Smells Like Sulfur

I can’t rant today, I feel too much to poet. My nieces and nephews are on my mind. But what I can do is let my art speak for me. 

As my voice, I offer an excerpt from my 2012 National Novel Writing Month novella, The Black Parade. It’s sequel, The American Manifesto, was completed during the 2014 National Novel Writing Month contest. In both, I explore the socio-economic collapse of the United States of America. Please enjoy the (very) rough draft of my chapter titled, “A New America.” Brace yourself for triggers…


“Four more years! Four more muhfuckin’ years! WOO!” The penthouse filled with the former Yale rugby star’s elation. “Send that monkey back to Newark, that stupid fuck! WOO HOO!” His crystalline blue eyes were ensnared by thick, red lines. A formidable cocktail of power drinks, prescription speed, and insomnia powered his body from one side of the room to the other, unabashedly shoving revelers and supporters aside. The results had been released four hours ago. The Wilcoxon Re-Election Team powered through the press junkets, complied with the requisite photo ops, and relayed messages of gratitude to the nation for keeping Archibald “Archie” Wilcoxon in office to continue the mission of A New America.
Andrew Huebner stopped in his charge to kiss an unsuspecting campaign volunteer on her mouth. “WOO!” He pushed her aside and continued to sprint, slacking his red, white and blue tie enough to wrap it around his head Animal House style. Nervous laughter inflated as he passed, coaxing him to unbutton his shirt and reveal his gym rat chest and arms, stopping in his tracks to wave it over his head. “That fucker is crawling back to Jersey tonight, yeah! See this? This is his white flag of defeat! WOO HOO!”
The blitzkrieged U.S. Senate intern wipes her mouth, leaning disapprovingly towards her employer. “What is he on?”
“Adrenaline,” Abelardo Contreras, Senator from the 11th District of Arizona, Andrew Huebner’s home state, replied.
“Has he been drinking?”
Abelardo Contreras shrugged.
Andrew Huebner screeched to a halt in front of his childhood friend, clasped him at each side, and pulled him to his bare chest. “We did it man, yeah! Four more years to set this fucked up country straight!”
Senator Contreras’ intern back stepped towards the kitchen to avoid another assault.
The sweaty, tanned, muscular man with jet black (dyed) hair contrasted the short, pale, balding and exhausted man he squeezed. Abelardo patted one of Andrew Huebner’s hands to request a release. “Calm it down, Andy. Yes, we won; that’s what we’re all celebrating,” Abelardo softened his voice, noticing Andy was heavily panting. “Andy, you’re at a ten. I need you at a two. Here, drink my water.” Andy clasped the bottle of water and chugged it as if shooting a fitness commercial. He slammed the emptied vessel to the ground and crushed it with his foot. “Them stupid fucks really thought they were gonna take this away from me, huh? Stupid…dickless…FUCKS!”
“Andy. Bring it down,” Abelardo pleaded.
The smell of victory was too intoxicating for him to relax. Andrew Huebner clasped his hands around his taut waist, leaned his head back and inhaled the ceiling. He closed his swollen eyelids, finally returning moisture to his overworked lenses. He dropped his head slowly, revealing a countenance of sincerity.
“You’re a good man, Abelardo. A good friend. We’re gonna start by getting S.B. 173 flying through Congress. And you,” Andrew slapped a hand down on Abelardo’s shoulder and squeezed it, Andy’s favorite intimidation tactic that always caused Abelardo grief since childhood, bringing Abelardo closer for emphasis. “You my friend will be Chairman of the committee. How ‘bout them apples?” Abelardo shook his head with consternation. “That’s the President’s decision to make, not yours.”
Andrew Huebner dropped his eyes to Abelardo Contreras’ level with incredulity. “What? That pussy? He’ll appoint who I tell him to appoint. Where is that fucker anyways?”
“You mean, where is the President-Elect Archie Wilcoxon, don’t you U.S. Attorney General Huebner? There are members of the press present. For God’s sake man, put your shirt back on.”

He read the inscription on the back of the watch his wife Katherine gifted him for tonight’s win. Always a winner, never a sinner. His famous catchphrase from his University of South Florida days, a Heisman trophy winning quarterback who forfeited a career in the National Football League to open his own consulting firm in Pinellas County, Florida. From the consulting firm to the state legislature. From Florida politics to national politics. His job-creating talent and All-American charm got him in the White House four years ago.
Mirroring the austerity measures the European Union exacted upon its nations in 2011, Wilcoxon was in danger of losing political favor. Sure, the middle class tanked, but with destruction comes reformation. He compared the event to the dismantling of the Berlin Wall. Rise from the rubble like a phoenix. Well, not really. Those who could afford to moved their investments elsewhere, starving the American financial systems. Under his presidency, three constitutional amendments were exacted. Tonight, after this election, Archie Wilcoxon knows he’s on the verge of managing a fourth invocation of Article V. The thought of losing one more state from the union ate at him. This was not supposed to happen. This was supposed to be a cake walk this time around. Get the money back. Stop milking the Federal Reserve. That gosh darn pipeline. Archie Wilcoxon paused his frantic thoughts for a quick prayer. “Dear gracious and holy Lord. Your beloved found me worthy to continue the difficult task of managing these United States, a task too great to bear without your unfaltering love and guidance. See me through the upcoming storm, help me build the ark that will sail this nation back to prosperity. In your name I humbly pray, Amen.”
Archie Wilcoxon stared at his watch deferentially. He blinked twice. It was nearly one in the morning.
Two knocks against the door raises his head. A necktie’d head pokes in. “What up, Coxie! How ya feelin’ man?”
“Come on in Andy.”
The President-Elect clasps his new watch, then reaches for his sweating glass of vodka. He looks up from his glass with weary eyes towards his attorney general, wearing a too tight “A New America” campaign shirt.
“Is the party over yet? I’m really tired Andy.”
Andrew Huebner folds his arms across his chest with mild difficulty. A wide smile draws across his face.
“I got you a present, boss.”
Archie Wilcoxon forces a smile. “You didn’t have to…”
Andy’s ice blue eyes glow.
“Flashback, Mr. President. Four years ago. Election Night. Tampa. You with me?”
“Yeap.”
“The after party at Joe Redner’s place…”
“Yeap.”
“…you had a favorite out of all his girls…”
“Yeah?”
“…she voted for you this year under the name of Leont’nae Price, but you know her as…”
The President-Elect leaned his head back. Andy swung his body towards the door, clasping the doorknob.
“You didn’t…?”
“Oh yeah I did!” the Attorney General shifts his voice into Strip Club Dee Jay. “Mr. President, performing exclusively for you, the owner and operator of Tampa Nights Cabaret…the award winning…Champagne!”
Archie Wilcoxon’s shoulders dropped. In strolled the most beautiful woman he ever knew, besides his wife, of course. Her almond shaped eyes, her bee stung lips, a sweet smile to compliment her sweet breasts. Champagne has natural, double D sized breasts. Katherine? Nothing.
She slowly stepped one high heeled foot in front of the other, rolling her round hips enough to reveal the juicy, tender ass they burden themselves to hold. Those long long legs. Katherine’s thighs seemed to thicken with every birth.
She wore a Beyonce wig this time. Champagne’s dress of the same color barely covered her crotch. Champagne stopped her pelvis in front of the President-Elect’s awestruck face.
“Congratulations on your re-election Mr. President. I want you to know I personally campaigned for you, and convinced all my dancers to vote for you.” Champagne bent at her hips, grazing her breasts against his face, softly kissing him on both cheeks. The President-Elect exhaled excitedly.
Champagne relocated his glass to the stand. She lowered her torso to the floor, widening her legs, revealing beautifully sculpted labia and a diamond pierced clitoris. She dragged her hands against each of his thighs.
“I have a present for you,” she whispered. Her hands began to decipher his belt and pants. Archie Wilcoxon began to fidget. Champagne smiled lovingly, lowering his boxers so she can get a handful of manhood. Archie felt heat grow around his neck.
“I’ll be gentle,” she assured.
“I know but…”
She applied gentle pressure to his shaft to arouse him.
“I remember last time, Mr. President. You’re safe with me.”
“I know but…”
“See? You’re getting hard. That’s a good sign.”
Beads of sweat formed against his scalp. He grasped the armrests with uncertainty, his anxiety growing as his head engorged.
Champagne kissed him. “It’s me, baby. Don’t think. Just feel.”
Her mouth encapsulated his eagerness. “Watch me. You’ll love it.”
Archie Wilcoxon fought to focus on her beautiful brown face in his lap, her reassuring eyes helping him fight the panic. For a moment, he did relax. He released his sphincter and fell into the pleasure of warm wetness against him. But his memories betrayed him. Archie is back in the shower room. Coach Bradbury is on his knees. Archie shuts his eyes. Champagne pops him out her mouth.
“No, Archie, watch me. Don’t think about…that. Watch what I’m doing.” She plunges deeper, making kissing noises at the base of his shaft.
The noises temporarily distract . Then her face contorts, and it’s him again. The wrinkle of the top of his bald head, his white hairs sticking up around the edges like cat whiskers. Moaning as he pumps Little Archie’s hips into his face. His coach had dry lips. They scratched his sensitive skin. Mom thought it was the detergent she used. Archie shudders defiantly.
“Stop! Get off me!”
Before she can comply, Archie Wilcoxon jerks his lap up, causing Champagne to scrape teeth against him. The President-Elect lets out a terrible wail, inciting the Secret Service to rush the room.
“What happened sir?”
“She…she bit me! My…she… bit me!” Archie Wilcoxon doubled onto the floor to cover his embarrassment and shame. Champagne is dragged into the hallway. “It was an accident! Ac-cid-ent! Don’t arrest me!” she pleaded. The agent’s voice carried away from his room towards the front door. “You assaulted the President of the United States, a federal offense…” Archie Wilcoxon could hear as his favorite woman in the world, besides his wife, of course, was likely being sent to the nearest correctional institution. All the powers of the presidency could not erase those damned memories. Faithful? Archie Wilcoxon didn’t have a choice. The guilt of both events washed over him.
“Mr. President, should I call the doctor?”
The President realized he was still on his hands and knees, with his security standing over him awaiting orders. Archie inspected himself, relieved to not see any breakage.
“No, Gus, I’m fine. I, uh, could use my sleeping pills.”
“They should be in the bathroom with the rest of your toiletries.”
“That’ll be all, then.”
“Good night, Mr. President. Congratulations once again, Mr. President.”

2017: Unleash The Warrior

When Maeve shows up in your spread, you freakin’ pay attention! From The Goddess Oracle Deck, curated by Amy Sophia Marashinsky and illustrated by Hrana Janto, here’s a poem featured for the goddess Queen. Take heed warriors:

I am a Warrioress

a Warrioress of the Heart

I am Queen

of the domain of myself

I am able to respond

in all situations

from the knowledge of who I am

My actions are who I am

My beliefs are who I am

All I do is who I am

That which is outside of me

stays outside of me

That which I choose to let in

I own and acknowledge

How can you be responsible

if you do not own all aspects of yourself?

How can you be accountable

without being Queen over your own domain?

How can you serve your consort, your children, your community

if you are unwilling to acknowledge and answer for yourself?

 

Toodle-oo 2016

Happy end to 2016, all! And man, am I glad for it.

My best analogy would be a roller coaster. The year started as a steady climb, up up up towards the sun, elevating my excitement, then a nominal twist around, a clear view of my surroundings, lush and lovely, before plunging, straight down, body lifting away from its harness, into a cavern of no end, in complete darkness, only to shoot out into the brightness once more, theme park camera flashing to capture the stoic expression upon my face before the rasping cart slams to a complete stop.

There might be a poem in that…

All in all, it was a year filled with hope. Hope that my independent productions would find happy homes or an interested audience. Hope that my love life would improve in a new domesticated living situation. Hope that my illness would stabilize, allowing my physical, emotional and mental health to be balanced. Hope that my inner circle of trusted friends would expand exponentially. With hope and a super injection of faith, these events did occur with great success. For that I am grateful. But there were costs and consequences, as described by that speeding coaster above.

One double-twist I didn’t brace myself for was merging my artistic process with another person’s standards. We were not on the same page with that. Living on my own I was able to carve out a creative space within my home, but combining two households, and the forces within, left me with no creative wiggle room. I felt my creativity fizzle, as you can witness by the dearth of blog posts this year. I overcompensated, helping others out with their life plans, supporting other artists with their endeavors, more caught up in their needs as opposed to my artistic process. The costs of supporting my productions was a giant loop with nauseating hang time in the middle. Fortunately, I didn’t get to a-block-of-ramen-as-my-one-daily-meal broke, but I’m still recuperating from such a dizzying situation. I asked myself, has the Von Simeon Experience reached its zenith?

Because of the intense focus away from my artistic self, I felt my confidence wane. Then the response to The Living Goddess Exhibit happened. I didn’t know what to expect, but what I received was a strong indication that the Von Simeon Experience is far from over. I’ve carved out a niche, a nice one, one that I can expose with the right resources. The fatalist in me of course then asks, but can you keep it up? I hope so. I really hope so.

I did step up my mental health advocacy this year, reaching out to fellow MIs, sharing poetry, participating in local mental health awareness events. I’ve renewed my NAMI membership, and am thinking of doing more with the Pinellas County charter. I’ve been invited to contribute articles and poetry about living with bipolar disorder. After Carrie Fisher’s passing, I’m encouraged to do so in her honor.

Thank you for reading this far. Thank you for reading, period!

May the new year be a gentle undulation through soft blue skies, easy coasts and mellow bounces, feather-light in ride.

And now, this video of the height-defying coaster I actually rode in July 2016. It’s gnarly!

The Living Goddess Exhibit (Video)

Thank you to everyone who supported this personal, transcendental endeavor of mine. The show was a hit! We wanted everyone to experience the magic of the Goddesses, so here’s a full YouTube link of the show, filmed entirely on smartphone. Like and share with everyone you love.

Broadcasting the Divine Feminine in Sarasota

I was four years old, standing onstage with my dance mates at the Fort Hood Family Recreation Center, wearing a white frilly top with red satin inlay and matching red velour skirt. White opaque tights and shiny patent leather Mary Janes completed my outfit. My hair, curls freshly unfurled from pink sponge curlers, served as a mane. Mom had painted whiskers across my cheeks. While the costume was more holiday, the performance was animal. I was cast as a lion amongst lambs in a story about Jesus Christ’s birth. My dance was simple – a crouched position, a turn to the left, a turn to the right, then a full circle. Repeat. It was my first stage performance. After the applause and raising of the house lights, I knew it wouldn’t be my last.

Flash forward to the eve of 40. I sit across from show director Luke Rosebaro in the WSRQ Sarasota talk radio station at microphone #4. Andy Garrett sits to my left, and Frances Roberts-Reilly sits to my right. The three of us are promoting The Living Goddess Exhibit, a production I developed early 2016 that was showcased on November 11th. For Luke and his listening audience, we share poems featured in the exhibit as well as other sacred creations.

This was my first radio performance, and I delighted to share at a microphone that wasn’t propped on a stand on a stage in front of a live audience. Although I faced Luke, I knew my purpose for being there was to reach out to the listening audience – what message do I want to convey? All our poems were formed around the Dark Goddess in our daily living. What does she have to say?

To invoke goddess energy into my delivery, I took my favorite scarf – a gray sheer fabric adorned with black skulls – and draped it over my head and shoulders. Immediately I felt a tingle in the crown of my head, more to the right side. A sensation like an electrical current flowing between two points repeated across the area. I was tuned in.

Photos: Frances Roberts-Reilly

From my collection, I offered ArcAngel, Lady of Blazing Dominion, and Reed-Girl. The beautiful poetess Nidia Del Mar, who embodied Kali for The Living Goddess Exhibit, let me perform her two poems from the show. The Dark Goddess infused me, allowing the words to flow with a lion’s strength and a warrior’s passion.

I felt good sharing with Luke and his audience. I felt empowered, able to perform without the ego getting in the way. After a successful day sharing our art, we touched a bit on opportunities in the region before heading to Simon’s Coffee House for lunch. Our contributions will be aired on Saturday, December 24th and will be available online here.

Our visit to WSRQ was an opportunity to promote POP! The Poet Outreach Program I began to develop this year. The purpose of POP is to bring together artists of all styles, all levels of experience, to collaborate on unique projects and deliver community events across Tampa Bay. This grass-roots level approach embraces literary arts as a catalyst towards increased creativity in communities were artistic exposure may be lacking. Since we were in Sarasota I encouraged the listening audience to consider supporting POP! locally, and to contact our organization for networking opportunities across the Skyway Bridge.

Andy, Frances, and the rest of The Living Goddess Exhibit cast are eager to reprise our show on a local stage or setting in 2017. We hope our visit to WSRQ will stoke interest and draw supporters. Currently, we’re in need of funding to cover exhibit costs. Your generous, tax deductible donations to POP! can be made via PayPal to vsenterprisesfl@gmail.com.

The Monday After

I took the flower bouquets I received Friday night and consolidated them into one mongo bouquet on the kitchen island. The vase it rests in is the same one from the exhibit, a gift from lady Brigid, the Bringer of Light. I wanted to depict onstage a woman’s womb and its power to birth beauty, thus the addition of the bouquet to the dais. Real flowers this time in the vase; they make me smile widely.

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Gifts from a successful evening, a plethora of flowers and a nice bottle of merlot

It is a strange morning. What had consumed my time, energy and effort these past few months is done, gone. I woke up thinking, what to do now? I took the healthy route and scaled down my interests just so I could concentrate fully on developing this creative piece. In doing so, I freed myself of unnecessary worry. But it’s done now, and I feel a bit…naked.

Let’s reflect on the exhibit itself. By the time I had horns on my head, I was ready to go. I had complete faith in each performer, on the attending crowd, and the spiritual energy in the theater. I smiled big the whole night. When I performed, I gave myself to the stage. I honestly can’t recall doing my poetic recitations, but I know they happened. I remember looking into the crowd, finding the faces of my friends. I remember feeling the heat of the lamps pointed center stage. I remember feeling empowered, thinking, “I am good at this!” as I laughed into my next recitation. I gave myself lines and not one, but two sets of poems to recite. I did not mess up. I am proud of me!

The first poem I recited is an actual poem written by Enheduanna, the high priestess of Ur and first poet of recorded history. It’s actually the invocation portion of an epic poem, Inanna and Ebih, In-Nin-Me-Huš-A, which means “Lady of Blazing Dominion.” You know what I use as a mnemonic? Bon Jovi’s “Blaze of Glory.” I play the chorus in my head, then I launch into the whole poem.

The second poem is an original I wrote earlier this year. It’s a poem about self-discovery and taking chances. It was a story I wanted to tell about me in the search for footing in a 21st century world. I figured it fit with the story of Enheduanna’s difficulty in pleasing the world, leaving her unfulfilled. Until the goddesses hear her desperation, Enheduanna suffers the part. This is so common, especially with modern women. We sit there and stew in our troubles instead of reaching out. Yours truly is a culprit of this activity. Thus, I turn around and encourage the high priestess to reach beyond and find her potential amongst the cosmos. If you can’t find inspiration in this world, be inspired by the worlds beyond.

Today I feel like I released a bird to the sky letting it fly and be part of nature. The exhibit belongs to the artistic ethos now, out of my hands, existing as its own pulsating thing. Today I should allow myself to breathe. Friday was a fantastic night. Today should be a quiet day.

 

Empowered By The Goddesses

Last night can’t be undone.

Magic happened to this scraping-by artist. Months of anxious planning and preparation, interrupted by life and health events, and here it was: my poetry exhibit. Performed beautifully by goddesses of their own caliber, embodying influential archetypes much needed in this post-election week. We gathered to share, we’re not scared. When challenged we have the greatest weapon – our divine sisterhood.

I hand picked artists of diverse creative influences with one common thread: a genuine respect for the power of goddess energy. Allowing them the freedom to choose their artistic interpretation made the project a communal experience. Everyone provided me input as to how they envisioned their deity within the story, based on the loose script I had provided. By the time I met with each woman, got to know her at her craft and on a personal level, and scripted her part, I had the complete story. Using a community-oriented approach to playwriting was a great experience.

And then, showtime. I was not nervous at all. My faith was so strong in these actors I knew I had nothing to worry about. Healthwise, my body had reacted well to new medication, so I didn’t have to concern myself with erratic movement or confusion. Mind, body and soul clear, I took to the stage like I take to my bed at night; cozily and comfortably! You know what? I felt redeemed. After a shitty Wednesday morning feeling tense and scared about my future, I have this moment of success that can’t be taken away. I achieved this, in America, as a disabled person, as a woman of color.  It took incredible fortitude to get here, and I championed that. I’ve arrived at the station I’m meant to visit.

My art has elevated my mood once again. I’m wrapped in the embrace of creativity, considering how to replicate the show for a wider audience. Or, shall I write another performance poetry exhibit? I love mashing music and poetry together, maybe a joint exhibit with live musicians, like how we incorporated a drummer into Pomba Gira’s performance? Wait, wait…let’s bask in the glow of success that was last night. We can do all of that battle planning later, Inanna 😉

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Me dressed as the warrior goddess Inanna
The Show:
 

Last night, the beautiful high priestess Enheduanna, troubled by her Moon Temple followers, found relief in the love, compassion, and commitment of her beloved goddesses. First, Persephone, Maiden of the Underworld, arrived as soon as Enheduanna begged for Death. She brought forward the Matron of the Crossroads, Pomba Gira, who offered the high priestess quite a wake-up call! Upon Pomba Gira’s departure, the Bringer of Light, Brigid, softly stepped into the high priestess’ chamber and blessed it with a light-welcoming poem. 

 
She brought forward Hecate, Great Crone, to call the powers of the four directions to Enheduanna. Her poetry reminds us of her all-knowing power. Relieved, Enheduanna takes a moment to relax, but is quickly interrupted by the powerful Kali, Governess of Time. The intimidating mother reminds the high priestess of her natural divinity and urges her to use it. Glamoured into a sleep state, the goddess Ix Chel visits Enheduanna’s dream. Her poem forecasts necessary change from disillusionment. 
 
When Enheduanna wakes, she is reverent, washed over in love and appreciation. To enhance those wonderful feelings, Yemoya emerges from the water to the high priestess, and they share a dance of divine feminine love. Finally, Enheduanna is entreated to the presence of her personal goddess, Inanna, who shares knowledge of the high priestess’ own written words. Inanna passes on her pure lance to the worthy high priestess, then sends her back to the moon ceremony with a poem of spiritual encouragement.

 

A Creative Place

Here we are, the first week of November. It’s still in the 80s here in Florida, with a tease of a cold front moving in this weekend. The Living Goddess Exhibit is turning into an exquisite piece of art, thanks to the collaborative effort of all artists involved. I’m really proud of this event, and proud of myself for sticking to it, as I was challenged by a medicine change a few weeks back.

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Check out the curls! Hanging out at The Complete Sweet Shoppe on a lovely Friday afternoon

It is quite a challenge to stay in an artistic flow when you’re experiencing every drug-related side effect indicated. I’m sensitive that way, didn’t realize how much until this recent run through. But I fought through, head butting through the collapses and the shakes and the confusion. I fixed my face and attitude so that I can have successful interactions with those involved in the exhibit. I continue to be nervous, more for the closeness of the performance date than the side effects.

What I’m most appreciative of is the quality of support I’ve received from my inner circle, growing greater as I venture out artistically. Sometimes I just need to curl into a ball on a friend’s couch for a few minutes, just to get aligned, grounded. Then I burst back into creativity, going through the logistics of the show, or working on the details of my props. It feels good to be genuinely nurtured through the process.

The show hasn’t commenced yet but I’m already thinking about after the fact. Where are my energies going to be directed? What is my focus for the next few months? Earlier in October I ventured out into a project that I realized was bigger than I can handle, and it left me in a depressive state, realizing my limitations. But I’m a try-er, and I can at least pride myself in giving it a go. That’s the artist life. Some things stick, some things slide through. I’ve gotten over the discouragement.

My hope is that the Living Goddess Exhibit goes without a hitch. I’ve got wonderful artists involved, full of positivity and talent, so there’s no denying things are gonna work out. Afterwards, I’ll allow myself a little break so that I can healthfully pursue my next project.

That’s my check in. Have a wonderful weekend!

 

It’s Dress Up Time!

inanna
Source: deviantart

Busy, busy, like a queen honeybee, pumping out ideas, designs, and information with little breaks in between to breathe. Ask for help will I? Why? Everything’s under control, yep…everything is errythang.

Whew. Who am I kidding??

These last two years, I had been producing works for publication and sale. After joining the band, I was compelled back into performance art. So, getting my Vaclav Havel on, I’ve designed an exhibit of empowered, proactive women sharing words of wisdom in the form of goddesses. Fun, right? The exhibit came from a place of concern, that pit in the gut where you feel something needs to be expressed, something especially important for humankind. This is what Art does for us, yes? Get those expressions out into the open.

I wanted to express my disappointment in humanity, specifically, in the way women refuse to support each other when it comes to social cues and laws defining our roles in society. But I didn’t want to be a nag about it either. Instead, I took a comic view. What is it that women typically deal with that we can all agree we deserve a break from? And so, I’ve developed The Living Goddess Exhibit.

The girls are here to tell it like it is.

Me, I’m going to perform as Inanna, my all-time favorite deity. I’ve blogged about her too many times to not support my obsession. Inanna is perfect! If I lived in the time of her worship, I would be her best high priestess. Why? She does what I do all the time: explore people’s dualities. I *love* to exploit either-or people (in a gentle way) in order to get them to see the world’s challenges as not which team one prefers but rather, what the global community could embrace if they considered both options. It’s easy to follow the herd, but ultimately, someone needs to shepherd. Inanna is that deity.

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Inanna, Goddess of Love and War

More details on the exhibit to come, but know this: I am in a place of deep creativity and also of calm. Things are moving at tornado speed around me but the inner cone is silent. I’m glad I’ve gotten to a point in life where I can manage the outer and inner worlds as a whole. Wish me luck in these next coming weeks!

 

 

The Great White Male

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I slapped on the visor and apron with uncertainty. Already I had worked the season opener for the local college team, now my volunteering efforts were geared towards opening day for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The USF game was its own special nightmare – scorching day, no breeze, collapsing bodies – but otherwise, sales at the Second Time Arounders Marching Band tiki bar boomed. I think it was because we were by the boat.

This time around, we were placed in a beer corner with not a lot of space to move between the six of us. Before I had finished dumping ice onto the premium beers it was go time! Customers lining up for all things frosty and salty. I did as trained – smiled as I took the order, if it involved alcohol I asked for ID, held the ID up to confirm face and date, then processed the sale with a cheerful “Enjoy the game!” to send their happy selves off.

And then, he came. A large, burly man dressed in Buccaneer regalia, beads dangling proudly from his neck. His face was cute, chubby, and pinked at the cheeks. He ordered two beers and a water. I asked for his photo ID. His chubby face became firm. He flared his arms, “Are you fucking serious?”

“Yes,” I calmly replied.

“I’m 54 years old! I could be your goddamn father!”

“I’m sorry sir,” I calmly explain, “I can’t sell you those drinks without an ID.”

I watched as he stepped backwards, almost into the couple behind him, then flare his nostrils and widen his chest. I swear he was going to rush the stand, but then he yelled, “Let’s settle this right now.”

My eyes followed his left hand waiving over someone. I’m thinking it’s his wife or somebody holding his ID. A dark blue suit with TPD on the lapel and a gun at the waist appeared instead.

Never in the history of me has a cop being waived my direction ever worked out in my favor. I’m flushed, I feel my heart start to race, and an “Oh SHIT” mantra starts looping in my head, all the while thinking, he called the cops on me, he called the cops on me…

The large man details the situation above and then tells the cop “She shouldn’t ID me.” Wow! I wish I had that kind of social authority! Being above the law, being able to tell a cop what should and should not happen to him during his good time at a privately-owned stadium.

The policeman looked at me, at him, then replied, “It’s her discretion whether she sells you alcohol or not.”

WHAAAT! He’s on MY side?

Never in the history of me has a cop agreed with me, even off-duty. I felt redeemed. And even though he was pouty after the fact, I still sold the big guy a water.

I don’t care how mouthy you are. Rule #1 in retail: get the sale.

I wasn’t worried about him, I was worried about the cop. He was worried about his beer, I was worried I was ending up in handcuffs. This is our world – a bunch of unnecessary worries. If I’m lucky in this lifetime, I shouldn’t feel threatened by the appearance of law enforcement anymore.

I’ve slept on this and still felt compelled to write, because it’s such a phenomenal experience. When you look a certain way, or hang out in a certain crowd, the labels and assumptions abound. Negative labels and assumptions unfortunately carry on with you despite social improvements. So when I describe this simple scenario, I wonder if you’re reading it as someone who’s been negatively labeled all their life, or if you’re wondering why the cop agreeing with me is such a monumental deal. It is a big deal. It signifies the necessary shift in the social wind. Not everyone who looks like me needs to be disciplined by the police. Moreover, people who look like me aren’t easily threatened by the gesticulations of the Great White Male, as was my friend’s mistake.