I can’t hardly sleep no more. I useta be able to leave the TV on for hours, and not hear a peep.
Life man, it’s exhausting, and then I can’t sleep.
I got a new home now, a kid. A kid, man!
A kid that –
Listen, the other day he came over to me and said, “For Christmas, I want an X-Box One X. Don’t make me tell you twice.”
I was like, “Ok, fool, whatever.”
A few minutes later, he comes back to me, “Dad, don’t forget I want an X-Box One X for Christmas. Don’t make me tell you twice.”
At this point, I’m like, “Why you tellin’ me twice then?”
And then it dawned on me, this kid doesn’t understand what that phrase means.
So, I explain it to him.
He looks at me and says, “You always saying it at the end of your sentences, and you’re always saying it mad-like.”
That’s a mirror to my fuckin’ face.
They’re watching us too much.
FADE IN: masseuse at work.
I don’t know who started it but I don’t like it (she laughs).
Why doesn’t the man take on a married name like the woman does? Women have been branded like a cow (she laughs). You say, “Oh, hi Mr. Smith,” and you have no idea if he’s married or not. How many married men actually wear their rings? I see women proud to sport around a big rock on their finger, but men? (she laughs).
These are old social habits that we accept as the normal. I want to know who made these things up? Do you know who? (she laughs).
Haha, it’s our culture.
Yes, but no. I do not agree and I will not allow it. Not in my home and not with my girls. My girls are going to know independence. They see their mom working a full-time job, going to school, putting her own money in the bank. My girls know that a woman does not need to rely on anyone but herself. No rock will make them feel powerful. Education, confidence, intelligence, virtue, yes, those things will make them feel proud. And my girls are beautiful – half Russian, half Thai. Oh my goodness, I have a big road ahead of me (she laughs). No, they will not be dumb girls. I am a fantastic mother, and student and daughter and friend. Yes, I have my husband but we are two independent people, we are equals. I like it like that, and I am setting an example for my girls.
This is my shadow.
A life a few feet behind me.
That shirt. God, I thought I tossed it.
This smell..brings me back to here.
When it was then.
I sat at this very table processing, organizing, dreaming, concocting.
He sat catching a show on the tube.
I would go to sleep full of dreams and plans and, well, darkness.
How can you build on unsteady ground?
This work is hard and real and very necessary.
These pants. I hope they fit.
Do I still want the books, the socks, the dusty makeup?
Maybe not the makeup.
The muffled city outside taps on my window.
Tomorrow, lovely one. Tomorrow.
My little treetop of goodness.
How it fills my soul.
Silence. No dog. No schedule. No errands.
Not yet. Just. Me.
Hard work happens on an exhaustive plane home,
Unpacking and sifting and embracing my fragile heart.
Eyes like thick drops of oil.
Body like a sleepy kitten. Make that an older cat.
Mind swimming uphill with zest, or maybe desperation.
Tomorrow, lovely one. Tomorrow.
FADE IN: a couple who have been arguing.
Let’s pretend for a while. Let’s be two different people with different pasts and different heartaches.
What are you talking about?
Let’s forget we’re fighting and pretend we don’t know each other. “Hey there,” (he smiles)
“How’s the coffee?”
I’m not playing this stupid game
“That’s a pretty dress.”
“Thank you,” (she mutters as she rolls her eyes)
“Got something special happening today?”
“Nope, just waiting for my boyfriend to wake the fuck up.”
“Oh, he’s a late sleeper?”
“No, he’s a dickhead who can’t see what’s in front of him.”
“Well, if he forgets to tell you, know that you heard it from me: you look beautiful.”
(she looks away)
“You are beautiful.”
Stop it (she looks away again)
“Can I get you a blueberry muffin to go with your coffee?”
A BAR. NIGHT.
Back and forth.
Back and forth.
He leans in throwing caution to the wind this time.
She tilts her head back and guffaws.
He repeats his line, thinking it’ll be funny the second time.
It isn’t, but she stares into his eyes just the same.
Complex everything, this woman. Like a cat.
He looks away with a smirk – she’s into me.
He takes a swig of his scotch, cool like that, and asks for the check, “It’s on me,” he tells her.
Her red, half full.
“You heading out,” she asks.
“I thought we could, uh…” he smirks.
She stares at him. That cat again.
He smiles at her.
“I’m going to finish my wine.”
“Sure. I’ll, uh,” he sits back down.
“Cheers,” she says as she sips her red.
FADE IN: a woman at the mic in a bar.
I just woke up one day and thought, “I don’t want to do this anymore.” It hit me like a ton of bricks. I wanted to kill my supervisor, is what I wanted to do. And the only reason why I haven’t already done so is cuz I can’t drive my new car in jail.
Yup, I shop.
I’m a complete consumer and I described that as poverty deprivation.
“I need that because it’s going to do something wonderful to my life,” or “Ooooooh, that’s shiny” or “Oh, I know that’ll come in handy one day.”…. and then that shit just sits there. The Amazon Echo Dot? Don’t get it. Waste of your time and money.
What I want is travel and to do things that don’t pertain to products.
I want experiences.
I want to face fears and follow my gut.
I want the Unknown, even though it scares the Holy BeJesus outta me.
But right now
I can’t because I’m always in poverty deprivation, buying and buying and buying.
There’s a calling inside of me.
I can feel it.
But the not knowing makes me cling to what is tangible, the little things that bring little comfort right now, and eventually finds itself in my garage.
In a box. With a box, within a box.
I’m 50 years old.
Someone is pressing fast forward on my recorder, man.
I feel a calling.
A tiny voice,
And I wanna bring that to life.
I need to think outside the box.
Get out of the garage inside my head.
Step away from my computer, and outside my door.
Take some Unknown steps.
Yup, that’s me.
Name: Christina A.
Occupation: Retirement Consultant.
Location: Glendale, CA.
I never thought to ask for a raise until I was in my 40s. It blows my mind cuz I gave 12 years of my life to that company. I learned a lot, don’t get me wrong; I’m still using some of those skills in my work today.
When I finally did a money awareness course, it dawned on me like a piano dropped on my head, that I had some major issues around money.
To begin, my family never spoke about money.
I mean, are you kidding me?
My father, may he rest in peace, had his some heavy shit around money.
I remember this one time when I asked him how much he made –
I mean, I might’ve just said, “How many times do you masturbate a week?”
He never answered me.
In my family, we never spoke about 2 things: sex and money – and we would probably speak first about sex before money.
In the early days of my company, I would write “Maybe you could send me the money you owe me / your invoice has been probably overdue by 30 days, blah blah.
Maybe, can I please, do you mind, that kinda shit.
To this day sometimes I catch myself writing those words.
But God created the delete button, and damn am I grateful.