Posts Tagged ‘queer’

chasing the dream

Some of you who know me well may think this post is gonna go another way because of the “but(t)”, but sorry, it’s not. Do you know what Spanx are?  They’re an invention from Sara Blakely who was getting ready for a party when she realized she didn’t have the right undergarment to provide a smooth look under white pants. Armed with scissors and sheer genius, she cut the feet off her control top pantyhose and the Spanx revolution began! With a focus on solving wardrobe woes, the Spanx brand has grown to offer bras, underwear, jeans, pants, active and more” (http://www.spanx.com).

Well I apparently need Spanx for life. You know, something to remind me that I need to push up, pull tight and bear down to accomplish the  life I want. I need to cut the pieces that aren’t working and start solving the woes! Hence, Spanx, but(t) for life!

Things that go bump in the night have nothing on the scares of real life day woes. Yes my nightmares are horrific but I wake up and  I’m usually tucked safely in a bed, under warm covers, secure in a house with maybe no more than 2 or 4 people with access to multiple bathrooms so I don’t have to coordinate everyone’s schedules and bathroom times or worse yet, get in line in the schedule after uncle Hector’s odoriferous bathroom time. So what do I have to worry or be scared about?

Not accomplishing my dreams! Not following my passion! Quitting when I didn’t get accepted!

Background that you may or may now already know: I’m an immigrant. Moved to the U.S. under circumstances that were less than favorable but not as terrible as other immigrants who paid for their trips in life and limb. I’ve lived with many people over the years in smaller and less than ideal conditions. Now life is relatively decent, fun and full of love, but every now and again, when I get complacent and want to be one of the people who sit idly by and stop reading, learning or striving, it takes just one visit with family members who are closer to our original family culture than I am these days, to kick my arse back into gear and remind me that I need to not be complacent, to not sit idly by, and to always keep learning, reading, striving…

what-people-think-of-me

Sympathy isn’t needed, neither are complaints. While I’m living a life that many relatives don’t understand, don’t want to or just don’t care enough to try, at least now I get to choose who I call family and don’t have to be nice or hide myself to appease negative folks. Most of all, I still live in a country where I can pursue my dreams. Sure, I can fail. And boy have I done that in spectacular fashion at times! I’ve also not been successful (yet!) in getting a major magazine or journal to publish my writing, but I’ve also had small wins in that several online journals and hard copy local magazines have published my work.  So I take my small wins and keep plugging away. I also have to remember not to dwell too much on the past but it does haunt me a bit when I visit family.

Sure, I know that no one owns, or holds my happiness hostage. Also, while happiness doesn’t lie in actual dollars, it sure doesn’t lie in being butt arse broke either. So don’t take this post as a proclamation to go out and drop the career and pursue only the dream. What this post is, is a proclamation to say, “screw acceptance!”, “fight for your right to be happy, to be heard, to be passionate and pursue your dreams!” (okay, that may just be me screaming to myself…). But seriously, while job satisfaction is good it isn’t detrimental to  well-being as long as the paychecks keep supporting the dreams. Sure, at times I’d like to have a big welcoming family to run to, and a magnificent sum of life savings to make me feel safe but at what cost?

sick of being nice

Keep striving, learning, loving and living. Take all of the bad experiences and turn them loose. I may not truly forgive all of the people who hurt me but I’ve figured out ways to move past the hurt so that I can feel good about myself again. I may not be able to shake the enveloping sadness when those I love are sad or stressed but I’m working on just being there and not letting it take over every pore of my being. Being there for those you love is totally within your control and being a healthy and happy person makes you a sturdier shoulder to cry on, a better loved one with whom you can vent and get it all out with or as needed, an excellent arse kicker for those who hurt the people you love.

So chase the dreams, eat the cake, dance in the rain, drink the whisky, hike with the dog, get that tattoo, pierce that skin, try polygamy (or not if your first spouse will literally kill you)!

Oh, and if you really feel like you need some more stomach and butt shaping, here are pics of men’s and women’s spanx…

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I recently had a conversation with friends, yes, people I really consider friends, about going out dancing. I decided I want to go dancing because we hadn’t been partying as a group lately and my birthday is coming up. Besides, I like partying with these people for the most part.

However, trying to find a club where we’ll have a lot of music that’s great to dance to and without unwanted humans humping us is tough.

For example, I love dancehall reggae and soca but here in the east coast, going to a reggae/soca club means I’ll inevitably have guys trying to touch body parts they shouldn’t be touching. Yes, I know not every dude who goes to these clubs is Captain Creepy McHandsy, but I’ve been doing this for years and my experience is that guys wanna touch when I don’t want them to touch. When I ask them not to, some get offended and I’m not spoiling for a fight.

So, here I am, trying to figure out where to go so that my het (heterosexual) friends will have fun and where I won’t “accidentally” step on feet or punch someone in the ribs when hands wander.

It was at this point in my quest for happy feet exuberance, that I realized that my het world doesn’t mesh with my queer world. Surprise, surprise…and I was allowing it to happen!

Thinking back on it, I’m always breaking my two worlds apart because that’s just how life is, or rather, was, for me. Now, however, I’d like to have my very own “Modern Family” moment where everyone, and to be honest, it’s not that big a bunch in my het and queer worlds, to dance the night away, together, without wandering hands, questioning eyes, or paranoid panicky faces.

I realize I may have to pick a place where mostly straight people party if I want my straight friends to be comfortable. Why? Because a few already said they won’t feel comfortable being in a queer club and a couple of dudes fake jokingly said I’d have to dance with them all night long if that’s where we’re going. Never mind that my queer male friends are all in better physical shape and are very respectful of people’s space. Fear of the “others” is still very real.

Oh well, maybe the worlds will never truly mix. Or maybe I’m going about this blending all wrong. Either way, I hope to be partying somewhere, at some point, with people I love, on that special day.

Or maybe, I’ll just say eff it all and go enjoy a good ole dungeoning up as I spank some tight little butt while telling him or her how naughty he or she has been. After all, queer folks are sexual, uncontrollable fiends, aren’t we?

Oh wait, this bondage fetish now belongs to straight folks. Thanks, 50 Shades of Grey! Le sigh…

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If Steve Harvey can give dating and marriage advice and women advice on how to be a woman, I can give lessons from my relationship guru platform, pass out backhanded compliments and cloak all of this condescension in religion. Who knows, I may even be able to come up with a plan on how to objectify women even more…and then get them to believe everything I say AND quote me! After all, it seems that speaking with authority on subjects I know nothing about, or to be fair, from the 1920-1950 decades, will ensure success as an authority on…something!

If Kirk Franklin can give advice on being a clean and holy person, I can give advice on Christianism.

If people believe that Bin Laden represented all Muslims, then I am entitled to capsize these fake yogis and those claiming these mastery titles in Buddhism which totally go against the way of life.

If all these white boys full o’privilege who sing about niggers, and lynchings, and who call little black girls “slut” can find some head shaking African Americans to stand by their side as if accepting the Morgan (I only help white people in all my movies) Freeman supporting role award, and who can even get some notable Black American to pontificate on how “extending a hand in love” will heal all racial rifts, as the boys o’privilege apologize in a non-apologetic manner, I can give lessons depicting how tough the slave owners had it back in the day with keeping slaves downtrodden and accounted for. Look, it was hard to do all the accounting math and whatnot and even harder keeping it in the pants with them fine assed slaves around.

If a South African named Noah can take over for a Jewish spot-on comedian who understands race relations, gender biases, and discriminatory practices better than most minorities who are discriminated against, then I…oh wait. No, I can’t do better. Well, maybe Tina Fey or Dave Chappelle could have but no, at this time, unless he screws up, I can’t do better… 😉

To the people who think that there really are gay agendas being pushed for the recruitment of, or encouragement of gayness in children by way of products, television shows, music, toys, etc., please grow up and smell your heteronormative privilege.

Of course I mean that figuratively. I realize when addressing sensitive topics such as say, good ole equality 😐 you must speak to everyone in the same way; as if they’re the dumbest person in the room. Why? Because heteronormativity is such a rampant and acceptable belief that many of us, self included at times, don’t understand or even realize the ignorance in everyday speak…until we do. Then, it’s oh so awkward when we do and others don’t. What is this heteronormative speak? Here are a couple of sentences for consideration.

– A woman asked, “Why is there a children’s cartoon in which a character asks, “Why isn’t it ever Romeo and Romeo?” She claimed it was not acceptable for children because they’re too young to learn about sexuality.

– I don’t want my child reading about two mums or two dads. They have plenty of time to learn about that stuff when they’re older.

These are annoying hogwash questions.

No one explains sexuality to children when there is a male and female parent. Or rather, no one except maybe pedophiles. Children do not learn about sexual anythings by seeing well adjusted human beings in families who do the same things hetero families do.

When children grow up believing and seeing no difference between a male/male and female/female relationship, then they are less likely to think it’s unusual or different or wrong when they get older.

The notions that roles and paths in life are determined by gender is incorrect and limiting. We know this because of the many years of living in male dominated societies. The idea that a gender assigned at birth will automatically dictate how you learn, the toys you play with, or your “natural abilities” is narrow and truly insane.

Why would you not want to embrace all people, no matter their gender, chosen paths and options in life, etc., i.e. why not show a little boy that it truly is okay to have two Romeos?

In short, heteronormativoty is assuming that just because you were born with a penis, you are a boy who will like girls, who will want to play with toy guns and  toy cars, will wear certain types of clothes, and who will behave in a particular manner. Why can’t we teach acceptance from an early age? It’s not as if the cartoon illustrated explicitly sexual acts (it wasn’t South Park or on Adult Swim).

However, one part of the problem is that for many narrow minded people, when they learn of, or meet a gay couple, many of them automatically start wondering about the couple’s bedroom habits. Do you do that with hetero couples immediately? If so, does that limit or change your expectations or treatment of said couple? If so, then let me be clear – YOU are the one with a problem.

Honestly, wouldn’t you want to teach love of all humans to your children, even the boys who will love girls, the girls who will love boys, the boys who will love boys, etc.? Oh and if it’s your religion that you’re worried about eroding or disobeying, then I suggest you teach your children your religious beliefs. ALL aspects of your beliefs. Don’t dare pick and choose which aspects of the Bible, or any of the other holy books you’ll teach, and don’t forget to let them know about all of the other religions in the world, not just yours. While you’re at it, you may want to remind that most great leaders and religious teachers were not die-hard religion followers who were loving towards humankind.

Therefore, when healthy gay relationships are observed as just another type of family, and when queer relationships in all forms are considered normative behavior, which it is, acceptance will be taught at an early age, making the world a better and more loving one. Isn’t that a world you want to live in and leave to your children?

Quick and easy to read references for additional information:

Academia.edu: http://www.academia.edu/4139911/A_Defining_Moment_in_Civil_Rights_History_The_Employment_Non-Discrimination_Act_Trans-Inclusion_and_Homonormativity

Gender and Education Association: http://www.genderandeducation.com/issues/what-is-heteronormativity/

Wikipedia: http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heteronormativity

Natasha Ramsey Hungover Poet Sample Tell It Tuesday

This is the first installment of “Tell It Tuesday“!

What is Tell It Tuesday? It’s sort of like a “Preach!” or a well-timed, “Mmmm hmmm” in response to something that was said that may be controversial in nature but absolutely accurate. It’s sometimes not the popular opinion but it’s very valid. Actions that could be substituted for a verbal “Tell It” could may be a well launched all knowing “I know that’s right!” kind of side eye or the more recently widespread memes on social media of someone or most notably, Kermit the Frog, sipping tea. If this still doesn’t make sense, hell just google it!

For this inauguration post, I chose to tell on myself. Why? If I can’t pick on me by either exposing myself or my opinions or even my unpopular questionable line of thinking in some shape or form, why would I do it about the events, and other people in our world? Fair is fair. Therefore, I chose a section of a poem from my book, “Hungover Poet” in which I totally queer things up and openly state how I’ve gotten myself in trouble in the past.

Hope you enjoy “Tell It Tuesday”! I’ve been experimenting with the name and acronyms, etc. but not sure if I really want to go with “Tit Tuesday”, or just “Tell it”. Hmmm, decisions, decisions…

Who I Am is now available for your eargasms dear friends, foes, family and freeking freekers!

Natasha Ramsey: Who I Am - Album single cover art

Natasha Ramsey: Who I Am – Album single cover art

Okay seriously all shenanigans aside, (and I have many, I know), this spoken word piece set to a beat will hopefully inspire you to be brave, stand out from the crowd and above all, just BE YOURSELF.  

How would you find me? Search for “Who I Am” wherever you buy or stream your music and there I’ll be!

If you’re interested in hearing only the voices in your head, check out the e-book that started the madness: Hungover Poet on amazon: http://ow.ly/utR5T

I’m an artist at heart (head, body and soul). Art in many forms inspires and drives me, but for-profit business, technology and the understanding of technology – specifically business analysis, project management and product management pays me. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t dislike my job, in fact I enjoy it very much. I love working with and learning about technology, performing detailed business analysis and functional specifications in the creation of products. But, it’s not my passion when I wake up at night with a story in my head, nor is it a driving force 24/7. That passion and driving force belongs to the art of storytelling.

I agree that you can be a lifelong learner and creator of art but for many of us, this happens mostly if you’re a lifelong earner – or at least until your art can afford to match or surpass your current or projected worker bee salary. So how do you get to the point of earning decent or relatively good income from your art? For me, I haven’t reached that point of understanding yet nor but I have read what many self-proclaimed and touted experts have to say on the topic. I also don’t foresee giving up my day job because I really do enjoy it and I’m proud of the career I’ve built over the span of approximately 20 years.

So what does this have to do with my artist’s head and my business professional’s wallet? Well, I think I have to accept two things, understand how my worlds intersect with the acceptance that one feeds the other, and remember to celebrate my small wins .

The two things I have to accept:

1. I’m unique but not really. What I mean by this is that while we would all love to think we are unique, we humans may have some differences but we have way more similarities than we’d care to admit. Let’s face it, it’s the differences that stir up or highlight what we call “unique qualities” but I’m sure if I search not-so-far and not-so-wide, I can find another person very much like me. So I need to find a way to sell my “uniqueness” in that I need to offer the world a valuable and worthwhile item and illustrate why it’s different than anything else they’ll come across at the moment. I also need to ensure that it provides much more than the average cuppa joe, which I used in my marketing as you’ll see a little further along in this post, and that like a tasty cuppa something good, it’s a tasty mind treat. I won’t lie, I dreaded “selling” the premise behind my book and still, sometimes do. But this challenge brought me to my next realization.

2. I have to think of my art as a commercial product. This thought evoked screams of phrases that I never really use like, “EGADS” and “YIKES” as well as worn out phrases I use regularly such as, “Fuckadoodledoo!!! Nooooooo!!! Fucketyfuckaduck”. After all the screaming, I still had to accept the fact that yes, I needed to market a commercial product. Did it make me happy? Hell no. But it was the truth and I couldn’t find a reasonable way to dispute it. Well, I could but then I’d have zero sales.

So how does this intersect with my other life as a business professional? By realizing that my ideas, stories, poems, etc. can be abstract, different, quirky, dark as black on midnight and whatnot but my once I ask for money, it becomes a commercial product that I need to sell and promote like any other computer system I’ve worked hard to build and showcase, and like any other business process and product I’d like a client to pay money for. And as things go with commercial products, there’s a ton of competition out there. So what makes me worth the monetary support? My unique points of view and the way I tell a story. See how I’ve come full circle here? 🙂

So to illustrate this commercial product mindset, I made sure that my book contained more poems than I’d seen in one book for my set price of $7.99 for a relatively unknown author. After all, this was my first release and I was a (still am, in many ways) relatively unknown on the writing circuit outside of the poetry worlds I visited from time to time. I have some regular please where I am recognized and supported like poetry clubs, shows and regular gigs where I did readings and fell into hosting open mic nights, etc. with accompanying jazz bands and other types of music. However, this was limited to two major U.S. cities so I was hardly breaking the bank or towns via this circuit.

Part of my marketing schtick was that my book cost LESS than two large cups of coffee from Starbucks (venti, as it’s known to the Starbuckians) and in some venues, when you purchased my book, you received a bonus audio track, free of charge or some other small freebie I could drum up for that night. And whaddya know, for a first time effort, it worked! However, as with most new things, there was a sales lull a few months later. So, to stir interest, I decided to set up a couple of giveaways. I gave my book away, FREE of charge on designated days to anyone who wanted to download it and on the first free day, there was tons of downloads.

What did that tell me? It told me that while I didn’t become rich because of my writing, I could carry on with being UTTERLY STOKED and SUPER EXCITED because people wanted to read what I wrote! And I needed freebies or something to show customers that I valued and appreciated their business. Yes, I know that a purchase doesn’t guarantee a read, but in my writerly world, it most certainly filled my need of getting the word out about my book and in encouraging those who were still reluctant to part with their cash, to pick up a copy and give it a go. On top of that excitement, I received some wonderful feedback on my poems from people I’d never met and I made some great online friends who were all about discussing ideas and ideals and all that’s in-between and who still provide encouragement from time to time. It was all worth it!

Another “win” in my opinion, was one that I wanted to scream about, but in a different way than when I realized my passion was being $old was that I lost some friends and family. My former friends and family (wish I had a way to denote former family. Sad that you can’t legally get rid of them, just have to ignore their existence) couldn’t find it in their heart to support my writing dreams because they didn’t agree with the content and my “leanings into gay stuff” (<< eloquent quote, ain’t it??). I was also told that my “homo-ness” and “homo love” wasn’t something that their religion and God could accept. These statements, along with many others that are worse, were said to me on many occasions. Nice “Godly” folks, ain’t they? 

Thankfully, my sanity was retained by the people who truly loved, and still, love me. They reminded me that many were scared of their own emotions or of what thoughts would get stirred and most of all, that you don’t want fake support from the wolf in sheep’s clothing. My head told me that I should rise above and even forgive the comments and reactions, but my heart couldn’t. After all, here I was, doing relatively well according to society’s rules – great job and successful career, higher education club member, yadda, yadda, yadda – but  there I was, being shunned for being myself and writing about my life and about people who needed a voice. Mind you, it wasn’t all “gay leanings” that made things bad. I wrote about the death penalty, abuse and things that go bump in the night, but I guess to them, things like that should stay in the closet, under the bed, stuffed in your pants or roaming around in your head.

So what saved me and made me want to keep writing in spite of the shunning? My loved ones – the ones who truly loved me, and honestly, the wonderful and overwhelming feedback from those who purchased my book! Their love, support and acceptance warmed the cockles of my heart and reminded me that without the book, I may have never met some of them. In my opinion, the reward was absolutely worth it. Besides, it gave me the opportunity to do something that I didn’t realize, needed to be done. I had to accept myself and my own musings. I hadn’t fully accepted myself and the things I think about, when I let the voices of others eff with me and make me question myself and my life. In many ways, direct rejection was the proverbial ripping off of the band-aid that I needed to let the fear, scab and hurt of all that I am and write, heal. Interestingly enough, it inspired me to do better, be better and to just write what I felt without fear of rejection. So in a way, I should thank them for being jackholes – but I won’t. Look, I’m not perfect but I’m trying. 

So to all of you  out there struggling to be the real and true you, to artists who are unsure if they’ll keep creating due to fear of rejection or fear of being true to yourself, remember that you must push on, push through and KEEP ON doing what you love! Why? Because when you do whatever makes your heart sing, I guarantee there are people in the world who will appreciate and love what you do. I guarantee there’ll be people who get you and who would want more. Sometimes the world doesn’t know what is needed until they see it, hear it or experience it.

KEEP CREATING! KEEP WRITING! KEEP SKETCHING! KEEP COMPOSING! KEEP SHINING! The world needs artists, creators, composers, writers, etc. just as much as they need business professionals, career individuals, and for-profit organizations.

For all of you who read what I write, who get me, who feel lost but keep on keeping on, I appreciate and admire you. If no one has said it today, let me say it: YOU ROCK! Don’t ever give up on your dreams or stop doing what makes you excited and happy even when jackholes try to stop you.

Huggles and lots of artistic, feel good creation vibes! 😉
Natasha

My work thus far:

  • Website and samples are available here
  • My book, “Hungover Poet” is available here

Drop me a line and let me know if I can support you in any way. I love making friends and checking out new projects, and art in general!