#Adulting: Women and Their Stories

Happy Women’s History Month!

It was a smooth transition from Black History Month (2018 Black Panther) to Women’s History Month (2018 A Wrinkle in Time), in terms of American cinema, so be sure to check out both films that incorporate women of a variety of ages, occupations, and, yes, nationalities.

The first day of the month also featured a pretty powerful crossover between Shonda Rhimes’s created shows, Scandal  and How To Get Away With Murder. The first half (the Scandal hour) is where Olivia Pope (Kerry Washington) and Annalise Keating (Viola Davis) butt heads and acknowledge the levels of privilege (and even colorism) that exist within the black community, especially among black women. (The setting of a hair salon is important, trust me.)

 

The second half of the special (How To Get Away with Murder) shows Viola Davis orating one of the best monologues of her career as her character, Annalise Keating, presents to the Supreme Court about the disproportionately high rates of incarceration of people of color in America, as a “by-product” of the systemic and institutional racism that never went away with the passing of the 13th, 14th, and 15th amendments to the United States Constitution.

 

What a way to start Women’s History Month (which, yes, does include black women)!

On March 9, A Wrinkle in Time (2018) released into American theaters. Directed by the Queen Sugar-genius, Ava Duvernay, the movie is adapted from the 1962 book by Madeleine L’Engle, and stars women such as Oprah Winfrey, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Mindy Kaling, Reese Witherspoon, and newcomer, Storm Reid. I won’t review this book-to-movie adaptation (which I finished re-reading the morning I saw the movie) because I’m sure there is no shortage of reviews of this blockbuster film.

I will note how much I appreciated Reid’s portrayal of Meg Murray. In these first few months of 2018, we’ve been blessed with creations that show what it’s like to be a black child who has lost a parent through maybe losing their way (*Black Panther spoiler* Erik Killmonger), to an institutional system that was always against them (How To Get Away with Murder, Nate Lahey), or to progress but forgetting the effects on the family left behind (A Wrinkle in Time, Meg Murray).  In A Wrinkle in Time, there were two moments that particularly struck me (spoilers ahead):

Storm Reid plays Meg Murry in ‘A Wrinkle In Time.’ Photo Credit

 

When asked by her principal what would happen if her father did come back, Meg said quietly, “Everything would make sense again,” which shows how big an effect the presence of one person has on our lives, especially when their absence is clearly noted by all members of the community and the media that depict families that are whole, that convey See? This is what a family looks like. This is what happiness looks like.

The second moment is towards the end of the movie when Meg admits in a loud and clear voice, “You know, most days I hate myself.” But then goes on to say she can get past it because she knows that her family, especially her brother, Charles Wallace, loves her in spite of (and sometimes because of) her faults.

It was a jarring yet cathartic moment to see someone admit that their faults, especially in a time (and culture) where women are supposed to love everything about themselves and radiate this positive self-esteem every hour of everyday. And the moment debunked the popular notion that you can’t love anyone else unless you love yourself wholly first. What nonsense! Sometimes the path to loving yourself is reinforced by someone else showing their unconditional love for you by example.

A common theme among these stories of women is the combination of strength and love, something the world often forgets can exist (and should exist) in tandem.

(Also, what would Women’s History Month be if I didn’t thank my mother for displaying both those qualities seemingly effortlessly? So thanks, Mom!)

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What I’m Listening To: Black Panther: The Music from and Inspired By curated by Kendrick Lamar. I’m the first to admit that I’m not terribly well-versed in hip-hop. That said, you can definitely find something to love on this album (if not every track) because Lamar does a fantastic job with the collaborations, connecting the music and even the lyrics with the sound design and plot and characters from the movie. (My favorite tracks are “Bloody Waters,” “Opps,” “Redemption,” and of course,” and “All the Stars” (because I’m just a little bit basic and the lyric “Corrupt a man’s heart with a gift/ That’s how you find who you dealing with” just hits too hard).

What I’m Reading: A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle (see post above) and the second novel by The Martian-author Andy Weir, Artemis.

Artemis is fitting for Women’s History Month since the protagonist is a Saudi Arabian-national woman by the name of Jazz Bashara. Like Mark Watney, Jazz is quick-witted, brilliant in STEM brainstorming, and sarcastic. Unlike Mark, Jazz lives on a society on the moon called Artemis and she is slightly problematic. (I have to admit though, The Martian is funnier, and Weir’s shot at writing a woman seems, at times, misinformed.)

 

What I’m Watching: A Wrinkle in Time (2018),  Marvel’s Black Panther (2018) (yes, more than once, can you blame me?), and Netflix’s Jessica Jones Season Two.

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#Adulting: Killing the Industry (A New Podcast Miniseries)

If you read any millennial’s blog, most of our activities and/or preoccupations fall in the realm of:

a) finding or keeping a well-paying job

b) spending quality time with friends/family

c) finding new movies/foods/books/music/shows to enjoy

d) finishing school or paying off  student loan debt

e) becoming healthier (or at least, staying healthy-ish)

Ruining the department store industry and chain restaurants like Applebee’s and Buffalo Wild Wings, or even killing the housing market, is not on most (if any) millennials’ to-do list and yet…

During the later half of 2017, I researched a select few industries millennials are accused of killing or ruining, interviewed actual millennials and other individuals in different age groups affected by the shift in that particular industry, and, finally, along with a co-host, put together a podcast miniseries to answer the question of a) if this industry is actually dead and b) if it is dead, who killed it?

The podcast miniseries is titled, “Killing the Industry.” The trailer actually airs today (which you can listen to here or on the podcast’s blog), but the first episode premieres Friday, February 2nd. I hope you’ll give it a listen, especially if you’re dying to know if millennials are actually to blame for killing, well, everything.

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What I’m Listening To: (See below)

What I’m Reading: Talking As Fast As I Can by Lauren Graham on audiobook; even though she’s technically not a comedian, I’m still lumping Graham into the category because she’s a funny person who doesn’t take herself too seriously, and so far the book does not disappoint.

What I’m Watching: Netflix’s remake of One Day At a Time is back! Out of all the original series Netflix pushes on its customers, I actually don’t mind this one because this beautiful, hilarious Cuban-American family still faces real issues affecting veterans with PTS, LGBT teens, non-traditional matriculation, Latinx culture, and so much more without being corny. So excited for season two!

 

Book Review: Teach Me How To Laugh

A fun fact about yours truly is that one of my favorite genres is Comedian Autobiography. If I’m going to read about someone’s life, where there are probably going to be some sad parts (as is true in many lives), I want to at least laugh a little.

Born a Crime is no exception in this regard, but it does change the rules I’d come to expect in the Comedian Autobiography genre.

(Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood by Trevor Noah (2016) Photo Credit: Google Books)

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Sunday Night Motivation

How do you do a job application?

One step at a time.

At this moment, it’s Sunday night and I’m staring at the computer screen, desperately trying to motivate myself to start the fellowship application I’ve put off for weeks.

It’s due tomorrow.

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Senior Summer: Maybe I Can Actually Get Stuff Done This Summer? Maybe?

There’s no good time to make and keep a goal…except maybe during a three-month vacation? Short of launching a multi-billionaire entrepreneurship or being employed as a teacher (and even the former isn’t likely to take breaks, giving how tech is innovated these days), a three-month vacation isn’t likely to ever happen again.

So why not take advantage of it? Some scientists say it takes 21 days to make or break a habit. That pretty much means that you have three tries to get it right this summer.

Keep it simple. Don’t be super ambitious like run 5 miles everyday if you haven’t even broken in a pair of sneakers. Maybe just running three times a week. If you want to enhance your photog skills, learn how to use free apps and take an artsy photo everyday. Tackle a Buzzfeed challenge. Start off small.

And once you have a goal (or goals, maybe you are ambitious!), here are some tips to help you reach it.

As for me, I have been woefully remiss on my leisure activities this year. Surprisingly, being an English major doesn’t allow me a lot of time to read for fun or watch for fun, so I’ll be tackling (fingers crossed) a book and a show a week–either catching up on a current show or finishing the series of a cancelled show. (Below are this week’s:)

That said, I also, finally learned how to use the app I bought over a year ago. You can get Gif Brewery through the Apple Store. I finally had fun with some old videos:

A M Montgomery 2015 Gif

A M Montgomery 2015 Gif

Good luck on your goals, guys!

Season Caught-up/Series Complete: Marvel’s Daredevil on Netflix

(Great series but so violently graphic at times, I had to cover both my eyes and ears)

Book Read: What Happened to Goodbye by Sarah Dessen

(Dessen is very predictable when it comes to romance; that said, I wish it would have ended a bit more realistically)