Friday, April 27, 2012


I think I've been hoodwinked. I think the vast majority of us have been bamboozled. 

Here on campus, I've participated in quite a few discussions about "the art of bullshitting". I've often heard it referred to as the number one skill gained by a Princeton education: the ability to sound like you know what you're talking about when you're really making it up as you go along. Just a few weeks ago, I was marveling at my own ability to read 30 pages of a 200 page book and still answer questions my professor asked the class during lecture. A few nights ago, I was talking about a course I took last Spring that I tried hard to do poorly in (I was taking the class pass/fail) by not doing the readings, bullshitting in precept, making up fairly outrageous paper topics and writing the papers the night before they were due, etc. I don't know exactly, but I'm almost positive I got at least an A- in the class. 

This and other experiences/conversations have called me to reconsider the nature of bullshitting. The OED defines the verb "to bullshit" as "to talk nonsense (to); also, to bluff one's way through (something) by talking nonsense". Urban dictionary agrees, defining it as "to generate stuff that is made up for the purpose of placating someone, or passing an exam, or getting elected to office. Most often false or ridiculous."

I'm gonna go out on a limb here and say that that's not what we're doing in class/precept/papers the vast majority of the time. "Nonsense" is too strong a word. What we're saying is informed by something--if not the course's "required" readings, then by previous knowledge gained from other classes, things picked up in lecture, or even personal experiences which can be quite relevant and illuminating. ...I think that what we so often call "bullshit" is actually "original thought". No one called philosophers and founding scholars of various disciplines bullshitters when they sat around thinking and wrote their various treatises. They were contributing to scholarship and developing intellect and I think that, on a much smaller scale, obviously, we're doing the same thing.

So I'm making a resolution to stop referring to my work in academic settings as bullshit, even when I didn't put as much effort into it as I could have. That feels like selling my academic work, my academic self, short. It feels like I'm not giving myself credit for that of which I'm capable. It sounds like I'm denying that what I think and say and do is important. I feel like existing in a culture that refers to such work as "bullshit" most of the time encourages us to distance ourselves from our scholarship, to not take pride in our work, to discredit that which we are and do. And THAT is some bullshit.       

My little sister turned 18 yesterday.

And I feel ancient. One of the weird things about going to college, or leaving home in general, I guess, is how while you're off growing and changing, it's really easy to forget that everyone you left back home is growing and changing too. When I started my freshman year, my brother and sister were 13 and 14, respectively. They were practically still little kids in my head: W was in 8th grade and A's first day of high school was about a week before I moved in. But now A's high school graduation is two days after my graduation from Princeton, and they're 17 and 18 as of a few hours ago. 

Is it weird that knowing that I can remember all 18 years of A's life makes me feel older than simply being 22? Is it weird that her graduating high school almost feels weirder than me graduating college? I'm not ready for me to be an adult--how can she be one?

Reblogged from Indie. Radiant.

Sternberg’s Love Theory

freedom fighter posted this image a while ago, and I bookmarked it because it makes me think. It makes me think deeply and a lot. It makes me contemplate my relationships and my choices and my definitions of things and it makes me ask myself what I'm looking for in my life. It's rare that I come across an image that seems to actually be worth a thousand words, but this one warrants deep exploration.

Love is a word I have so much trouble with. I want to use it in relation to so many things, but sometimes saying it is incredibly serious and sometimes it's not. I don't always know what kind of love I think I feel or am definitely feeling or want to feel. But this might be a helpful (if somewhat problematic in its own ways) way to conceptualize it.  The triangles don't have to be equilateral--the length corresponds to how important that concept is in the relationship.

Nonlove doesn't register on any of these three axes. That seems fair. I don't think you can have something worthy of the word "love" in any form that doesn't have any of these features.

Romantic love is defined as featuring intimacy and passion, which also seems fair to me. I can imagine that many of my friends would balk at commitment not being included in that model, but I for one am perfectly (in fact, perhaps even more) comfortable with romantic love outside of long-term commitment. JB would argue that monogamy is in and of itself a commitment, which I suppose is true in the most basic of senses. I, for one, have never been one to need to fight potential suitors (and/or...suitresses?) off with a stick, which results in monogamy as a general condition of my life even when the situation does not call for it. I have at this point always been functionally monogamous, if not ideologically monogamous, so I guess I don't really see the ability to hook up with other people as this significant thing I'm giving up when I get into a relationship. Regardless of any level of mutual ownership (or partnership if that construction bothers you) engendered by monogamy, however, I don't think it implies any sort of longevity in terms of the commitment by definition. It's a fragile commitment, one that exists between individuals temporally but which is not committed to itself--it's almost an obligation rather than a commitment, and to me, that's why commitment isn't on the triangle for romantic love. 

Friendship is intimacy without passion or commitment. This makes sense too--our friends are among the persons we're most intimate with, but most of the friendships we make throughout our lives are temporary. They exist in certain times and/or places, and while their memory is carried with us and they may be rekindled briefly or for a substantial period of time, we are not committed to actively building them every day of our lives. 

Fatuous love seems like "dating just to date" to me. Like the first relationship I was in, which was based more on my desire to revel in his desire for me than in anything else. We were giving to each other, but not of one another. 

Infatuation is pure passion. Again, a no-brainer. No actual relationship is involved in situations of infatuation, so intimacy and commitment are impossible.

Companionate love might be the most interesting to me. I think that this is most clearly where friendship and love overlap. These are the friends you consider family. The kind of friends you say, "I love you" to. The kind of friends you don't have to say you love for them (and everyone else) to know. These are the kind of friends you know you'll have forever, even when that means actual phone calls and trips to see one another--that's where the commitment comes in. Friendships you will actively work at despite adverse circumstances fall under companionate love, in my mind. This is what I feel for TN, KS, SP, SH, EY, etc. I can also see this describing love between old people, who are completely devote to each other but past most/all forms of sexual desire. Hmm--this might be why really close friends are so often compared to old married couples.

Empty love makes me sad inside. It makes me think of people who are trapped in loveless marriages or who are too scared of starting over again to get out of a relationship they no longer want to be in. I want to banish it.

And finally we've reached consummate love. To me, this is conventional Love-with-a-capital-L love. It's a The Notebook kind of love. If I've ever come close to this triangle, it was a weird scalene version with intimacy being the shortest end, passion the longest, and commitment somewhere in the middle, but honestly I don't think the sides actually touched in the situation to which I'm referring. This is love after the romancing bit is over. When approaching equilateral-ness, this is a "real love", whole satisfaction embodied in one other individual. This is the kind of love for which I've been told sacrifices don't feel like sacrifices and obligations to the other resemble obligations to the self. This is the deep kind of love that mostly terrifies me, though a small part of me wants it at some point in the future.

An excerpt from a recent Thought Catalog article that really resonated with me:
"I’ve been raised in a society that both exalts love and fears it. A society that tells me love is rare and experienced only under particular circumstances; beginning with family and radiating outward to long term relationships and close, time-worn friendships. To love too quickly is deemed foolish. To love too many, is superficial. Our tragedy is that we believe something can only be beautiful when it is rare. We exist in a society that dismisses the beauty in everyday life. We overlook the small, fleeting moments that make up our day, because we’ve become jaded to the heaviness of a cat sleeping on our lap; the warmth of someone else’s fingers filling the space between our own... Sometimes it’s okay to abandon caution and open yourself up to the possibility of a connection with another human being. It’s okay to be vulnerable. We were born with an incredible capacity for love...The English language doesn’t contain the vocabulary to express different levels of love—instead using one abstract word to encompass the entire complicated spectrum of human emotion. In Spanish, love between family is separated from love between spouses. In Greek, there are four distinct terms, each with its own meaning. Working with such a limited capacity for expression, it’s no wonder our society as a whole appears to perpetually be in turmoil over the concept of love. We’re in constant pursuit of it, yet question it when we experience it; herald it’s beauty, yet fear that we will be left broken in its wake. Love becomes a contradiction. It simultaneously becomes the root of our joys and our woes."
I have been told before that I say those words too easily. I've had friends freak out when I drop it in casual conversation. I've gotten raised eyebrows from others when I direct it towards a friend. I've even had people criticize my and my ex's use of the phrase during our relationship. ...Such interactions confuse and annoy me. There are so many kinds of love. I'm sick of everyone privileging romantic and consummate love over all of the other loves. And then next time someone suggests that I'm wrong in my usage, I'ma direct them here, to what I think is a comprehensive guide to all the ways you can love someone who isn't family. 

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

The Politics of Sex Blogging

"I might seem to be a 'straight no chaser' blogger, but if you look back, you don’t see a lot of discussion on sex and dating.
That’s because every time I tried to write those posts, I was afraid someone would know too much about me. That I might be a bad girl. And bad girls are always punished, at least in the Black community. There’s very little room for a respectable Black woman to be erotic and talk openly about it. But I’d like to do that."
--B.C. Flippin aka Honoree Fanonne Jeffers aka PhyllisRemastered

"The erotic offers a well of replenishing and provocative force to the woman who does not fear its revelation, nor succumb to the belief that sensation is enough... The erotic is a measure between the beginnings of our sense of self and the chaos and power of our strongest feelings. It is an internal sense of satisfaction to which, once we have experienced it, we know we can aspire. For once having experienced the fullness of this depth of feeling and recognizing its power, in honor and self-respect we can require no less of ourselves... The function of the erotic is to encourage excellence and to give us the strength to pursue it... When I speak of the erotic, then, I speak of it as an assertion of the life-force of women; of that creative energy empowered, the knowledge and use of which we are now reclaiming in our language, our history, our dancing, our loving, our work, our lives...
The erotic is the nurturer or nursemaid of our deepest knowledge... Another important way in which the erotic connection functions is the open and fearless underlining of my capacity for joy... Our erotic knowledge empowers us, becomes a lens through which we scrutinize all aspects of our existence, forcing ourselves to evaluate those aspects honestly in terms of their relative meaning within our lives. And this is a grave responsibility, projected from within each of us, not to settle for the convenient, the shoddy, the conventionally expected, nor merely the safe... We have been raised to fear the yes within ourselves, our deepest cravings...but when we begin to live from within outward, in touch with the power of the erotic within ourselves, and allowing that power to inform and illuminate our actions upon the world around us, then we begin to be responsible to ourselves in the deepest sense. For as we begin to recognize our deepest feelings, we begin to give up, of necessity, being satisfied with suffering, and self-negation, and with the numbness that so often seems like their only alternative in our society. Our acts against oppression become integral with self, motivated and empowered from within...
When we look away from the importance of the erotic in the development and sustenance of our power, or when we look away from ourselves as we satisfy our erotic needs in concert with others, we use each other as objects of satisfaction rather than share our joy in the satisfying, rather than make connection with our similarities and our differences. To refuse to be conscious of what we are feeling at any time, however comfortable that might seem, is to deny a large part of the experience, and to allow ourselves to be reduced to the pornographic, the abused, and the asburd."
--Audre Lord, "The Uses of the Erotic"

A couple of weeks ago in my Black Women and Popular Music Culture class, we raised the question of whether Black female musicians can manifest images of their own sexuality that don't contribute to their own objectification. That question resonated pretty deeply with me when Professor Brooks asked it in class, and it wasn't until I started reading that post on PhyllisRemastered (which is a great blog, btw, and you should all check it out) that I realized how applicable it was to Black female bloggers as well.

My less-safe-for-work posts are generally the ones that get the most attention on this blog. And though nobody really has the gall to say it to my face, I feel like a lot of the reaction I garner from people (especially the people with whom I interact on a regular or semi-regular basis) is something to the effect of I'm "doing too much". Some individuals commend me for talking about things there are unwritten rules about not mentioning (shoutouts to BD and SM who are coming to mind), but sometimes I wonder whether people think I focus too much on sex and sexuality. I think about what would result from my being Googled by my boss (do they do that even once you're employed?) or by grad schools in the future or by my father again (though the disillusionment this would engender is on him this time; I told him not to) or some other member of my family. I wonder whether I should put my website or my Twitter account on my LinkedIn profile--are they "professional"? Well, this blog is about my passions and my passions inform my scholarship and interests...yet they remain unlinked. 

Can I, as a Black woman, be open about my sexuality (in ideology and in practice) without seeming hypersexual(ized)? Am I contributing to the Jezebel stereotype by openly being a Black woman with an interest in intimacy, a preoccupation with passion, an enthusiasm for the erotic? Am I hurting myself in some social aspect by getting to know myself [and others] intimately? Am I hurting some larger "us" of Black women?

...These are the kinds of questions I could let keep me up at night. But I value my sleep. And even more than my sleep, I value myself and my right to express all that I am in my own space. A non-trivial and growing part of myself is a sexual being. I am also a social being, political being, an intellectual being, an activist being, an ever-questioning being, a poetic being, a musical being, a creative being, a womanly being, a Black being, a fun-loving being, etc. etc. etc. And I won't be limited in any the expression of any of those selfhoods by pressures for "respectability" or "not airing my dirty laundry" or any such similar bullshit. I want my whole self to be a being centered in the erotic as defined by Audre Lorde. I won't see parts of that self diminished, disfigured, or dis-empowered by so-called strategies for avoiding or delegitimizing stereotypes that are just as restrictive as the stereotypes themselves. I will not be a "lady". Nor will I be a whore. I am neither and both and a million stops along the way. I contain multitudes.              

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Marriage equality photoset

(reblogged from Indie. Radiant.)

D.O.D. [Updated]

Dick on demand. It's an interesting development to have in one's life, and I seem to be developing it in my own. 

I'm trying to figure out how it works. How do I refer to this? We're friends, I suppose. He is someone I have been friendly, at least, with for a few years. Does that make us friends with benefits? I feel like, ideally, a friend with benefits should be a closer friend than this. Like, a person you would hang out with on an one-on-one level and are also sleeping with. Me sitting here wanting to text him to see if he wants to come over feels more like we're fuck buddies.

...What exactly is the difference? 

UrbanDictionary will tell us!

Friends with benefits: 1) Two friends who have a sexual realtionship without being emotionally involved. Typically two good friends who have casual sex without a monogomous relationship or any kind of commitment. 2) two fairly close, or very close friends have the hots for one another. they do have some sort caring for one another, but it is not one of a romantic couple. 3) Two very good friends that share in sexual acts with eachother with no emotional connection or boyfriend-girlfriend label. Just engaging in the act of sex for fun.

Those all sound well and good except for the "typically two good friends" "fairly close, or very close friends" "very good friends" parts. Let's see what it says for fuck buddy: 

1) A sex partner to whom you have no special attachment. A person you occasionally have sex with who is not your S.O. 2) A person who is not your boyfriend or girlfriend (or farmyard animal), with whom you have sexual relations, on the mutual understanding that you both want sex and nothing more. Strictly, for the term 'fuck buddy' to apply, both people involved have to be single. 3) All the benefits of being in a relationship minus the bullshit like not doing enough for Valentine's Day or her birthday, not spending 3 months salary on a stupid ring, and not spending enough quality time with her. 4) The excellent arrangement of a good friend of the opposite sex (or same sex if you so want) who you can fuck hard and long as long as you both shall want, but without the strings attached so you can go and happily hang out together as friends and have a laugh together (or not see one another for another 4 weeks) rather than go through all the pointless crap of forking out your hard-earned cash for valentine's day or bitching about each other's annoying habits in public or being dragged away from your friends to spend quality time with one another (or do the washing up) or the "I wuv you - I wuv you too!" bullshit.

(Number four included just for the lolz.) 

This is somewhat clarifying, but my soph friends who are currently in the Large Library agree with me that FWBs are people with whom one would hang out as friends. I would like some clarification as to whether this means one with whom you would hang out with INDIVIDUALLY as friends or like, in a group as friends, because that is highly relevant to my situation, but hey. 

The point of this post is that whatever this is, beside yay I'm having good sex...I don't know how it works. So he said that when I want to sleep with him, to bluntly tell him that. When can I do that? What time of the day? Only in the wee hours of the morning? How frequently? Should one or both of us have been drinking before? Are there rules?

Can the rule be try it and see what works? I like that philosophy.

[UPDATE: Wee hours of the morning is not a good look. It wasn't even 1AM when I texted him last night to see if he wanted to come over, and he texted me back at 8AM saying he'd been asleep already. Soooooo, that's not gonna work, haha. I'm mad I sat around waiting for it to feel "late enough" and missed my chance. My best friend from middle school is visiting today/tonight, so now I either have to try again on a school night or wait a whole week! Ugh.] 

Friday, April 20, 2012

I may have blogged something like this before, but it's important so I'll reblog again:

Reblogged from Indie. Radiant.

Being feminine is being desired and hated at the same time. A feminine body or mind is expected to be open and receiving to everything from others’ emotional baggage to sexual fantasies of total strangers. At the same time, receptivity (not that this defines femininity by any means) is considered weak and inferior. The result of this is often violence. Femininity is to be present for other’s needs and then destroyed for its perceived weaknesses.

Being feminine and of color is especially dangerous. Not just because we are a walking target for racist, stereotyped sexual fantasies but because so often we are blamed for being that.
In a nation with the racial history of the United States I am baffled by the idea that non-racism would be the presumption and that it is racial bias which must be proved beyond reasonable doubt.
--Melissa Harris-Perry, The Epistemology of Race Talk (via Sister Outsider)
“To be sensual, I think, is to respect and rejoice in the force of life, of life itself, and to be present in all that one does, from the effort of loving to the making of bread.”

- James Baldwin

The hardest sound for me to stomach hearing

is that of my mother crying. Her voice starting to break into a sob while she's on the phone with me, asking for help in ways that I can tell make her feel inadequate. I was going to the bank to get money to pay for her gas so she could come see me today, because earlier in the week she'd said she didn't have the funds to make it to up this way and I wanted to see her before she went to the hospital. I didn't know how much it cost to fill her tank, so I called her this morning on the way to the ATM to ask, and she hesitantly asked if I had an abundance of cash in my account. I asked her what she needed, and she started to break down as she said she wanted to borrow some money to get groceries. I asked again, how much she needed. $100 if you have it. I just, all I have is $100 and I was sitting here looking in the kitchen and there's no food in the house and *voice breaks here* I didn't know how they we going to eat while I'm gone. Is $100 enough? Do you need more? She hesitates more, before saying that $150 would be even better. I shouldn't have to ask you for money, she says. I'll get it right back to you when I get paid on the 30th. I'll have Nana or somebody put it right back in your account. It's okay, I say. No, it's not, she counters.

I don't know how to tell her that it is okay. I don't know how to convey that I am disgusted by this life where I stood in front of my closet last night rifling through dresses I haven't worn yet to see which one I wanted to wear to a semiformal this weekend when my mother doesn't know how to put food on the table. I don't know how to convey that (even though I know this is why individual Black people can make money without ever generating wealth) I am willing to put the basic necessities of my family above most luxuries for myself if only they let me know. I don't want to be that person who gets grown and moves up and forgets about the struggle at home, but it's so easy to be out of sight out of mind when they don't tell me how bad it is until they can't handle it anymore. 

...I don't know how to feel like a good person when I do things like drop $600 on a class ring and look for $1000+/month apartments in DC when my very ill mother doesn't know how to feed my brother and sister. I don't know if any of my own financial woes can be valid in the face of my struggling family. I don't want to feel like they're depending on me, but I want them to know and use the fact that they can count on me to help when I can. She loves the netbook I bought her, but when I compare purchases like that to purchases like these groceries, I feel like I'm showing my support wrong. I don't know how to listen to her voice break without wanting to give up every single extra thing I have so that she never has to feel like that again.

...I don't know if daughters are supposed to feel this way about their parents, like it's my job to make sure everything doesn't fall apart, but then again I suppose that's always been my job, so I should just accept it as it grows and develops as I move further into adulthood.   

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Reblogged from come correct

I finally saw Pariah!

I didn't tell you all about it earlier because I saw it the weekend before my thesis was due and then I kind of forgot all about wanting to write this post until right now.

I really, really liked it. First off, it was kind of amazing to see it on campus with a large group of LGBT and ally-identified students. It created this alternative sort of social space within this quaint little theater right off campus where it was totally normal for me to be snuggled up with and lightly fondling CC throughout the show. It felt "normal" to hold her hand or run my fingers up and down her thigh as we watched (not that heterosexuality is any more "normal" than any other form of human sexuality--it's just more common). I'm not sure I had ever before been in a space where I was surrounded by more non-straight-identified people than straight-identified people, at least consciously, and it made me want to seek out such spaces more often.

I was drawn in to the movie from the beginning. The characters felt refreshingly real. They seemed like actual people I could know in the world, which has happened so rarely for me with "Black movies" recently. Alike was the perfect combination of vulnerable and determined, cautious and exploratory--watching her come into her own sexuality and style and identity reminded me of my own struggles, even though they're not the same in the slightest. I don't think it was hard for viewers to identify with her, above simply sympathizing with her. I saw the relationships as realistic, if painful. I laughed, I cried, I wanted to punch bitches in the face, I wanted to give the characters hugs. 

...But my friend MH compared it to Precious, an independent Black film which I absolutely detest. (More on that here if you're interested.) And this has made me step back and critically examine my interpretation of the film, because the comparison is not unwarranted. From an objective standpoint, this is a film about a specific marginalized Black female experience directed towards a largely outsider audience which conforms to various stereotypes of the African experience (homophobia, strict parenting, domestic violence, infidelity among men) and ends with the main character rejecting normative structures in favor of a brand of radical independence which she may or may not survive. It may not feature as many horrible life experiences or as thorough subjugation on the part of the main character, but the film is structurally quite similar to that of Precious. So how could I interpret them so differently?

Perhaps I need to check my privilege. I'm both closer to and farther removed from the specifics of this story in some interesting ways. Wrestling with my own sexuality, check. Putting all of myself into a first romantic encounter only to be told my supposed partner "isn't ready," check. Little sister coming to sleep in my bed when the parents are screaming at each other in the middle of the night, check. But my heart broke when this teenage girl came out to her very unaccepting parents, and part of that heartbreak was thinking that I will never go through what she's going through in that scene. I'm about 95% sure that my attraction to women is something my parents will never know about, unless I find myself in a serious long-term relationship with a woman, which doesn't seem likely at this point in my life. For right now, at least, that aspect of my life isn't such a large aspect of my life that they need to know about it. In fact, as I didn't come into this aspect of myself until semi-adulthood, I could feasibly never tell them, even if I do get into a relationship with a woman, because they're not overseeing my life like that anymore. They don't get to question/control me like that anymore. 

And then on an entirely other level, the stereotypes in this film aren't stereotypes that people would put on me. In fact, I didn't really even recognize them as stereotypes to begin with. They aligned so well with my interpretation of African cultures and intolerances that I didn't question...and that worries me. So I guess I'm wondering how that in-group received this movie, and whether I should be less quick to love it. Which then makes me wonder if I should be less quick to judge all the people who loved Precious. Also, the juxtaposition of the terms "Precious" and "Pariah," which have basically opposite meanings, to represent these characters with similar lives fascinates me. There's some critical commentary there that someone should unpack...
“I don’t care how much sex anyone has, how often they do it, or who they do it with. I’m much more interested in the consent, pleasure, and well-being of the participants and the people affected by it. I respect women who are asexual, celibate, monogamous, multi-partnered, or have had more partners than they can recall. I respect women who only have sex after a commitment to monogamy and those who have sex with someone within minutes of meeting them. I respect women who have transactional sex, women who have sex for love, or for any other reason. I know that all of these categories are permeable and that many women move from one to another. And I know that any of these decisions can be made from a place of personal power, choice, and authenticity, as well as from a place of coercion, shame, and disempowerment.”

(via come correct

Things I've Recently Learned:

Reblogged from come correct

Reblogged from come correct

Indie Music Time:

I like this sound and the scene/vibe embodied by the video. I would love to explore a space like that. 


(Reblogged from come correct)


(Reblogged from come correct)

Feminist Photoset Time!

(Reblogged from come correct)

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

"The Unwritten Rules"

A new webseries about being Black and female in the American workplace, featuring one of the stars of Pariah, set to premiere next Wednesday! Check out the trailer below:

Foreign Films are really cool.

This one is Norweigan, about a teenage girl coming into and wanting to express her sexuality, and then actually acting on it. WE DON'T HAVE SHIT LIKE THIS IN AMERICA.

From the website:
TURN ME ON, DAMMIT! is a whimsical and refreshingly honest coming of age story about the blossoming sexuality of a teenage girl, set to open in theaters on Friday, March 30. The feature debut of Jannicke Systad Jacobsen, the film was awarded “Best Screenplay” at the Tribeca Film Festival, “Best Debut Film” at the Rome Film Festival, and “Best European First Feature” at the Mons International Love Film Festival (Belgium).
15-year-old Alma (Helene Bergsholm) is consumed by her out-of-control hormones and fantasies that range from sweetly romantic images of Artur, the boyfriend she yearns for, to down-and-dirty daydreams about practically everybody she lays eyes on. Alma and her best friend Sara live in an insufferably boring little town in the hinterlands of Norway called Skoddeheimen, a place they loathe so much that every time their school bus passes the sign that names it, they routinely flip it off. After Alma has a stimulating yet awkward encounter with Artur, she makes the mistake of telling her incredulous friends, who ostracize her at school, until Sara can’t even be seen with her. At home, Alma’s single mother is overwhelmed and embarrassed by her daughter’s extravagant phone sex bills and wears earplugs to muffle Alma’s round-the-clock acts of self-gratification.
Laced with warmth and quirky humor, TURN ME ON, DAMMIT! is a light-hearted take on a story that is told so often about boys and so rarely about teenage girls.
Turn Me On, Dammit! trailer  

Sadness: It's coming to DC at the beginning of June, and I won't move until the middle of June at the earliest. I need to find a way to pirate indie films. XD 

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

This is my 1000th post.

And I've been sitting on it for a couple of days now because I'm just not quite sure how to approach it. I just did the this-is-why-I-started-this-blog this-is-why-I-kept-going thing like a week and a half ago, so that can't be the focus of this post. I just talked about how blogging may or may not be affecting me IRL a few days ago. (I should plan ahead better.) But now there are other subjects I'd like to discuss, which means this post has to get done.

When I click the little publish button, the number of posts on my blog will move from three to four digits, and this is significant. This means I have put in WORK in this space. I'm still putting in work. As the great Lauryn Hill says in one of the interludes on Unplugged, "Anything that's not growing is dead, so we'd better be changing." 

I'm Such an Afroholic has certainly been through a lot of changes, the biggest of all probably being the name (for those who are just joining us, once upon a time I'm Such an Afroholic was AfrodisiAccordingtoMe). Sometimes I look back through the archives and hear the voices of Mayas past and chuckle at all the things that turned them into me. But more often I think about the future, and where I want to go with this space. And there are things I'm just not happy with. 

I don't like the way my blog is organized. (*gasp* That's a terrible thing for a blogger to admit, right? Too bad. I say shit.) I imagine right now that it might be a little jarring when I switch from talking about some egregious act of racism/sexism/homophobia to talking about sex/sexuality to waxing philosophical about life/love/relationships/whatever to talking about varied minutiae of my daily life from post to post to post. I recognize that that probably doesn't work so well, especially for new people who just stumble across the page, rather than like, friends/acquaintances who know me well enough to bear with me.

I want something about that. I often contemplate doing a big major change and switching to a different host, probably WordPress, which would allow me to have different pages for different topics. But I actually very strongly dislike WordPress, Tumblr, and the like, because of the exclusivity of their sites--I hate that I have to have a WordPress account to like or comment on most people's WordPress blogs, or that I can't officially reblog something from a Tumblr without also having a Tumblr. THAT'S NOT HOW THE INTERNET IS SUPPOSED TO WORK--IT WAS MADE FOR FREE INTERACTION AND SHARING. Gosh. So ideologically, I'm against making that kind of a switch, but practically I think it would be really cool to have a different page for, say, "My Awesome/Awkward Life", "Afrodisiacs (#sexytime)", "Politics and -Isms", "Style Crushes", "Hair-Raising", "Afro-musicality" and "Afro-Intellectualism" or things to that effect. 

But I'm pretty sure that there would be things that wouldn't fit into any of those nice categorical boxes, and then what would I do with those? So then I contemplate whether I should just re-do the tagging system on the blog as it stands, so that the tag cloud wouldn't contain basically every specific topic I've ever talked about, but be more like a way to organize things into large amorphous schools of thought/talk for y'all to peruse. I realize that it's kind of absolutely purposeless as it stands, but Idk if changing it into big headings rather than individual topics would make it any more purposeful. What do y'all think? Do you like the sound of option A (host-switch) or option B (tag re-doing) better?

And this brings me to the biggest change I want to see happen on this blog. I want more interaction! I would love to become the kind of blog that has lots of comments and/or reader questions, etc. When I'm talking about what I think about some worldly event or random topic, I'd love to know what you all think too. I also want more followers, but that's less important to me than developing an interactive relationship with the ones I already have. I'm sure there are concrete steps towards getting these things, which may or may not be related to options A and B. But so despite the fact that when an acquaintance asks me, "Oh you have a blog?" I still get a little nervous about sharing the link (and possibly fundamentally altering the way that person sees me), I want to work on continuing to put I'm Such an Afroholic out there.

Here's to a thousand more!


Sunday, April 15, 2012


Me: *signing up to give blood at the Red Cross blood drive on Friday*
ChoosingPancakes: Where'd you get an email for a blood drive?
Me: On MatheyMail. Do you want me to forward it to you?
ChoosingPancakes: Sure! ...Oh wait, it wasn't a time thing, it was a China thing when I couldn't donate last time.
Me: Oh, shit, I might not be able to donate either. *goes to look at the list of African countries that you can't have had sexual contact with anyone from since 1977* Ah, [country redacted]'s not on the Red Cross's blacklist. And neither is [other country]. *pause* Blacklist. heh!
ChoosingPancakes and I: *burst into hysterical laughter*

Yay sex and saving lives can exist simultaneously! 

David Banner knows what's up

I'll admit that I only know his popular music, but David Banner was definitely not on my list of rappers I'd call socially conscious. Thus, I was surprised and impressed when I stumbled upon this on Colorlines:

Another unarmed young Black man has been killed

This time, at the hands of two police officers in Pasadena, California. They were misinformed by a 911 caller that the suspects they were looking for in a robbery had been armed, so when they saw 19 year old Kendrec McDade move his hand towards his waist, they fatally shot him. Kendrec had been unarmed. And now the cops are trying to say it's the 911 caller's fault that Kendrec is dead, rather than, you know, their fault since they pulled the trigger.

And this is what I have to say about that:

No. Just no. I'ma need these officers to cease and desist in every argument they're making.

It's quite simple, really. I recognize that they were misinformed. I recognize that when a police officer's life is potentially in danger, he or she has to make very fast decisions based on whatever information has been presented to him or her as fact in the situation. I recognize that there may not always be time and/or opportunity to double-check one's facts before getting into a potentially life-threatening situation.

What completely and thoroughly invalidates their argument in my eyes, however, is that while this caller is without a doubt responsible for making the officers believe that their lives could be in danger, he is in no way responsible for the officers' decision to fatally shoot this teenage boy. There's this thing that people can do when they have guns and believe their lives are in danger. It's called shooting their assailant in the leg or the shoulder or the butt or some other place that is not going to end his/her life. THAT should be #1 protocol to follow in an ambiguous situation where an officer's life should be threatened, and when that is not followed, I don't want to see any cop trying to place the blame anywhere else but on him/herself.

Related question: is there any legitimate reason tasers haven't all but replaced handguns for police officers? Shouldn't disarming suspects/preventing them from being able to hurt people always be the goal, rather than killing them? #Imconfused  

Get yo facts straight.

Infographics are the best.


On internalized oppressiveness [with edits]

"The thing about patriarchy -isms of all varieties is that individual men, gay and straight, persons whom are put in positions of privilege by the existence of that -ism are often really wonderful people who you love deeply, but they have internalized some really poisonous shit. So every once in a while they say or do something that really shakes you because you’re no longer totally certain they see you as a human being, and you feel totally disempowered to explain that to them."
You might ask, why the edits? Don't I recognize patriarchy as a valid thing to be fought against? (Of course. That's a fight I will join any day, with certain parameters.) Do I have a problem with feminist statements? (Not as a rule, though there are often problems with feminist statements.) Do I have to make everything about race? Can't some things just be about gender? (1. Broadening the statement doesn't necessarily make it about race. There is classism, ableism, cissism, heteronormativism, and basically an -ism for every extant social category, though X-centrism may not have a recognized name as of yet. 2. Can water be just about hydrogen? Can the Earth be just about the land? Can education be just about schooling? Can a person be just about one of their bajillion social categories? No. Just no.) Well then why?
Because so many parts of me felt validated by this statement. Yes, gender was a part of my response, but so was race, so was class, so was cultural capital, so was sexual activeness, so were various little facts of my daily existence that become addressed in problematic ways in various social interactions. I applaud its creator for addressing the invisibility-rendering-ness of patriarchy so poignantly, but I felt like the levels of resonance I felt with the statement meant that it deserved expansion.
Does my expansion come at the cost of poignancy, though? Does broadening statements like these to target multiple arenas of oppression take away some of their force?  

Ice-T is making a documentary about rap

Something from Nothing: The Art of Rap

It actually looks kind of dope, though. #thingsyallmightnotknowaboutme: I went through a very intense rap phase, and Eminem is most likely still the artist whose music I have the most of. There is no part of me that won't call Weezy a poetic genius, even when I hate what he's talking about. There is some part of me that just feels at home when Jay and Em team up for Renegade, or whenever I hear anything by Pac or Biggie. 

And on top of all of that, I love it when pop culture becomes a subject of critical study, especially when it includes the perspectives of the people producing the culture. I'm also particularly interested in how subcultures become dominant (or at least dominating) cultures, and when/how appropriation is involved in that process.

...So I might have to see this.

Is blogging giving me a big(ger) mouth?

It has come to my attention recently that I might have gotten too used to putting my whole life out there. Or, that there's a difference between blogging about things in a situation where I control everything that is said and how it's said and talking about things publicly with people I'm not super close to (but whom may or may not read the blog), because questions are asked and badgering happens when I don't want to answer, and then sometimes bitches can start trippin and inserting themselves into situations they have no business being involved in and then I start questioning friendships.

But before, or at least alongside questioning who my friends actually are, I need to step back and question the actions I'm taking. KS has been trying to get me to see this for a while, but it's just now starting to hit me (#whyishealwaysrightaboutmylife) that just because I am asked a question doesn't mean I have to answer it. Just because I've gotten used to talking about myself and the situations in my life in one arena, a controlled self-created arena where names are never named and I'm the only person pressuring myself to keep going, doesn't mean that I have any sort of responsibility to talk about myself and these same situations with people, especially with people I don't completely trust. It feels weird saying this, but I have to remember that outside of certain social spaces, I can't walk around like I'm allowed to be comfortable with everyone and say whatever I want to say, because that's how drama gets started.

I need to work on establishing a blogger/real person balance of openness. I'm absolutely not going to start censoring what I talk about on here, but I absolutely am going to limit whom I'll talk further about things offline with, and to what degree I talk about them offline. I am going to work on establishing the idea that just because I put my own stuff on blast here doesn't mean that I have to provide more details. Saying no has never been a strong suit of mine, but I need to work on remembering that I have no obligations to tell anyone anything I don't think they need to know. I need to remember that being a blogger doesn't mean my business isn't mine.

Walmart is fucking huge.

Reblogged from Sociological Images. Full post here.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Style Crush

Reblogged from CurlyNikki
Blazers have become my new fashion thing. I've collected lots of them in lots of great colors. But I always pair them with jeans and a tank--this dress thing fascinates me. And I NEED a skinny belt. Anyways, I wanna try something like this.

Also, kudos to how well her blazer and dress match. Camel is such a great color.

This made me cry

Since Zimmerman's arrest 7 weeks after Martin's death, we are finally on the road to something we've come to call "justice". But that word seems so thoroughly inadequate. A world where things like this can happen and no one cares for so long and mothers have to feel this way about their sons and five year old boys ask heartbreaking questions should never be called "just". Where is the justice in these kinds of fears?

Reblogged from ChoosingPancakes

Disliking hip-hop doesn’t make you a racist any more than liking hip-hop makes you not a racist, and I’m sure there are plenty of Stormfront enthusiasts with Rick Ross in their iTunes. If you don’t like Jay-Z because you just don’t like the way he sounds, or you’re sick of his cloying ubiquity, or you wish he’d talk about something other than where he’s from for five seconds—hey, I’m not mad, I don’t like Bruce Springsteen for the same reasons. But if you don’t like rap music—a genre that contains multitudes—because of a self-satisfied moralism, or because you’re scared of it, or because you wish those people would stop talking about their problems and get out of your television and radio and kids’ bedrooms: well.
And I’m not just talking about the American right, I’m talking about all the well-meaning white folks who’ve told me how they want to like Lil Wayne but lo, the misogyny, the violence, the drugs. But, but, I’ll say: Bob Dylan aced misogyny; the Rolling Stones sang about violence; the Velvet Underground knew their way around some drugs. Yeeeah, but it’s different, they’ll say, elongating that “yeah” with conspiratorial inflection: you know what I mean. Yeah, I know exactly what you mean.
Rap music doesn’t get unarmed kids shot to death, “it’s different” does. “It’s different” infuses “these assholes always get away” and gives solace to people who hear that sound bite and nod their empty heads in agreement. “It’s different” is the same logic that suggests a teenager’s skin color combined with the music he listened to means he had it coming, and it’s the same logic that lets a bunch of people feign outrage over a teenager’s use of the n-word to describe himself when they’re really just outraged that he beat them to the punch.
“It’s different” makes me shake with anger because it turns music into a dog-whistle to justify the murder of a kid who doesn’t seem all that “different” from me was when I was his age, not that different at all. I liked Skittles and hoodies and weed, too. And yeah, I’m white and never worried about getting shot for any of it, which is only the most loathsome excuse for not identifying with someone that I can possibly think of.

Pics or it didn't happen, right?

Isn't it beautiful?
ChoosingPancakes made an interesting comment that talking about theses is very much like talking about having children. I concur. We walk around for months with people asking us, "When are you due?" Then there's one last big push to finish everything, once our work is done people take it away from us to make it pretty, then we pick it up and hold it for the first time and feel this sense of precious-ness and joy and "Look at this beautiful thing I created!" The entire process seems quite similar, imho.

Excerpts from post-coital conversation last night

Him: That was amazing...
Me: Why'd you make me wait so long to do this again? I tried to get you to come over last week, and you were all, 'This week has been crazy...'
Him: Oh, that's what you were trying to do? Next time, say, '[name redacted], Come over. Come have sex with me.' I'm not an idiot..."
Me: *laughs* Okay, next time I'll be blunt. 
Him: But I feel kind of weird about it, too. You're a good friend of mine. 
Me, in my head: Under no circumstances would I have called us that, but continue...
Him, uninterrupted: It's like you having sex with [name redacted]
Me: Ew, why did you have to bring him up?
Him: or me having sex with [name redacted].
Me: *laughs hysterically at the idea that this could ever happen*
Him: See what I mean?
Me: *turns to face him, puts serious face on* No. This is what I see. I like having sex. I really like having sex with you. I see no problems.
Him: *pauses for a moment* I like thinking about it like that. I'm being stupid...


Friday, April 13, 2012

Basically, #storyofmylife [updated]

Especially built-in bras and anything that has to cross my body (including seat belts, ugh). I can proudly say that I've never turned down a motorboating proposition, though ;)


So the original picture I uploaded was from the metapicture, but evidently the metapicture doesn't give the actual artist any credit, and it turns out she has a whole website full of awesome comics about the never-talked-about struggles of being a busty woman. So I'm going to make my own photoset with links to her site! This has the added bonus of being things that I actually personally identify with, so y'all can know my struggle.

All images below are by Rampaige. Check BustyGirlComics out here:  

This one takes the mothafuckin cake. Finding an appropriate work wardrobe becomes increasingly difficult when things that button up make you legitimately afraid.

Oh my god I hate seatbelts. Especially in the back seat, because they're not really made for adult-sized people to begin with.

[cue sappy moment]

I figured that I'd share my acknowledgements page with you all, so that you could see exactly how much this means to me:


This work is for anyone who didn’t know their racial or ethnic self until they came to college, and for anyone who thought they knew, but faced some racial schooling once they got to campus anyway.

I would like to thank the following people and institutions, without whom I wouldn’t have become who I am, and this work would not have been possible:

My mother and my father, who each always managed to affirm and insert Blackness in my life in the smallest but most meaningful of ways. My family more broadly, for the innumerable little things they did and do in support.

C**** H***, former supervisor of the English Department at Oakcrest High School, who will most likely never know that he was the first person to tell me my dreams weren’t big enough. All of the teachers and supervisors in my past who thought I would be an engineer, who helped make me who I am, even if that person isn’t who we thought I’d be.

“The Black community”—problematic as the term may be—at Princeton, for providing my encounter, serving as my immersion, and letting me grow into internalization.

K****** S****, for helping me think through every issue with this project from start to finish, as well as for being generally invaluable. E**** Y**, for being my conscience. S.O., J.B., and the entire Large Library Crew, for helping me find my voice. The Princeton Quadrangle Club more generally, for being exactly what I needed.

Professors Douglas Massey and J. Nicole Shelton for their guidance and challenges, along with everyone who participated in and passed along my questionnaire.

The African-American Studies Program at Princeton University, for instilling in me the idea that my lived experiences and those of my people are subjects worthy of study. No other coursework or interactions have so fundamentally reconfigured my worldview.

The Sociology Department of Princeton University, for teaching me to see things from a new perspective, for inspiring me to ask questions that seem to have impossibly large answers, and for giving me the tools to seek those answers out anyway.

Princeton University, for introducing me to myself and allowing me to reintroduce myself, for taking care of parts of me I hadn’t even known existed, for teaching me the value of dialogue, and for naturalizing the concept of “speak and be heard”.

It's done.

The writing of it, at least. All 211 pages of it. It's currently in the hands of the company that will print it on 25% cotton paper and hard-bind it with a goldstamped leather cover.

Yes, it's that serious. And it cost me actually $100 to get it printed and bound.

But, as much as I hemmed and hawed about this whole process, I have to say that I have come to be quite attached to my thesis over the course of the last month. It became a much more significant project than I was anticipating it to be before I actually ran any of the data. In my head, before I'd really written anything other than my literature review, my thesis was just going to be this thing I did because I needed to graduate, a sort of embarrassing little work that was too long to be published as an article but not good enough to be a book and thus kind of useless. And maybe none of those things have changed, exactly, but I still somehow came to see it as this thing that actually represents me.

This may have something to do with the meeting I had with my advisor a week ago, during which he basically told me that the draft I'd turned in was fine for someone who was just looking to fill the requirement of writing a thesis, but that I seemed like I wasn't that person. I seemed like I was a person to whom academic work is significant, and thus he was going to show/tell me all the ways I could do what I was doing better. And it nearly took everything I had and caused at least two minor breakdowns, but I did nearly everything he suggested. I am a being of integrity, and I've come to believe that my thesis is as well.

The proverbial fat lady hasn't sung yet, because I still have to email an electronic version, print out my two unbound copies, pick up this bound copy tomorrow, and walk the whole 633 pages over to my departmental secretary's office by 4pm tomorrow. I told the company I'd like to pick up the bound copy by 1pm, so that should be fine. Of course I also have to be obnoxious and take pictures with my bound copy to send to my parents and post here. 

So I suppose that I shouldn't talk about the entire process like it's over yet, to ensure that I don't bring any bad thesis karma into the world (it's bad enough already that it's due on Friday the 13th. Not cute.), but it already feels strange being able to distance myself from this giant thing that I've been working towards for so long. I suppose that it's a miniature version of how I'll feel a couple days after graduation, when I'm suddenly just a person in the world rather than a student at Princeton University. 

And that leads me squarely to #holyshititsending, which I'm not prepared to deal with at this moment, so, on to other topics!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

How many guys have you slept with? This might seem like a very frank question, but if anything I can rely on your blog for being nothing short of maximally frank.

4. 3 casually and one in the context of a relationship. That's probably a smaller number than you were expecting. Sex and sexuality interest me greatly, even when I'm not physically exploring them regularly.

Ask me anything

That time I nearly didn't recognize someone I'd slept with.

So KS and I were walking down Prospect after dinner yesterday as two large athletic-looking White guys walked towards us, presumably on their way to another club for dinner. One of them looked kind of familiar to me, and it wasn't until we'd almost passed each other that I realized he hadn't been in a random precept with me or something, but he was in fact the random White guy I hooked up with in December. I'd never known his last name to begin with, so it shouldn't surprise me that I didn't instantly recognize him for who he was -- in fact, that I might not have recognized him at all had he not been wearing the same sweatshirt he was wearing that night -- but it's still quite strange. I hate that this thought is even in my head, but it's there so I might as well write it: I never thought I'd be "that girl". But here I am. And my only regret is that comparatively speaking to last weekend, hooking up with this guy (whom KS and I have jokingly begun to refer to as "White Jay," which bears no relationship to his actual first name but is just hilarious) wasn't that great.

Daphne Brooks referred to Eartha Kitt as "shamelessly shameless" in class on Monday, and I think that's going to be my new motto.

Passing him and feeling nothing more than "ah, I'm glad I figured out how I know him" is intellectually interesting to me, though. KS was livid that I didn't point out who our sidewalk-mate was until after he'd passed so he couldn't get a good look at him, though my defense--that I hadn't realized who it was until the moment I said something--was pretty unfalsifiable. KS then commented about how we didn't even acknowledge each other, which made me wonder if he'd recognized me, though I suppose look pretty different outside of my Santa hat and club clothes (or, really, with my clothes on at all, because I suppose that the majority of our interaction outside of the darkness of the dance floor involved general nudity and fun-having). It was just a brief wondering, though, and then all of my interest in this non-interaction ceased.

Now I'm wondering if that overwhelming disinterest should come so easily to me, though I can think of no reason to be invested in him whatsoever. 

If KS were reading this, I feel like he'd tell me I treat sex like such a guy sometimes. Which I guess just means I like it and am unafraid to admit or act upon that, and don't need someone whispering sweet nothings into my ear to get off. And I resent that gender normativity. ...But I still wonder if having no real opinion about running into him is healthy. 

Ugh, I can't wait til this thesis business is finished so I can get back to all of my sex-and-sexuality reading. I just bought The Ethical Slut, which will maybe help me with questions like this.