The Quest for My Own Experience

When I was a little girl I watched the Wizard of Oz for the first time when I was five. My mind was blown. I wanted to be Dorothy. In fact I lived, breathed and wished to be Dorothy. I gathered my toys, my little mechanical dog and, of course, named him Toto, I grabbed my pink Easter basket, and a towel to put over my hair to cover my bouncy curly pig-tails, because, you know, Dorothy was white. Silky hair and all, and in order to be Dorothy I had to look like her.

Everyday I skipped down the sidewalk clicking my heels, neighbors looking out of the window and laughing at the little black girl skipping down the side walk, but I had no idea. I was Dorothy. I knew that movie inside and out, and one day, one day I was going to be her.

Then there was Little Shop of Horrors. Mind Blown. Talking plants. Unrequited love. I knew all the songs. I cocked my head, all the black girls were the do-op girls, why weren’t they Audrey? Alice in Wonderland, mind blown, but there was a little blond girl, where was i? Edward Scissorhands, pretty much all the Tim Burton movies, loved them all, but where was I? It didn’t matter too much. I didn’t understand. In my mind I could still be all those girls in those movies.

I majored in theater, high hopes and dreams of being the character I dreamed of, in my world I could.

I was cast in shows: Lesson Before Dying, black man faced with the electric chair sentenced for a crime he didn’t commit during segregation in the south. I got an Irene Ryan’s nomination. My mother was upset. This was her fear. Me, playing an old slave women humming old hymnals. In this world of theater, this would be the only thing I was destined to play. I didn’t understand it at the time. My feelings were hurt. I was a good actor! I did it, I tricked people. Audience members actually thought I was a 71 year old woman. I was only 19. I was a great actress!

Next, an old woman in Dearly Departed, playing, once again, an old Southern lady and a gospel choir singer. Proved my mother right again.

Our theater department then decided we were going to put on a Cat on A Hot Tin Roof. Roles for black people: maids with one line, “Storm, storm coming!” No thanks.

If it were my show I would be Maggie, but it wasn’t my show. The day of the audition, my professor comes up to me and another black male asking why we didn’t sign up to audition for Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, we should be proud. If it were on Broadway we would jump at the chance to be in that show. My world changed at that moment. I saw things completely different. People didn’t see me as Maggie, people didn’t see me as Gertrude, or Ophelia, they saw me as the maid or the old woman in a slave tale.

I thought maybe it was different coming from a small North Carolina town. When I moved to the big city it would be different. I moved to Chicago and realized the story was still the same. I could look forward to being in plays telling the “Black Experience” whatever that meant, or be pimped. I wanted to be more. I wanted to be in a surrealist fantasy. I wanted to live the life of magic.

I watched as the brunettes whined that it would be harder for them to get the role over the blond. I watched as the curvaceous girl whined that the thin, perfect girl would get the role over them. I watched all of this with the realization I couldn’t change my skin color.

I had a choice. To accept this world, the world of literature and art that wasn’t made for me, or to try harder, push harder, be better.

This is not victim tale. This is a tale of responsibility. I choose to work harder. I chose to create new roles. I chose to question my way of Being. I chose to question the “Black Experience” and point out that there is a missing link on both sides of the equation. I chose to be the Tim Burton for minorities. I chose to have a place where any color, any body type, and sexual orientation can play anything because those roles are written for them. I chose to not feel sorry for myself (even though it is so easy to do). I choose to turn the “black experience” on it’s side, upside down and around again so I can understand what it means and who I am. I choose to stab at the keys, trying to be a better writer so some day I, or someone like me, can play the roles I always wanted to be. I chose to be me.

A. Black-Writer

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Life is Magic Magic is Life

We all have a choice on how we wish to view the world. It can be a miserable sad place where all we see is the pain, or we can see something else. We can also say thanks in different ways: prayers, mantra, affirmations, or just acknowledgment. I choose to honor the universe by seeing the world just the way it is~magic. So on Saturdays, a magical day all in itself, I will post the magic that’s happened to me this week. Let’s view the magic for the week of July 8-14th

1. I’ve been testing out this whole “ask and you shall receive” bit. I have student loans I have to pay for $170 plus computer payment $80. $250 I want to make extra a month (we can afford it without making extra, but it’s my debt so I would like to pay for it). So I looked up to the heavens and jokingly requested, “Alright universe. I need some money. Could you give it to me? and left it at that not expecting anything because I don’t believe in wishful thinking. Then I went to work. Massaged a client on July 7th got $45 dollars in cash tips! Worked Monday another $40!! Then my friend emails me and says, “Hey, can we get two massages?” $120! Tally: $205, $45 to go!! (but then I spent some on food, so I learned when you ask for something take note on how you receive it. And when you ask expect to take action. The universe can’t do everything ­čÖé )

2. I was walking down the street with my daughter after an awesome run. So I was a bit delirious I think…Saw a giant squirrel.

And I was thinking, ‘What the hell…’ then the squirrel turned into a cat. It was big. It’s back large, dowinger hump and all

We kept walking, then the cat turned and walked past us. He had leopard stripes and stalked past us crawling through his jungle of urban lawns

 hehehehe it was funny!

Then I rounded the corner. A homeless man lay on a  bench around the corner from our apartment, his umbrella resting above him

(that’s a real picture) And he was sad but sad in his beauty and all I could see was this
Lesson: I think it’s enough said. Change the lenses so you can see from a different perspective.
3. Yesterday a bug landed on my book bag.
Me and my friend both started talking to it in the middle of a crowded subway train, and I think in our mind we were actually having a little conversation with the fly. Then he flew away, we told him to take care. We both thought differently about our relationships with even the smallest of creatures. Plus, it’s always cool when you find a kindred person who sees things the same way you do.
So those are my observations of the universe’s magic! Can’t wait to see what next week has to bring ­čśÇ
Andrea

My Self Portrait

Self Portrait

I dance with flowers in my hair. Feet pounding against the ancient grass, cold against my skin, sun blazing on my back. Through the wind spirits of other worlds whisper stories in my ear. My hand moves freely transcribing their words-mind blank, unguiding their truth, letting the prose flow.┬á I have my genius. I am both warrior and child. Strength honed for my purpose as I tell my story’s truth. I trust myself. Other’s words or opinions are unable to penetrate my resolve. I know these stories must be told through my voice. I am guided by another force outside of my own, and I am grateful.

My chair rocks back and forth, clicking on the wooden porch as I overlook the land, green and plush, the promise of eternity and I feel a sense of home. My daughter and son laugh running through the rolling hills. My husband and I sit watching, smiles on our face. Our dreams realized. We sit hand in hand, the current of togetherness bonding us together. We take pride in the future we have created. One of safety and protection as our children roam free. We give thanks as the Great Soul protects our reverie.

When people think of me they will smile. Not because of fame or fortune, or the material things of this world once forgotten. They will remember me because I am the immediate ripple in a current. My center mattering as I pass positivity through my smile and gentle prodding of hope in humanity’s greatness.┬á I will carry an orb of light for those in dark spaces. I will remind others they are not alone, giving promise to the life we all have the possibility of and┬ádeserve.┬á Through each person I speak to, each smiling face I see, I will give thanks for allowing me to meet a piece of God.

My greatness has overgrown my fear. The universe cradles those I hold dear. On the days I wake with a struggling sense of question, I close my eyes, body moving through space and time, and remember my center through gentle breath. Fear flees afraid of the dagger of my sprit. I teach my children their own strength, and watch them grow, becoming warriors for their own purpose. I am their guide, and they are mine, and I am thankful.

Andrea

Writing Challenge-Self Portrait

Writing Challenge- A Self Portrait.

The challenge: to write a self portrait with a personal drawing of how you wish yourself/see yourself to be.

I thought this would be fun because I know the person I want to become. If written on the page, if spoken where the future self already exists, if drawn in a tangible form, I will have something to move toward because I will already be familiar with that woman. Plus, it’ll be cool to see what comes out. So! It’s a fun exercise. Nothing too crazy. Hope you all will join me. It would also be cool if we can share pages, or have you link your drawing to this page.

Due Date: Next Wednesday July 16th

Hope to read some cool postings! The sky is the limit. Anything goes. So don’t try to make it all perfect, just draw from the heart and write from the heart and let’s see what happens! Happy Challenge.

Andrea