Saturday, May 30, 2020

Racist Logic Vs Reality– Holding a Mirror Up to the Numbers


Lately I've had to take a cold hard look at whatever racist belief systems I might have running in the background of my psychology. It's not fun, and it's not comfortable, but it's also not helping anyone if I don't, as a white person, identify and root out whatever programming I have that helps to perpetuate the ongoing pain of an entire faction of the citizens of my own country.

I would urge you to examine your own inner racism. Think about your reactions as a white person.  How many times have you been afraid and locked your door when you saw a young man of color nearing your car? Got nervous on public transportation when a black kid who was dressed a certain way sat close to you? When did you feel subconsciously threatened because of skin color? Police are not the only ones who practice profiling and stereotyping according to race. 

Most white people do it. Even if you're not intellectually thinking it, you are instinctively feeling fear. The problem is that we aren't examining that fear when it happens, asking all the important questions of ourselves as to how it got there and why. Is it logical? Is it even true? Because those fears don't hold up in the face of the facts. No matter what you learned from your family, from television and movies, from media, our racist fictional narrative is not the same as statistical human reality.

If you need the statistics to prove it, I've got them. From a few years ago on the United States FBI criminal database.





If you need a reality check about who commits the overwhelmingly vast number of violent crimes in the United States, white people need only look in the mirror. There's your answer. Statistically, I ought to be far more frightened of a white man approaching me than anyone else.

Black Lives Matter - Why We Obviously Need to Say It



I'm really shocked that anyone still takes issue with the simple phrase, black lives matter. I still see some people counter angrily with, "all lives matter"! Well... I mean....duh. Of course they do. But what's that got to do with anything?

You'd have to be sooome kinda foolish not to understand this most basic concept and phrase. You'd have to be stunningly unintelligent to look at the phrase "black lives matter" and think somehow that means ONLY black lives matter. That would be an impressive degree of missing the point.

If somebody's raising money for depression awareness and says, people with depression matter, do you run up to them and scream in their face, all people matter! I mean, of course you don't. Because pointing out the worth of a struggling group when folks are not treating them with dignity, does not take away somehow from the worth of anyone else. When we say foster children matter, and remind people to adopt and sponsor children, are we also saying that ONLY foster children matter? Of course not. But this is basic. This is just basic logic.

As for  those who seem to misunderstand it... for those who seem to have a visceral,  rageful reaction to it, the truth is, I don't believe you're stupid at all. I don't believe it's ignorance. I believe it's an undercurrent of something a lot darker. And for folks who take issue with simply stating a heart-wrenching reminder that black lives matter as they continue to be murdered in front of our very eyes, I would ask you to search your soul and your heart for the truth behind that reaction. If you're brave enough. Why this phrase? Of all the thousands of similar sayings or sentiments about any other group that you clearly take no issue with, why this one? I think you know the answer.

Monday, May 25, 2020

We Must Be Better People

I keep seeing the memes about what 80s babies have gone through as far as 911 + a recession + pandemic, etc. As an 80s baby, I cannot disagree. It's been a crap ass generational set of experiences! But I also know that the stuff folks went through back in the Spanish Flu + polio + World War 1 + depression + World War 2 era was juuuust as bad if not much worse. And yet the incomparable degree of sacrifice they had to make without whining, without rebelling, without protesting, is in stark contrast to our pathetic, selfish modern culture. when our people today can't seem to get it together and do what they need to for ONE major disaster, for the greater good of our people, it makes me extra disgusted and Hulk Smashy.

So many people utterly lack character now. Our culture is largely narcissistic, and it shows in everything we do, everything we refuse to do. It shows in the leaders we elect and the celebrities we admire.

I really miss my grandpa. I always have. But I can't help thinking, with his compassion and perspective and goodness, having served in World War II and been raised during a time of such poverty that communities didn't blink about supporting each other, that he would be ashamed of Americans today. And for that I'm sorry. I can only hope I act in a way, personally, that would make him proud in order to try and make up for that.

We must be better people. We just must.



Thursday, April 16, 2020

AWESOME News


I'm not sure how to begin this post. It's just that something completely wonderful happened in the last week. I was invited to sing for Jim Caruso's Pajama Cast Party. If you are familiar with the Broadway scene, you will know that Cast Party, which normally takes place in New York City, has featured some of the most amazing and iconic performers in the business for the last almost 20 years. Through some fluke of amazing chance or Karma, some wonderful Broadway folks came across my music during this awful quarantine, and one thing led to another, budda boom, budda bing, I was invited to sing for Pajama Cast Party this coming Monday. 

They are calling it Pajama Cast Party right now because we all know that things are shut down, so they've moved the show to YouTube. The episode I'll be singing in airs Monday April 20th at 8 p.m. Eastern time. I am still processing this information, but completely touched, thrilled and excited for this opportunity. Below is the link to view the show when it livestreams, but if you miss it, you'll be able to catch it recorded later. 

You will also find an article from Broadway World talking about the upcoming episode. This is a really amazing thing happening in a really awful time, and since music has been my sanity and my salvation through the fear and anxiety of everything, I'm so incredibly grateful for a light in the darkness. What a joy. Whatever good luck deity is watching over me right now, they have my gratitude. 

XO, Jen



Watch Pajama Cast Party!


Broadway World Article

Friday, February 7, 2020

Oooh Mah God What's Happening??

Wrote for more than 2 and 1/2 hours tonight for the first time in a very long time. And it's a story.


I have a lot of expressiveness I need to get out at this point and I've been chomping at the bit to start writing something. We will see how this goes, but I do consider it a good sign when I completely lose track of how much time has gone by and have to force myself to stop writing and go to sleep. Last time that happened I wrote a trilogy.

Tuesday, February 4, 2020

This One Doesn't Need a Title

When I was a little girl, all of my favorite stories had an epic romance in them. Disney movies, old Hollywood musicals and Broadway shows...they owned my heart. I 1000% believed. I felt it. And I fully expected love. I believed it was natural that I should find my own Prince Charming, my own epic love story. I was seemingly born for it, I felt like I was built for that kind of love. How could I not be? Anybody who felt things as deeply as me would only be putting all that feeling to waste otherwise. I was a huge fan of Jane Austen, Charlotte Bronte, anything that showed me how a woman could be smart and passionate and romantic at the same time. Because that was me. I had three books with complex love stories published as well. My sense of love, romance, destiny, was untouchable. Until it wasn't.

No one was more surprised than yours truly when the lovelight dimmed and went out, believe me. I wouldn't have thought it was even possible! Somebody like me? Become jaded and cynical about love? Unfathomable. Such a thing could never happen. Until it did.

But rewind a minute. After my relationship in Missouri ended, my inner romantic still lived on. Even after feeling lost in the void of a new decade`s identity crisis, grieving the death of a loved one, my own struggles with depression, a short-lived relationship that didn't go very far, and a whole bunch of fruitless dating all around it, my inner romantic was really embedded quite solidly. I still believed in the inevitability of my own love story. So I was shocked as anyone to find that apparently, even my inner romantic had her limits. I think a lot of us have that happen inevitably - that experience that screws us up so deeply and so badly in so many very personal ways that it changes the internal structure of our spirit for a time. For a few years, that happened to me. I encountered my own personal Achilles heel injury to the heart.

Now, I know I'm hardly the only woman who has suffered a major trauma to their system in some kind of screwed up relationship. But, for whatever reason, I never imagined, in my younger years, that I would ever be a member of this group. I was too smart, I told myself - too discerning - and such things could never happen to me. I would never let them. I would never get myself into a situation that could potentially damage me. That was something other women did, but I had too much dignity and I was smarter than that. Until I wasn't.

I came out the other end of a colossal mess completely altered. Every deep and passionate romantic notion I'd ever had, every concept I'd written into song, and novels, and my own dreams, became moot. I was numb. I felt nothing. I couldn't stand to watch a movie with romantic themes. I gagged at them. I hated love songs. I couldn't tolerate the sight of a romance novel. I couldn't feel any of the necessary emotions anymore. Only annoyance and mild disgust. Something in me had broken. Something was wrong. Even quite some time removed from the aforementioned situation, my heart remained the same. Closed off. Void of any romantic feelings or desires whatsoever. Something that had once been such a huge and inspiring part of my entire being had gone out, snuffed like the tail end of a candle. I had no way of knowing if there was some smoldering ember buried under the ashes somewhere. If there was, I couldn't find it. I wanted there to be one though, I wanted it so much. I just couldn't feel anything but hollow and empty where those emotions used to be. I wanted to WANT to date. I wanted myself back whole. I wanted to feel something....ANYthing of desire or attraction. But I couldn't. I talked to my best girlfriends about it. I even voiced my concerns to my little sister. Considering that she's a nun, she listened patiently with love and prayers, though it was hardly her forte. I even prayed. Yes, I prayed to God to help me get my groove back. I did that. And it didn't work. Until it did.

I don't know how, not certain why, and I'm not really sure when, either. But one day I seemed to wake up, and it was back. I was back. It was all back. I could swoon again, I could feel sappy things. I could desire love and passion. I could fathom writing love stories once more. Not only could I tolerate a romantic movie, I sought them out. Apparently there HAD been an ember under all that soot and it had roared back to life all on its own. I guess it had only been incubating, licking its wounds, growing some scar tissue. When I realized what was happening, I excitedly told my sister and my best friends. One of them said, "I'm glad to know you have healed". And even though I knew it was true, her statement struck me as so strange. I couldn't believe my core self could actually have been that damaged. I'd heard other people talk about such things, but the fact that it had actually occurred within my own psyche, that I had changed so much, and had zero control over it until it had chosen to resolve itself, was quite the phenomenon. Human hearts can truly heal from trauma and pain and recover themselves when given the safe space and time. I found this remarkable. Miraculous even. And now I'm thinking about writing love stories again. And songs. And I'm thinking about what I want for my own romantic life as well. More than thinking... I'm feeling. I had been so afraid that these passionate parts of me were lost. And they were...but only until they weren't.

Peace,
Jen

Wednesday, December 18, 2019

Because Logic

Look.

I'm ok with you disagreeing with homosexuality in your private belief system. I may not agree with you, but it's your right to hold your own private beliefs. I'm fine with you thinking whatever you want to think about whether or not it's natural or good or whatever. But the second those beliefs try to encroach upon the rights of others to simply, openly and freely live their lives in our society, you and I have a problem.

If you don't like all things lgbtq, if you don't agree with it, then please, by all means, don't be a member of the lgbtq community. Tell your family whatever you want if a gay person comes on your TV. In the privacy of your own home, whatever you do is up to you. But I don't want you shoving the limitations of your worldview down my throat and trying to impose them upon all humans. I don't want you trying to force everyone else to comply with your belief system about who should or shouldn't be allowed to live freely, have civil rights, be treated with equality, etc.

If you believe there's a group out there who doesn't deserve those basic rights to exist, to be seen, to have simple representation in a culture to which they belong, you can gobble down and choke on those beliefs. When you tell me that the lgbtq community is shoving their beliefs down YOUR throat just by openly existing in our culture? In peace? You are a blatant hypocrite. So disagree with them. Live your life accordingly. But YOU'RE the ones who need to keep that choice private. You control your own actions. You don't have the right to control other people's freedom and beliefs when they are not actually harming you. And they are not. Maybe they offend you. Maybe they even disgust you. That's your business. But they are not harming you. They just plain are not.

In reality, the only folks trying to actually impose their beliefs on anyone are those who feel it's okay for an entire faction of the human population to stay hidden from sight to suit their particular religious ideologies. If you are unable to see gay people existing on your screen and in your community, without somehow being unable to keep from consequently spontaneously combusting in a mass of torches and pitchforks, then you've got problems, Son. If a gay person comes on your screen and you don't like it, just turn the damned channel. Otherwise, might I suggest a private island where you can go and coexist with people who think and live exactly the way you do so you can blissfully pretend that life is that simple and humans are that black and white... Just watch out for the inbreeding.