Gilmore Girls: A safety I never had

If you’re a Gilmore Girls die-hard and plan to watch A Year In The Life don’t read this ‘cuz I’m about to drop some bombs.

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Image taken from Variety.com

To set the scene; I am a die-hard. Among The Cosby ShowThe Nanny, and PokemonGilmore Girls is the show I turned to in my formative years. It offered the mother-daughter relationship my mother and I never had. Mommy and I aren’t quite Lane and Mrs. Kim, but we’ve come close. Rory’s relationships with Dean, Jess, and Logan answered my questions about love. I listened to Lorelai’s advice as if she were my television mommy, because come-on, she was — don’t act like she wasn’t yours too.

I got through five seasons of the first series before finally caving in. I just HAD to watch the new series. After completing the full four-part series and over 50 episodes of the old, I must say, Gilmore Girls is not a show I would let my pre-teen daughter watch. I’d wait until she were a woman grounded in herself first.

Aja Romano speaks my thoughts in her Vox piece (click for article)

I’m not going to re-write everything Aja hit on the head. I am disappointed. This is not the life I want for Rory, and Aja is right, it is not consistent with the Rory I grew to know over seven seasons.

What I’d dispute is that a grown-ass woman, because Rory is 32, is capable of raising a child while maintaining a professional career. But yes, where is her ambition? Why is she still stuck in her mid-twenty millennial phase! Thirty-somethings, please tell me this is not my fate. I mean, I feel a bit de-motivated these days, but I just sold my soul to politics for seven months and Hillary Clinton is not our president. I’m allowed to sit on my ass while reading and watching Netflix all day, but not Rory!

What happened to diving in the trenches for the sake of journalism? Why isn’t Rory interested in covering what is happening in Aleppo or Mosul? Where’s the young Rory who looked up to Senator Clinton (she was Senator at the time)?

There’s nothing else to say other than, I’m disappointed.

But while I’m at it, I might as well talk about the first series 

  • Dean and Rory: Although their relationship was beautiful because they were each other’s first love, it was unhealthy. The kid had a raging jealousy that no 16-year old girl should have to deal with. Also, listen, your man is not here to make you feel safe and protected. If that’s what you want buy pepper spray or take a couple of defensive martial arts classes, don’t seek safety in another person. Side-note, I’m not high and mighty, that’s advice I also need to take.
  • Mrs. Kim: I felt as uncomfortable watching Berta’s family take over Emily’s home as I did watching the scene about Condoleezza Rice’s big mouth and Mrs. Kim’s exaggerated parenting. My parents are Haitian immigrants so, I get how strict parents born outside of the United States can be. However, when holding Mrs. Kim and Lane up to the light, why wouldn’t one prefer a Lorelai and Rory instead. Lane often did prefer Lorelai to her own mother. In truth, that’s what bothers me. Despite how strict my parents were, I love them dearly. Why couldn’t Lane and Mrs. Kim have a stronger mother-daughter bond.
  • Purity: What made Rory special to many in Stars Hollow is that she is pure and in need of protection. There is a scene where Lorelai walks in the house and overhears Paris and Rory’s conversation. It turns out Paris has lost her virginity to a boy she loves. Upon hearing that Rory has not yet had sex with Jess and also did not with Dean, Lorelai whispers that she’s got the good kid. It’s that whole Taylor Swift paradox again. Having sex does not soil a young woman. Help me out here, Chimamanda.
  • Diversity: The first series had like three people of color: Michel, Lane, and Mrs. Kim… Oh, wait, all of Emily’s maids were foreign. This series did a better job capturing diversity, including sexual diversity, but that was CLEARLY too much for a show in the 2000’s.
  • Privilege: Rory and Lorelai always had Emily and Richard to turn to for financial safety. It’s as if they went on to play in their Stars Hollow fictional world, but whenever the harsh realities of life hit, they had the privilege of coming from money. They could always get a loan, of course in exchange they’d have to spend time with their family — love can be bought.

Childhood things 

Yes, I am disappointed in Amy Sherman-Palladino for ruining Rory. However, Gilmore Girls did offer a reality I needed in my formative years. In my twenties, it has given me something to bond with other women about, especially white women. But it doesn’t go any further than that.

Gilmore Girls now goes up on the shelf next to The Cosby Show. Both necessary, damaging in their own way, but worth keeping around for those rainy days when comfort is all I crave.

 

It ain’t really the hood, it’s The Rock

“He put me in a headlock, I had to defend myself.”

The words woke me from my slumber. I fell asleep on the couch while watching the first Gilmore Girls series in preparation for the new release. The voice was my little brother’s. I looked at the clock, 5:23a.m. It’s too early for this shit, I got back to sleep. In the morning I forget about it.

A day later, I sat in a good friend’s kitchen. He and his younger brother discuss a fight outside a club in Nyack, New York. Word gets around fast.

Today, I finally ask my older brother about the little one’s involvement in some post-thanksgiving scuffle. I don’t understand why he couldn’t just stay his little ass home. Anyway, it turns out some ol’ dude punched a friend in the face for hugging up on his baby mama. Little one told ol’ dude it’s not cool to hit someone who wasn’t expecting it — it’s like a Boursiquot to stand up for others. Egos flamed. Someone put little one in a headlock. Bam, little one defends himself and ends up bodying like three ol’ dudes.

I shouldn’t be proud, but I’m glad to know little one can hold his own. Another part of me is afraid. It’s not the same kind of fear I have knowing Donald Trump is President-Elect. It’s the kind of afraid an older sibling feels when they’ve come from a town where some lose themselves. Talk of folks losing themselves isn’t some made-up fairytale, there are people in my family who have lost their futures. I am saddened, still, when I think of the lives some of my cousins will never have because of messes they fell into. At my sister-friend’s wedding, her husband and his groomsmen echoed teary eyed sentiments about people believing they wouldn’t amount to anything. This is the kind of town where some teachers tell young black boys they ain’t gon’ be shit.

Where you from, ma? 

I’m from Spring Valley, New York, a small town in Rockland County a.k.a The Rock. This is the point where I should tell y’all what we’re known for, but I’m not quite sure The Rock has figured that out yet.

If I had to make something up on the spot; scholars of color who attend Ivy League, athletes on the come-up, artistic talent, youth fighting, cultural diversity, Hasidic Jews, an impeding heroin crisis, and restless dreamers.

The Rock is considered a New York City suburb, but there aren’t white picket fences everywhere although some parts of town can afford gold picket fences. We’ve got that New York City food vibe. If you want dishes from the mouths of Haitians, Jamaicans, Mexicans, Ukrainians, Russians, Italians, Indians, Filipinos — you got it. Football is a big deal here. Some of my best high school days were spent watching my older brother and little one play on Coach Andrew Delva’s team. What is different about The Rock is why I love it. But I’d be lying if I said I want to raise a family here.

If you love it, why won’t you grow roots in it?

A couple days ago, I went to see Loving. My car is back in Delray Beach, so I borrowed my mom’s. She was low on gas so I decided to stop and fill it up. As I am heading inside to pay for the gas, the homeless man standing outside began to look familiar.

I shouted his name. He reached for a hug. I hesitated, but hug him. This young man is about a year older than me, we attended Spring Valley High School together, and now he’s homeless. I purchased a coffee and an energy bar for him, and dropped he and a pal off at a local hospital for shelter.

On the drive home I let out the tears I held in.

The rumor is that he found heroin.

Others in The Rock have found guns.

The Hasidic Jewish community makes it difficult for our public schools to thrive without a yearly fight. Them and Them, found here , outlines the strained relationship East Ramapo Central School District students and parents have with Hasidic power players.

Communities here are left neglected.

To live in Rockland County is to commit yourself to a constant fight. Frankly, I’m exhausted. I spent much of my middle and high school career attending school board meetings begging members to keep arts in our schools, demanding more teachers, and asking for resources. Two public schools closed down and became Yeshivas during my four years in high school. I watched teachers break down in front of students because they wanted more for the lives they mold in The Rock. 

But, I love The Rock

It’s refreshing to see those who have stayed continue the fight. In some ways I am an outsider admiring small town people make a name for a place they call home. It is without a doubt that folks who grow up in The Rock get to see the world through many lenses.

Despite the challenges, The Rock molded me to be the woman I am today. Educators, coaches, mentors in this community have some of the biggest hearts I have ever seen. Many remain pillars in the lives of the young people they fight to mold into adults ready to take on the world.

This piece could go on for days because a true reflection of The Rock would take years to write. It’s a special place. For now, I’ll start here and revisit from time to time.

Processing Trump Pt. 1

Take baby steps. Write down the things you’re going to do like shower, moisturize, and de-tangle your hair.

Feel what you feel, but try not to do it alone. If your friends and family are not near, call or text them.

Drink water. Meditate. Pray. Eat.

This was a tough election for many of us. America’s decision to elect Trump is heartbreaking, but it does not tell us anything we did not already know — that is why we fought so hard this election.

One thing it for sure reminds us — your vote DOES matter. The folks who voted for Trump felt unheard so they came out. We must also come out. Feel what you feel today, tomorrow, next week, next month… but do not sit. Keep shaking up your community for the betterment of humanity.

I am disappointed in those who voted for Jill and Gary, but I also understand your frustration with our establishment. I understand what it’s like to not have your life matter. I know, from experience, what it is like to work alongside people who do not respect the decision you made to vote for Bernie Sanders. I understand.

Chins up, everyone.