Friday, November 13, 2015

An Open Letter to Lee Daniels

Re: Andre Lyon

Dear Lee Daniels,



"I've finally found the right combination between medication and faith."

That quote from November 11th's episode of Empire inspired this post. I must say I thoroughly enjoy your show. I like most of the music, Cookie's quips and the interesting storylines.

What I like most about the show, is how the Lyon family still tends to come together when either of them have been threatened even though they are all in competition with each other, which is cause for dynamic melodrama.

But most of all, I am eager to see what you do with Andre's character. I recently wrote, Bye Lisa in response to her suicide on Being Mary Jane, but Andre Lyon gives me hope that Mara Brock Akil dashed. The complexity of Lucious' experience dealing with his mother's mental illness and how it relates to his relationship with Andre is compelling television.

Thank you for dealing with mental illness in the Black community, the hardship it presents on the family and the struggle of the sufferer to just maintain. I'm sure Jesus did not tell Andre to blackmail that woman. That's the beauty of the show.

We will talk later about your jabs at Donnie McClurkin.


Love,


a fan

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Who Will Carry Me Home?

#BlogLikeCrazy
 
 
 
The fear of death has been weighing heavily on my mind. For the last three years many people around me have died; some expectedly but most, unexpectedly.  At least that's what it feels like. This fear has propelled all these questions to dance in my head. I'd rather not think about these questions for fear that they will trigger the real event.
 
Who will carry me home when they are gone? When my parents are gone who will nag me about the condition of my house and car? Who will ask me if I was productive at work (managers don't count)? Who will find a way to come get me if I get hurt like back in '08 when I fell in my garage. My dad said you know you could have called an ambulance. I replied incredulously, why would I do that when I have people who love me to come get me.  But who will carry me home when they are gone?
 
Why do some recover from illness, others don't and some just pass away with no warning? The Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away. Blessed be the name of the Lord.  What does that mean? Is that meant to give comfort? Not necessarily. It is meant as a reminder; the true order of life. Despite popular belief, if it is to be it is not up to me rather whatever He wants will be. All I must do is trust that He will take care of me no matter what happens. He did, He is and He will always carry me.
 
 


Tuesday, November 10, 2015

"The Impostor Syndrome"

#BlogLikeCrazy



As I was reading through See Jane Write's founder's blog, I ran across this phrase, "impostor syndrome."  That struck a cord with me. I often feel like an impostor in this writing and blogging game. Even though I have started a blog and self-published a book, I don't feel qualified to speak on these issues.

I started blogging because I wanted to build a platform and audience for myself as a writer. Also, I have a lot of stuff to say and I want to share those thoughts with the world or my readers, at least. I believe I have talent but sometimes I lose focus and become discouraged.

Oh, and there is the fact that I am lazy. I don't like that word so I Googled antonyms and decided to go with un-persevering.  That sounds more accurate. Promoting a book and a blog seems like such a daunting task and I become disheartened when I don't get an expected amount of page views, likes or comments. I don't want to be disappointed when something doesn't turn out the way I wanted it to so I just give up. It is much more comfortable and safe to be just an employee and collect a check.

But its this nagging guilty feeling I get when I don't write. Go figure.

Thursday, November 5, 2015

15 THINGS I'VE FOUND IN SEARCH OF SATISFACTION

Continuing to. . .#BlogLikeCrazy


Lime popsicles

 
 
Buying cute notebooks/journals even though I already have plenty of empty ones at home. 

 
 
 Hulu

 
 
 Playing with my niece and nephews (don't tell them, they want me to come over every day)

 
 
Laughing at my parents (They do too)

 
 
Adult Coloring Books

 
 
Tina Campbell's It's Personal album

 
 
 Heavenly Sparkles cleaning service

 
 
 Small group bible studies

 
 
Lecrae's Anomaly album

 
 
 idol Addiction CD series by Julie Sparkman

 
 
Reading challenges

 
 
A thoughtful conversation with a friend

 
 
 Ginger Ale

 
 
 God


 Not in that order

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

The Magic of Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs)

#BlogLikeCrazy



Another Classic has gone down for the history books.




For 74 years, Alabama State University (Montgomery, AL) and Alabama A&M University (Huntsville, AL) football teams and bands have battled it out for bragging rights. The game- played in Birmingham, Alabama is usually the last weekend in October and arguably the best Historically Black College/University (HBCU) football classic in the country.



The Magic City Classic has always been a part of my life. Growing up, I loved and looked forward to The Classic but as an adult, I’m over it. I’m over the traffic, crowds and inflated prices to do the same thing I could’ve done the previous weekend for a quarter of the price to see the same people from the year before. I’m too old for this ish. But my sister-in-law brought something to my attention-  this type of event isn’t regular for other folks. 



She helped me see The Magic City Classic with fresh eyes. She was so excited to see a collective of African Americans celebrating our heritage; coming together as a family around our shared experiences. She was ecstatic for her children to see Birmingham’s African American mayor, judges, doctors, nationally-known entertainers, HBCU students  and alumni in The Magic City Classic Parade.


She was so full of pride as she explained to her sons and daughter that they could be an engineer or policewoman like the ones we saw around us as we sat on the sidewalk across from City Hall and next to the Greyhound bus station where Rep. John Lewis and other Freedom Riders were bombed for exercising their rightsto ride. It was a beautiful thing.

I caught her excitement and felt bad for taking it for granted. . .until we got stuck in traffic again.

The Magic of Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) Part 2

#BlogLikeCrazy

For those who aren't familiar with HBCUs, they were created after the civil war to correct the disparities of educational opportunities for newly freed slaves.

I graduated from Clark Atlanta University in Atlanta GA which is part of a consortium of 4 other schools- Spelman College, Morehouse College, Morris Brown College and Morehouse School of Medicine in what we call The Atlanta University Center (AUC). Yes, I still claim Morris Brown even with all of its troubles.


My mother graduated from Lane College in Jackson TN, one of my aunts graduated from Tuskegee University in Tuskegee, AL and another aunt graduated from Miles College in Birmingham, AL. I come from a long line of HBCU supporters.

Many people of all races feel that HBCUs have outlived their usefulness because African Americans are now able to attend any school they so chose and qualify for in Obama's post-racial America. Is there really a such thing as post-racial America? That's another discussion for another post.

I have a bone to pick with those people. They argue that maintaining HBCUs promotes exclusion and segregation but HBCUs have always welcomed people of all colors, races, cultures and creeds. HBCUs are diverse. I went to school with people from Africa, The Virgin Islands, South America and even Iowa. We are not a monolithic people. Even though we may have variations of brown skin, we still come from completely different walks of life.

As long as students leave these institutions with a stellar education, broader worldview and a better understanding of the world and themselves, HBCUs will always be relevant.
  

Justifiable Paranoia and Police Brutality




 #BlogLikeCrazy
 

 
About a month ago, I saw a white kid in my neighborhood pointing his toy gun at every car that passed by.  Instantly, it brought to mind the tragic story of Tamir Rice. Neighbors called the police on him because they were afraid the toy gun he was wielding was a real gun. Tamir Rice was eventually killed by the police for playing.  Of course, I knew the kid in my neighborhood was just playing but why didn't Tamir Rice get the same benefit of the doubt?
 
Confession: I wanted to call the police just on GP but I realized that was petty and unnecessary.
 
Too frequently we hear allegations of a police officer killing an unarmed black person for talking back or looking suspicious or playing with a toy gun. Quite frankly, all of these news stories have me 'noid and tripping.
 
What if someone mistakes my hand for a weapon when I'm doing the "black girl head pat" while driving trying to preserve my hairstyle and not irritate my scalp? Or when I'm sitting in my own driveway for a long time trying to find the perfect playlist for my morning commute? Or when I'm sitting in the dark parking lot of a Vestavia church trying to program my GPS to get me out of this unfamiliar area? They don't know me and I don't know them.
 
As a child of God, I know I should only fear God and not fear man. I must trust that He is in control and will take care of me. But I can't trust the police! They shoot to kill instead to apprehend. They don't ask questions and get defensive when the community wants answers.
 
It used to be that parents had to worry mostly about their black boys and teach them how to deal with the police but after Sandra Bland, Rekia Boyd and Shereese Francis, we women must watch our backs too. We have to be careful of our hand gestures, tone of voice, facial expressions, station, gait and range of motion.
 
Again I ask, are my fears irrational?

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

My New Tattoo

#bloglikecrazy

In an earlier post, Check Yourself. . ., I included a picture of the inside of someone's wrist with "cont;nue"  tattooed on it because it brought a vivid image to my mind.

You may be familiar with this story, the one about Jesus' first miracle. Yeah, the one when he turned water into wine. That Bible story combined with a joke I once heard conjured up this amusing and uplifting picture in my mind, I just had to have "cont;nue" tattoed on my wrist.

This is how I see it in my head:

Jesus is at a wedding with his mother that he really didn't want to go to. At the reception, his mother came to him and said, "The family has run out of wine." Jesus looked at her like - woman, really, you want me to do this right here, right now. Fine. He stood over a bar that had several pitchers of water on it. He dramatically waved his right arm over the pitchers of water like a conductor would an orchestra and said, "keep the party going."

That makes me chuckle to myself every time I think of it. It reminds me that when I run out of energy, juice, fuel or when things get hard, it will not last forever. Jesus will come and say, "I AM here, the party isn't over yet." Won't He do it!

Someone who read Check Yourself... commented on Facebook that she didn't know her sister struggled with depression until she
asked her the meaning of her new semicolon tattoo. Before that day, she knew nothing about her sister's problem. 

Keep the party going and keep the conversation going.

Bye Lisa

 
 
 
 
I had high hopes for the character, Lisa on Being Mary Jane. Her character was a perfect opportunity for BET to shed light on mental health issues in the black community; (spoiler alert!) but they just had to go and kill her.
 
First, I must admit that I have not seen any episodes of the current season. In an effort to save money and eliminate time wasters, I cancelled my cable and I haven't found a way to see Being Mary Jane for free, yet. I have only read recaps on VH1.com.
 
However that does not keep me from having and expressing my opinion.
 
In one of the first episodes of Being Mary Jane, they showed the lead character helping Lisa during a seeming suicide attempt. It appeared Mary Jane thought her friendship and love was enough to help Lisa. She didn't want to recognize that Lisa's condition was serious and needed professional attention.
 
I was so excited to see a character like Lisa on television. She was nuanced, layered, relatable and complicated. Yet, they never fully developed her storyline leaving many questions unanswered. We see glimpses of her jealousy for Mary Jane, a unrequited love, childhood sexual abuse and struggles with her religious beliefs. But it was just that, glimpses. I am disappointed that they did not develop her character over time.
 
Why were her religious beliefs so important to her? Why and how did her and Mary Jane maintain a friendship over such a long period of time? Who else knew about Lisa's illness and how did they relate to her because of it? When did her illness begin? Did she have a history of mental illness in her family?
 
I know the show is called Being Mary Jane but I think Lisa would have been a great supporting character. Maybe we will see her in flashbacks. Then again, that wish did not come true for Vernon played by Malik Yoba on Empire.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

"Check Yourself Before You Wreck Yourself"

 

Gleaning: 

Mental Health Check

 

Call your congressman, Nancy Grace, Sheila Smoot. Why? To advocate for paid mental health days. Yes, mental health days,  just like, but in addition too, sick leave and vacation pay. I suggest starting with at least three days a year.
 
Who needs mental health days? We all do. Let's start a Kickstarter campaign, gofundme account or MoveOn petition!
 
Seriously, a mental health day isn't an excuse to skip work because your manager pissed you off. Mental conditions can cause severe problems functioning and focusing at work. Work stress can harm a person dealing with an episode of depression, mania, anxiety, etc. causing even more damage. Ever heard of the term, "going postal?"
 
Confession: I used to think that black people couldn't be depressed. I thought all we needed was Jesus and our pastor-until I experienced depression for myself. I wasn't just sad or having a bad day, a bad week, a bad year. I had it bad.
 
When I sought help with talk therapy and then medication, I realized that I wasn't crazy. Its a true illness. When I started sharing my story and struggle, others started to open up about their personal experiences or experiences with family members and other loved ones. It's nothing to be ashamed of, it's not your fault, you aren't a bad person. It can be fixed and maintained.
 
I've recently learned about Project Semicolon, a concept spearheaded by Amy Bleuel. She explains that a semicolon is a pause; not a stop. It signifies that our stories don't have to end in tragedy because of mental illness, it's just a pause in our story.  And how fitting the symbol is for a writer. 

 

 

October 10th is World Mental Health Day

 

Thursday, September 10, 2015

"Living by Design, not Default"

Gleaning: Books 

My view

 
The Top Five Regrets of the Dying by Bronnie Ware
 


 
Confession: I have a general dislike for people who boast about how many activities they are involved in and how busy and tired they are like its some kind of virtue in that. Do I sound kinda bitter? I am. They make me feel like its something wrong with me that I am not doing something every second of my day.
 
That used to be me. When I was in high school, I was president of my church's youth group, senior class president which included planning the prom and Class Day, in a community service group through my local hip-hop station and active in social justice community youth groups. Why? Because I wanted to look good on my college and scholarship applications. I wanted my accomplishments annouced in church from the pulpit. I wanted people to admire and respect me.
 
Eventually, I crashed and I have been on a permanent break ever since.
 
According to Bronnie Ware, the top five regrets of the dying are:
 
I wish-
1.)  I had the courage to live true to myself and not live the life others expected of me
2.) I hadn't worked so hard
3.) I'd had the courage to express my feelings
4.) I had stayed in touch with my friends
5.) I had let myself be happier
 
Pastor Chris Hodges' recent message on stress made this more clear for me. He said we must start to live by design and not by default; not just living off of what's left after you have done everything everyone else wants you to do. He suggested we get the clutter out of our lives and do only those things that are a part of our purpose.
 
I have decided my priorities are God, my family, my friends and writing. Everything I commit to doing, should center around one or more of these things. Right now, I don't think I'm in danger of working too hard AT ALL. I feel pressure to step it up in that area. But, I am an introvert and I require a long period of time to recover from being "on" for just a few hours.
 
I may express my feelings a little too much. One thing I learned from my brother's death is that life is too short to hold things in, so I do my best to make sure I am heard and let other people be heard as well.
 
I pride myself on not caring what other people think of me but in reality, I do. I just spend a lot of time beating myself up about, "why am I not more like. . ."
 
As of today, what do you regret? If you aren't scared, share them in the comments, here or on Facebook.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Let Me Reintroduce Myself



My name is Alison S. Moore- Liz and Jimmie Moore's baby girl, Corey and Brandon's little sister, Christopher, Tiana, Brandon, Genesis and James' aunt (Auntie Adventures coming soon!), and absentee godmother to Alaejah and Dylan.
 
I am also the self-published best-selling author of ...and you win some. At least it was a best-seller at my home church, St. John A.M.E Downtown Birmingham.
 
After much deliberation and changing of ideas, I have started working on my second book, Azalea in Season. Many who have read ...and you win some  have told me they want to know more about the troubled, mysterious Jodie Sutton. They want her to find happiness and a man, happiness with a man or just a man, I'm not quite sure. You will learn the background behind her pain in Azalea in Season.
 
Go ahead, click the button on the upper right side to purchase your copy from Amazon and get caught up. Get one for your mother, aunt and cousin too! I'll keep you updated on my progress.
 
Some of my faithful readers have expressed shock that I haven't written anything given the current political and racial climate in America. They know I usually have a lot to say on such topics. One thing I can say, #imtiredofbeingblack. These issues aren't going anywhere so I know I will have more opportunities to speak on them soon.
 
If you've read any of my earlier posts this year, you will see that I have been doing a reading challenge. I have read like 10 out of my goal of 26 for the year. I'll start again bringing you my personal reflections on these books from my saved, single and sarcastic Christian point of view.
 
I've cut down on my television watching but my favorite shows- Empire, Scandal, How to Get Away with Murder and Celebrity Apprentice, oops I mean the Republican Primaries are coming up soon. I'm sure they will provide a lot of fodder for the blog!
 
This is what you can expect from me.
 
See you next Wednesday!

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Midnight in the Coldest Winter Ever



Book 2

 
 



Category: A book I started, but never finished

Midnight by Sister Souljah

 
 
 
 

 

I waited with great expectation for Sister Souljah to write a sequel to The Coldest Winter Ever so I could learn more about my favorite character, Midnight. I was so excited when the book was finally released.
 
The Coldest Winter Ever is the best coming of age story second only to Flyy Girl by Omar Tyree. Not unlike many other teenaged girls, I wanted Midnight to be my boyfriend. He seemed to be so smooth, charismatic and attractive, at least from Sister Souljah's portrayal of him. 
 
 I ended up being highly disappointed and disgusted, I had to put the book down. It wasn't a sequel. This  Midnight was not the Midnight I knew. It was a prequel- following him from age 5 living in the Sudan up to his formative years in America whereas in the preceding book he was a fully grown man. In this book, Midnight was critical of Americans as if he was superior; American women in particular.   I vowed to finish the book one day since I had already purchased it.
 
 
This time around, I loved it  and could not put it down. Some of the things I disagreed with back in 2012, I now agree with. It's love story. He feel in love with a 16 year old Asian girl who spoke 5 languages but neither of them were the two that he spoke, English or Arabic. In his eyes, American women were too easy and didn't respect themselves.
 
He said they didn't realize that, "A good woman is a jewel from Allah for which a man must pay a heavy price." And as a man, he "felt a heavy Sudanese kind of pride that there would be blood coming from "below," not a hand-me-down girl or someone else's leftovers or an abandoned or passed around piece." He was amazed that so many American women didn't have fathers around (though there was never an explanation of why he and his pregnant mother left the Sudan without his father).
 
I agreed with his assessment of Americans- "Every day, every hour, every minute, every second they are awake, they are doing something, anything to make money." Americans will do anything for money above all else even forsake their own families.


I can't wait to read the sequel to Midnight. I'll be reading the official sequel to The Coldest Winter Ever in the category of a book my mom loves. I'll explain more about that in that blog post.


This one year reading challenge is an exciting adventure. 24 more books to go!

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Roots Revisited



Book 1
 
One Year Reading ChallengeCategory: A book over 500+ pages
 
 
 
 

 



I thought I'd get one of the hard ones out of the way.
 
I chose Roots by Alex Haley, the co-author of The Autobiography of Malcolm X, because I already owned the 888 page book. That didn't matter, I bought the Kindle version on the third day because I couldn't continue carrying that book around.

Roots is a novel loosely based on the lineage of Alex Haley. It follows his ancestors from free Africans in Africa to unwilling voyagers on inhumane slave ships to slavery in America then (so-called) freedom in America after the Civil War.

We all know that black people are resilient and strong because we have survived all the horrible conditions put before us. If you didn't know, now you know. So I wrecked my brain trying to come up with an original gleaning perspective for this post and decided to focus on the end of the book.

I can imagine how happy Alex Haley's family was when they were first granted freedom. It opened a whole new world to them. Their patriarch, Chicken George convinced his wife, children, and grandchildren and a few other recently freed slaves and white indentured servants to travel to Tennessee where blacks and whites were developing a new town together.  
 
When they got settled in their new town, one of Alex Haley's ancestors, Tom was the most sought after blacksmith around. His services were so much in demand, Tom decided to open his own blacksmith shop in town.  But when some of the white residents got wind of it, they approached him and told him he could not own his own shop. A white man would have to own the shop and he would have to work for him.
 
He was so angry when presented with this, he was going to take his family and find a place where he was wanted but after he cooled down, he decided to turn his wagon into a mobile blacksmith shop so he could go directly to the people. Eventually, he did open his own shop after he became so endeared to the community.
 
Tom must have felt so hopeless at the moment the white settlers told him what he couldn't do. Finally, his family had reached freedom and it seemed to be taken from right under them. That resiliency I talked about earlier kicked in coupled with ingenuity to find a way or make one.
 
I felt that hopelessness while I read Tom's story. Much like the hopelessness many African American men feel in this country today because the police in their community that are supposed to serve and protect them are killing them without any repercussions.
 
But just as Tom found a way by making one, African American men and women are still resilient and we still have the strength of our ancestors to build on to do the same in our current situations.

This Christian's Response to The Book of Mormon (the play)

 
 
**SPOILER ALERT**
 
 
I'm offended.
 
I am an open-minded person. I love satire. I can relate to some of Bill Maher's views on Christianity but this play, this play. . .  took it too far.  
 
I've always wanted to see it  and was so excited when I learned it was coming to Birmingham. The BFF sponsored this outing based on my word alone. She didn't know what she was getting into and apparently, I didn't either.
 
My understanding of the play was that former members of the Mormon Church decided to get together to make fun of its inconsistent parts. I thought I could trust the creators because they were affiliated with the play, Avenue Q which I loved.
 
In The Book of Mormon, a new group of missionaries are paired up and sent to mission fields all over the world. The play focused on the pair that were assigned to Uganda in Africa and their hardships trying to baptize the natives.
 
 
The play turned out to be an indictment of religion, period. It grouped the Mormon church with the "regular" Christian Church that asserts Jesus is God's son who came to save mankind. In the play, the Bible was explained as really a "trilogy" instead a collection of the Old and New Testament.  The actual Mormon church advertised the real Book of Mormon in the playbill ("The book is always better").
 
Offense #1- The Ugandans greeted the missionaries with a song in their native language that translated to F* You, God complete with a dance move that included the middle finger. I find it hard to believe this to be remotely true. Africans are a spiritual people. Even though they may not believe in the same god, they do believe in a higher power.
 
Offense #2- Jesus masturbating. Need I say more?
 
There were a few shocking but funny parts including an appearance from Johnny Cochran in Mormon hell and God reconsidering his initial declaration that dark skin is evil and a curse.
 
Nevertheless, this play seems like it was created by a people with no hope. I mean, are they not a little afraid of getting struck by lightening? Its like they were constantly stepping on live power lines as if they were blocks on the yellow brick road.
 
You may feel that religion is silly and it is just a hodgepodge of fairy tales, campfire stories with Hobbits and Star Trek episodes, but have some respect for the people in your life who do believe.
 
My oldest nephew never believed in Santa Claus but he knew not to go to school broadcasting it as to ruining it for the other kids. . .and his grandma.
 
Please grant us that same common courtesy.

Monday, February 16, 2015

No More B*tches

Within the last 12 months, I've written many blog posts about my relationship struggles with rap music. In "Green Eyes," I talked about feeling convicted at a Goodie Mob concert held in an old church while chanting, "put some fire on the a** in of that weed." How Many B*tches dealt with my hatred of the "B" word but overlooking its usage in my favorite artists' songs.  Then A Trip Down Miracle Lane detailed the lengths God went through to keep me from going to the much anticipated Outkast ATLast concert.
 
All summer long, I felt the Holy Spirit leading me to stop listening to rap music. I was like, "Okay, I'll pray about that." It was nothing to pray about! I had already received my directive but I continued to listen to my old school hip hop playlist on my iPod and Pandora anyway. See, I don't listen to this trash on the radio today. I marveled at how lyricists wove words together like Ms. Lauryn Hill on Mystery of Iniquity- "Teaching ambition to support the family superstition." Ahh, its magical.





I've gone through stages in my life where I would throw away, give away, or sale all of my secular music only to buy it again a year or so later. I knew I needed to give it up. I'm not saying rap music is bad. I'm saying that God doesn't want ME listening to it. I mean, I can quote a song lyric to fit any situation. I need to be more in love with His word rather than the words of Andre 3000, Mos Def, and Cee Lo Green before he pursued his pop dreams.

So the day of the Outkast concert, I was discharged from the hospital at exactly 5:00p.m., the time the gates opened at Centennial Park. Never mind, the paramedics cut up my good jeans and I had to walk out of the hospital in a hospital gown and tennis shoes. I could've still made it to that concert but my sister-in-law insisted on taking me back to Birmingham that night.

My cell phone with all my music on it fell out somewhere on HWY 285 and someone blessed themselves with my iPod because I know I saw it in my car after the accident.

We make things so difficult when it can be so simple. No More B*tches for me.