Tuesday, 16 January 2018

And Another Thing...

When my sisters and I were growing up, my mother used to give us lectures about men. She told us that once a man gets into your pants, that's it. You'll never see him again. She told us to expect men to attempt to break your heart. Expect them to treat you badly. Have your own money and your own shit because even if you're married to a man, he'll give you the bare minimum and expect you to perform miracles with it. Do not even think about getting married unless you have your own shit. (well she didn't say shit, she said money but you get my meanin').
So growing up I had all these notions embedded in my mind and when I met a guy, I expected him to 1) Try his best to get in my pants. 2) Leave as soon as he managed to get in my pants.
Now for number one, my mother was right on the money. Haven't met a guy who didn't try to get in my pants. I never used to think about it though, the automatic answer was no. In my teens and twenties, it got kind of ridiculous because of the sheer volume.There was no chance to even think about it, the answer was just no because 'I know what you're after.'
Now for the ones who did get in my pants, I totally expected them to not call the next day. Like, to this day, I'm still surprised when they do call. (And they all call). That message was so ingrained. What experience taught me was that no, a guy would not fail to call after he'd had some. He'd keep coming back as long as you let him. Which does not mean he's after anything serious or sincere. He just wants to have sex. For a long time, I suffered cognitive dissonance because I didn't understand why these men were not sticking to the script. It took a while for the understanding to take root. To think that my mother might have been wrong about something.
When I got pregnant, I expected that my baby daddy would also follow the script. Claim it wasn't his, accuse me of sleeping around, like in the movies right? I was cynical from the jump when it came to relationships. The fact that he didn't say those things just made me frown with puzzlement. The fact that he blew hot and cold from one day to the next was just confusing.
I am still on the topic of #metoo by the way. That was just a bit of background to provide context. Just like The Swamp is Full of Mystery and In the Shadow of the Styx provide context for Child of Destiny even as they are complete stories on their own.
I have a son, and I teach him to listen if a girl says no. To listen and back the motherfucking hell off. However...
Y'all people with girl children need to teach them what my mother taught me. Never go to a guy's house unless you want to find yourself fighting him off. (Did my mom teach me that one or did I learn it by experience? I guess we'll never know). Always know how you're getting home if you go out with a guy. Learn to say no early and loudly.
Scream if you can.
Scratch, bite and kick him in the nuts if he still can't hear.
Again, did I learn this by experience or at my mother's knee? Doesn't matter. You can learn it from me.
Now that the scene is set, let's see how our menfolk are doing...
The thing with menfolk though, is that they talk a good game don't they? Take the Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. for instance. Yesterday was his birthday and my timeline was chock full of quotes from him. And I was just trying to reconcile this guy talking about being judged for the content of your character with the man who habitually cheated on his wife. And I wondered to myself, is it compartmentalizing? You're a pastor, you're all about integrity, but you're also all about infidelity. Which is the real you?
Bob Marley talking about One Love and sharing his single bed and he's busy fathering children left and right with random women.
And their wives.
Their wives are left behind to pick up the pieces, preserve the legacies, keep his good name alive; when all the while, he was fucking around behind your back. I just don't get it.
Is that little thing between their legs so powerful that they are literally led around by their dicks? Have you seen that drawing where a guy's balls are his brains?
Because I gotta tell you, not even as a woman but as a control freak, if something controlled me that much to the extent that it overrides my so-called morals, my integrity, my way of life...I'd cut it off. No one part of your body should have so much power over you.
As I was doing my morning (okay afternoon) walk today I was listening to some 4:44 and there's this song where Hov talks about his dad being a preacher on Sunday and something else during the week. Something opposite of what he was preaching. And it not only taught Hov about hypocrisy and paying lip service to things, it also led him to study other religions which helped him in self-discovery. And he mused on what a blessing and a curse pain is.
And here you have evidence that men can be deeply thoughtful and maybe also self-aware. It is possible. Which just contributes more to the question of why.
Why do you have all these deep and meaningful thoughts on one day and fail to live up to them for the rest of time? I'm not just talking about making a mistake. I'm talking about making the mistake over and over until it's a way of life.
Reminds me also of Tupac, talking on one hand about women's empowerment and on the other about seeing the same ho in all these videos.
He was a wise one though.
Which leads me to women and ho's.
We're in the age where ho's no longer exist, aren't we? Whatever behavior men display, it's totally and 100% their fault.
The truth is, that Hov didn't have to go looking for Becky, she probably pursued him. MLK probably had the so-called church women congregating around him and ready to do whatever he wanted. Same with Bob Marley. The Karueches of the world are quite willing to get ahead on their backs. So how is a man, a powerful man with women throwing themselves at him day and night (see Aziz Ansari) supposed to tell that, no, this one isn't like the others.
I'll tell you how.
See above.
Say no loudly and continuously.
Scream if you have to.
Kick his balls if you must.
Make him hear you.
Doesn't mean he still won't try to force you. But don't make it ambiguous. Did she want it, didn't she want it?
I saw somewhere on twitter that there is now a contract that you can sign giving your consent for sexual intercourse. They should add a checklist of do's and don'ts so that you can check off whatever you're not willing to do and what you are. Everyone signs, it's all nice and legal.
Of course, that takes the romance away from dating. And women, we are so contrary, will probably get annoyed that they have to sign contracts instead of being wined and dined and wooed.
I don't understand women much either.

Saturday, 13 January 2018

Being An Asshole is Not a Crime

When was the last time you saw a film with full frontal (not counting porn) where the lady shows her boobs?
Name five films.
Could you? Because I can't think of a single one off the top of my head.
So when I hear stories about women complaining about James Franco giving them the impression that if they took their shirts off there might be a movie role in it for them...
Like, is James Franco supposed to pay for the fact that you're dumb as rocks? Is that how you think people get movie roles? The saddest part was that these were students in his acting academy or whatever Studio Four was. They were there to learn about the world of creating content and acting - I assume - and yes I know what they say about assuming...
If you want something you do the research, you do the work, you learn where auditions are taking place and go for them.
You do not take your shirt off for random actors in the vague hope that they will cast you off your 'phenomenal' (read average) boobs. And then turn around and cry #metoo! when they don't.
Take responsibility for your shit.
A few years ago, James Franco was caught on film trying to coerce a seventeen-year-old to come to his room. He laughed it off. Called it the nature of 'dating'. Everyone else laughed it off with him. But him being a sleazy guy trying to get in women's pants by lying to them...that's bad. Especially when those women were complicit.
I agree with Seal.
Y'all are some bloody awful hypocrites.
Suddenly there is this huge divide; all the women are innocent and all the males are complicit. Everything men do is bad and everything women do is undervalued.
Take this Mark Wahlberg/Michelle Williams debate. Mark got paid an extra 1.5mil to reshoot a movie, Michelle got paid nothing.
Is the fact that Michelle got paid nothing Mark's fault? Did he go to the studio and say, "Pay me but don't pay Michelle?"
No, he did not. He made his money, did his reshoot and went to play golf with Diddy. Michelle told them she'd do the reshoot for free, they could cut her holidays, whatever.
Everyone chose.
So why is Mark being blamed for getting paid? It's not a crime to ask for more money. So he didn't read the room. Or maybe he didn't care about looking like an asshole...who knows? He has how many kids? College is expensive.
I do not blame Mark Wahlberg at all for looking after number one.
Speaking of looking out for number one, I have eight books out. Two of them are free this broke January and every other day of the year. The other six are worth at least 1500 times the amount I charge. Just like Michelle's acting. Get them here.

Monday, 8 January 2018

When Being Dark Skinned and Beautiful is an Oxymoron

I am dark skinned and beautiful; I just wanted to start with that disclaimer so that we can get motives and ulterior motives out of the way before we dive in. When I first started school, my kindergarten class was full of white people, Indians, and mixed-race kids. I was the only African and a dark one at that.
Naturally, I had no friends.
The white kids ignored me, the Indians bullied me and the mixed kids tried to stand up for me once in a while. Conditions I guess, were optimum for me to feel like less than nothing. Weirdly enough it had the opposite effect. See, that was when I realized certain things about myself. For example, I was smarter than the average bully. The Indians would circle me and try to poke holes in my confidence by saying things like, “That doesn’t even look like a tree.” When I was drawing a tree in the dirt.
So I’d look up at the ringleader, who did all the talking, and ask, “Who said it was a tree?”
And they’d be stymied. And I would laugh inwardly and feel superior to them.
I was alone all the time, but that just taught me that I was happy in my own company. With the advent of the World Wide Web, I would hear similar stories of bullying and, well I don’t want to call it racism because we’re dealing with preschoolers who were probably just aping their parents; but the experience seems to have traumatized them rather than being a source of empowerment.
Being bullied by people of other races is one thing.
Being put down by people who look like you though, is something else again.
I think my self-esteem didn’t take a beating because I went home to my beautiful mother and my popular sister and I knew that people who looked like me, were worthwhile. I saw myself in my mother and that was stronger than a bunch of silly insecure children trying to make themselves feel better about themselves by trying to put me down.
Later in my school life, we had a visiting white American student; we all tried to make her feel at home and everyone was friendly with her. When she was taking pictures to take back home with her, she arranged us in form of skin color. The light skins in front, and the dark skins at the back. I didn’t even realize until later that that was the criteria but again, it was an ‘other’ applying her messed up standards to my life and not something to lose sleep over.
Because as long as the people around me see me, and value me, and think I am beautiful just as I am, the attitudes and prejudices of outsiders are easier to take.
But what if it’s your own people putting you down for your skin color? Calling you things like ‘nappy-headed’ in a manner meant to imply that it’s an insult and not just a hair type. Calling you ugly because you’re dark skinned.
It not only bothers me because it’s just wrong on so many levels but it also hints at a degree of self-hatred I just can’t fathom. Will Smith said that when he did Bright (the movie) he realized that people just want to feel better about themselves and that’s why we have these divides. So I guess people who put down the dark skins are trying to imply that they’re somehow better because they have less melanin? They should probably go listen to The Story of OJ on repeat for a bit. How can we develop as a people if we are so busy trying to be crabs in a barrel?
Many times we try to find someone who is more vulnerable than we are just so we can say to ourselves that we have our foot on someone’s neck. That there’s someone who’s wig we snatched. That we are better than someone. But are we?
Look at white supremacists for example. They chose Donny to lead because they figured it would ‘show everyone’ how much better the whites do it. It was gonna be the Era Of Whites Only and White Is Right and The Might Of The Empire and all that bullshit. Instead they’ve spent that time looking for other people to blame for Donny’s failures. Trying to surpass Obama by tearing down all he’s built – the fantasy was it would be done to white cheers, the reality is that it’s white tears being shed the most. The Empire is losing because the avatar for the empire is just a petulant self-absorbed immature child who wants people to stroke his ego. It lowers the entire tone of an entire country. An entire country has been reduced to one buffoon. I guess now they know how Zimbabweans have felt for many years.
I didn't even have to look for this meme. It was among the first to show up under the Mugabe tag.
The point is, how long can these white supremacist run from the fact that they thought they would be proved superior and have been shown to be extremely incompetent? I mean who wants to know that about themselves? All that superiority based on inferiority complex has come down to this…
And what happens to the Uncle Ruckuses out there, following blindly after this White is Might philosophy? How much more do they have to bury their heads in the sand? How many mirrors do they avoid? Can you ever look yourself in the eye?
It’s not too late.
It’s not too late to start loving yourself.
It’s never too late for that.
Ask Leo.
You can meet him for free in the Swamp is Full of Mystery.

Friday, 5 January 2018

Do You Experience God?

I'm sick again. Same illness, different month.
It is going to be okay though because this time I haven't spent so much as a day ignoring it. I'm broke as fuck what with holidaying, Christmas, the New Year and Chris going back to school all in a span of like two weeks...
It's hectic, it's expensive.
So I am on hand to mouth budget when I wake up with that tickling in my throat, that stabbing in my chest.
Reality Check me said, "Oh no, Annemarie. You're sick again."
Shock Absorber me speaks up and sez, "It's prolly just a  cold. Throat infection; something you can ignore."
Those stabbing pains in my chest said, "Ignore me at your peril."
Meanwhile, Perpetually Persecuted me is going like, "Why why why why!! Is it because I wouldn't be admitted to hospital last time? Did I bring this on myself? Hell, I still can't afford to be admitted to hospital (see above). Also still not sure it's necessary."
Anyway, so I had my breakfast and counted my coins, crossed my fingers that I had enough and took myself to the local dispensary. The doctor confirmed to me that yes indeed, your pneumonia is back. He didn't recommend for me to be admitted though, just gave me a whole bunch of drugs.
I couldn't afford entire doses so I took half and promised to be back for the other half 'real soon'.
p.s. I had no clue where I was going to get this other money in time but I just figured I'd manage.
So I barely get home, turn on my computer and purport to prepare myself to do some work when my cousin calls. He asks me how I am and I tell him exactly how I am. Sick as a dog.
Now I know intellectually that pneumonia is serious. But when it's in your body and you're managing it and you're not debilitated, it doesn't feel so life-threatening. But my cousin reacted like I'd told him I was dying.
(Yes yes, I know, pneumonia can kill you).
Anyway, he asks me if I'm taking medicine and I say yes I am and he asks me if I have everything I need and I say well..no. I am actually a bit short so I do not have full doses of everything. And he just says 'How much do you need?"
And that people is how I experience God.
He comes to me when I'm backed into a corner with no clue how to proceed. He sends an angel disguised as a friend, acquaintance or stranger to say, "Hey, did you need some help?"
Well, I'm trying not to tax myself so Imma stop here. Did I tell you January is free book month? I know y'all are broke too.

Sunday, 31 December 2017

Nobody Wins When the Family Feuds

I told you.
I was going to let the BDSM post end the year but apparently, Jay-Z and Ava Duvernay refuse to let me live.
Tidal is not available in Kenya so I have not seen the video in full yet; just snippets on Instagram and post upon post about it on twitter.
I can't emphasize how timely this video is as we close out 2017 and prepare to welcome 2018. I say this because it seems that we are all so easily triggered to anger these days. When traveling to Mombasa for holiday a few days ago, a fight broke out in the bus between the people sitting behind me and the people sitting behind them. The latter did not appreciate how far the former had leaned back her chair and the former was pissed that the latter kept pushing at her chair. So instead of discussing it like two rational humans about to embark on a fun trip to a coastal location, they were shouting at each other.
Not being one to tolerate noise at that level for very long I turned around and asked the girl sitting behind us, "Are you having trouble with your seat? Because my son can help you with that..."
While my son glared at me for involving him in the drama.
The girl took this as an opportunity to explain her problems to me and so on etc.
'I"m not interested in your problems Carol. I just want to solve them so y'all can shut up.' I thought to myself...
So I talked over her, asking again.
"Is there a problem with the seat?"
So that turned the conversation to defective seats and the bus hostess got involved and long story short, the shouting became disgruntled muttering and everyone went back to their business.
The point of telling you this story is to illustrate the hair-trigger sensitivity that can cause any little thing to erupt into a shouting match because people have so much to be stressed and unhappy about. Except me apparently, because I'm super calm these days.
Nobody wins when the Family feuds. Can the first go-to reaction not be to fight? Can we try to reason with each other?
Not that I'm totally innocent of clapping back. If you notice, one of my recent posts has had a rapid climb up the 'most read' lists on the blog. Cut your eyes right, you'll see it just under Voodoo. It passed my Rihanna post! And it's like less than a week old. You know how it got so many reads so fast?
You notice when an artist or actor has something new to release they're suddenly everywhere? Telling you their little family secrets and giving you dating tips? Or 'dating' someone new? Rappers start beef with someone.
Anyways, it's all about peaking your interest. I've always been against it because I'm playing the long game. I'd rather have one new follower in a month who is genuinely interested in what I have to say than fifty people who are just following the drama and will dissipate like smoke as soon as that's done. So this particular conflict was inadvertent.
I shared the blog post on a page of 'writers helping writers' mostly because I wanted to know if anyone else had ever encountered the same problem and what their solutions might have been. So one member of the group posts a comment about how badly written the post is, the font is all wrong, the gifs are distracting...she's totally disgusted, blah blah blah etc, amen.
Some days I just have time so I was like, "Sis, what is the purpose of this post of yours? I don't recall asking for your editing services, your opinion of how I write does not affect the price of sugar in Uchumi so what was your purpose in writing it?"
So she says, "My purpose in writing it was that I don't like it."
I'm a grammar nazi guys. I'm a stickler for accuracy. So I asked her about which part of that sentence stated her PURPOSE and could she not read? Perhaps reading comprehension was her problem? Did she feel the need to make herself feel better about herself by declaring my writing subpar to her so-called editing pen? Furthermore, she also seemed to have misunderstood the purpose of the post - she thought I was surprised that self-publishing is difficult...
Anyway, usually I do not like to debate people who are clearly dumber than me but she was asking for it...
So after that conversation, the view count just skyrocketed so A+B=C.
Don't try this at home kids, it's wrong.
Nobody wins when the Family feuds.
Speaking of celebrities and marketing, Will Smith joining Instagram has been the most lit thing to happen to me online this December. I find it so funny that his children's Instagrams are so angsty and his is just goofy and fun. Vintage Will Smith. I guess that's what adolescence will do to you. Hopefully, Jaden and Willow will find their joy later.
So I guess he did it in time to promote Bright. Have you seen it? A surprisingly controversial role for the usually politically correct Smith (I sound like a commentator in that sentence don't I?). He leaves the politicking to Jada. It was also surprising in another way. Because instead of him portraying the role of the Oppressed, he was actually the Face of the Oppressor. Quite the ironic twist there, that his partner was a member of the "black" race in that Tolkien-like, Harry Potter sprinkled world. An Orc.
Who is the Dark Lord?
Donald Trump?
I don't think it's Donny. He's way too dumb to be a Dark Lord. In fact, let's just replace him with
Vladimir Putin.
Yeah, that's probably the dark lord equivalent in this world.
Bright was extremely clever in how it wove fantasy and reality so tightly you probably missed a lot of intricacies on just one watch. I plan to watch it at least twice more to really appreciate it. I love stories with layers. It's why I'm such a fan of Supernatural as well as of Child of Destiny. On the surface, the former is just a story of two sexy brothers fighting monsters, the latter, an infidelity romance. But then...
So enjoyable discovering them for yourself.
I'll let you do that then.
Happy New Year!

Saturday, 30 December 2017

How BDSM isn't as Bad as You Think

This is very likely my last post of 2017.
Very likely but not definitely.
I'm trying to be a better planner but the truth is that I live and write by the seat of my pants and God's will so I can't say for sure. That said, I want to talk about something I recently learned about because I like to share my knowledge and opinions.
But y'all know that right?
Recently, I was tricked into writing a 12,000-word book on being a submissive in BDSM.
Tricked how you ask?
Well, it's simple really. I am registered on this site as a writer, filed under 'fiction'. Which means that on my work page, I can only see work available in the fiction category. But then one of the managers emailed me and said, "I have this piece of work that nobody has chosen and you're not doing anything - on the site - as far as I can see. Can I give it to you?"
Now, this site has filed me under fiction meaning that I can only access the work posted under stories on there. However, most of the work they get is non-fiction, and so they essentially lock me out of the larger portion of work available...until no one else is willing to do a certain job. Then suddenly they all up in my DMs like, "Hey Bighead."
It's cool.
It's alright.
People will use you if you let them.
I learned that lesson long ago.
So I only let them use me if it's to my benefit. And I figured I could do the 12k assignment and I'd get paid right about the middle of my holiday which means...
I'd be rolling in it.
So I said yes.
And THAT'S when they told me the topic.
Now I'm not your typical judgemental whatever. But I don't hold with pain. And the fanfic I've read featuring BDSM is equal parts painful and just no. So I was not exactly happy.
However, I took it as an opportunity to learn something new, hopefully, and who knows? I'll probably be asked to write a BDSM romance sooner or later.
So, learning opportunity...
And boy did I learn!
First of all boys and girls, BDSM is not just about whips and chains. It's an entire lifestyle and personality type. As soon as I began learning more and more about what it takes and what it looks like to be in a dom/sub relationship I started looking at everyone around me differently. I noticed who had a tendency toward dominance, others towards submissiveness...Believe it or not, that was new information to me.
Take these two ladies in the lovely gif above for example. One hundred percent uncut, pure doms. Rob and Chyna's relationship might have worked out if Rob didn't bring a third dom into their relationship; his mama, Kris Jenner.
You notice that Rob and Chyna were fine and happy until he kind of reconciled with his family and was calling his mother every two minutes to ask for permission for this and that...Two cocks cannot exist in the same roost. One dom had to go and in this case, it was Chyna who stepped and got herself another sub.
Nicki also is such a dom, leading her men publicly around by the nose...remember how Safaree used to walk behind her? Dragged on stage at every award show to basically be her entourage? And Meek, so happy to have snagged those boobs and that butt. Just counting his blessings to be in the same room with her. Until they disobeyed. And then it was bye bye miss American pie...
You always know who wore the pants in her relationships. Probably why she and Drake have never quite gotten it together. He doesn't strike me as the submissive type...in spite of his softness.
Another obvious dom/sub couple is Rob's sister Kim and her husband Kanye. He literally tells her what to wear, goes so far as to dress her, basically, he runs her life. From what I've read of the dom/sub life, the first thing you need for success is a lot of trust in each other, because the sub completely hands her life over into the dom's hands.
Without trust, the dynamic can't work. With that in mind, I'd say that the Kimye relationship has the tools to last a lifetime what with her throwing away her sleuthing abilities because 'she doesn't need them with him', and he only having her number in his phone...they clearly need no one else.
Writing this book was not just beneficial in allowing me to see y'all in a new light. It also showed me things that I didn't know, I didn't know about myself.
I love when that happens.
When you discover something about yourself you didn't even think to imagine might be something to wonder about. It's the best. It's increasing self-awareness without angst and effort.
Shall I tell you what I discovered about me?
Bye Felicia, we not that close.
I will marvel with you at the marvelous possibilities of accessing knowledge and wisdom about absolutely any topic from the pages of a book. You might be reading it for entirely different purposes but then you come across something that makes you go like, "Hmmm...I did not know, I needed to know that."
I'm sure some of you would like to read the finished product on BDSM. Unfortunately, I have no idea where it will be published.
Hello, Annemarie, ghostwriter, pleased to meet you.
I will tell you where you can find a whole bunch of books I wrote...
Y'all come back and visit in the New Year y'hear?

Tuesday, 26 December 2017

Self-Publishing Ain't for the Faint Hearted

I am on holiday right now.
Outside of my window, the dark blue swimming pool beckons.
Or maybe I could be taking a walk by the sea.
But here I am, sitting.
Writing a blog post about how goddamn difficult self-publishing is.
You know why?
Because a self published author is not only the writer, they're the publisher, the marketer, number one cheerleader, publicist, distributor...okay maybe you're not the distributor, but you gotta keep an eye on them if you don't want any surprises.
Basically, you're running a company in which you're every single position including bottle washer, maintenance, and housekeeping. It's quite exhausting and it never stops.
Just now, I'm tackling an issue that came to my attention purely by accident. I bought a gift copy of Erase and Rewind from Amazon in order to enter the gift card into a giveaway on a readers' site. I did so because of a Facebook post where someone was asking about book reviews and the site put a link in the comments.
(So yes, while you're innocently browsing your facebook or twitter, you might come across something you need/want to act on because IT NEVER STOPS).
Well I went to Amazon to get the gift card number and I get a very disheartening message:
This book is not available in your country.
I wrote a book.
I published it.
But it's not available in my country.
I had already come across this issue before with Child of Destiny when my son tried to get it for his friend. I'd already spoken to my distributor about it. They dismissed as a technical issue which would be sorted out presently.
It's a month later.
It's not sorted.
I miss Pronoun like the desert misses the rain. They had an Author Happiness Liaison. Them closing down has definitely been a step back for the self-published author.
1. I can't get my gift card for the site until Amazon sorts this shit out.
2. The distributor should have had this shit sorted on day one.
3. I'm now wondering where else my book is 'not available'.
4. Sigh.
I'm supposed to be on holiday!
If I had even a smidgeon less passion for my writing, I'd shut this shit down and go dispense medicine.
Speaking of passion, I recently accidentally opened an author page group on Facebook. Seeing as I didn't want to just close it without thought, I left it blank for a while but now I think I know what I want to do with it. I want to write stories from prompts. Which the group members will give me. So I'm urging you all to go and join it here so you can ask me for the stories you want to read.
Have you gifted my boxset to the bibliophile in your life yet? Happy Boxing Day.
Have you had a similar experience? Hit me up and let's share solutions.