Create Your Own Adventure

I hate how cliche this sounds, but I have had such a whirlwind of adventure lately I wouldn’t know which one to start for this assignment. So I’ll pick my favorite.

I’m unlearning perfection, and it is exactly as much fun as it sounds. I want to take this opportunity to document, publicly, how I’ve done that.

Think of this list as a Best Of album of all of  my screw-ups:

  • I picked the wrong college. My first adult decision right after high school and I royally screwed it up. I did my freshman year at Texas Wesleyan, which, is a great school. It turns out I really just needed a bigger challenge, and ironically, I made that decision because I knew it was a small school and I wanted to be number one. It turns out I get bored if there are only fifty other people I’m competing with.
  • I hit a deer with my car on election night and then hit my head and didn’t even know Donald Trump won until like, two days later.
  • I stay up late to watch “The Office.” Even if I’m super tired.
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  • I took a job I hated at a real estate office to compensate for the whole “wrong” college debacle. Choosing the wrong job to cancel out choosing the wrong college does not a perfectionist make.
  • Sometimes I just lay in my bed. tumblr_no8xevZLci1rxhp7xo1_500
  • I gained 10 pounds. I needed to. I have really cute cheeks.
  • I think I spend $30 more a month on water than I need to because I take a shower and a bath everyday. I was never perfect at math, so I’m okay with not being sure. But taking baths and showers make me happy so they’re worth it.
  • I should have been getting my eyebrows threaded instead of waxed.
  • I work at an eyelash studio now. It’s not a Very Important Political internship and I’m okay with that. I love getting paid to talk about how pretty women are.
  • It’s apparently really obnoxious to go to school and announce how much you got accomplished on how little sleep. Also bad for your health.
  • I always just buy the shoes. tumblr_ocacs5wht81tt9lrzo1_r1_500
  • I eat Ben and Jerry’s and stay up late with my friends.
  • I learned you get so much more out of life my being nice.
  • I finally told my boyfriend the truth about my shoe size.
  • I’m okay with the gap in my teeth. I never lose anybody because I can whistle very loud through it. That’s called adaptation, people.
  • I got a C in physics. I was thrilled.
  • These “mess ups” are  not as dramatic or interesting as I would have liked for them to have sounded two years ago, and I just realized how content I am with that normalcy.

Blog Post #3

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1982. Basquiat, Jean-Michel. Untitled.

 

For this assignment, I chose a neo-expressionist piece by Jean-Michel Basquiat. Known for his abstract, largely avant-garde works, Jean-Michel curates elements of racial blackness and surreal color into his pieces. This particular piece, mirrors the style and energy of a graffiti painting, kind of an artistic rebellion. It ties into our discussion on blackness as much of black literature is considered a kind of civil disobedience because it was only a couple of generations ago that black people couldn’t read.

Graffiti has been “gentrified” over the last few years, meaning that it’s been given a cultural, edgy twist and white artists are being commissioned to do what artistically capable artists of color were being arrested for. The post-mortem reverence Basquiat’s works have received over the last twenty years is inspiring to any young Black artist who fears making abstract and unapologetic social commentary in there art for fear they will not be accepted into the mainstream art community. Art that’s this bold and bright and transparent in its celebration of blackness is a glimmering star in a sea of a whitewashed art community.

Moreover, Blackness is often excluded from fantastical representations in any medium of art. It is more believable, to some people, that there are people in movies who can fly on brooms and go to a school that teaches magic and has children fight wars than it is that one of the main characters could be Black. Black representation is typically rooted in realism– images of gory slavery porn, a civil rights depiction that actually happened. It is rare in art that we get to escape and dream and be magic. The oppression of Black people renders many of us resilient, but that is not our exclusive, monolithic personality trait. There’s definitely a effervescent engagement of Black people here.

 

 

My adventure

Hi class. I am a 32 year old LVN. As a child, I wanted to be a Vet. I am an advocate for all animals and I will rescue just about any animal. I was a vet tech for 8 years and I had an experience that I could not have done on my own, as the Vet. I was taking care of a 3 year old Rottweiler who had cancer in his front elbow on his leg. At the current time, this was about 14 years ago, I had a lab puppy and 2 Rottweiler puppies. I was not in a place to where I could take in another dog.

The family of this 3 year old dog, or should I say the husband who was as cold as the artic, told me that he wanted to just put the dog to sleep. I offered him many other options but he would not even entertain the idea of anything other than putting this gorgeous, sweet boy to sleep. I could tell by the stance of the Rottweiler that the husband and possibly the son’s were abusive to him and possibly the wife as well. It took many hours before the Vet was able to out him to sleep. We called rescues and tried to find him a home within the clinic, with no luck. Knowing that the best think at this time for him would be to put him down. I held him as he passed away and I cried for him and felt my heart break so hard knowing I wasn’t able to keep him safe or take him home.

This was not the only thing that lead me to a life as a nurse. My Papa died in his sleep when I was 20 years old. I was devastated and lost when I was called at the vet and informed that my dad had gone to check on my Papa and found him gone. Althought this man I called my Papa was not blood related to me, he was the man that showed me I could do anything in this world and the person that I looked up to, for he had been through so many things and still took in my father when his dad killed himself and taught him lessons and life as if her was his son. I told my dad “I do not want to have another person die alone in their home or at a nursing home and not know that someone cared and was there in the end”.

I was very blessed that I had my father there for me and for his support to get me into nursing school. I went into LVN school at Concorde and in a year, I graduated with honors and I sat for my Boards. I passed and was a nurse, I was able to achieve my goal of being able to help people and be there to just listen if that’s all they needed. My father paid my school loan in full to help me not have to face the student loans that would have occurred. Two years later, I went to go back to school at Tarrant County College, just to find that all the classes I had taken and time I put into getting my LVN and not one credit transferred to anyone other than another Concorde.

Now I am about 2 years away from getting to have my dream of a Bachelor’s degree in Nursing. It has not been a walk in the park. I have lost 2 men in my life who could not handle me being a nurse and in nursing school and I have had to take some time off to recover from personal hell I have been put through, but I will not let the bad times or days break my dreams and goals of achieving all my dad and Papa believed I could be.

Working full time as a travel nurse consultant can be very challenging for my schooling at times but I love the job that I am doing and I have worked very hard to be able to be in the place that I am today. I am not going to let a little stress and anxiety take the one job I love away from me, especially after all the horrible jobs and bosses I have had to deal with and who told me that I would never achieve my dreams because I am just an LVN.

 

Underground Blog Post 2

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What I did my post on was a mini series titled Underground by Lee Daniels it is in African-American miniseries it was aired weekly I have been watching this for some time now since last season. This series have so many connections between the film and what we are discussing in class. I would like to say that I can compare this miniseries to the legacy of slavery standards for A New Womanhood. The way the miniseries take place is so fascinating as well aligned with the legacy of slavery as well as showing how women that was interviewed in the 1930’s or described their childhood of working in the field work on the Alabama cotton plantation. In legacy of slavery there old raggedy huts were already hand made out of pole and some of the cracks chinked up with mud and moss some of them whether they didn’t have any good beds just scaffolds nailed up to the wall out of the polls and already remaining the same on in the movie underground there were pretty much made the same way.  It showed the slaves that were doing hard labor out in the fields and yet they were put to work in the fields at young ages as soon as they became old enough to work they were made to go out and pick cotton. underground 2

Some of them were made to work in what was called the Big House and House in where the Master lived him and his family. In the series it showed how they were auctioned off to the next master as soon as they were old enough to be sold. Most of the Black women were raped and made to have kids by many of the white men who bought them. They were equally subjected to their slave masters. In the miniseries it showed how the women worked alongside their husbands and their children. Many of the slaves taught each other how to read during the wee hours of the night and many of them planned their escape by using the underground rail system. A system in which Harriet Tubman lead over 300 slaves to. I just found this to be a great part of history and what a woman brought to the fore front of helping so many slaves to get away.

Choose Your Own Adventure

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My adventure is my road to a successful me I am originally from Shreveport Louisiana. I moved here to Dallas Texas in 2002. I can admit I hated it when I first moved here the traffic was too busy and the people where so unfriendly but the thing that had me was It was so easy to find a job. I had lacked all this opportunity back home, now don’t get me wrong I had a job I had been on for a least 10 years but it was feeling like it was a dead end job and the pay was never going to increase no matter how hard I worked I felt I could never get ahead. Sure I missed the crawfish the good food the good Louisiana style gumbo, and if you have never had true authentic Cajun food then you would never know the difference.

 

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I came to Texas where everything was much Bigger the people the places the jobs the money the cars the houses. It was so much that I longed for all my life being from a small town then coming to a big state was all the means to come here and get myself together. I stayed with a cousin at first then after 2 weeks I went and got my first apartment here with my first paycheck. I was so happy to be on my own and I felt this is the life I always wanted to have. I quickly enrolled into school and found out that I was super smart and enjoyed doing homework. I enjoyed this place that I once hated I took a drive through downtown Dallas and was stunned the lights on the building lit up my eyes so bright. I could not believe this city was so beautiful and huge. I got lost a couple of times I cried till I found my way back to my apartment. But when I tell you the success rate that Texas has is so much better than the success rate in Louisiana it is amazing that people can come here and actually change their life around and make good of a lot of things. This is my adventure and I am pleased to say it was the best decision and adventure that I have ever encountered and I would tell anyone to move up out of their hometown if they are in a rural area and go somewhere where they can grow and make themselves be more successful. It worked for me so It can definitely work for them too.

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Am I American?

Good question.

Being an American is something I regularly joke about with my group of close-knit friends: “Gotta love guns!” “Freedom!” “Apple Pie!” “‘merican flags errwhere!” Stuff like that. I even own a bro tank with an American flag on it, with quotes on it saying “Back to Back World War Champs” surrounding it. I often wear it along with my American flag chubbies on occasions where I need to look “American” (we used to have a hype day when I was touring around the country called “Freedom Friday.”)

The problem is that this is actually what a lot of Americans think what being American is. It is a very pro-patriotic sense of discrimination against those who do not fit the status quo. My really great friend Mahmud would never pass as “American” because he is a second generation Arab. He is in all actuality one of the most American men I’ve met. He loves celebrating freedom and diversity, but in an ironic twist he is seen as extremely un-American by doing so.

So I still haven’t answered yet, “what do I think it means to be American?” In a way, there is not a sure fire standard of measurement to being an American in my eyes. But there are definitely a lot of nonnegotiables:

  1. A sense of community of all people, regardless of people’s background, orientation, nationality, and religion.
  2. A sense of nationalistic pride that promotes equality of all peoples.
  3. The promotion of equality for all peoples regardless of religion, politics, ideologies and genders.
  4. The dream that all people can get along through negotiation and debate rather than by war and violence.

These in my view are what it truly means to be an American. We do not need to promote hatred and bigotry in order to gain a superiority over those who we see as inferior.

Am I an American? In my sense, yes I am. I truly believe we can get along and live as brothers and sisters in arms.

Yes we can.

Marie Antoinette

I chose to review Sofia Coppola’s 2006 Marie Antoinette. The film received a lot of backlash at the time of its release for not being an all together factual or political representation, with its largely 80’s soundtrack and loose interpretation of the events that took place preceding the French Revolution. Personally, I took the film as more of an artistic take on the Last Queen’s life. Coppola highlights the conflict of the Queen being fourteen, a political figurehead and being forced to navigate her adolescence alone.

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Figure: Marie Antoinette (Kirsten Dunst) enjoying the trappings of her lavish lifestyle. Source: Marie Antoinette (2006)

Kirsten Dunst, a fair and delicate contender, was selected for the titular role. She takes on sort of a high school queen bee, distracted from the banalities of her royal life with fashion and palace gossip. Unfortunately for Antoinette, however, there is no female equivalent for “boys will be boys.” Those who know of her untimely demise wait for baited breath throughout the film for her beheading and bloated, gray mob scenes, the results of her lavish spending. Instead, we are met with light and innocent depictions of femininity juxtaposed with subtle, fallen faces that remind us just how lonely it is to be a woman.

 

Figure: Coppola deliberately places a Converse sneaker in the film to symbolize Marie Antoinette’s youth. Source: Marie Antoinette (2006)

Contrastingly, the men in this movie, though few and far between are driving characters in the film. King Louis XVI (Jason Schwartzmann) is essentially your typical high school nerd: quiet, rambling on about his obscure interests when he does bother to talk, and sexually insecure, which results in him being unable to produce a child. As this was the entire reasoning for Marie Antoinette’s coronation to the French court, it renders the French people apprehensive about the regime’s future. The blame is placed immediately on the young Antoinette who is left feeling worthless and inadequate because she cannot convince to Louis to have sex with her. During this time and arguably now, women were simply vessels with which to carry children. Unlike in political depictions of King Louis XVI’s regime, we see a more human side of Marie and her frustration with their unconsummated marriage. It is said from a historical standpoint that the couple’s initial inability to have a child was the beginning of the end for Antoinette’s reputation.

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Figure: Marie Antoinette (Kirsten Dunst) just before her breakdown. Source: Marie Antoinette (2006)

Moreover, we are reminded constantly how much we expect out of young women, to compensate for the inadequacies of men, to bear responsibility when they do not have to. Antoinette was a pawn in an existing broken system, and most notably, she was a child. Coppola’s obvious and deliberate awareness of this notion are why we get to see the raw, giggly moments Antoinette experiences as a teenager, and the longing to just be a child.

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Figure: Coppola deliberately places a Converse sneaker in the film to symbolize Marie Antoinette’s youth. Source: Marie Antoinette (2006)

Sofia Coppola brilliantly captured the complexity and what it means to be a teenage girl. Because Sofia herself has experienced being a woman, she can accurately depict a sexually frustrated, burdened, feminine character. When women write women’s stories, we are able to view and relate to female characters as complete humans.