Pop Culture

The Truth About Telling One’s Truth

There seems to be a little confusion about what it means to “Stand in My Truth”, “Tell My Truth” or “Share My Truth”. This confusion regards the smallest, yet most important, word in these phrases: MY.

That little word refers to the writer/speaker/stander alone. That little word means that the truth I’m telling, sharing or standing in must be mine and mine alone. It’s all about me, my experiences, my beliefs.

My truth cannot be about anything/anyone else, any group or organization with which I am not a part of nor in which I am not personally involved.

Let me give you some examples of what can and cannot be My Truth:

I am a woman. ✔️

Men are pigs. ❌

Pizza is my favorite food. ✔️

I’m allergic to olive oil, therefore olive oil is a bad food, in my opinion.❌

I am not a fan of professional football.✔️

I believe that the Dallas Cowboys are wimps. ❌

I picked Papa Johns over Dominos in the taste test because Papa Johns’ pizza tasted better to me. ✔️

Dominos pizza taste better than Papa Johns and if you don’t agree, you’re a moron. ❌

The statements followed by a ✔️ can be considered my truths. The statements followed by an ❌ can not. Even if I believed the statements marked with the ❌, they still could not be my truths because they are not about me. I am not a man, a pig, olive oil, a Dallas Cowboy player nor Dominos Pizza. Even though I used the words, “in my opinion,” and, “I believe,” I am not referring to myself. I am referring to things and people of which I am not.

“My Truth” has nothing to do with, and cannot have anything to do with, my opinion of others’ actions, beliefs nor (pizza) preferences.

The Truth

Grace & Frankie

With so many shows on hiatus for the Summer, I’m glad networks have gotten smarter the last few years and are giving us new shows or new seasons of shows right now. Even though there are fewer shows and fewer episodes of Summer shows. I don’t have pay movie channels and can’t watch zombie shows because they will give me nightmares. I tried watching Orang Is the New Black on Netflix, but couldn’t get through more than 15 minutes of the first episode. Scandal is so hard-core, I keep threatening to stop watching, but I still hang on. For that reason, I haven’t watched House of Cards because I’ve heard it’s even more evil than Scandal.

Yesterday, however, I started watching Grace & Frankie on Netflix. And by “watch” I mean binge-watched. I watched 6 episodes yesterday and 3 more this morning! I love it because it is so grey, like real life. Our expectations, and the media’s portrayal, of life being just black and white is not only unrealistic, but impossible to obtain! Why? Because we are humans! Brutiful, fallible humans with good and bad in all of us, the ability to wound each other and be hurt by others. We all have the capacity to use our talents, smarts and tongue to build each other up and tear each other down. No one human is all evil, all good, all worthless, all valuable. There is something to like, love, hate and pity in all of us. And Grace & Frankie remind us of that.

Here’s the plot of the show: two 70 year old married men (played by Sam Waterston & Martin Sheen) have been business partners for as long as they’ve been married, 40 years. 20 years ago, they fell in love with each other and started an affair. The show opens with the husbands finally telling their wives (played by Lilly Tomlin & Jane Fonda) they are leaving them for each other.

Sounds pretty cut & dry, doesn’t it? The men, are obviously the “bad guys”, the ones to dislike in this show. They not only cheated on their wives but also lied about who they are for 20 years! They stayed with their wives while the women raised the children, took care of the house and, now, are leaving their wives all alone at the end of their lives? And to top it all off, they chose to tell their wives in a restaurant, hoping there would be no outburst or scenes made. However, I have sympathy and empathy for all 4 main characters. The writers and the actors get kudos for achieving that!

Because you learn that one marriage wasn’t happy and may have never been. One wife was going through the motions and hadn’t paid attention to (literal) signs that had been in her house for years. Would it have been better for both to continue on that way or for one of them to marry the man of his dreams and the other to be free to find her own? One spouse lost her best friend and had her heart broken so that her husband could be free to be himself and marry the man he loves. It’s hard not to be happy for two 70 year old men, finally free to be who they are, excited and proud to tell the world that they love each other! And come on, who doesn’t love a big, gay wedding?! There is pain, anger and regret felt and dealt by all of them, but there are also the possibilities and joy that can be gained by new beginnings.

But that’s not all! There are also the adult children, who have all grown up together, and the huge family adjustments. Your parents are divorcing, you have more houses to visit now,  and the man who was your “uncle” is now becoming your “stepmother”?! Dealing with that along with their own children, marital problems, the dating scene, their own careers and addiction adds more layers to the show.

Wow, I think I’ve managed to paint a very bleak picture of this show but it’s not! I laugh hard during each episode, as well. Because life is messy and complicated and grey. Grace & Frankie show all of that while making us laugh, cry and embrace all that we brutiful humans are!

If you’re are or have watched it, let’s chat! If you decide to start watching it, tell me what you think!

Movie Wednesday

Last year, I told you about our Language Arts curriculum, Brave Writer’s The Arrow.  Today is Movie Wednesday, but we didn’t watch a movie.  We watched a show that aired on ABC last night – Countdown to the Oscars: 15 Movies That Changed American Cinema.  I saw the show on the guide several minutes after 10pm, turned on the TV and hit record.  When we watched it this morning, it only captured #14 through #1.  I’ve searched the internet and cannot find what #15 was, so if you saw the show, please let me know!  Anywho, watching this 54 minute show provided lessons in not only Language Arts, but also History (of our country and the movie industry), Civil Rights and Cinematography.  B wants to make movies when he grows up.  He really enjoys doing it now and this show gave great, historical insight.  In the future, we will watch almost all of these movies for the content and ingenuity they will lend to B’s education.

Language Arts

The Brave Writer Lifestyle teaches us the importance of word selection in stories, whether they are told in books or movies.  When you read a great line in a book, the delivery is yours, in your head.  The tone of a book B reads may come across completely differently when I read it.  With movies, you hear an actor in character saying an iconic line; see the expression and emotion on their face as it’s delivered.  How many lines from movies stick with us, do we use in our daily lives?  Lines from movies decades old, movies we’ve seen years ago, still stick with us and we want to make that impression on others when we write (or act). Every movie on last night’s show had lines like that.  This show also reminded us when it’s fitting to not use “proper” English; when the local and/or historical way of speaking should be used. See if you can tell from which movie these lines came:

  1. “Whuzzah happenin’, hot stuff?”
  2. “I think we’re gonna need a bigger boat.”
  3. “STELLA!”
  4. “Well, when I’m good, I’m very good, but when I’m bad, I’m better.”
  5. “I don’t know nothin’ ’bout birthin’ no babies!”


Ever movie is on this list because it made cinematic history.  The Production Codes were created in the 1930s to censor future movies after I’m No Angel was released.  The multi-plane camera was invented in order to bring the first, full-length animated movie, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, to the screen. Easy Rider was the 1st indy film that became a blockbuster.  2001: A Space Odyssey birthed the Sci-Fi genre.  Jaws showed us that the score of a movie can make a villain.

So many times during this show, we paused to discuss not only the what and why of a storyline, but also the filming.  The shower scene in Psycho was a great topic!

B: [Janet Leigh’s character] was ridiculous in the shower!  She just stood there and kept letting out short screams while the bad guy took forever to raise his knife.  She should have attacked him or knocked him over and run.
Me: She didn’t scream that long.  She gave one scream, and the director chose to play it over and over again, at different angles, to prepare the audience for what was about to happen.  Otherwise, the scene may have gone by before the audience could absorb it and they might have missed it.  (I hit play again and B listened to commentators on the show describe how Alfred Hitchcock reinvented fear in this movie.  Audiences had not seen anything like this before and it was so horrifying without even being gory.)
B: I get it!  No one was expecting a murderer.  No one was expecting that character.  The director had to give the audience a second to get what was about to happen so that they could get and be afraid of it as it happened.  Cool!

But these movies also taught us about our History.  In clips from The Birth of a Nation, B learned that KKK members not only dressed in white but also covered their horses.  Although Hattie McDaniel was nominated for, and won, an Oscar for Gone with the Wind, she was not allowed to sit at the same table with her cast mates.  She was segregated to her own table in the back.  We discussed the significance of a black man cast as the main character of a motion picture (Lillies of the Field) in 1962 and Sidney Poitier winning an oscar.  B watched Halle Berry’s emotional acceptance speech in 2001 with shock that a woman of color had not won best actress until the 21st century.  Easy Rider was created by, for and about the 60s generation.

Oh my goodness, I can go on and on about this show and the wonderful lessons we got from it today, but I have to stop and make dinner now.  I can’t wait to watch one of these films next Wednesday!

Scandal S4:E2

WARNING: If you have NOT watched last Thursday’s episode of Scandal yet, do not read the following!

For the rest of y’all, I told myself after watching S4:E1 that I was done.  I can’t take the ugliness and dregs of human nature towards each other.  It affects me and stays with me the rest of the week.  I finally shake it by Wednesday and the Thursday, I think I can watch another one.  *sigh*  Anywho, onto Episode 2…

It never ceases to amaze me how conceited some men can be!  How could Cyrus Beene possibly think that the “gentleman” who approached him in the bar was actually attracted to him?!   OK, I guess there was one, remote possibility: that the man recognized who Cyrus was and was attracted to the power and influence that Cyrus has.  I don’t understand people finding power attractive, but there are some who do.  (Donald Trump keeps getting married.)  Even if he wasn’t attracted to power, I knew that the man had to be educated enough to know that it was The Cyrus Beene he was approaching and, therefore, it would not end well for Cyrus if he got involved.  The man would have something on Cyrus, to hold over his head, something with which to blackmail him.  When I saw him the 2nd time, it dawned on me that he might not be acting alone, that someone had hired him.  I didn’t know who, but certainly was not surprised at all when we found out.

Cyrus totally deserves it, though.  He was a monster before, the way he used his husband, James among many other things.  But now that James is dead, he doesn’t even pretend to be nice in certain circumstances anymore.

Oh, and I agree with Cyrus and disagree with Mellie in regards to whether or not their pain is the same.  The are both in the worst pain that either of them could possibly feel.  Cyrus could not feel worse nor could be broken any worse than he already is, and Mellie is the same place.  Cyrus’ love for James was the deepest he’s ever felt and James is gone.  Although Cyrus & James adopted a baby, that baby was never Cyrus’; he feels nothing for her, so he is not a parent.  The only love he’s known is for James.  Mellie is a parent and, therefore, has loved deeper and wider than Cyrus can even imagine.  When Mellie compares the pain she knows she would feel if she lost Fitz to the pain of losing Gerry, losing Jerry, of course, is worse!  But Cyrus, never being in Mellie’s position, can’t be compared to Mellie.  Does that make any sense?

Before we had B, I truly believed that if something were to happen to the hubs, my life would be over.  He was my world and I would not want to live without him.  Once we had B, I realized I didn’t even know what love was before becoming a mother.  I had no idea I had the capacity to love someone instantly, fiercely and as unconditionally as that.  Becoming a parent helped me to relate to, and finally have a relationship with, God.  I know now how He feels about me because it’s the same way I feel about B.  So, if something were to happen to the hubs, I would grieve, a piece of my heart would die.  I would never give another man the time, energy and love that I gave the hubs, but I could and would go on.  I have someone more important to live for and take care of: B.

So, even though their capacity for love is not the same, both Cyrus and Mellie loved their lost ones as deeply as they possible could.  And, therefore, their are experiencing the worst pain they each possibly can.

Enough with the side boob already!

I’ve never been one to begrudge a woman who looked good in a sexy outfit before.  And I am just talking about sexy, not slutty nor inappropriate.  I’ve always thought, “If I had it, I’d probably flaunt it, too,” and “As long as you have the body for it, why not?”  Remember that green Versace dress Jennifer Lopez wore to the 2000 Grammys?  I hollered at the TV, “Go on witcha bad self, J. Lo!”  I’ve even worn little sumpin’, sumpin’ myself in the past.

However, watching the 2014 Oscars and a performance by Barbra Streisand this week, I have something to say to women: “ENOUGH with the side boob already!”  I just don’t want to see it.  I have no problem with exposed cleavage.  When you are well endowed, any neckline that is not turtle- or crew-neck will expose some skin between “the girls”.  But I just don’t care to see the curved line that goes under a boob.  I don’t want to see another woman’s nekked breast resting on her ribcage.  I’ll show you the difference…

This is a lovely picture of Lupita Nyong’o.  Although the neckline of her dress plunges and exposes cleavage almost down to her waist, I can’t see her boobs.  I’m fine with this!

However, I am not OK with the following dresses of Barbra Streisand, and whoever this woman in the black dress was at the 2014 Oscars, which expose the inner sides of their breasts.
And here’s the outer side of Amanda Seyfried’s breast.
I’m not proud that I’m getting old and prudish.  Obviously these women are confident and comfortable exposing their side boobs and that’s a good thing!  However, I will be glad when the fashion tide turns and side boob being out will no longer be “in”.

Why I Loved The LEGO Movie and Think Your Family Should See It, Too

B doesn’t have any of The LEGO Movie building sets, but he made Lord Business
(in the middle) and Emmet (on the right) from LEGOs he already owned.  He also
made a mini-figure of himself (on the left) and brought it to the movie with us.

B has loooooong anticipated The LEGO Movie being released in theaters.  Creating with LEGOs is one of his favorite things to do and his builds amaze the hubs and me.  More than not, we rent children’s movies but we knew that this movie had to be seen in a theater.

I have to be honest, I’ve not been thrilled with at least half of the movies geared towards children in the last 5 years or so.  They’re quite entertaining for the kids but I’ve been unhappy with plots that don’t capture my interest, character behaviors or inappropriate “bad”characters for G and PG ratings (I will never get over the fact that Charles Muntz in Up tried to kill Carl and Russell, a child!).  So, although I agreed to take B to see The LEGO Movie this morning, I didn’t have high expectations.  Man, was I pleasantly surprised!

Don’t worry; the movie was just released yesterday and I don’t want to spoil the plot for anyone.  However, this movie was much more than just entertainment for my family and I want to share that and encourage y’all to see this movie, too.

During the opening credits, I was impressed that everything was built with LEGOs, including the Warner Bros. logo.  However, once the actual movie started, I viewed it as any other CGI’d movie of late.  Then a scene took place out on the open sea and while the waves were rolling, it hit me that this movie was not CGI’d; it was stop motion.  The time, patience and meticulousness in that scene alone just blew me away!  I can’t imagine how long this movie took to create but I know it had to have been made with love by people who feel the same about LEGOs as my B does.

There were a couple of characters and celebrity voices who made cameo appearances in the movie that caught us completely off guard.  I’d not seen them in any trailer nor heard anything about them in reviews and I loved it!

Like all children’s movies, there is a lesson to be learned, a moral.  And although I was aware of the lesson the movie was trying to teach, I felt the characters, the action and the humor were overshadowing the lesson and kids would leave just feeling happy and entertained, not focussed on the lesson.  And then the movie did something completely unexpected that brought its important lesson not only to the forefront, but also into a perspective that every child and adult in that theater could relate to. I have to say, Warner Bros., you impressed the socks off me with that one!

What was happening on that screen is something that happens in my own house.  I never would have gotten the symbolism and made the connection to my home if the writers and producers hadn’t “focused the lens so sharply” for the audience and I’m so glad they did.  If it happens in my home, it happens in other homes, too.  The creators of this movie so eloquently opened the eyes of us parents to see things, see our children and ourselves, through our children’s eyes.

And if this issue exists in your home, seeing this movie together will start a dialogue about it.  We saw the movie at 11am and B and I are still talking to each other about this movie at 7pm.  We’re not only laughing at funny lines or marveling at the movie sets, but we’re also analyzing characters, discussing the personality traits exhibited and listening to each others perspective on the symbolism we now realize was throughout the entire movie.  It reminds me of high school English class, dissecting a Shakespeare play, only I’m doing it with my son and we are both loving the conversations!

I hope y’all go see this movie and are as impressed as I was.  Once you’ve seen it, I’d love to hear what you thought of it, what you and your family got out of it and if this was an issue in your home or not.  You can tell me in the comments, below, or on my Facebook page.

B’s YouTube Movies: NERF Bottle Battle, Part I

Empty 2 liter bottles come back from the recycle bin to avenge the liquid that was rightfully theirs. And try to kill B.

B is officially on YouTube

Ever since B took Apple’s Movie Making Camp for Kids this past Summer, he’s been making a lot of videos and begging us to put them on YouTube.  However, most of them have other children in them and not everyone wants their child on the internet.  Well, he made a new one yesterday evening and we finally agreed to put it up after his godfather agreed to put on the internet, too.  I’m sure this is the first of many to come.

So, here is B’s video – Let’s Dance:

I’m Sad Suburgatory Did Not Return This Fall to ABC

Did y’all watch the ABC show Suburgatory?  I did, for many reasons.  It was downright funny.  Like, Modern Family funny.  It poked fun at the Stepford-like communities.  The Washington, D.C. area has some of those, but we can’t be the only ones, since Suburgatory writers depicted them so well.  Ana Gasteyer’s character was one I loved to hate one minute and felt sympathy for the next.  But it also tackled some serious issues, showed us the perspective of both the parents and the kids and gave me welcomed advice and insight into the teenage years that I am dreading.

Kids need to know, believe, that even if, when, they shout, “I HATE YOU!” at us (after we’ve disciplined them/told them no, etc.), that it won’t change the way we feel about them.  We’re still here. We’re not going anywhere and we won’t send them away, either.  We still knock on their slammed bedroom doors that night and let them know dinner is ready, even if they choose not to join us.  They need to know that whatever goes wrong in this world, in this house or inside themselves, we’ve got their backs!

The season one finale is saved on my DVR.  The words at the end of that show are so powerful, I wanted to keep them; to replay them when I find myself in that place.  The voiceover from Tessa, the teenaged main character, said, “The parent/child relationship is a strange one.  You grow up thinking they’re super heroes who can do no wrong.  But then one day the cape comes off, and you see them for who they really are.  And if you don’t like what you see, tough luck; you’re stuck together.  Why?  Because you’re family.”

Those words are “bruteful”, as Glennon at Momastery.com says.  It’s a major turning point in our parent/child relationship.  It will happen.  And what happens next will depend on how we, as parents, have chosen to interact with our children up to that point.  Were we parents, disciplinarians, admitting our humanness/our own mistakes openly, setting the best example, apologizing or not apologizing when necessary, calling them on their shit and ensuring they towed the line with manners, respect, truthfulness, gratefulness, and service to others?  Or were we more concerned with appearing cool, being their friend or giving them whatever they wanted to distract them so we could pursue our own interests, uninterrupted?

Being a parent is the hardest job ever.  We are forming human beings from scratch and, eventually, unleashing them onto the world to not only make their way of it successfully, but also to ensure no need for them to come back and be supported by us.  They need to know we are here for them – to cry to, to get advice from, to be proud of them – but the goal is to set them free and marvel how they decide to fly.  And then have a new stage of our relationship – one of equality, respect and acceptance of our lifestyles.

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