don’t make me tell you twice

don't make me tell you twice
FADE IN:

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.
Fuckin’ kids.
They’re watching us too much.

FADE OUT.

not my girls

not my girls.jpg

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.

FADE OUT.

sucks the air thin

sucks the air thin

There’s a silence that’s almost deafening.
The kind where, at a party, the music stops and everyone looks up and says to no one, “Hey, what happened?”
The kind that the body shutters from its piercing.
A Void.

I was turning 16. I wanted a big party; bodyguards, a live band, DJ, pay at the door, the whole shebang. I worked hard; I got my artistic sister to create the flyer, gave them out at my and my brother’s schools. A week before, everyone was talking about it, the word spread quick. The band was known enough to build a crowd, I was in love with the drummer who should’ve been the lead singer he was that eccentric.

I rented a trophy room off a big sports facility, facing a big oval where my brother’s school played footy. The party drew a huge crowd, a long line waited around the bend even until 11pm, an hour before close. I was shocked. I barely knew anyone, and when I did, they were intoxicated and in the throes of what it took to be a teenager at a party in the 90s.

Flash forward to afterward. Mum, bro and sis, and my best friends, with black trash bags and rubber gloves, helped me clean up the evidence. Well, enough to get our safety deposit back.

I must’ve sat down somewhere, took it all in. I hope I did. I’m hoping I popped a squat facing the oval of lush greenery and tsunamic eucalyptus trees. Muscles spent and feet regaining circulation from improper use of heels. A mix of pride and exhaustion. A mix of elation and isolation.

And then silence.
The Void.

How it sucks the air thin.

god created the delete button

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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.
But yeah.
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?”
His look.
[she laughs]
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.

four, five, eight

four, five, eight

FADE IN: Anne Ferney (18) and Jaquila Gilmore (16) drinking Dr. Pepper:

A: And that’s when her mom started rattin’ around Wilkinsburg going around to people’s houses, “Is my son here?” I am, like, oh my god, I don’t want ever for our family to experience that. You could see in her face that she was scared.

J: My dad. First, he’s the first one to call me. And then my mom called me. And then my best friend called me and, I didn’t know what happened.

A: The news keeps sayin’ they had an Automatic AK and I’m just thinking it couldn’t be an AK cuz they kept hearin’ the shots go off so you know he kept pulling the trigger.

J: How you actually know that, just blew my mind but OK.

A: It sounds like first person let their clip go and the second person let their clip go. They say eight people got shot. Cuz first on the news they say, “Ok, four people got shot.” The next thing you know five people comin’ up dead. I’m like, yo, they just changed from four people shot, five people shot dead, eight people shot, like. And then they brought the little baby out, like, there was kids in that house. And one of the girls was pregnant. Basically, it was six people that died. If you want to be technical.

J: I don’t know who she is, but she was pregnant and she was shot. I’m like, this is cray-zy. I gotta get out the hood, cuz this is too much.

A: My senior year, I’m tryin’ to go to Florida cuz you can graduate with a trade.

 

FADE OUT.

anchor into me

Beverly-Hills-CA-Virtual-Tour-Photographer-Architectural-Photography-Company-Beverly-Hills-Real-Estate-Photography-Services-Aerial-Drone-Photography-Beverly-Hills-Los-Angeles-CA.jpg

Thursday morning
Writing from the car
Sun is shining the weather is sweet (queue music)
I am parked among the wealthy, the exuberant, the luxurious.
New
Flashy
Shiny
Other.

Why does this always feel so foreign to me?
Oh, that’s a bigger question for another cocktail.
I have a few minutes, and the only thing I want to do is – touch
Hand to heart
Close my eyes, and
Remember me.

Anchor into me.

Can materialistic overwhelm disconnect you from you?
They say it’s true.
I say that it does.
I find myself unchained and segregated, searching for my anchor.

New
Flashy
Shiny
Other.
Physical proof of value and entitlement
The statues, the sprawling greenery, the dream of…

The world loves this shit and I am torn and yet curious by it
Why isn’t it easy?
I look at my basic car
My simple keyboard that connects to my, yes, luxurious phone
I look at my leather bag, authentic jewelry, Nike shoes, American citizenship, and on.

When you look at me, my life is not far off from that.
The abundance I take for granted
I forget
I toss to the side as I look for the next
New
Flashy
Shiny
Other.

survival of the fittest

survival of the fittest

FADE IN: a man talks into a camera.

Uh, I’m being inarticulate. You just gotta be focused. You gotta be clear in what you want and why. This world is changing. And it’s not looking good. You know.
NPR did this story about the Survivalists among the rich. These guys have built underground bunk-like-houses for the next “apocalypse”. They’re speculating a full-blown civil war. Billionaires have gone out and bought secret get-aways with generators and solar paneling, specifically for Doom’s Day. You know Reddit online? The fuckin’ chief officer carries with him a survivalist bag – canned goods, water, ammunition, maps. Another superrich dude went out and got laser eye surgery simply because he fears supplies will eventually dry up. I mean, yeah, who gives a fuck about his eye surgery, that’s not the point. Listen to what he’s sayin’.
They’re sniffin’ the shit and it don’t smell right. And who are they? The movers and shakers of our world.
Everything that’s happenin’ with Trump and China and Russia; the environment, mass shootings, the increasing black and white tension, – it’s not looking good.
But, that’s the point I’m trying to make. We can’t get upset about it anymore, we’re way past that.
[he laughs]
Nah man. The breakdown of society or at least a catastrophic earthquake is just around the corner. And now’s the time to get really crystalized in what you want and why you want it. So, what’s your Why?

FADE OUT.