two weeks ago and he never answered me back.

I know it sounds crazy, but hear me out. All of my exes were terrible communicators. I hate to say it, but I am the girl who likes having conversations through text. Or just getting a text in general. I don't care that guys just use texts for information. I don't think it's that high maintenance, because I hate calls. Don't call me. Ever. But texts are nice. Just to check up. It takes less than 10 seconds to send one. But my exes basically ignored me (which also annoyed the living fuck out of me because when I would hang out with them, they were constantly checking facebook and texting other people, but you don't see your girlfriend all summer, and you can't text her, whatever). And I don't care that I seem like a crazy person, if I fucking text you, at least answer back. Obviously, I have issues.

At any rate, I made him cupcakes. Strawberry cupcakes. From scratch. I hand chopped an entire carton of strawberries into little, tiny pieces to put in the cake batter. I made strawberry frosting. From scratch. I mean, it's not like the 18th century, I have a mixer and an oven, but who actually bakes these days? I took 2 hours of my time and a little bit of money to make him a batch of cupcakes, and he can't fucking text me back? It pisses me off. I hate being taken advantage of, but it always happens to me. And I told him I was upset, and he just said, "Sorry." That was it. He didn't even sound especially sorry. And I'm pretty awful at communicating my feelings in person, so I didn't accurately explain how wounded I felt.

True story.

But yay blogging!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Pink Think

I'm in advanced surface design again this semester! Basically, it's arts and crafts for 3 hours,
but don't tell my professor that. We're serious artists exploring design techniques.

We started with shibori on the first day of class. Shibori is essentially tye-dye, but Japanese, so it's art. Arashi is my favorite technique, mostly because it's the easiest. You just wrap fabric around a pole (or PVC pipe in our class), wrap string or yarn around the fabric on the pole, then scrunch the fabric up, and dye it. The string leaves a resist that looks like stripes on the fabric. It's pretty fun, and I'll try to take pictures.

Anyway, arashi is a great way to use up old bobbins from the weaving class, you know, old yarn people used for projects but didn't weave entirely off. When this one woman, we'll call Graduate Student, pulled out a bobbin that I used, I said, "I love that color! I used it in a weaving last semester." And she replied, "I hate pink. It's such an ugly color, I would never use it in my artwork." And right then, I decided I didn't like Graduate Student.

A) Graduate Student was wearing a patchwork sweater coat (I'd post a picture, but all of them are of people's handmade sweater coats, and I don't want to bash anyone's work, except Graduate Student's, but it looks exactly how you think it looks.) in the terribly '70s color palette of olive green, orange, and brown. I mean, you're not exactly the Master of Supreme Taste yourself, but I was going to let it slide and try to be friendly.

And b) she indirectly bashed my work, and me personally, because I was wearing a pink coat at the time. (I mean, if I had mentioned her sweater coat and right after she said, "I made it myself!" I called it ugly, I'd be an asshole, so her response to my attempt at conversation was tactless at best. Asshole.) It's fine to not like pink or disagree with me or whatever, most of the people I know don't like pink, but you're still an ass.

C) It wasn't like hot Barbie pink or anything, it was like a ruby red grapefruit pink, that I seriously still love. And it's not like we were using the yarn for its color, we're dunking that shit in dye.

I use pink. Not a lot, I actually use more neutral shades like brown and tan in my personal artwork, but I use pink more than anyone else, especially in weaving. I like pink and I like pink textiles, it's whatever. I wear a lot more pink than I use in classes. But I just hate that everyone discriminates against the color pink for the stupidest reason possible.

I read an article, I cannot for the life of me remember where, that said
that although as a society we've made great steps in women's rights and equality, we might have taken it too far because now being considered a woman is bad, and that people are constantly putting women and anything to do with women down. When the author was younger, she insulted another girl and one of her guy friends told her she was "just like one of the boys," and she considered that the highest compliment. That's why I believe that people hate pink. Pink is a girly girl and everything about girls is bad. Girls are weaker and stupider. Being a girl means you're overly sensitive and you can't get dirty. Girls are helpless, emotionally unstable, and vain, right?

Pink is considered a feminine color. I baby sit for a twelve year old, and she always moans that my room is pink (and not even all of it, the sheets and a rug and my bathroom towels). "It's such a girly-girl color," she whines. "I like blue." And that's the reason people don't like pink. Marketing companies and advertisers decided that pink was a girl color and now it isn't considered "art." That's it. Society gave a color a meaning and that makes it bad.

The funny thing is, pink used to be the "boy" color and blue was a "girl" color. I actually read this in a Little House on the Prairie book when I was younger, but I googled it to make doubly sure. Pink is closer to red and was considered more manly, and blue was delicate and dainty and for girls. And somewhere along the line, pink became the color girls preferred, I'm guessing through some marketing mumbo jumbo. Then the feminist movement rejected the color pink and now this perfectly innocent color is discriminated against as being not serious and ugly, all because of an association with vaginas. (Seriously, no one has given me a real reason to not use pink in my work, not even my professor. I just get vague responses like "You just don't," or "When you graduate you can use all the pink you want." It just isn't art, but apparently every other color is okay because I've seen blue, green, orange, red, black, and tons of brown.)

I wonder if people realize that their hatred of pink is really just them lashing against the media and society's expectations of them and that hating the color pink just because of said association is stupid? Pink is just a color to me like any other color. I like it more than some colors, but I don't actively hate it for some arbitrary reason. I'm not fond of the color orange, but I've used it in artwork before. It's doubly ironic to me because the fibers program is such a vagina fest. Our only boy graduated and the very nature of fibers (sewing, dyeing, weaving, etc.) are things associated with extreme femininity. I guess they have to hate pink.

I prefer to be in the Elle Woods camp of life. I like pink, but I'm ridiculously smart and also pretty. That's what pink says to me. I'm feminine, and you know I'm proud of my femininity, but you can't judge a book by it's cover because I also love the show South Park and I read a lot and I work at a sports and outdoors store. Maybe I just like being unconventional?
Side note: I'm finding that I'm way less girly than I think the longer I work there. I know more stuff about sports than I should and the other day, I had an actual conversation about guns.)

I bought this Under Armour coat when it went 30% off, and I chose the pink/orange version because I love that it's so bright. It's just like me! And this is the coat I was wearing when Graduate Student called pink ugly.


Saturday, December 3, 2011

I'm Cursed

I'm cursed with empathy. I'm also by nature way too opinionated.
John Shirley

I'm going to assume everyone's heard of the Occupy movements all around the country, and jump right in.

A kid died at the Occupy Denton campsite. I can't think of a nice way to put that or a nice introduction to it. The Occupy Denton website called it a tragedy, and a facebook friend of mine posted the link on her wall. On the site that features the story, no comments are allowed, and with good reason. Within minutes of my friend posting the story, people were giving their opinions, what else is new? Some people expressed concern, some were supportive, but a few (aren't there always a few) were completely unsympathetic.

The website mentioned that the kid did drugs and that might have played a part in his death, and that fact apparently means we can't be upset that he's dead. Valid points were made, we can't call every death a tragedy and mourn the loss of every single person ever, or we'd always be sad, but that person also compared the kid's death to Hitler's and rapists and pedophiles. Another person said the kid wasn't worthy of our respect and mourning. Apparently because that kid made a choice to do drugs and be homeless, we shouldn't be sorry that he's dead.

And I'm just stunned at the the lack of empathy, the void of compassion for another human being, just because he did drugs.

It's probably because I am way too empathetic. I always give money to people who ask (homeless or not). I get angry on behalf of my gay friends whenever I hear people berate gays. I got into a different facebook fight about Michael Jackson's death because someone said we shouldn't mourn him. I felt sorry for Moammar Gadhafi when CNN kept playing the cell phone video of his corpse being found. Like the guy in the comments said, I feel sorry for murderers and rapists when they get the death penalty, even if I also feel vindicated.

Both of those people apparently were raised by addicts and alcoholics and one was homeless and they worked four jobs and crashed on friends couches and walked both ways uphill in the snow or whatever, so now instead of knowing what this kid might have been going through and feeling even sorrier for him, they said he had weak character.

I've never been homeless or addicted to drugs, and I can't think of any situation where I would end up homeless or addicted to drugs, and I cried when I read his story. The Occupy Denton camp is set up outside of the art building, so I walked by this kid every day. I'm upset that I couldn't do anything for him, and I didn't even know him. But it's his fault because he chose drugs over getting a job? The logic confuses me.

Regardless of his drug use or class status, he was a 23 year old, just two years older than I am, and he died in a fucking Occupy Denton tent. That is the saddest thing I've ever heard. He was someone's baby. I just keep thinking that his parents have to bury him. His parents that probably were offering him help or waiting for him to just get it together that no longer have that opportunity or hope that their son will change. Or worse, he has no parents.

I know I'm rambling, I can't seem to pull this post into any kind of order. I just can't wrap my head around it. When do we get to the point where we can decide who's life is or isn't worthy?

Sunday, October 9, 2011

To Him With Love

It feels weird that this would be my 100th post and that this would be my first post after such a long time away from blogging, but this is something that I need to say to someone.

Dear You,

You probably won't read this, and if you do, these are things that I need you to know. Know that I mean every word.

1) I didn't block you on facebook because I was angry nor am I some kind of malicious bitch who doesn't want you looking at that unimportant drivel, I blocked you because I would obsessively check your page for any mention of myself and be forlorn when none was found. The blocking is for my closure and benefit, and it is not an act of petulance.

2) I didn't break up with you (or let you break up with me, depending on how you look at it) because you don't love me. This happened because I got tired of it. And by "it," I mean our lopsided relationship. I was tired of being the only one with any respect and consideration for my significant other.

I only have one specific instance to give you a clear picture of why I finally needed to end it, and it's the only one that mattered. I asked you Tuesday if you had anything to do, and after you replied that you didn't, you agreed to come to my apartment for dinner. You knew I was cooking. We agreed on 8 o'clock. On Wednesdays I have class until 5, so immediately after I rushed home and showered and did my makeup and put on a dress that I didn't buy specifically for the occasion, but still suited the purpose. I started to make dinner. I had baked a red velvet cake.

And while I was smoothing frosting on the top and decorating it to perfection, you called and asked if we could reschedule dinner on Friday at Red Lobster. I said okay, because really, what was I going to say? I didn't even ask what you were doing because I was so upset (Later you asked why I would say it was fine if I didn't mean it, but seriously, when has a woman ever said, "It's fine," and it has actually been fine??? And if I had insisted that you come to dinner like you said you would, you would have been sullen that you were missing out on whatever it was and ruined the night anyway.)

You hung up, and I cried. I stood in the middle of my kitchen in my lace dress and runny mascara with my cake and homemade white chocolate cream cheese icing that read, "Happy 7 Months," and I cried. Then I changed and made dinner for one because you can't just defrost chicken and re-freeze it. Then I had to eat it and watch TV by myself. And then my roommates came home and it was painful to be around people who were happy, so I locked myself in my room and watched West Side Story and ate half of that fucking cake by myself.

And that's when it hit me.

If you had whatever it is you blew me off for already planned, you would never call whoever invited you and cancel to do anything with me. But you thought it was appropriate to call me and cancel on my home-cooked meal. Why?

I might take anniversaries too seriously. I like to celebrate small victories. I like showing people I love that I appreciate them. Or maybe I was just happy to have time with you since I saw you once or twice a week. But you knew I was cooking. Why wasn't it a big deal to you? I don't even cook for myself! And it's not because I can't, I'm just really lazy. Half of the time I go to McDonald's and the other half I throw chicken nuggets or egg rolls in the microwave. I don't even like Red Lobster that much to be honest. The fact that you didn't think about me making you a meal from scratch and possibly getting dressed up for you and possibly with a gift (This makes two, btw. I have got to stop buying guys I date presents, I think that's what does it.) and a cake didn't cross your mind. You didn't think that I had painstakingly planned this out. You didn't think about me laying all of the ingredients out to make sure I had it all. You didn't think about me defrosting chicken or seasoning to taste. You didn't think I'd be angry or upset, you thought I'd be fine. You thought you could cancel on me, and with a promise to eat at a pretend fancy chain restaurant, I'd be fine.

Ed.'s note: This is excluding the fact that when we went to Red Lobster, he was late, he was obviously mad at me for being mad at him because he fiddled with his phone and ignored me, he said he didn't really like Red Lobster either, oh and then let me pay for my own dinner. Happy 7 month anniversary.

I know you have your justifications for why you did anything you did, and thousands of arguments about how I was wrong or insufficient, but I've had experience being a bad girlfriend. I know and am not afraid to acknowledge what or when I do wrong, so this time I know it wasn't me. I was an excellent girlfriend, not perfect but not lacking in any way that actually mattered. In fact, I tried so hard to not be the bad girlfriend that I was a bad girlfriend in that I completely neglected my own needs.

I pushed aside everything I wanted and believed in for you. I tried to be someone else for you. I don't like sports. I don't like sports logos. I don't like video games. I don't like drinking. But I put up with it, for you. I listened and tried to learn about a bunch of stuff that I didn't understand, for you. And you were never happy with who I am.

So when I asked if you loved me, it wasn't a trap. I was asking because why would I continue to put up with such an unequal, negligent relationship unless you reciprocated my feelings for you? At least then there'd be hope. I could work it out with someone who cared about me. But you answered my question when you not only answered no, but severed the relationship then and there. Through text message. I would have at least had the decency to meet you someplace first, but you beat me to the punch. And honestly, I wasn't upset. I don't want someone who's not going to even put up a fight for me. If you were in that much of a hurry to get it done, I'm amazed that you didn't do it at Red Lobster, but not really because breaking up with me in a text proves that you have no balls. If I hadn't tried to break up with you, we'd probably just be in that disrespectful, thoughtless sham of a relationship forever. Or until the final time you pissed me off, and I gave up.

This brings us to 3) I have a ritual when I break up with someone that I throw away everything that he gave me or anything that reminds me of him. In the past, I've gotten rid of jewelry, letters, T-shirts, and photos; And I can count the number of people I've dated on one hand.

When I went to throw away your stuff, I deleted three photos from my phone and two from facebook. That's it. I spent time, effort, energy, and money on this relationship. You definitely have things that I gave you, but I wasted everything on someone who literally gave me nothing

Ed. note: And you can blame not having a job all you want, you bought enough alcohol to get me something. Shit, I'm a girl. I kept the weed the ex before you gave me. Something, anything, free even. A weed. A rock. A Chuck-E-Cheese token. A birthday card, speaking of which, I got nothing from you. The same ex before you brought me a card, and he broke up with me the week before my birthday. Not to mention that I got you a present, and we'd only been dating about a month. It might not have been something you particularly wanted, but it was a gift that I picked out and something I tangibly gave you.

My empty trash bag is the perfect analogy for our 7 months together.

Finally, 4) It wasn't me, it was you. I can't stress this enough. I deserve better, and I'll get it. But you will never get anyone of value if you don't stop being so damn inconsiderate. Trust me, unless she's even more of a masochist than I am, the next girl won't last much longer. You can't go through many more girls without realizing it's you. I know you told me several times about a wall you built to protect yourself from getting hurt, but what I experienced is not a wall. You're selfish, and you use the metaphorical wall to shut the girl out so she can't expect things from you and you never have to give more than you want.

I've said it once, and I'll say it again, I want someone who meets or exceeds my expectations. That coupled with my tendency to throw myself 110% into every relationship makes dating hard, but every time it gets easier. I've only cried three times thus far, compared with a week of sobbing last time. I'll definitely know who Mr. Right is when it's difficult.

In any event, if 10 years from now, you've matured and given up Pokemon, and you've realized that you can't have a relationship of convenience where your "girlfriend" is only around when you want her to be and she's never any trouble at all and you realize you have to make an effort to make things work and you're still single and I'm still single, call me. I do love you, but the you I knew in the first three months of our relationship who called me and actually wanted to hang out and cared about my opinion. If that guy who tried to make me like him instead of being unsatisfied with me and under appreciating everything I did comes back, I'd like to hear from him. I liked that guy.

Essence Beasley

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

I Am Not My Hair

A couple nights ago, I went out with a few friends I haven't hung out with in a long time, Julian and Sam, to a casino. On the way, Sam tried to make small talk (Which I hate, but does anyone actually like small talk or is a social convenience at this point? And since I haven't seen her in a while, the conversation naturally steered towards my new 'do.

"So why did you cut your hair?"

And naturally, I hate this question. I shrugged, "I felt like it."

"Do you like your hair short?"

"I guess."

But truthfully, I blow those questions off or make up answers on the spot because I hate answering them. There's really no way to answer with ranting on and on about self-hatred or explaining tons more about Black culture than people care to hear or sounding like pompous. But I'll try anyway.

First things first, my hair isn't shorter. I didn't go through the BC, or big chop. I simply stopped relaxing my hair, and a year later, I got the ends trimmed. The same day I got my hair trimmed, my hairdresser straightened my hair with just product and a straightening iron. My hair is roughly chin length, pretty much the same as when I relaxed it. It simply looks shorter because my particular curl pattern gnarls all over itself instead of spiraling outward.

And yes, I like my hair now as much as I did when it was relaxed. I'm not going to lie and say that there aren't days I look in a magazine and wish with all of my heart that I could pull off blunt bangs or days that I really want to do retro pin-up curls, but I know that I can't. It's not like when my hair was relaxed it was perfect. I still couldn't really pull off the bangs and my pin-up curls were always falling out. And I had to worry about new growth and rain then. My afro is a lot more utilitarian, but it's mine, so I like it.

The point is, I ditched the relaxer and went for my natural hair because I hated that the only time anyone said I was pretty was the week after I got my hair relaxed. If you've ever had a relaxer, you know that from the time you get it until you wash your hair the first time is the closest you're ever going to get to "white" hair. Mine would be perfectly smooth. My bangs would fall in the right place. My hair would be shiny and blow in the wind. My hair would feel waxy and just too straight. I didn't like my hair the first week. I much preferred the third or fourth week after I'd washed it a few times and it would hold curl or straighten nicely and I could style it, but people raved about my hair only during the first week. And that pisses me off.

"Essence, your hair is so pretty!" or "You look pretty with straight hair," really, really pisses me off. I've always been called "smart," not "pretty" and the one time I get a "pretty" is when I bust out the chemicals and basically strip my head of what actually grows there is when I get a pretty? Fuck that.

So I grew out my natural hair. No, I don't get pretty anymore. I get "poofy" and "interesting" every once in a while, but at least I'm not faking anymore. I'm not trying to please someone else with how I look. Maybe one day will be the right time to relax it again, maybe I'll even spring for a weave, but right now, all I've got is me.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Experimental Screenprinting

I spent the majority of May in a class called 'experimental screenprinting,' which in layman's terms means I was graded on attendance and got to print whatever I wanted for 8 hours! Eric bet me that he could get more page views on deviant art than I could (he draws comics.) He totally won, but I'm convinced that that's because he already had a deviant art page and followers. At any rate, check out everything I made here, and here are some of my favorite for those too lazy to click.

Happy Hump Day!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

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