Cities are smells: Acre is the smell of iodine and spices. Haifa is the smell of pine and wrinkled sheets. Moscow is the smell of vodka on ice. Cairo is the smell of mango and ginger. Beirut is the smell of the sun, sea, smoke, and lemons. Paris is the smell of fresh bread, cheese, and derivations of enchantment. Damascus is the smell of jasmine and dried fruit. Tunis is the smell of night musk and salt. Rabat is the smell of henna, incense and honey. A city that cannot be known by its smell is unreliable. Exiles have a shared smell: the smell of longing for something else; a smell that remembers another smell. A painting, nostalgic that guides you, like a worn tourist map, to the smell of the original place. A smell is a memory and a setting sun. Sunset, here, is beauty rebuking the stranger.
But to love the sunset is not, as they say, one of the attributes of exile.
”—Mahmoud Darwish, In the Presence of Absence (via yesyes)
I know, I know, you are thinking, well, they are comfortable and convenient, I’ll just sit down and if I see a disabled person or someone who needs them, I will move.
No, you won’t.
You know why? A big percentage (I would call it a majority) of the people who need to use the seats have invisible disabilities. That means you cannot tell, by looking at us, that we need to use the seat! You cannot tell, by looking at me, that I need to use those seats. You can’t. I don’t have the words I have a disability which affects my vision and balance tattooed on my forehead. I don’t carry a cane. You can’t tell!
You can’t tell that I can’t see what other seats are available, or that if I don’t sit down, I will fall. You can’t tell that someone else is coming back from a chemo treatment, that another person has bad knees, that my friend has fibro and that her friend has chronic fatigue. You can’t tell. You have no fucking idea. You may very well have the best of intentions, but they aren’t actionable.
And you’re hurting me.
Last time I posted a rant about this, I got garbage about disabled people need to wait their turn like everyone else. So let me say, right off the bat: accessible seating isn’t some cheat we get. Accessible seating is literally what makes using public transit accessible for us. Since many, many people with disabilities cannot drive as a direct result of our disabilities, accessible seating on public transit is the only thing empowering us to leave the house. People with disabilities have a legal and civil right to full participation in the community. Accessible seating is an essential part of that.
non-Jewish people going on today about “reclaiming” Anne Frank as a “bi icon” or w/e make me really uncomfortable, because it has this ring of “all this time I thought she was just some Jewish kid, but now it turns out she’s one of us!!!!” like if you didn’t find Anne Frank’s story moving until you realized she shared some marker with you then maybe you should reconsider your whole approach to this whole “empathy” thing.
Short Term 12‘s last scene has the scruffy and endearing male lead declaring: “There is no way to tell this wrong. This is a storyteller’s wet dream.” And when I thought about it, I had to chuckle. Because the film’s premise threw doubt on whether itsstory can be told right.
The problem with fiction about children “in the system” is that they are expected to go one way or the other: profane look…
I have a history of hurting myself and I know you've dealt with depression before based on some of your posts... did you ever hurt yourself? have you ever been able to stop? :( things are bad and I feel like Im the only one going through this cold, sadness. Im sorry I know there such personal questions. :/
don’t worry about asking things like this, especially if you’re trying to find a way to deal with it! I did hurt myself, for about 6 years in varying amounts/seriousness. Self-harm is a very hard thing to get out of and I tried many times unsuccessfully before I managed to stop. Even now I haven’t fully “recovered”, only recently I hurt myself due to intense depression brought on my one of my seizures.
one of the major things that made me stop self-harming was that my friends and family managed to get it through my head that it was hurting them. My mum has told me many times that it’s the only thing she really couldn’t deal with because she wished I would take a blade to her instead. People had told me they wanted me to stop in varying degrees before but no one had ever made it stick so well, that by hurting myself it wasn’t only affecting me but those around me.
I think that can be really hard because depression is SO isolating and it makes you think that no one does or will care, but that isn’t the case. Even if you truly are on your own now (which most people aren’t, you’d be surprised how many people care about if you are well or not), you will not always be alone.
The cold sadness is something that a lot of people experience. I think that’s another thing that is hard to understand. I wanted, so much, to think that my sadness was special, was worse or different or colder than anyone else’s because then I could justify ignoring them or only caring about myself. I think by realising that everyone can and does feel that sadness (maybe not as bad or not as long, but they do) is a step to realising that you then can get OUT of that terrible sadness.
It’s not easy, usually. Sometimes you can get rid of the sadness on your own, sometimes your brain needs a kick up the butt with some counselling and sometimes it needs an even bigger kick with anti-depressants but just know that you don’t have to go to those straight away. Sometimes beating the sadness can take a long time, sometimes it never really goes away but it gets smaller, more manageable until some days, some moments, you can forget that it’s there. Those are the moments that you have to focus on I guess, which sounds SUPER cliched but it’s what got me through some really hard years and it’s what is going to get me through more.
don’t worry about asking hard questions, I think it’s through sharing experiences that we can learn different ways to sort through these things and, only if you feel comfortable, feel free to come off anon :)
I see that you are pansexual Here is your invisibility cloak We meet with the Asexuals once a month to have a pizza party but be sure to remember your cloak for the invisible conga We conga around allies and trip them over every time they say we don’t exist
you wanted to help and you wanted to be wanted and these were a conflict of interest; were on chairs above lava and wielding a sword. You want everyone to be happy but you want them to need you and you don’t know how to justify both things.
I wrote down this speech that I had no time to practice so this will be the practicing session. Thank you Alfre, for such an amazing, amazing introduction and celebration of my work. And thank you very much for inviting me to be a part of such an extraordinary community. I am surrounded by people who have inspired me, women in particular whose presence on screen made me feel a little more seen and heard and understood. That it is ESSENCE that holds this event celebrating our professional gains of the year is significant, a beauty magazine that recognizes the beauty that we not just possess but also produce.
I want to take this opportunity to talk about beauty, Black beauty, dark beauty. I received a letter from a girl and I’d like to share just a small part of it with you: ‘Dear Lupita,’ it reads, ‘I think you’re really lucky to be this Black but yet this successful in Hollywood overnight. I was just about to buy Dencia’s Whitenicious cream to lighten my skin when you appeared on the world map and saved me.’
My heart bled a little when I read those words, I could never have guessed that my first job out of school would be so powerful in and of itself and that it would propel me to be such an image of hope in the same way that the women of The Color Purple were to me.
I remember a time when I too felt unbeautiful. I put on the TV and only saw pale skin, I got teased and taunted about my night-shaded skin. And my one prayer to God, the miracle worker, was that I would wake up lighter-skinned. The morning would come and I would be so excited about seeing my new skin that I would refuse to look down at myself until I was in front of a mirror because I wanted to see my fair face first. And every day I experienced the same disappointment of being just as dark as I was the day before. I tried to negotiate with God, I told him I would stop stealing sugar cubes at night if he gave me what I wanted, I would listen to my mother’s every word and never lose my school sweater again if he just made me a little lighter. But I guess God was unimpressed with my bargaining chips because He never listened.
And when I was a teenager my self-hate grew worse, as you can imagine happens with adolescence. My mother reminded me often that she thought that I was beautiful but that was no conservation, she’s my mother, of course she’s supposed to think I am beautiful. And then…Alek Wek. A celebrated model, she was dark as night, she was on all of the runways and in every magazine and everyone was talking about how beautiful she was. Even Oprah called her beautiful and that made it a fact. I couldn’t believe that people were embracing a woman who looked so much like me, as beautiful. My complexion had always been an obstacle to overcome and all of a sudden Oprah was telling me it wasn’t. It was perplexing and I wanted to reject it because I had begun to enjoy the seduction of inadequacy. But a flower couldn’t help but bloom inside of me, when I saw Alek I inadvertently saw a reflection of myself that I could not deny. Now, I had a spring in my step because I felt more seen, more appreciated by the far away gatekeepers of beauty. But around me the preference for my skin prevailed, to the courters that I thought mattered I was still unbeautiful. And my mother again would say to me you can’t eat beauty, it doesn’t feed you and these words plagued and bothered me; I didn’t really understand them until finally I realized that beauty was not a thing that I could acquire or consume, it was something that I just had to be.
And what my mother meant when she said you can’t eat beauty was that you can’t rely on how you look to sustain you. What is fundamentally beautiful is compassion for yourself and for those around you. That kind of beauty enflames the heart and enchants the soul. It is what got Patsey in so much trouble with her master, but it is also what has kept her story alive to this day. We remember the beauty of her spirit even after the beauty of her body has faded away.
And so I hope that my presence on your screens and in the magazines may lead you, young girl, on a similar journey. That you will feel the validation of your external beauty but also get to the deeper business of being beautiful inside.
There is no shame in Black beauty.
Her remarkable speech from Essence Magazine’s 7th Annual Black Women In Hollywood luncheon where she won the Best Breakthrough Performance Award. Remarkable. Just…remarkable. *tears*
Media is not arbitrary, random, neutral nor apolitical.