Thursday, February 27, 2014

Being Mary Jane = Being Messy - The Evolution of #TeamDavid and Ride or Die Chicks

#TeamDavid, I misjudged you. Please forgive me. Mary Jane, you are NOT ride or die, but you are CRAZY. Now that we've got that out of the way, let's get into the good, the bad and the cray cray that is #BeingMaryJane.

The good

The theme of Tuesday's season finale seemed to be truth and seeing people for who they really are. 

The Evolution of David: 

When this show first started, I thought I had the men, particularly David (played beautifully by Stephen C. Bishop) all figured out. He was a manwhore, but probably a good guy.  Nope, I was wrong, there was definitely more to David that we were led to believe.

For whatever I reason, I missed the part about David and MJ being an actual couple. I thought they were just friends with benefits. After the epic "Did you steal my sperm?" pregnancy test discussion (chile.....), it's revealed that MJ and David were in a committed relationship, but it didn't last because MJ believed her friends who said David was a loser stringing her along and taking advantage of her. It turns out they were totally wrong. Yeah, MJ supported David, but he was no slacker, but rather a man trying to make his dreams a reality instead of relying on his parents' money. So of course, after MJ dumps him, he hits the big time with his web company and the rest is history.

After MJ chases David down to profess her love (chile....), we learn something new: David is genuinely hurt that she bounced when he was down even though he stood by her when she got fired. In David's eyes, MJ is only interested in him because he's doing well, personally and professionally. Even though MJ says later that she's a ride or die chick, her previous actions say otherwise.

MJ: What was I supposed to do?

David: You were supposed to love me.

Well damn! There it is. "You were supposed to love me," totally sounds like something a girl would say in a romantic comedy, but the beauty of Bishop's portrayal is that the line sound both genuinely emotional yet still masculine. In that scene we really got to see David. The "casual sex" guy we were introduced to in the pilot had me fooled. David is not a bad guy. He's a hurt guy who's trying to move on with his life despite still having soft spot for the "crazy lady" known as Mary Jane Paul....or Pauletta, depending on who's around her. and then some.

When Keepin' It Real Gets Weird

Say what you want about the outrageousness of some Akil productions, but you can't deny that Mara Brock Akil is a great writer who skillfully weaves in social commentary that impacts Black lives in a way that you won't see that often. I literally squealed with glee when Ava Duvernay popped up on the screen to talk about her brilliant film, Middle of Nowhere, and the prison industrial complex. I also appreciated the poignant colorism-focused scene between MJ and Niecy. 

Preaching without Preaching

Another pro was the way Mara inserted little spiritual gems that make you go "Umph. That's a word right there!'" Whether it was the maid's sugar and vinegar analogy or Leo the limo driver giving that "Everything you're going through is preparing you for what you asked for" wisdom, preaching without being preachy is definitely a skill that Mara has mastered.

The bad

Side Chick Advice: Girl, WHAT?!?!

So for all the good we saw the other night, I'm still a little in my feelings about MJ's apology to Avery and her willingness to give unsolicited advice regarding her marriage to #TeamAndre (hey, Omari Hardwick).

While it was great she apologized to Avery, the whole thing came off as extremely self-serving. She only did it after Kara forced her and to assuage her guilt for contributing to the breakdown of a marriage. It was all about MJ.Girl, I see you, and it ain't pretty.

If that wasn't enough, after she apologizes, she advises Avery to greet Andre at the door, ask him about his day and get down on her knees when...well you know. I usually suspend disbelief quite easily when watching TV dramas, but that scene rubbed me the wrong way.  If I was Avery, the last thing I'd want hear is insight on what I did wrong from the #2. Um, girl, you dang near helped destroy a MARRIAGE!! Apologize, be grateful that Avery didn't cut you and get on. The truth shall set you free, but it can also get you hurt.

Am I Losing You for Good? Yep, Looks That Way

Oh, and getting back to David, after sleeping with a married man, MJ goes to David and proposes getting back together even though he has a girlfriend. So, while she feels guilty about wrecking one home, she's cool with wrecking another? Girl, bye.

The Cray Cray aka What The Entire F***?

Want Some Pot Roast to go with that Pap Smear?

So Dr. Lisa almost inseminated MJ on her kitchen floor with a turkey baster. Um, WHAT??? Please lawd don't let this become a thing. I know that TV has to go a little left to keep the tweets flowing, but really? Va jay jay on the kitchen floor? File this under  DOING WAY TOO MUCH FOR A TUESDAY. OR ANY OTHER DAY.

Sperm Etiquette

Why did MJ keep the sperm for so long? Why didn't David take the sperm when he left MJ's after confronting her about stealing it in the first place? Why did MJ give the sperm back to David instead of just throwing it away? What the hell is David supposedly to do with thawed sperm? Why are we being all willy nilly with sperm?

Too many questions and not enough answers. Ladies, just leave the sperm where you found it and WALK AWAY. Please.

So class, what did we learn?  If this season finale was about facing the truth and seeing people for who they really are, then Mary Jane probably shouldn't like what she sees. However, how many of us do? How many of us need a mirror to confront our crazy? Hopefully Season 2 Mary Jane will give us a reason to root for her, rather than a reason to give the side-eye.

Also, this is a television drama for a reason. None of Tuesday's night ratchetness will cut it in the real world, but you knew that, right?

Stay random,

Friday, February 21, 2014

Emotional Rollercoaster: When a Song Isn't Just a Song

You know how you can like a song and get it on an intellectual level, but you can't really relate to it? The song is not an Aha! moment, at least not on the first listen. For example, I had a love/hate relationship with Miguel's "Quickie." I've never had a quickie, can't relate to the concept, but whenever I heard it, I sang along quite loudly. However, I never did that around anybody's kids, because considering the lyrics, that would be kinda trifling.

Well, Vivian Green's 2002 diddy,"Emotional Rollercoaster," is now one of those Aha! moment songs for me. It's a beautifully crafted song that tells an all too familiar story. Like other songs, I liked it, but it didn't really speak to my experiences....until today. I listened to the song on a whim for the first time since the Great Regret, and I finally GOT IT. Funny how that happens when you finally get off your own emotional rollercoaster. If you're not familiar, peep the lyrics:

 Last night I cried, tossed and turned
Woke up with dry eyes
My mind was racing, feet were pacing
Lord, help me please, tell me what I have gotten into

Ran my three miles to clear my mind
It always helps me out
It's my therapy when I'm losin' it
Which is usually, hey

I'm on an emotional rollercoaster
Lovin' you ain't nothin' healthy
Lovin' you was never good for me (For me)
But I can't get off

This emotional rollercoaster
Lovin' you ain't nothin' healthy
Lovin' you was never good for me (For me, oh)
But I can't get off

Yesterday I told myself
I was gonna be okay
Gonna start a new day, truly happy
I was gonna take control of me

But eventually reality hit me
Mentally, physically, emotionally
And I opened my eyes and realized
That I was still bein' taken for a constant ride on

I'm on an emotional rollercoaster (Ooh, baby)
Lovin' you ain't nothin' healthy (For real, it's never
healthy for me)
Lovin' you was never good for me (Oh, but I can't get)
But I can't get off (

Emotional rollercoaster (You got me goin' up and down)
Lovin' you ain't nothin' healthy (Oh)
Lovin' you was never good for me (Never good for me,
But I can't get off

So tired of you makin' love to me
Then disappearing so suddenly
Up and down it goes
And I'm so tired of you pacifyin' me
With promises you know that you'll never keep
Round and round it goes, I am on a

I'm on an emotional rollercoaster (Oh)
Lovin' you ain't nothin' healthy (Ooh, ain't nothin'
healthy ?bout it, baby)
Lovin' you was never good for me (Nothin' healthy
'bout it, baby)
But I can't get off (Oh, oh)

Emotional rollercoaster
Lovin' you ain't nothin' healthy
Lovin' you was never good for me
But I can't get off

What about you? Any new Aha! moments from your favorite songs?

While you're thinking about that, stay random and stay away from rollercoasters, at least the emotional kind.


Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Social Media Sabbatical: Try It. You Might Like It.

Last month I decided to do a digital detox because my social media use was getting a wee bit out of control. What I learned during my time away from social media was that the world won't end if I don't know everything as it happens and that it's easy to slip back into bad habits. Let me break it down for you because unlike Sway, I got the answers

1. Whatever happened, you'll find about it eventually

When I first started the detox, I felt like I was missing out of what's going on the world. More importantly, I felt left out of a massive global conversation facilitated by social media, and I didn't like feeling like an outsider. I mean, is everyone hanging out without me? In the beginning it seemed like there were so many things to tweet and post, and I couldn't share any of it. Argh!

However, even though I was taking a social media break, I wasn't taking an Internet break. Consequently, I probably scoured news sites and blogs more than usual to find out what was going on the world. Once I did, I realized that while I probably could have discovered info about the latest and greatest earlier, I eventually did find out what was going on, and my world didn't end. Imagine that.
2. I'm not alone

Once I detached from social media, I became more aware that I wasn't the only one who spent way more time looking down at a touch screen rather than looking up at the people right in front of you. You know what I'm talking about: You're having a meal with a friend or hanging out at an event, and you pull out your phone. Whether it's scrolling through Instagram or checking Facebook or Twitter, many of us have mastered the art of  the non-conversation conversation when pleasant banter fades into silence because we're looking down at our phones. I don't want to continue to be one of those people, and I don't want you to continue to be one of those people either. It will be hard at first, but I promise you can do it. 

3. Freedom from social media = Free time

During my detox, I realized that I had more free time on my hands. Normally this would be a good thing, but all the free time I had reminded me of how much time I actually waste scrolling on my phone and laptop. I could have been coming up with the next Big Idea or cooking a mean lasagna, but instead I was peeping through the windows of other people's lives (or what they want us to believe about their lives) via social media. Hmmm...I think I'll go come up with that Big Idea now and find out more enriching ways to fill my making that lasagna.

4. Social media needs a purpose to keep it from being a GIANT timesuck

Back in the early days of social media, especially Twitter, there was a lot of advice out there about how to not be annoying on social media and how to provide "value" to your followers. While well- intentioned, I honestly don't think the advice took hold for most of the Twitterverse because I see a lot of stuff that adds no value to my life, but maybe that's just me.

I'm learning that social media needs to have a purpose to keep it from becoming a depressing and self-loathing waste of time. Whether that purpose is to connect with your favorite writers or follow the hashtag of a popular TV show, you need structure when consuming social media, and yes, there's freedom in structure. Look for what you need, find it and then get out of dodge...Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Tumblr...all of it! If you don't, you'll find out some new things, but you'll miss more important things, like actual human interaction, if you don't stop staring at your phone.

5. Diving back in after going cold turkey is NOT a good idea

After my detox I felt proud and excited by what I had learned about myself and my habits during the process. However, when I got back on social media, I made the mistake of diving back and playing catch up. From there it was just a hop, skip and a jump back into most, but not all, of my bad habits. The lesson: Once again, have a plan! Just like you reintroduce certain foods into your diet after a fast, reintroduce social media slowly back into your life in a purposeful way with guidelines and limits.

For example, only check Instragram once a day when you're on the train. Scroll through your Twitter feed for only three minutes every other day. If you survived a detox, you can do this. Your eyes, fingers and your phone battery will thank you.  

The moral of this story? Social media has obvious advantages and disadvantages. On one hand, it can introduce you to people and ideas that enlighten you in unexpected ways. On the other it can be a timesuck of meaningless, tiresome chatter and pretty pictures that add nothing to your life and kill your brain cells, if you don't manage it with purpose. The choice is yours.

Stay random,


Tuesday, February 11, 2014

I Miss Football and This is How I Cope

Considering that I really didn't understand football basics until last year, the fact that I miss the game is a little surprising to me. Having no real football news to digest has created a small void in my sports news consumption habits, so I can only imagine how hard-core fans are handling their withdrawal.

So far the only big football news is the whole Michael Sam drama, and I understand why it's a big deal. Quick note on Michael Sam: What he did was brave, so hopefully his bravery won't be met with cowardice from NFL teams on draft day. 

*Gets down off soapbox* Anywho, back to the original topic. I'm coping with the absence of football the best way I know how, with laughter.

If you want to see a hilarious interpretation what your favorite players and coaches might be saying on the field (oh how I wish), check out NFL Bad Lip Reading. I'm particularly fond of the the latest installment.

Go ahead and get your laugh on. It will make the countdown to kickoff that much easier. Remember, THIS IS NOT A TOY! Gotta watch the vid to understand what I'm talking about :)

Stay random,