Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Monday, June 21, 2010

life lessons from boys who are beastie

life lessons
from boys who are beastie

the beastie boys song, fight for your right (to party!), has always been well received as a fist-pumping (pre-jersey shorification), party anthem. many a'frat boys and lady lovers alike have shouted this ditty at the top of their lungs whilst in the throes of a festive function. but the term "fight" never sat well with me. it was the puzzle piece that initially appeared to fit, but refused to lie flat and melt into the oneness of the whole.

what, pray tell dear ashley, would make this jam one that you could firmly chant without experiencing hesitation and frustration?

to put my neurotic mind at ease i wish the more appropriate verbiage was utilized, "assert your unlawful right to party". one doesn't actually need to throw 'bows in the name of beers, nor does one need to exchange punches for the sake of pong. if you want the non-governmentally supported law to be upheld-
why wouldn't you just go out do it?

this question begat another in my introspective snow globe of a mind; if that query can apply to a simple song- couldn't it be turned to the broader backdrop of life in general? if we want something more out of this life- something that law/other people/reason can't provide for us- we have to give ourselves permission to grab it versus constantly fighting the world around us.

all too often we want to look outside of ourselves for the answers that are hidden within. every day, life puts another proverbial fork in our paths. every hour, life bobs and weaves- spinning wildly around us. every moment is a choice, a challenge, and a cryptogram...every moment we decide, do, and decode in order to get closer to self actualization.

turning ones thoughts inward and looking at oneself honestly can be scary and painful. most fear their own truth so much that the thought of making a conscious choice to do so is inconceivable. i will be the first to admit, the excavation process does require that you open your eyes to your own darkness but it also is a journey where your bright, brilliant light will be found. it most certainly is not the easier road by any stretch of the imagination but i've found that the answers are more glaring when pulled out of yourself.

throughout the years i've heard it from therapists and peers alike, "you don't have to go through this alone- why do you always take the most painful path? life could be easier if you weren't so stubborn." the truth is that i know that ofttimes i opt for a journey that isn't as pleasant as i'd like. i don't relish in the pain nor do i seek it out as some form of emotional-masochism but i would be lying if i said i didn't purposefully choose paths that required self-scrutiny and were inherently more difficult. outwardly some mistake it for self sabotage, but i call it self-preservation.

some might argue that my analytical nature forces me to draw parallels between things that are meaningless. this is a fact that i'm willing to accept and deny, all at once. maybe things aren't as connected as i believe but maybe everything is connected, and lessons can be found in everything and every one around us. upon over analyzing the lyrics of the beastie boys, i stumbled across a powerful message to give heed to my life- stop cursing the powers that surround you, and start liberating yourself through changing your perspective.

the chains that bind us to a life that is less than what we want are self inflicted but so is freedom...but for all one knows the beastie boys where right- and we all have to FIGHT- FOR OUR RIGHTS- TO PARRTTYY!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

tuesday, no blues day

no blues day

it's an overcast day in the nations capital yet as i look to the sky i feel the warmth of the sun. while making a purchase at the 7-11 across the street from my work today, a man who was strung-out on something fierce approached me. his disheveled appearance jarred with the finely manicured flower beds that lined the streets he called his home. his matted hair and tattered shirt both were in desperate need of washing- or at least a spritz or two of febreze to help a brotha out. his eyes were warm and his smile was genuine. as he came closer to me, i smiled and said hello.

i've seen him before- he's not
my favorite homeless person, but he is the most boisterous. my first encounter with him was over six months ago in the very same 7-11. he was screaming at the attendant demanding they go in the back and "GET THAT BLUE SHIT". he was referencing the mountain dew flavor, blue shock, which at the time was a seasonal promotion and was not widely available.

today, not unlike our first meeting, my friend was inquiring loudly about flavored sodas. one glance at the attendants face and you could feel their pain. you know deep down they want to throw him out, but aside from being a menace he wasn't actually doing anything wrong.

he slammed the glass refrigerator door and huffed over in my direction. while in line, i watched as he shuffled my way without once lifting his feet completely off the ground. just as i began to nod my head to the hypnotic rhythm of his well-worn shoes the beat dropped off and we were toe-to-toe. as my gaze transitioned from down to up, he looked me up and down.

"you are looking gorgeous from head to toe mami..dayum" i looked around to see who the man on crack was talking to. i knew that there was a chance he was speaking to me, but there was also a chance he was talking to someone in his head. "who me? wow- well thank you." i said as i tossed my items on the counter. he shook his head vigorously, "from head to fucking TOE. f'real girl- i mean it." my sentiments of gratitude were repeated once more and i began to gather my belongings to head into work.

as i walked out of 7-11 i stood a little bit taller and i swung my hips a little bit harder. the sidewalk became my runway and i'd have made rupaul proud in the way i sashay'd and shante'd. some might have taken a compliment from a homeless, drug addicted stranger in stride and known that it's validity is questionable at best- but i took him at his word.

i don't really care whether or not i actually look gorgeous to this man. i don't care if through his eyes i look like something out of an acid trip. all that matters to me is the fact that what transcends both social classes and mental competence is kindness and a smile. it doesn't take much to turn a bluesday back into a tuesday.

Monday, June 14, 2010

pride 101

pride 101
lessons in the friend-hunt

pride events represent a lot of things to many different people. for some it's the party of the year; a time to let down ones hair and make new friends. for others- it's a time for a community and those who support it to gather around and marvel at how far they've come, while keeping eyes focused on how far we've yet to go. what everyone can manage to agree on, is that pride is a place of joy. pride is meant to bring people together- not divide them further.

i woke up to a nasty text message this morning regarding my 'not meeting up' with a few people at pride. i also got several, shall we say- rather assertive, texts throughout the entirety of the weekend from friends trying to meet up. this isn't my first go-around with pride, nor is it for countless friends around me- so why is it that people don't understand that the whole point of pride is to have a good time? pride's intention is not to cause strife between fellow gays. it's not the time to reprimand other friends who's paths didn't cross with your own. pride is simply not the place for your hostility to come out.

regular readers know that i try my hardest to remain relatively impartial in regards to my stances on things. i make efforts to see the other side before i develop my opinion but this is one time i will stand firm to my guns in defense of myself. most don't take it as a personal slight when they lose friends at an event that easily brings thousands of people out, but it did bother one friend. it bothered her so much she denounced our friendship and deleted me off of facebook. for the most part i don't allow facebook goings-on to spill over into my personal life, but with this one- i got upset. i wasn't upset that i had lost this friend as much as i was upset at how things happened.

my pride was spent surrounded by my best friends. it was a beautiful time in our beautiful city. we were the most energetic, dynamic, personable group of women around. we shared in adventures, picked up a few stragglers, met up with some strangers, made new friends, ran into old ones, but most importantly we had a great time. those around us, lest they be strangers or not, were our families in that moment. the faces that mirrored our smiles had it right- just enjoy this moment. there were those we attempted to meet up with but due to the sheer vastness of the city and crowds seeing everyone who attended pride just wasn't going to happen.

and you know what? you never see everyone at pride- ever. sixty percent of the time after uploading the photos later and then perusing through other friends albums, you'll discover you were mere yards away from each other all day. you will laugh about it- vow to meet up next year, but chances are just as likely that you won't...again, thus is the pride-friend-hunt.

i wish people would chill out. (it's a sad state of affairs when the borderline OCD, anxiety riddled freak is asking folks to chill) but honestly people- your friends don't hate you because they didn't see you at an event...your friends are busy suffering from heat stroke and awkwardly throwing up behind a camry in an alley while their ass is covered in gum they sat in. your friends aren't terrible people because they missed your phone call...your friends are busy looking for their roommate who blacked out- lost her id- had no money on her- and was eventually found sleeping alone under a dc alcove.

on the flip side of this coin are those friends who know how pride works. they know, that try as you might to figure out who will be attending what, you might not see everyone. they know that pride-misses aren't a personal attack on ones friendship. they know that at the close of the weekend, that friend still has your back through thick and thin regardless of whether or not you saw them. they know that a single appearance doesn't dictate loyalty, honesty or any of the qualities one looks for a friend.

i suppose i'm just being a bit sensitive this morning, as 8 back-to-back downright disrespectful text messages might do to a person upon just emerging from slumberland. i'm sorry if i come across as harsh but this weekend wasn't about you.

pride isn't about the individual, it's about the collective. while you sit there and stew about how awful your friends who 'ditched' you are, i will remind you of the sea of faces i saw this weekend. within that sea was happiness, joy and friendship. no one was throwing fisticuffs, no one was gettin' scrappy and pulling out weaves- everyone was proud. they were proud to be at a place where no matter who you are- you are accepted. they were proud to be swarming with absolutely enchanting individuals with brightly colored EVERYTHING. they put their arms around strangers and hugged them with both arms, none of this
christian side-hug business!

what i feel people are missing when it comes to pride is the true reason we are all there. it isn't just to meet fresh new faces to befriend and bed, it's true purpose is to show how proud of ourselves we are. those who paved the way for us not so long ago would no doubt be disappointed in some of the shit that tumbles out of pride...but we can change that! the magnificent thing about life is that change is constant- and you can be part of that change even if you once were the source of the problem.

pride is a place to march.
pride is a place to dance.
pride is a place to be free.
pride is a place to be proud.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

june pride

a month to be proud of

june is a cornucopia of celebrations. our first month that resides entirely in the summer season often brings fond memories of school letting out, summer sun, and lazy days. selfishly- i think of my birthday, father's day, and the summer that order. (i'm not THAT selfish, they just all occur on the same days)

i narrow-mindedly thought that was it, that june- while full of fun and laughter- didn't exactly provide much in the way of holidays. after a little research i found that 'cornucopia' wasn't just a word common in my vernacular, but also a very appropriate summation for june. lactose intolerant friends beware, june is national dairy month. don't laugh- they won't be the only ones sh

itting their pants this month, because june is also national fruit and vegetable month. it's also a month that celebrates the 'rose'. i was thrilled at this discovery, but almost immediately after was left in udder disgust. when i read national rose month i assumed that my second favorite golden girl has an entire month devoted to her- i was mistaken. to complete the stool trifecta, june is also national potty training month. and finally- for all you pussy lovers out there, june is national adopt-a-cat start adding to
your 'creepy cat lady collection today'!

june is also a beacon of hope for many gays all around the world. along with it comes parades, marches, demonstrations, parties, glitter and rainbows- all in love for the whole LGBT community. often, the week before pride weekend is a bit chaotic. texts, emails, and wall-to-walls fly around wildly, all wondering where the best events are. i like making lists, so i thought it was only appropriate that i share the list of where my friends will be going/performing/serving beer!

jello wrestling @ phase one
9pm-2a $10 cover 21+
525 8th st SE
washington, dc

if i really have to twist your arm to go to lesbian jello wrestling then i mistook you for a LADY LOVIN' FOOL! but if you call a face full of cleavage 'home' then this is where you need to go this evening. i know my roommate and good friend will be rematching tonight, and it's bound to cause bill cosby to blush.

i strongly urge those coming from va or md to stick with metro; don't be the silly goose who gets a DUI or gets your car towed because you wanted to shimmy your rainbow flag ASAP.

the dyke march is at 3pm and leaves from dupont circle. the main parade will leave at 6:30pm and march from dupont to thomas circle. the real lesbitopia is going down after the sun does. the party to be at this pride for all lady lovers?

cobalt & LURe
the corner of 17th & R NW
washington, dc

LURe is known for throwing some of the most dynamic ladies nights in the dc area. i personally am a huge fan of bare their monthly party thrown at cobalt, as are nearly every lesbian who goes out in it comes as little shock that when i found out that 'bare' was on the same week as pride we ALL rejoiced. out of towners- hear my cries!! THIS IS WHERE YOU WANT TO GO ON SATURDAY NIGHT!
the excessive use of caps- while poignant- still makes me feel awkward...moving along.

the festival...please- i, and the other metro riders implore you- do not get too drunk prior to even ma
king it to the festival, it's not a good look.
but with that said the street festival starts at 11am and runs until 6pm. you must go to the main stage around 4:15, that's when the delightful miss eva will don the stage with her band kitten on capitol hill. please come out and support everyone whos a part of this fab
ulous event.

happy pride everyone!

Monday, June 7, 2010

hunt for oprah

hunt for oprah
in search of dreams

i felt the vibration of my alarm before the sound crept in my ears. with less than ten hours of sleep the entire week, it was little wonder that i felt like in seven days time i had aged seven years. calling it "sleep" is being generous. night after night i wasn't sleeping- i was suspended above myself...eyes closed...mind racing...still completely aware of the world raging around me. as the idyllic tune continued to bring me closer to being fully engaged with life, the now offensive pitch was too much to bear- ok, time to get up- today was the day that i had been waiting for.

i alluded to my plans of impulsivity a while back in the post, hopes, dreams, wishes...and unicorns but in all fairness,plan and impulsive don't exactly go hand in hand. spontaneity isn't something that comes naturally to me. at best what i have been forcing myself to do is be calculatedly impulsive, which has been a challenge but i see progress.

it was 1:41am when i pulled out of my driveway in search of oprah. for an 'act of spontaneity' i was well prepared. emergency snacks in case my car flips over a bridge and no one finds my body for weeks- check. a cell phone with full bars, as well as backup cell phones in my center console in case mine dies just on the off chance i'm accosted by gang leaders and need to call the popo- check. an earth-shattering, brand new talk show concept, bound to change viewers lives forever- check. full tank of gas- check.

as i rolled backwards then lurched forward, my car transitioned into drive and i couldn't help but note the parallel it shared with my life. i had taken a step, albeit a modest one, forward. it doesn't require much effort to change gears, but the impact dictates the direction the rest of your life will go in. within the past few weeks i've been commited to pushing myself as hard as possible as it pertains to my dreams. that means doing things that scare the shit out of me; that means doing things i am in no way qualified for; that means doing things that in the past i would have run away from.

the drive was long and lonely. it was also the single most liberating drive i've ever taken. i've always sought comfort in driving- it's not the greenest practice i partake in, but i recycle so they cancel each other out. every road trip i've been on has had several friends along for the ride, but tonight i rolled alone. friends and family alike offered their presence by my side but it was important to me to do this by myself.

i was going up to new jersey to audition for oprah's search for a new talk show host. in addition to looking for a fresh new face, show producers were also looking for a brilliant new show idea- and wouldn't you know it, i've been planning one for sometime now.

it's painfully typical of me to admit, but one of my loftier goals in life is to be a part of a show. it seems as if everyone on the eastern seaboard agreed with me as i pulled up to the kohl's parking lot at 5:45am- as i saw about 300 souls standing in lines. i freshened up, parked, and marched over to claim my spot with the masses.

i had been driving on little to no sleep for a while, so a chatty cathy i was not...hell, i wasn't even a personable paula. i was, at best, a semi-concious samantha- but there i stood for two hours, patiently awaiting my bracelet to ensure i would be seen by the casting directors.

a man stood atop a chair and began shouting into a broken bullhorn. i can only assume it was broken because as far as amplifying his voice, it was not. his attempts at delivering a message fell on deaf ears. in addition to not being heard, his actions prompted a calvacade of chatter which then transformed into full on shouting- from adults. his message began to trickle back through the crowd. he had assured us all that we would be seen and that bracelets would be handed out momentarily.

now clearly, this was not the same message that everyone received. when i was a child i was that kid who changed the sentence in the game of telephone. i was that little prick who thought nothing was funnier than messing with people and fucking up peoples childhood. i suppose it's only fitting that my snot-nose-child antics would come back to cause me pain in my adult life. the message 75% of those around me received was, "run like hell- push down that skinny ass white girl- and getcho bracelet!" so, mass hysteria insues- everyone is running around, jumping over barriers, pulling out weaves, throwing babies (i might be taking some artistic liberties with the last two, but i'm going with it), and all around acting like jerks.

i don't blame oprah for this, no- she's still a saint in my little world, but to the woman who elbowed me in the eye then turned around and said, "excuse you", i say- "that was a tad bit hostile for the environment i think oprah would want, don't you? please forgive my eye socket, which resides inside of my SKULL, for getting in the way of your movable joint of an elbow. i channel oprah's grace and allow you in front of me in line, even though i know regardless you will push me over to get by."

arms crossing like swords, fists raised in fury- everyone scrapped for their chance at what was little more than any old club id check bracelet. a scrap of paper with a oprah logo; a yellow strip with a number; a chance to make our dreams come true.

after standing steadfast in my original line after another hour of near panic attacks i made it to the head- or rather the belly of the beast. it was here that most of the scrappiness occurred. people were jeering the security officers who were trying to give out the wristbands, they were pushing each other. i don't generally claim to be innocent when i am not, and in this instance i have to say i was not doing anything of the sort. i have a terrible fear of large stagnant crowds so this whole ordeal was less than pleasant, but i had set out to do something- and damned if i was going to let an angry, sweaty semi-mob stop me.

the beast was quit to spew me out once i had gotten my golden ticket. i looked at it once i could see the sun again- 900. "what!? i was easily one of the first 300 in line, if not 200. well- it's ok, we all will be seen today" i reassured myself. i walked up to a security officer. "what time should i come back to be interviewed if my number is 900?" he looked at me and laughed. "wow, that's pretty high- 8:00pm" i thanked him and walked away. turning to my wrist i checked my watch, it was 8:15am...i had my car, some dreams, some snacks- but nowhere to spend 12 hours!

eventually, it turned out that i was given bad information and i came back closer to 2pm after renting a hotel to take a lil nappy laroo in. fresh faced and ready to take on the world i stood in line for the last time before i made my dreams come true. problem was- i had no idea what we were in for. when i finally got my chance to show 'em what i got, i feel like i more or less showed 'em what i'm not. i didn't slam dunk. i didn't knock it out of the park. oh- i got a zinger or two in there, don't you worry, but as far as really explaining who and what i am and what my show would be, i didn't.

i drove back half hoping for that callback for sunday. who am i kidding, i was more than half hoping- every text, every call, my heart dropped thinking it was them calling to say "come back for round two, and really kick ass this time girlfriend!!" the other half of me knew that it wasn't coming...and i couldn't change that. the only thing i could do was accept it, and i did.

but acceptance doesn't equate to failure in my book, nor does it mean the ol' girl is down for the count. i'm sorry friends, but i will have to decline my invitation to new york pride this year- because ashley is going to be going to down to atlanta. with two precious peaches smuggled in my shirt i will be try- try- trying again to rock'n'roll em. throw those interviewers a real ashley curveball- full of sassafrass. if i don't succeed, then it wasn't meant to be-and there is no fighting what is in store for each of us.