The Bare Minimum⚖️

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Abby writes: The Trauma That Binds

“There Are Black People in the Future” Billboard. Courtesy of Alisha Wormsley

Back in Chapel Hill, about ’06 – ’07 we sometimes received publications of current affairs on security updates for African youths, whose name I forget. 

It was distressing reading narrations on the experiences of kids, more so the girls, in refugee camps who were forced to migrate from countries like The DRC and Liberia. 

There were donation sheets in the magazines and the entire school was prompted to contribute towards refugee camps and schools. 

I was quite out of touch with world news while locked away in boarding school, and yet news of Trayvon Martin hit. 

I tried following the trial. I had just started working at BK. Newbies had to man the grill. It was sweltering hot in summer. He was found not guilty on all charges. I was furious. Every. Single. Day. 

And it didn’t end there. The names have been coming up with a scary frequency on the news and social media. Donation links go up for legal assistance and/or funerals just as quickly.

Every country with a majority Black population has been going through it, as mentioned above, shit seems to be escalating now. 

Governments and security agencies existing on the premise of colonialism cannot exist realistically in a democracy. 

State actors are the major threat to the security of Black people from Namibia through Nigeria to Ghana and Senegal, across the Atlantic to the US. Then over the Pacific to Myanmar and seemingly on the low in Europe as it’s deeply buried or boldly denounced…imagine o, from where it all originated from. 

The revolution is being spurred but I would love for accessible therapy in tandem because the trauma is heavy. And I mean on the ground. Like therapists without borders and open mental health clinics in municipalities/counties/regions. 

We have been carrying collective trauma from within our immediate communities, in addition to that of the larger diaspora, and it has been overwhelming. There’s grief and anger inadequately addressed and yet we’re obligated to partake in the capitalist structure which is at the very core of the oppression and violence enacted on us. 

Everything be scam, chale, we for do den burn shit down start afresh, or else who go breet?

Cyril writes: Two videos in a row? We heating up!

A disciple walked into a therapist’s office

Abby writes: Star Wars Marathon

What to do with PTO and a travel ban? Star Wars marathon!

Since I had not seen the first six episodes and well legend requires that one needs to see all movies to grasp the glory of the Star Wars universe, I committed three days to watching all nine episodes and I must say I was not impressed for the most part ?

At the core of the story is a couple of love stories, greed, power and very, very, very dysfunctional families. A crucial element to the story which determines everyone’s story though, is ‘The Force’, which like all things is split along the binary of good vs evil. 

On the good side are the Jedi masters and everyone else, then there’s The Sith Lord, ‘The Sith’ with their troops on the evil side. The Emperor and co are obviously villains here but the other side isn’t all that either. This is made obvious off the bat with the eventual protagonist being introduced to the audience as a slave…a child slave…whose freedom had to be paid for by the Jedi Master…actually did not pay but bet on the child winning a race….messed up ehn? 

Turns out Anakin’s problem solving skills are a tad bit aggressive

I felt like they really should have ended the story after episode six because it’s obvious they don’t have new arcs for their villains and protagonists alike. Anakin = Luke = Kylo. To get a bit granular with the relationships, one can say Anakin = Kylo, in that they both succumbed to the dark side but redeemed by an act of ultimate good at their demise. And Luke = Rey due to both overcoming the temptations of the dark side yet chose the way of the Jedi despite great personal sacrifices—kinda like when our favourite baby boy got tempted by Luci after his prolonged fast. 

On the other hand, there is Sidious = Snoke = Phantom Emperor. They didn’t even force, reincarnation, really? But I suppose evil lives longer chale.

Overall, the morality on either side is flawed albeit one side seems tolerable with benevolent oppression. The Jedi masters could have been more discerning and supporting towards the emotional pains of their students. The impulsiveness with which they shut down all other negative emotions reminded me of Joy and Sadness in Inside Out. Emotional Intelligence in general is difficult to navigate for regular beings, how then is your approach to force sensitive ignore bad, stay true to good…yeah no shit ? willpower does not work the same for everyone, being a Jedi is being imbued with power and for those their EQ needs particular nurturing…and no, murder doesn’t solve it (intense side eye to Luke Skywalker here.)

I mean I guess it’s there for the audience to deduce but like give me explicit hedonistic content for my consumption na i taya. 

Perhaps this already exists but I’m looking forward to sci-fi series which don’t emulate abhorrent power politics we’re currently living under? Can’t a girl at least get an idyllic universe courtesy the arts? ?

Cyril writes: Invincible—Managing Expectations

Growing up, my dad had a rather huge collection of Reader’s Digest and I remember always marveling at the quality of jokes. There was never a wasted word and the punchline always arrived at the exact moment—never giving you the opportunity to lose interest after a set up. 

Discovering the jokes were sent in by regular ol’ people saw my younger self take on the challenge of coming up with the perfect joke to submit. Now, I likely moved on from that particular goal after a couple weeks but we all know 2weeks for 8-10year olds is basically eternity.

I never did craft my perfect joke but I did learn the value in being able to come back to one’s work and make changes that one feels would improve it.  

Kirkman’s Invincible comic TV show on Amazon is testament to the value in returning to your work. Nothing against DC or Marvel comics but discovering Image Comics was what made me an avid comic reader.  Invincible scratched the hero subversion itch I didn’t even know I had. Fast forward and the new golden age of TV presents a reality I don’t think many readers ever expected, a star studded cast in Steven Yeun, Mahershala Ali, Zazie Beats, Sandra Oh and J.K. Simmons to name a few from that talented roster voicing Kirkman’s characters. Shit is wild. 

The changes the TV show makes from the comics without spoiling anything have been impactful. From giving certain characters more agency and having them be responsible for their situations to fleshing out others to better layer their choices—Kirkman took the risk of angering a fanbase that isn’t generally warm about retcons (changes) to tell an improved story based on his lessons as a creator, and I for one am glad he did.

Kirkman, R. “Invincible”. Issue #10. Image Comics. Pg.14

For me, at its core, Invincible is a story about expectations. The pressure of the ideal you strive towards, the version of you that the people you care about see and demand from you. The version of you that you are ashamed of, but cannot exorcise, as it is a part of you—Invincible, through Mark Grayson, and the other characters pull at these threads. If at any point in your life you have felt that suffocating pressure, you will find the world Kirkland creates dare I say therapeutic? You do not need any prior knowledge to jump into the show. The pacing is sharp, no filler episodes here. The dialogue is punchy and the show’s pièce de résistance, it’s characters breathe life into this animated universe. 

There is an inevitably to change that can leave one feeling helpless as let’s be real, there is nothing you can do about it. That resentment is oftentimes the effect of that feeling is no surprise. This is why Kirkman’s Invincible is a welcome reminder that change can be good. 

We learn. We do better. We change.

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