Musings: Race in reality and the media

Musings: Race in reality and the media

Hello all!

A lot has been happening, and I am sure that just like me, you have thoughts on the issues that surround us, whether you are in the Caribbean, the States, or wherever you are. This post is just what it is titled: just a Dely thinking of a few things. What you read below is an unstructured write out of what I’ve been thinking. If you’re interested, keep reading!

If you have been following the news, Derek Chauvin, the officer guilty of killing George Floyd, has been officially found guilty on all counts. While I am grateful that finally someone is being held accountable for their actions, there is this level of sadness I still feel — George Floyd is still gone. A black man is dead. Yes, his killer will now serve time for this egregious act, but this victory in accountability does not bring his life back. What has happened is what the justice system is expected to do, yet hasn’t done from since its inception. It’s like rejoicing when a father is involved in his kids’ life. These are things we expect because that is their role. Yet, we’ve seen that the justice system has failed black and brown people for centuries. I hope that this turn to what is actually expected from the system will set a new precedence in the justice system, in the police department, and also in our society in general. This is what should always happen when someone breaks the law, especially those who are trained to uphold and safekeep it. Yet, even in the midst of the Chauvin Trial, there have still been incidents of police brutality against unarmed and innocent black people. While we are awaiting the justice of one, we mourn the injustice of others. It is the most sorrowful and frustrating limbo to maneuver. It is exhausting. It is traumatizing. Yet, the revolution must go on. We still fight. We still educate. We still stand up. We still collaborate and organize. We do what we need to to not only survive, but thrive, and help each other.

This leads me to my second thought: the portrayal of the traumas of racism and other black stories in the media. Art is a therapeutic and effective way of expressing life as one knows it. It is a way to educate and entertain through varying genres and mediums. And black people deserve to tell their stories in the way they feel best portrays them. We see films such as Judas and the Black Messiah, or shows like Snowfall, and Lovecraft Country, that capture what was before or the culture we live in today, in fiction and non-fiction. There are also more films recently that portray the issue of police brutality and the miscarriage of justice. Films like When They See Us portray the true stories that have haunted our past, while movies like Two Distant Strangers and Get Out follow a fictional depiction of real-life traumas.

There is magnanimous significance in allowing artists the creative freedom to express themselves. These stories matter and need to be seen by wider audiences, especially those outside the black community to have a worldwide understanding of what is happening. Artists should not be silenced, however disturbing the material may come across, because unfortunately, this is the reality of a lot of people in America. However, last week I watched Two Distant Strangers, a short film of a black man experiencing a Groundhog day of being killed by a cop. While the film deserved all its accolades for masterfully telling a story, it was very hard for me to watch. It spoke to what we all feel: a staggering hopelessness that continuously repeats itself, seemingly to no end. It portrayed the feeling of helplessness: no matter how the situation is addressed, black lives are still being taken, or placed in jeopardy.

I wish that there could be some balance to the stories Hollywood allows to be aired. It seems that the only black stories that are allowed are those that follow the traumatic experiences of our people, or those that are heavily stereotypical. When will we have stories that are fantastic, magical and explore different avenues other than the ones we’ve seen time and time again? I loved the movie Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey for this very reason. For the first time in a long time (if not ever), we see the jolliest of movies with an unambiguously black and brown cast save for one or two people, and it was such a fun, family movie. I wish there were more black shows with similar premises to Bridgerton or Game of Thrones, or the same vibe like the old black sitcoms with a modern twist. Are there shows like this already? Yes, sure. There’s Insecure, Black-ish, Grown-ish, etc. Do I believe there are enough? Nope. I think that we need more black stories glorifying the beautiful and joyful, and even mundane aspects of our lives, just as much as we have the chance to tell our sad stories. I think we need more black fantasy and whimsical stories, more black animation, more black movies and series with the storyline that is totally out of this world and make believe, like sci-fi films or fantasy. I’m not saying they have to follow the same rubric of storytelling or share similar story points. What I am saying is that our stories cannot be confined and boxed into highly specific categories when that is not all we experience, or even want to see. After being grateful that you arrived home safely and alive, enduring microaggressions and racism all day, the last thing you want to do is watch a show that reminds you of that. Sometimes, you want to watch something that brings you joy, intrigue, or excitement, with people who look and speak like you.

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

These have been two of the many thoughts I have been having amidst all that has been going on, and felt impressed to randomly share. I promise you, the other thoughts aren’t as somber! Nevertheless, these are important topics that need to be talked about. What do you think? Whether you agree, disagree or feel ambivalent about it, feel free to express that down in the comments below! I’d love to hear what you guys think. As always, this is a safe space, so absolutely no disrespect will be tolerated. Like, comment and subscribe to be alerted for future posts.

I hope you have a wonderful day, and I’ll see you on my next post, Raving My Faves: April!

Love, Delz

Transparency vs Vulnerability

Transparency vs Vulnerability

Photo by Jenna Hamra on Pexels.com

“I can be transparent without being vulnerable.”

I was scrolling through some comments on an Instagram post when I saw the quote above. I read it, scrolled past it, then scrolled all the way back up to it because I felt like I missed something. I read it again, and bing! Light Bulb came on. Oprah calls it the Aha! Moment. Many thoughts came flooding in as I looked at it, speechless. I figured I’d share these thoughts with you, so let’s dive in shall we? 

A lot of us millennials pride ourselves in being much more advanced introspectively than our parents and grandparents. We vocalize our opinions and beliefs, and we stand confidently in them too. We share details of our lives that our parents would rather keep to themselves, such as our relationship with our mental health, our personal hiccups and failures, our political affiliations, our stance on certain societal issues, etc. We view ourselves as the champions of truth; the valiant bearers of transparency. 

However, have you ever known so much about a person yet you still felt like you didn’t know them? Your feelings may be correct. More and more I am realizing that many of us know a lot about each other, without truly knowing each other. We know facts. We know details. We may even know feelings attached to these facts. Yet none of these things truly hit the surface of being vulnerable. This describes transparency — open to see all the details, good or bad, and that’s where it ends.

Vulnerability on the other hand requires more involvement from both parties. Transparency gives you the agency to start and stop how much you share. Vulnerability allows someone to not only know about you, but to actually know you. Vulnerability opens you up to another party engaging in your truth. 

Well, what does engaging look like? Vulnerability creates the space for the party to experience those emotions with you, experience the time with you, and navigate the space with you. Being transparent is letting your friend know that you were hurt by something they said and why. Being vulnerable is allowing your friend to know how and why you were hurt, giving them the space to express their feelings and thoughts, and creating an area to navigate that together. Transparency begins and ends with you. Vulnerability begins and ends with us.

Transparency is like going to a museum — the most interaction you get is by seeing all the artifacts and admiring or disliking what you see. Vulnerability is like the Olympic sport Curling (click the link — you’ll be amazed and amused 😀 ). The team members are engaging in the synchronized objective of moving their stones to the target area. Likewise, in vulnerability, both parties are equally engaged in the objective of moving the relationship to the relational target of being seen, heard, and understood.

Transparency begins and ends with you. Vulnerability begins and ends with us.

So what, Delz?

I think this is so key to the building of healthy relationships because a lot of us are being transparent without being vulnerable. And it makes sense. While we are a super transparent generation, we also are a highly skeptical one. We don’t easily trust the world. Even our close friends we may not fully trust. Some people don’t even trust their spouses. And with that lack of trust, it makes sense why we aren’t willing to be vulnerable. Vulnerability is sacred and requires a safe space, which cannot exist without trust. Vulnerability requires you to not only share the truth, but to also share yourself. Moreover, vulnerability requires you to not only share yourself, but to allow the other person to share themselves too.

This is communication. This is relationship. But jeez, this is also scary.

Just the other day, Francois and I were discussing relationships when he told me that when he first met me, he was surprised at how transparent I was. I had always considered myself an open book. However, we both agreed that while I was comfortable sharing facts, happy to even, I was not vulnerable. AT ALL. And transparency will only go so far in relationships. It takes vulnerability to truly address the issues that arise, because again, it’s not just you or me — it’s us. In fact, I am currently learning to practice vulnerability in the relationships I hold dear to me, and to exercise vulnerability in my writing. 

So, here are three things to consider if you want to dive deeper into your relationships and exercise vulnerability.

Transparency vs Vulnerability isn’t a question of wrong or right, but a question of how and when.

Both transparency and vulnerability is a necessity in communication, but it’s all about time and place. Transparency is important because the facts are important. Your thoughts about your manager’s upcoming project proposal is valid. Your feelings about a mistake your partner made are valid and should be heard. It moves into vulnerability where you express and you invite feedback — empathy, emotions, issues and solutions. Both are necessary, but only one takes you to sustainable solutions.

The prerequisites of vulnerability is respect, trust, and reverence. 

Does the person/friend/partner respect you and your core values? Do you respect them? Can you trust them? Do you think that whatever you tell them, they will treat it carefully? Vulnerability is scary because it is so risky. What if I’m taken advantage of? I’m sure some of you are asking that. And that has always been a fear of mine. However, ask yourself these questions to truly assess whether it is the right time to invite someone into that space. Vulnerability isn’t something you just jump into. It takes time to build on the trust. If you’re in a relationship, maybe your first activity on vulnerability could be to explore these questions with your partner. And to my fellow jaded friends, remember, not everyone is a scumbag who won’t treat your heart delicately. Trust me, there are good people out there; people willing to hold your hand through it all.

Transparency is the capsule while vulnerability is the liquid form.

Did your mom have you drink a spoonful of tonic and a spoonful of cod liver oil daily too? My face is grimaced and I’m silently gagging as I type this. I hated it! However, it does the body good. With the introduction of capsules, the fishy taste is no more and we get our needed daily dose! Or do we? Research shows that absorption is quicker, dosage is more accurate and oil is fresher and more potent when taken as a liquid. Capsules run the risk of holding rancid oil, it takes half an hour to absorb, and since no two bodies are the same, dosage is harder to be generalized to one capsule per day. Moral: transparency is easier on taste but you gotta work twice as hard to really know who the person is. Vulnerability may be hard to swallow, but it does the heart good and opens you up to the essence of that person.

Both are necessary, but only one takes you to sustainable solutions.

What next?

So we all know the difference between transparency and vulnerability. We also know the fun facts of cod liver oil and Curling. What do I do with this information? Well, firstly, you’re welcome on that fish oil tip! But on a more serious note, this is just some thoughts on the matter to help you and I both navigate our various relationships. If you keep hitting the same block, it could be because there is a lack of vulnerability. Even in your relationship with God, or with yourself, if you are not vulnerable, you can’t be held accountable, and you won’t see sustainable change and breakthroughs. Ask those prerequisite questions, explore your issues with vulnerability, and seek out people, places and experiences that facilitate that. I want to see us all be the best we can be — it all starts with becoming okay with being vulnerable.

Do you have a hard time with vulnerability or transparency? What do you think of this topic? Let me know your thoughts below!

Love, Delz

To Those Who Find Themselves Lost

To Those Who Find Themselves Lost

A book review and interview with the Author

Hi Guys! It’s been a while, but I’m back and ready to hold hands with you and be vulnerable 😀 This post will be a feature of a book I’ve read that I think you would appreciate, and a short, exclusive interview with the author herself! Can I hear “Girl Power!” on three please? I was very excited to read this book. Aschel and I are from the same island, Dominica, and we went to high school together (Big up our senior class 4A/5A real quick). While we knew each other, we weren’t close so the experiences penned in this book were all new to me, like they would be new to you. Even so, below you will find my 100% honest review and rating of the book. So, without further ado, let’s dive in.

To those who find themselves lost is a book of poems written by Aschel St Ville, who is a poet, activist and pharmacy technician. The book is sectioned into three — The Bending, The Breaking, and The Healing — where you can explore Aschel’s journey of lows and highs; moments of sadness, realization, and coming of strength and womanhood. This book highlights themes such as women empowerment and vulnerability, and grants us a raw, unadulterated perspective of concepts such as depression/anxiety, shame, relationships, dreams, and self-love. 

“Some of us are silent because we lost so much the last time we spoke.”

-To those who find themselves lost by Aschel St Ville

In my excitement to read this book, I don’t think I was fully prepared for how raw and honest these poems were. I found myself at the end of The Bending sobbing. I sobbed for Aschel’s trauma, and I sobbed for my own, along with the other girls I grew up around who possibly shared similar stories that I wouldn’t have known because we’re taught to tuck these things away and never let them see daylight. This segment brought an awareness of the depth of brokenness trauma ensues, especially the one she spoke about. However, it also piqued my interest: I wonder how she navigated through this? And I kept on reading.

The Breaking is where you see Aschel’s pen truly come alive and the journey begins to arch. In this segment she bends the universe so that you and her are walking together through this period in her journey. She poses certain thoughts and questions that allow you to think of your own journey. Moreover, even in her writing of truly deep and low times, you can sense the glimmer of hope as we move along. Through her writing, and the lessening of pages, we are reminded that there is still one more segment to appreciate.

“Yes I am broken, but I am worth fixing.”

-TO THOSE WHO FIND THEMSELVES LOST BY ASCHEL ST VILLE

I think I appreciated The Healing segment out of all, not because it was lighter or “happier”, but because we didn’t see an abrupt change from one point of her journey to the next. There is a gradual shift, where there may still be pain, but we have new awareness now. There may still be sadness, but there are also things to celebrate. The Healing is a powerful reminder that life is filled with both sadness and joy, and it is perfectly okay. Throughout this segment, Aschel shares encouragement, her thoughts on self-love and other-centered love, and empowerment.

Something that I did not know would be included, but was so excited for it that I squealed (I really did), were extra blank pages. For those of you who are writers as well, whether it may be poetry like Aschel, essay or prose like me, or even if you just want to doodle, these pages offer you a chance to add your own story, your interpretation of how this book made you feel, or something else completely. Thank you for this unexpected gift Aschel! 

For Aschel’s first book, which is self-published, I give it 5 stars. It was wonderfully written and super transparent. I embarked on a voyage into Aschel’s experiences penned and was invited to feel what she possibly felt. Altogether, I finished the book feeling proud of her for her overcoming, proud of myself for my overcoming, and I think after reading, you too would be proud of your growth. ❤

INTERVIEW WITH AUTHOR AND POET, ASCHEL ST VILLE

SIMPLY DELZ: Describe yourself in four (4) words

ASCHEL: Four words I feel that give a very comprehensive description of who I am are: ambivert, empathetic, eccentric, introspective

SD: What is your writing process?

A: Extensive periods of intense inspiration and writing and also long periods of writer’s block.. I have bursts of inspiration throughout the day and whenever they come I write them down. When writing this book I actually dedicated several hours a day just to write and perfect some of the poems I had written before.

SD: What do you want people to take away from your writing?

A: Definitely, I feel like I want people to understand the value and beauty of vulnerability. My writing is very honest and raw. I want people to see first hand what it is like to put yourself out there unapologetically in all of your flaws.

SD: Who or what inspires you?

A: I am inspired by many female writers particularly Ijeoma Umebinyuo. She is a womanist and such a powerful woman who does not apologize for what she feels and writes. I see her as a woman who stands in her truth and exudes so much confidence. To be confident in who I am as a person has always been my life goal.

SD: Name one thing you can’t live without

A: Poetry for sure.

SD: What advice would you give aspiring poets/writers/creatives?

A: Continue to create. Do not compare your work to anyone else’s. Know that there is space and value in your voice and in your writing. And also I would love to see your work out there some day.

SD: Thanks! Can we expect a new project from you soon? (we hope so!)

A: Yes I am actively working on a new book. However, it won’t be released at least for another year. I am learning a lot from my first book release and still fighting Imposter Syndrome. But I always release new work on my IG page @sabrinajpoetry.

Aschel proudly holding a stack of her first, self-published book of poems

Hi! If you made it to the end, thanks for reading and supporting! Follow our IG pages for more content, and be sure to pick up Aschel St Ville’s book by tapping the link here. Have you read this book or another book of poems? Do you love poetry? Drop your thoughts below, and like & share this post!

Love, Delz