Life after law school

I’m still here. I’ve had a lot of life…stuff to catch up on, quality time with Tex being number one. Socializing would be second except for the fact that half my friends are in bar study purgatory, and the other half are, happily, gainfully employed. (I’m still working on that.) So, I’ve been doing a lot of reading, and also wedding planning. Now we’re down to the nitty gritty details of decor–bouquets, tablecloths, centerpieces, the whole nine yards. Also, waiting on invitation RSVPs.

Bridezilla break- Can I just say that I hate logistics? Contrary to what my law degree would have you think, I’m a big picture person. I’m concerned about the feel of the day. Will I be a pretty white dress? Check.  Is it a nice place and do we have an ordained minister doing the ceremony? Double check. Will my groom, family & close friends be there? Triple check. I’m pretty much done after that. I don’t give a flying [expletive deleted] what kind of bouquets the bridesmaids have. In fact, after looking into florist prices and perusing the craft shop, I decided to chuck the whole thing and have them wear corsages. My sister almost had a heart attack when I said I didn’t want to carry a bouquet. It’s completely useless, other than the toss, but Tex said I couldn’t just show up with one at the ceremony so he wore me down on that one. We’re also going to buy some nice seasonal flowering plants that the fam can take home rather than drop a grand on floral decor we’re going to have to throw away.  If people come to my wedding and the only thing they take away is that they didn’t like the food, or the centerpieces weren’t fancy enough, then screw ’em! I don’t know, I’m just not that person who goes to a wedding and says, “Hmm, beautiful couple, but the walls were a bit bare”. That’s never what I take away. I remember doing the “Thriller” choreography with my brother on the dance floor, stifling laughter as my preacher uncle hijacks the prayer into a sermonette, and hoping my own special day will be half as much fun.

Oh well. I’m praying to find a job soon; living life as a “kept woman” seems appealing but it does get boring.There’s not terribly much to clean in a 1-bedroom apartment with two adults who generally pick up after themselves, and we don’t have the budget for me to spend all day alternating between mani/pedis, massages, a personal trainer and shopping.  I’ve given myself the project of brushing up on my Spanish on Duolingo (it tests your translations backwards & forwards as well as your pronounciation via the computer mic). I may be a casual Type A, but I’m a Type A nonetheless and I like to be doing stuff….But not for free. I’ve got two degrees now and in the words of Flavor Flav, “They gots to pay me boyyyeeeee!”

Hotchpot

As you may have  noticed, posting has been scarcer than usual lately. I only have one final exam this semester, I had two projects, a test and a paper to write, plus BLSA stuff and life. Things are winding down, but until I finish up with school and a have  few days to get my creative juices flowing again here’s some bits and pieces to hold you over 🙂

  • I realized that I have a stress problem. Things keep happening to me physically this year (pinched nerve flare up, sprained knee, muscle spasms, heartburn) and I finally got the connection that things only go wrong when I’m super stressed out. I literally make myself sick with worry and tension and it’s not healthy. Aside from lactose-intolerance related vitamin D deficiency, everything checked out A-ok at my physical last month- but I know that as I age and lose my youthful resilience, that won’t always be the case. So I’m committing to exercising at least 3x/week starting this holidaybreak. Exercise relaxes me, but then I get stressed and feel too tired to work out, and stay feeling stressed, and then develop some physical ache or pain that keeps me sidelined, creating more stress so the cycle continues. I don’t have an anxiety disorder, I just need to breathe and take better care of myself.
  • I think I have engagement fatigue. I can’t wait to just get married already! It’s totally irrational, but engagement is like relationship limbo to me. You’re more than a girlfriend, not quite a spouse, and we’ve known we wanted to marry each other since 18 months in to our relationship so yeah. It’s time to get the ball rolling! Fortunately, we’re taking engagement pics and looking at some venues over the break.
  • Speaking of relationships, I hate when single people act like it’s all peaches and cream once you find an SO.  Sorry to burst y’all’s bubbles, but it’s still work. Good relationships don’t stay good without a conscious effort on both sides to make it so! Listening when you feel like screaming, compromising when you feel like staging a dramatic exit, figuring out how to air your grievances without unnecessarily hurting the other person’t feelings or pride- none of that comes naturally. Engagement/marriage comes with an even bigger struggle, which is figuring out how to integrate another person into your life without losing your autonomy. Even the simplest of decisions, like weekend plans, require some forethought .
  • Voting with your wallet can be problematic. Corporations get away with terrible business practices because people continue to buy their goods and services. Prime example? Wal-Mart. Well, Costco offers the same low prices but there’s no Costco in Orangeville. It’s terribly inconvenient to time my grocery shopping around trips to the City, and even then neither Tex nor I have the storage space to buy everything in bulk. Now, Target is another option but like Walmart, they screw over their employees by making it so that you have to be available to work 24/7/365 to make it to full time. You can’t get a set shift because they change them every week. Yet, they hire thousands of temporary workers every holiday season rather than give existing staff more hours. But…it’s Target and I’m addicted 😥 And let’s not even get into the food industry. It’s all organic meat & produce once I get a full time gig!
  • Divorce sucks for women. During my practicum, I saw a woman in court with 4 kids, no degree & no job trying to get a raise on her $1750/mo child support. It takes about $1200/mo just for my bare necessities! Even if I quit working, at least I’ll have 2 degrees.
  • Pregnancy becomes downright TERRIFYING the more I learn about it. Gestational diabetes, miscarriages, not to mention the endless unsolicited advice & horror stories people give you. My mom is laying the groundwork for the Grandbaby Campaign, talmbout “there’s no perfect time to have children!” Uh…yes there is. And that time is not before I’ve been married at least two years!

The Tyler Perry Question

I am (give or take 5 weeks) a college graduate. I am pursuing a graduate degree. I am an independent, successful black woman and yet, Tyler Perry doesn’t make me feel any certain way.

More often than not, I find Tyler Perry’s work hilarious. I enjoy seeing a movie with a cast full of black folks who have a spectrum of skin complexions and body types, and who don’t get by selling drugs or tricking the welfare office. I like seeing us in suits and dresses instead of wifebeaters and booty shorts. I like seeing black folks who can speak proper English and say “big” words without being made to seem inauthentic because of it.

Shoot, I’m happy to see some black humor portrayed on screen every once in a while–I refuse to see Precious because it looks damned depressing. I find his movies a decent alternative to the Magic Negro/Tragic Negro/Good-Natured Black Sidekick that we’re normally relegated to in white films. When Morgan Freeman got cast as God in Bruce Almighty I wanted to stand up and clap in the theater. How often do you get to see a black person cast as a character who is all powerful? Not everyday, I tell ya!

It’s true that the drama goes over the top and that the characters can be one-dimensional in order to further the plotline. But how is that different from any other movies? How many movies that come out anymore are works of art? Mainstream movies are entertainment, and they exist to make money, period.White people have been making movies about themselves that range from the controversial (Brokeback Mountain) to the touching (Forrest Gump) to the downright foolish (Pineapple Express) and it’s never a big deal. White folks aren’t up in arms at Judd Apatow for making them look bad, so why are we bashing Tyler Perry? If you don’t like the movies, just don’t see them and sit down, please.

Tex made the insightful observation that white folks who haven’t been around black people look at what’s in movies and on televisions and assume we act exactly like that. But you know what? ANYBODY who lives their life strictly based on something they saw in the entertainment media, without ever questioning it, is STUPID. And I’m tired of having to make allowances for stupid people! If Spike Lee, John Singleton, Oprah, Denzel Washington, Cicely Tyson, Don Cheadle and their ilk haven’t convinced white folks that we are just as capable of being noble, sensitive, intelligent, self-sacrificing and introspective as white folks, then Tyler Perry isn’t going to hurt our community one bit.

Now, on to accusations against the man himself. It has been said that Perry is colorstruck–dark skinned black men are bad, light skinned black women are all saditty, professional black women don’t know how to treat a man, he disfranchises older black actresses by donning a dress and wig instead of allowing them to portray the “Madea” role, etc. I think it’s all bunk.  especially the colorstruck accusations–I’ve seen every one of his movies (and most of the plays) and there is no pattern of colorism that I can detect. Sure, the golden-hued Shemar Moore and Boris Kodjoe played the knight in shining armor in two Perry films–but that’s because, in terms of the hotness factor, they’re the Brad Pitt and Tom Cruise of Black Hollywood. But the chocolatey Morris Chestnut and Idris Elba played the same role in two other Perry films, so the scales are balanced. (The nerd in me really wants to make a spreadsheet right now but that’s time better put towards my research paper, I think.) As for the saditty and professional black women, Perry is simply bringing up issues that we talk about all the time. Many, if not most of us, know that pretty chick who thinks her beauty is an excuse to act stank. Pick up an issue of Essence or Ebony and you’ll see articles on achieving work-life balance, and editorials encouraging us to “let a man be a man”. Yet all of a sudden Perry is a misogynist for reflecting these sentiments in his films? He’s simply doing the smart thing and writing about what resonates and causes controversy with his audience. Finally, as for the excessive comedy and melodrama–would you pay to see 2 hours of well dressed folks having polite conversation about the weather?….didn’t think so.

My conclusion: Sometimes, a movie is just a movie. But if you feel differently, lemme hear it!