be the change

Affirming I love myself

Hesitated for years, had tears due to fears.
Replay, repeat, new face, same insane race.
My real life struggled while I improved my educational place.

I had two balls of yarn.
One unraveled, twisted, knotted, looked horrible.
The other was nicely placed on display
As I stood near it smiling, and I’d pray.

I realized the unraveled ball had to go.
Made that decision about a month ago.
Needed help, but I never like admitting it.
Maybe I’m too proud, or just disappointed…
In the fact I have to rely on others sometimes.
What makes me feel better? Soup, it’s my comfort food.

First, I asked for words to help me change, and to get me through a sad realization.
Used those words, thank you contributors, they helped in many ways.
I then started reading How To stuff
Internal change on your own is really tough
I needed support, but I didn’t want to ask.

So I sorta became my own stone soup.
I had a little of this and that still.
My stone soup had to begin with a frozen chicken. It needed to boil before adding the right ingredients to dress it up.

Some days spicy red chili powder spills everywhere around me.
This seasoning always flavors things the way I prefer, spicy.
I threw in my favorite simple starches, potatoes and rice
They need salt and crushed black pepper, so in they went
Green beans, hm, I have some, added them to make the soup colorful.

You can’t just stand around to watch it boil,
No, you get something to read while you wait
Or you do some toning exercises between adding ingredients.
My mind gets a work out, my body too.
Every part of me has to stay in shape.
Then comes the best part,
Enjoying the delicious stuff you’re creating.

What happened to the messy heap of yarn? I’m slowly taking out the knots.

Unpopular Opinion:

Feminism and women’s liberation are inherently action oriented. If you are not taking action in some way (no matter how small) you are not part of the movement. Fighting for women is what makes someone a feminist. Sitting at home critiquing the movement is doing absolutely nothing unless it’s going to motivate you to change shit. 

Ariela Suster’s handmade jewelry and accessories company, Sequence, was founded on the idea of disrupting the sequence of violence in her home country of El Salvador. Through opportunity, creativity and Microsoft technology, Ariela and her team are playing their parts in creating change within their community.

Find out more at www.SequenceCollection.com

“Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

Please, please, remember Aleppo. Pray for Eastern Aleppo, for deliverance from evil and the atrocities of man. Please never stop praying, never stop trying to help them, never stop caring. The way that world treats the most vulnerable of humanity speaks louder than anything else in the world.

Remain steadfast in prayer, compassion, peace, and participation in doing what you can to end this ineffable pain and terror.

An Open Letter To The Entertainment Industry In Light Of A Trump Presidency

Hey, folks.

Elections, ammiright? The United States just elected a Giant Cheeto of Doom to be president, and, yeah, SNL is going to have a lot of material for the next 4 years and it’s awful. But guess what? We caused this.

We are the industry that has perpetuated objectification, body shaming, racism, ableism, cis-privilege, homophobia, Islamophobia, colorism, ageism, misogyny and all of the things. Often we’ve done it in the name of “it’s just a joke!” or “well this is just what sells” or “if I put a black person in that role it makes it political” or “women aren’t funny.” This is our fault. We have buoyed the beast that is currently rising from the mire. We are the mire.

I have good news and bad news. The good news is, we are ubiquitous. Our industry touches every life in the United States probably with more reach and more influence than any other industry in the world. Yes, the world. You know the world, it’s that thing that’s about to burn to a crisp. We may have forgotten, but at our core we are artists. Storytellers. Truthtellers. Mirrors. We as an industry have THE greatest potential to do the most good in the world and that is exciting and scary and powerful and wonderful.

But the bad news is, instead we’re doing this:

“(20’s/30’s) - an Asian woman who doesn’t have the hard features of most other Asian females - she is more elegant and sophisticated and knows it.”

And this:

“[ TALULAH ] MALE (TRANSSEXUAL/CROSSDRESSER)… Talulah is a male to female transsexual who is as sassy as she is bitchy. If the light is right, she can be quite beautiful, but to the observant eye, she isn’t fooling anyone.”

And this:

[ YOUNG PORN ACTRESS ] […] Seen filming a porn rape scene. […] NUDITY REQUIRED […] We don’t need a good actor here as it is just one line.”

And the university students currently studying to join our industry are doing this:

“Casting ‘Want Some Candy?,’ a short, heartwarming dark comedy for NYU about two sex offenders who fall for each other. Must feel comfortable playing a sex offender. Those who are easily offended need not apply.”

And this:

”[ MIA ] (Female 45-55) Reuben’s mother and the epitome of a 'Mrs. Robinson’ type - a MILF; she married into money and values the finer things in life; she loves being the center of attention. Insecurities haunt her. Red or auburn hair a plus" (Columbia)

And this:

[ TROPHY WIFE ] Female, 35-50. Any ethnicity. Trophy wife is the second wife of the deceased man at the reading of his will. She never had to work a day in her life and is expecting to be left a nice some of money from her late husband.” (USC)

Wake. Up.

Right now is when we can start fixing things.

  • Writers: go to your scripts - your pilots, your films, your plays, your commercials, your sketches - and flip at least half the characters to female-identifying right now. Especially the protagonists. When you start working with a director, producer and a casting director, tell them you want it in the contracts that any roles that narratively do not require a particular ethnicity or culture be cast 75% non-White. Yes I said 75%. Hell, make it 90. And remove gender identity restrictions on roles wherever you can. Question yourself constantly. Revisit your prejudices constantly. Question your characters constantly. Run the Bechdel Test. Ask your scripts if they contain aggression or violence you didn’t intend, whether verbal or physical, overt or subtle. Keep writing. Write from pain. Write from love. I promise it will still be funny. Don’t just write about wealthy people. Don’t assume protagonists are white, cis, straight, able bodied, and thin. Keep writing.
  • Producers and Directors: put a hiring freeze on cisgender, able-bodied, straight, white men for your crews and teams. Just for a little while. OK for a long while. Fill your crews with women and the LGBTQ+ community and the non-Christian community and the non-White community. Question type. Question the projects you say yes to. Look for possible aggressions in yourselves and in your projects you didn’t know were there. Keep searching.
  • Casting Directors: you are our lifeline right now. You are the Professors of Representation. The Mavens of Semiotics. Make suggestions the writers and producers and directors didn’t think of. Get to know every damn non-White, non-Cis, gender-nonconforming, differently-abled, diverse actor you can possibly find in your city and the cities around. Tell all your Casting Director friends to do the same. Blast your concept of type out of the water. Change directors’ minds about body type and ability. Call a woman in for a role written for a man. Call a trans-man in for the traditional leading guy. Call a gender non-conforming person in for the ingenue. Take care of yourself. Say no to projects that feel bad even if that feels scary and financially risky. Let them know why you said no. Write breakdowns that you’d be comfortable reading as a human if they represented you. Know that we - actors - appreciate you, and are not just trying to connect with you for jobs. You are our coworkers and the humans we get to see most often in our lonely careers.
  • Actors: you can say no. I know. I know, guys. I know. But you can. Don’t feel disenfranchised. Stand up. Blacklisting isn’t a thing. If one company doesn’t want to work with you because you stood up for something you believed in, another will and you’re better off working for them. You can say no. Tell them why you said no. You are not just a widget in a machine you are an interpretive artist and storyteller. Volunteer. Go teach kids how to read in the imaginative, fun way you can, with character voices and stuff. Go teach kids how to improvise. Question if you’re right for a project. Be an activist - use your stage presence to get people to listen. Read everything.
  • Advertisers: look to Lane Bryant. I’m done with you and your body shaming. Go look at their ads and make more like that. We’re done. Women are done. If you don’t change your objectification and body shaming you are part of all that is wrong in the world. Hire trans models. Show us different beauties. Stop assuming Caucasian is the only thing that sells, or that non-White is a niche market.
  • Male Comedians: take your ear buds out because I want to make sure you hear this. STOP TELLING RAPE JOKES. Did you guys catch that? STOP TELLING RAPE JOKES. Rape culture is real. A sexual predator was just elected President, and that sent a signal to millions of women in the United States that half of the country doesn’t care if they are sexually assaulted, verbally or physically. 1 in 5 women have been. STOP TELLING RAPE JOKES. Not to mention, do you want to be known as the guy who still tells jokes from an old, tropey genre?  You’re smarter and funnier than that. Don’t be a hack.
  • Female, Trans and Gender Non-Conforming Comedians: keep going. I love you.
  • Women Throughout The Industry: Come 'ere. Stand in a tight circle, I want to hold you and make sure I can make eye contact with all of you when I say this. Listen. We’re warriors. We’re going to change everything. White women, look at the women of color around you. They’re our leaders. They’re going to lead the charge, as they always have. They know more than we do. Get out of their way. Listen to them. I love you. We might not be ok, but we’re going to change everything.

It can feel like our industry is frivolous or just the fluff of society, but that is absolutely false. We are not fluff, we are the architects of a monster. But we have the most influence. Do every single thing you can to make sure the media you are producing is good and kind and smart and challenging and start doing it RIGHT NOW. We are the moon and we can change the tide.

Be a solution.

Be the change

Today has been a very heartbreaking day in history. Not because Donald Trump was elected as the 45th president of the Untied States, but because today divided our nation. I did not vote for Donald Trump, I will openly admit that. And yes, I did vote for Hillary Clinton. Out of the two primary candidates I supported more of her proposed plans than I did his. But, that does not mean I didn’t agree with some of his plans as well. And many of us, myself included, did not like his violent, racist, homophobic, and inappropriate public displays. But, look at us now. So many tweets, statuses, posts and comments between Hillary and Trump supporters have turned into exactly what we shamed him for! We need to recognize that this divide will cause so much more damage to our nation then one man will. If you want to see a positive change over the next four years stop arguing on social media and do something about it! Fight for what you believe in, fight for your rights, fight for the people you love and BE THE FUCKING CHANGE!