Personal, Political

“I’m Gonna Take This Itty Bitty World By Storm…

…and I’m just getting warm.”–LL Cool J, “Mama Said Knock You Out”

I have a confession to make. After LivLuna changed creative direction and I left, I was lost. I no longer had a platform and combined with trying to pick up the pieces after my brother’s passing, I was shot. I couldn’t get angry the same way I used to. I’ve made a few attempts on this site, but they were all tied in with my brother or else a false start at a wellness blog. It’s been brewing inside me. I’ve been wanting to write again. But what little writing I did wound up in a diary or in short Facebook statuses (yep. I became one of *those* people.)

However, after the events of yesterday, I can no longer keep silent. In a single day, I saw my mother cry as Hillary conceded the election. I spoke to a friend from college in a private messenger where we raged about how fucked up the system is. I saw Facebook status after Facebook status where people were just so defeatist, I swear, it was all along the lines of “ho hum, oh well, all you need is love!!!! Let’s just be nice to one another and chill out!!!! We can always move to Canada!!!” without planning any real action. Who said we had to accept Trump lying down? Who said we can’t make change? This is supposed to be a democracy, not a dictatorship, for fuck’s sake.

But what really did me in? Seeing three girls in their early twenties just so jaded and defeated the same way my mother was. They’re too young. My mother is too young, frankly, but these girls are way too young. Two coworkers completely sad and distant as they walked out the door, while the third admitted to me that she was scared to come to work because of what Trump supporters would say or do. And then I realized–they don’t have the same space that LivLuna provided a few years ago. I gained confidence and wasn’t scared to fight. I wasn’t afraid to write about things that were fucked up. I was all over the 2012 election, calling out nasty senators that marginalized rape and wanted to implement racist and sexist laws against the poor.

Watching the girl who was scared to come to work interact with an older gentleman who was talking at her–not to her, at her–about why it was so great that the Obamas are leaving the White House when she was in a position to tell him “stop,” feel as if she had to take it because he was older and she didn’t want to ruffle feathers just broke my heart. We need spaces for younger women on the internet. We need spaces for all women on the internet to talk, to read, to feel empowered and not scared to say anything that may be considered outrageous or bitchy because they disagree with politicians or certain celebrities. I loved helping to provide that a few years ago. Facebook statuses are not enough. Sharing posts isn’t enough. I want to be empowering and encouraging again. I’m almost 31, so I’d like to think that I can give that guidance without being completely blinded by anger. LivLuna may not have been a household name, but we were woman owned and operated, which is a rarity anymore. HelloGiggles, Bustle, Jezebel, xoJane, all owned by media conglomerates run by men. Not me. There is Bust and Bitch, but Bust has become very Brooklyn hipster, while Bitch is more collegiate academic. We need both, don’t get me wrong. I want to provide a place where you don’t have to be intimidated if you’re not a 90’s punky alterna-girl or a PhD. candidate in order to contribute (although if you’re either one, you’re still welcome to contribute!)

So I’m done staying silent. I want to set an example for my younger female coworkers, as well as young women everywhere. I don’t have a catchy name, I don’t have a flashy site, I hate listicles, and I’m sure as hell not going to try and curate a lifestyle for people to follow, but I’m not letting that stop me from having a voice. I’ll figure it out along the way–I know I’m going to have lots to say from here on out. Take it away, LL…


Celebrity, Personal

Leave Bobbi Kristina Brown Alone. Seriously.

It was announced today that Bobbi Kristina Brown’s family may (some sources say definitely, others say it’s a rumor) take the 21-year-old off life support on February 11th, the third anniversary of her mother’s death. Whitney Houston drowned on February 11th, 2012. Bobbi Kristina Brown was found unresponsive in a tub on January 31st, and has been in a medically induced coma ever since. Reports say that Brown had been struggling personally, with recent photos of the 21-year-old looking gaunt surfacing and reports of incoherent messages on various social media accounts.

So, naturally, instead of people offering Bobby Brown and other relatives condolences, people are criticizing the decision as to when to take Bobbi Kristina off life support. It’s “tacky,” it’s “ghoulish,” it’s “for publicity.” Are you fucking kidding me? I’m enraged right now. Yes, I know, internet commenters think they can say whatever they want, everybody has an opinion, but this is not about a poor celebrity fashion choice or calling out politicians on bad behavior. This is about someone’s life and the heartbreak a family is going through. No parent should ever have to decide when their child dies, let alone watch.

And yes, I do have a personal stake in this. Not with the Houston-Brown family, but I’ve been involved in a similar situation. Most people think that my brother died instantaneously. The truth is, it took him a full day. We got the call that my sister-in-law found my brother unresponsive in their bathroom while we were at the grocery store. We flew down to the hospital forty minutes away, where he was in the critical care unit. I’d never been more scared in my life. I knew that it was dire. Deep down, I knew he was gone. But because there was a small chance that he could recover, we held on to it. He’d gotten out of life threatening scrapes before, why couldn’t he do it again? I don’t know how my parents stayed relatively calm. I was a wreck, I didn’t even see him. I couldn’t. I physically could not gather the strength to get up out of my chair in the waiting room and go see him. We went home that night, with word that they were going to do one more test early the next morning to see if he could eventually recover.

The agreement my parents and I had was that if he was going to make it, they’d call. If he wasn’t, they’d come home and tell me to my face. Imagine my surprise when the phone rang, the number from the hospital. But it wasn’t my parents. It was the receptionist, looking for my sister in law so they could discuss what to do with his personal effects. Which meant my brother was gone. About ten minutes later, my parents came home and told me that Matty looked so at peace, how they watched him go. My sister and I both yelled at them “no parent should ever have to watch their child die!!” And they shouldn’t.

Now, that all happened in a matter of hours. Granted, my parents didn’t have to decide anything as my brother went, but they watched their child die. I still have trouble talking about it. Can you even begin to imagine what Bobbi Kristina’s family is going through? That they had to make the decision as to when to end her life? They’re watching her die. And people have the balls to talk shit? That’s really not okay. I hope that a majority of those commenters never, ever have to go through something like this. If the Houston-Browns want to pull the plug on the anniversary of Whitney’s death, let them. Remember, Bobbi Kristina was still a teenager when her mother died. Yes, her family had issues, but it’s still her family. You can’t expect a teenager, let alone anyone to know exactly how to grieve.

I can see the argument for people getting up in arms about choosing to end life support on the anniversary of Whitney Houston’s death. But that said, it’s the family’s decision. They were holding on to the idea that Bobbi Kristina could recover. That history wouldn’t repeat itself. They didn’t carefully orchestrate this to garner publicity (notice Bobby Brown has kept pretty quiet about the whole ordeal) but perhaps it’s a way for the family to help ease the grief a little. We don’t know, and we won’t know. And yes, Whitney Houston became a punchline towards the end of her life, but she was still a person. This is not easy for anyone involved.