black girl in white space

I've been thinking about what happened to Solange ( a lot since it happened. I posted about it on Facebook, and haven't talked about it since, but I've been thinking about it. I am a black person who spends the majority of my time in white spaces. And while I don't live my life feeling uncomfortable, I know EXACTLY what Solange is talking about. Please believe me, this was not an isolated incident that she experienced. This is just part of our lives.

I remember being about 8 years old and being obsessed with No Doubt. Rock radio in general. My older brother warned me, "don't be one of those weird black girls who listens to Green Day and stuff". I became one of those weird black girls who listened to Green Day. I don't think he was trying to clip my wings, I think he was being a protective, albeit misguided, older brother. He knew it wasn't going to be easy for me. Being a weird black kid at a predominately white school was hell; I've already blogged about that (SPHS + WOC = ? This is not that, but that's part of this.

I go a lot of shows. A LOT. Everyone who knows me, knows this. My first show was the 2003 Honda Civic Tour with Good Charlotte and New Found Glory headlining. My mom took me, because she felt I was too young to go to Hollywood with one of my friends no supervision. This was not my mom's scene, so she was a little curious. She looked around after we had been there for a few minutes, "We're the only black people here." She paused, "You're unique, Jordan. That's cool." We had a great time that night, my mom walked about liking New Found Glory a lot. She got an insight into the person I was becoming; I got to see my favorite bands and bond with her. It was a really good night. However, I was learning that not everyone would find my uniqueness as cool as my mother did. And, this night would set a precedent. This wasn't the only time I'd be the only black person at a show.

AFI is my favorite fucking band of all time. I live and breathe by Davey Havok. If it was the holy quadriology and not trinity it would be the father, the son, the holy spirit, and Davey Havok in my eyes. The first time I saw AFI live was in support of Decemberunderground; my friends and I drove five hours to Bakersfield to see them. We were in the pit, before they started, and someone said "What the hell is that black girl doing here?" Of all the things I expected to happen at that show, that wasn't one of them. I deflated. I loved AFI. I had been listening to AFI for five years. I was literally a card carrying member of their fan club. This was my first chance to see them live. I had been dreaming of this show for ages. I belonged there. And here was this yokel, questioning me, because of the color of my skin. My white best friend, didn't skip a beat. "What the fuck did you just say about my friend?" We were with a crowd of 20 Despair Faction (AFI fan club) members. They all knew me from the message board, they all rallied around me and made that bigot know he wasn't welcome in our pit. Hours later, when Davey Havok was godwalking through the crowd and his basically standing on my head, I wasn't thinking about what had just happened. But, it's something I never forgot. It stung. This wasn't the last time something like that happened.

I have been to several shows where been one of few, if not the only, black persons there. I have been to several shows where I've been called out for it. While the landscape of the scene has changed and it is far more inclusive now; I've been through my share of shit. I saw Marilyn Manson three times on the same tour; the second time a white male asked me if I knew who Marilyn Manson was and if I was at the right show. I took my nephew to see Black Veil Brides and Falling In Reverse. It was his first show and his favorite bands were playing. We were the only black people there, and I could tell it bothered him when he noticed and pointed it out. I reassured him it didn't matter, we were there for the music and that was all that mattered. And thank God, Set It Off opened, and Dan Clermont, their guitarist is magical black man. I pointed out Dan, and told my nephew again, this is our scene, too. I punched a guy in the face during a Thrice set at a festival, and it was one of the most affirming moments of my life. You will not push me during this set, you will not try and get in front of me, you will not take my space; I fucking belong here, this is my scene. I planned to meet with friends at Taste of Chaos, and we tried to plan a meeting spot. "I'll be hiding from the sun", a friend said. "I'll be one of six black people", I laughed. "You think there will be that many there?" It's funny, but it's not. I met the vocalist for Old Wounds at Warped in their merch tent, we had a great time talking and I promised I'd be at their next LA show, "I'll be looking for you", he said. "I'll be the only black girl there." He sighed, "I hope not!". We laughed, but the scene isn't a space readily accesible to people of color. It's far more welcoming than other places; I've been to country concerts and almost left, because people were flying the confederate flag as they tailgated.

This isn't a concert issue. This is an America issue. But, that should be obivous. My mom and I go to a lot of museums, it's kind of our thing. We get a lot of odd looks. We got called 'colored' by a security gaurd at the Norton Simon, who was radioing his boss about our 'suspicious behavior'. The first time I got followed around a store, I was 10 years old in a high end beauty supply store, shopping with my mother. We didn't look like belonged in that shop, in that neighborhood. Honestly, I can't even go to Trader Joe's without a white person asking me if I know how to cook those brussel sprouts and offering me their shitty ass recipe on the spot, or asking me how if I buy flowers often. They aren't being a friendly. I know someone is going to come into my comments and say they're being friendly. There's a tone of voice, a demeanor, the way they say it. You know when you're being talked down to. You know when it's because you're black. I was racially profiled at Disneyland of all places. I got accused of stealing, because I'm young, I'm black, and the woman thought I couldn't afford the high end Disney luggage I had used for my stay at the Disneyland hotel; so I must have been trying to shoplift it from the giftshop. How do I know this? Because my white best friend walked right past her, also carrying souvenirs out in the open, and she didn't get anything but a, "Have a magical day".

The only bright spot I can think of in all of this, is the excitment of seeing another black person in a white space. You may not know this if you're not a POC, but POC get really excited to see other POC in public, in white spaces. We are not alone. We are not tokens. This is a place for us, too. At Warped 2016, a black kid I didn't know became my best friend for five minutes, because we were two of four black people screaming the lyrics to New Found Glory and dancing our hearts out. Twice, my mom and I have been at museum exhibits, and gotten told special museum secrets by security gaurds, because they were so happy to see other black people there. My family was stopped at the Renaissance Faire by a black performer, who was very happy to see people from "her land", at the faire. I held a long conversation about the price of bread with a woman at Trader Joe's, because the same rude white woman had almost ran her cart into the both of us. The only black performer at Medieval Times gave his flowers to my mom, because he was happy to see us in the front row. We are here, we exist, our presence is valid.

I'm not writing this to bitch and moan and complain about how hard it is to be black. I love being me. Part of being me is being black. I wouldn't change that for the world. But, I feel more and more it's my job as a black person, and a black person with a platform (even if it's a small one like this blog), to use my platform and affirm and validate the voices and struggle of my brothers and sisters. Because, it feels like no one believes us. Everyone wants to discount. People want to say the world has gotten to sensitive, too politically correct, all lives matter; instead of saying, something isn't right here. Let's do better.

The instances I referred to at shows have lessened the older I've gotten. I've made way more friends and am usually known when I go out. The scene has become more inclusive. I like to believe it's because of people like me, who were passionate about the music they loved, and wouldn't let their discomfort at being in a white space stop them. We have to keep doing this. We can't be shy. We have to be brave, and bold, and passionate. We have to knock on doors and bang them down. We have to let other people know I belong here, and you do too. And, if something like what happened to Solange happens to us, we have to talk about it. We have to affirm each other's voices.

I think I'm done. The next post I'm planning will also be show focused, but it's going to be more lighthearted.

Until then. I'm gonna close this out with some of my favorite concert photos I've taken. There's a lot of Davey.


EDITED TO ADD: Dude. I feel like this post is now even more relevant today RE: Tim Burton's ignorant ass comments about the lack of diversity in his films. He was probably blind sided by the question, but his answer was really stupid. As a HUGE fan of his work, it was totally disheartening and reminded me of how "bad" I felt being a black person who was into his creepy aesthetic, because I never saw myself fitting into that world, because there was literally no one who looked like me. TO DO: Make film shorts about a creepy black girl, aka black Vampira.

My Guide To Funemployment

I’ve been wanting to write this entry for a while, but I couldn’t really get it going and other things seemed more timely. I think the Universe was telling me to wait. ANYWAY. HERE IT IS. 

A JORDAN’S GUIDE TO FUNEMPLOYMENT. (I can't act like I came with this all on my own; it's a combo of my own experiences and good advice that was given to me by friends who had been where I was).

I spent most of the last year without a steady job. I freelanced and took some temp jobs, and accepted a job that I was super unhappy at, until I found my dream job. I’ve been there for three months and I’m so much happier and lighter and hopeful and healthier than I’ve been in years. However, getting there wasn’t easy.

Millennial unemployment is at a stagnant 12.8%, still. I’m not the only one in the group of my friends who was unemployed for six months or more. With that in mind; I decided to write my own personal guide to “funemployment”; should someone stumbling across this blog suffer the same fate.

Don’t be ashamed! 

- I spent most of the time I didn’t have a job being ashamed about not having a job, and that was ridiculous. I’ve had a job since I was 18, and I’m very much a Type A person. Not working killed me. But, the fact of the matter is, shit happens. I left my job, because I was so stressed it was making me physically ill, and fighting for a job that I hadn’t been happy with and wouldn’t grow in, wasn’t worth it anymore. Quit or be fired, and I decided to leave on my own terms; no one puts baby in a corner and all of that. It didn’t make me any less ashamed. Millennials are the most educated, least employed generation. I was not a special snowflake, and I spent many a day anxious and in bed, when I could have been knitting or reading or something else. Should you find yourself “funemployed”; take it seriously, but try not to beat the shit out of yourself. The economy has done that for you.

Apply for benefits.

-And do it the second you know you won’t have a job. Don’t blow through what savings you might have. I did that, and I would regret it, if I believed in that type of regret. I was ignorant to unemployment benefits and assumed I wouldn’t qualify; even though I did. Find the paperwork (if you live in CA, it’s all online), and fill it out. Even if you don’t qualify all you’ve lost is the few hours it took to fill it out. It’s better to have it than to struggle without it. Even if it’s confusing to you, one of your friends probably knows how to fill it out; see my stats about unemployment rates in our generation.

Ask for help!

-I leaned on my friends and I leaned on them hard in the last year. I needed them. A friend is the one who told me I definitely qualified for unemployment and taught me how all of that works. Friends slid me money so I wouldn’t rack up a ton of credit card debt. Friends took me out and talked me down, when I was really starting to lose it. Friends told me about openings at their jobs, or pointed me to good listings - -one of my friends told me about, which led to the job that finally got me out of my unemployment rut.

Get up and get dressed every day. EVERY. DAY.

-Make a schedule for yourself. It will help you stay afloat mentally and emotionally, and it you will not hate yourself when you finally start working again and are on someone else’s time. I was out of works for nine months, of course I had runs where I stayed in the same gross pajamas for days at a time and slept most of the day away. However, those were not my good days and they lead to more not good days. Even if you just change out of pajamas and into yoga pants, the way I did most of the time; going through the motions makes it easier for your to be productive and spend your time wisely, rather than wallowing in the self-pity, and there will probably be self-pity.


-Even if it’s not your favorite thing to do; it’s still worth it. Plus, there are a lot of hours in the day that need to be filled. Work usually takes up 8.5 hours of our day, without drive time. Pick up a book, a comic, a magazine, and get to it. Learn new things. Read the classics. Get out of your own world, and your head. It was way cooler to pretend I was in the Slytherin common room, than remember I was spending another damned day in my own living room.

Take your pet for a walk. Better yet, take a friend for a walk. Go for walks in general.

-Exercise gives you endorphins. Endorphins make you happy. Working out is also really good for your body. I’m a rather fit person, and the change from working in a retail location where I walked about six miles back and forth the store all day, to sitting at a computer, added to all of the stress eating I was doing meant I couldn’t fit into my jeans in January. I started working out every morning. It gave me a purpose, it made me happy, and I was able to fit back into my jeans relatively shortly; which was great, because I couldn’t afford new pants—I didn’t have a steady job. Explore your neighborhood. Work out in the park around the corner. God, I wish Pokèmon Go had been released when I wasn’t working. 

Happy hour. 

-I need not explain. Don’t drown your sorrows, but even when money is lean, a three dollar beer is a nice option.

What luxuries do you “need”?

-Obviously, there are somethings you’re going to need to cut out if you’re not bringing in the same amount of money you were when you were working. I stopped getting my hair done regularly, because it was too expensive to keep up. I never had Hulu, but rather than paying for it, I signed up for a free week long trial with every e-mail address I own. I ended my gym membership with 24 Hour Fitness (because it was 10 miles away and too expensive) and starting working out at home in the park, until Planet Fitness (which was 5 miles away and 40$ cheaper) had their beginning of the year sale, when I got a 10$ monthly membership. I waited longer in between getting my nails done, if I got them done at all. I did my own hair and make-up for a wedding I was in, rather than pay for the stylist. I bargained shopped and learned how to coupon. But, I did’t give up Netflix, or Disneyland. That was 60$ a month, when money was already thin, but those are two things that bring me more happiness than I can describe, so I held onto them. They make me feel like me, and during a time when I wasn’t really feeling myself I needed something. I also splurged on a few concert tickets. Even if it meant I had to get cheaper cuts of meat at the market. I knew it would be worth it, and something to help me keep some sense of normalcy. Besides; six months down the road and I can tell you every detail about seeing Good Charlotte at The Troubadour in November, and The Academy Is at Chain Reaction in December. Can I tell you what I ate those months? Soup, probably. I don’t fucking know. Moviepass is only 20$ a month and it lets you see as many movies as you want a month (but not multiples on the same day). You might need that when you're not working.

Catch up on a TV show you've heard about but always skipped out on. 

-I had never watched Parks and Recs before last year. I’ve now seen every episode about five times. It’s one of my favorite shows and one of the funniest fucking shows I’ve ever seen. I watched all of Buffy the Vampire Slayer again. I’ve seen hella episodes of Maury. Grey’s Anatomy? I can quote the whole series. Lifetime plays at least three episodes a day. It’s the same as the reading.

Pick up old hobbies again; crochet, learn an instrument.

-I started playing guitar and piano again. Am I good? Not really. I’m not even as good as I used to be, which wasn’t very good. But, I’m back into it. I started thinking about High School and how many hobbies I had back then and all of the things I used to do, and some of them I started again. You might realize you stopped because you hated them, or you might end up making everyone scarves for the holidays. 


-Unless you have a crap ass, abusive family; your family cares about you. Let them show it. 

Hone your craft.

-I’m a writer. I wrote. Anything. I just wrote. I wrote like I was Alexander Hamilton. And it paid off. I started this blog. This blog helped my prove my strength as a writer and sell myself at the interview for the job I currently have and love, where I get to write all day. If you draw, then draw. If you code, code. Whatever that thing that you do and are awesome at, do it. You finally have the time to.

Think about what you really want.

-I’m an introspective person. I thought a lot about what I wanted out of my future, and what kind of job I wanted, if I wanted a traditional job at all. What kind of schedule did I want to be on? What city did I want to work in? Eventually live in? Did I want to freelance forever? What the hell did I want?

Think about why you want it.

-When I finally found an answer; did I want these things for security? Because it was expected of me? Did I really think it would make me feel happy and fulfilled? 

Make up a dream week.

-If you had your way, what would you do Mon-Sun and how do you go from where you are now, to there?

Apply for jobs.

-Duh. I saved this one for last though, because I really think it’s it’s important to do the other stuff and have all of those experiences and thoughts rolling around, so you apply to the right jobs. I thought I wanted to be a substitute teacher, until I was far into the hiring process and realized that it was a TERRIBLE fit for me, and I knew that, because I had and was doing all of the above. I thought I wanted to work four tens, UNTIL I DID IT AND REALIZED IT SUCKS. I thought I really liked the west side of LA, until I drove down there and realized how much it’s changed in the past few years! Having a bunch of experiences and a clear vision helped me apply not just for jobs, but for the right jobs, until I found one that’s been a perfect fit. If you’re spending 40 hours a week there; it might as well be something you really dig, as well as financing your lifestyle. 

My job now gives me all of the things I wanted; to work with strong women, to be able to dress up for work, a set (but flexible) schedule, I get to write, I can listen to music at my desk, I’m working with fast fashion AND pop culture, my commute is easy (even if it’s far), it influences youth, AND it’s civic minded. I’m still not living my dream week, but that’s because I haven’t tweaked things on my end; not because it isn’t possible. 

Don’t forget about any of this when you finally get a job! I keep calling it “funemployment”, because I think you should find a way to have fun with it and make it your own. And why should you stop having fun when you get a job? Quite the opposite. You have the money, so you should be having more fun. Keep the good habits you’ve built and create a strong work/life balance.

Until next time, xo! 

Daddy Issues

I'm still 13 years old sitting on a couch waiting for a man who doesn't want me. Sounds weird when you say it out loud, but it's true. My parents split up when I was a kid. He would come around and promise he'd be a real dad and we'd spend time together and then he would never show. I sat on the couch in our living room in my favorite outfit from 11am until the sun went down waiting for him to show and I'm still waiting.

Only I’m 28 now, and it’s not him, and it’s not lunch; it’s a cute boy with blue eyes, and I’m waiting on a text message, waiting to make our relationship official, or waiting for it all to blow up in my face.

Sometimes I feel like an archaeologist in my own life, bumbling around, looking at my own past, trying to figure out how to got to be the way I am now. What if the one that got away was your father?

People joke about girls with ‘daddy issues’ all the time, but if you haven’t lived it, then you probably don’t realize there’s nothing funny about it at all. 

No Doubt released Return of Saturn in 2000. They were (and still are, to some extent) my favorite band. I knew Gwen wrote “Home Now” about her tumultuous relationship with Gavin Rosedale. All I could think about when I listened to it was my absent father. I cried buckets listening to “Home Now”, wishing I had a real father.

I'm hanging out // With me // And you're a vacant chair // A chosen compromise // This space we rarely share // And if you lived here you'd be home now // So what you givin' up for me? // And what shall I give up for you? // Aimless expectations passing by // If you lived here you'd be home now // If you lived here you'd be home now // And to make it // Real // I need to have you here // I need to have you // I need to hold you // Barren wasted heart // Neglect of normalcy // And if you lived here you'd be home now // Oh if you lived here you'd be home now // And to make it real // I need to have you here // I need to have you // It can't be sincere // Unless you spend time here // I need to see you // Supervision is what I need // Is what I need // Some consistence, tangibility // Some casual light days // Part of the furniture // I want to take you for granted // And see you regular // So what you givin' up for me? // And what shall I give up for you? // The separations tired, it's been too long // And to make it real // I need to have you here // I need to have you // It can't be sincere // Unless you spend time here // I need to see you // I need you // Come home now

I fired my father a year later. He had promised to come pick me up for lunch, and I sat on the couch all day. Literally all fucking day. From morning, because I was so excited at the prospect of being able to tell my dad about my school, my friends, my dreams, my hopes, my ambitions, so he could get to know me, to afternoon when he was supposed to show up for lunch, to evening when it was well past lunch time. Where the fuck was he? What was more important than me? Did he forget? Was I forgettable? Did I just not matter? I wrote him an e-mail the next day. I was done. I had spent too many afternoons like that. All of my friends had been at the mall taking glamour shots after choir practice, and on Monday they’d ask me how had lunch with my dad been, and tell me how they had missed me, and I wouldn’t have an answer for them. I was over it. 

Except, I wasn’t. I’m not. I don’t give a shit about him anymore. But, I’m still waiting.

When I was 16 and he and my mother finally divorced; he was the one who filed. He was the one who claimed a minor child on the divorce paperwork. And when he was told he owed child support that minor child; he was the one who attempted to legally disown me. I only mattered until the stakes were raised.

I can’t raise the stakes in a relationship. I’m too frightened. A 16 year old thinks they know it all. They don’t realize they’re still growing and they will carry these scars as they grow. 

I feel like a shitty person admitting any of this. My mom is the bees fucking knees and the best parent a kid could have asked for (even if she confiscated my CD player a bunch of times). I had quite a few father figures; my uncles, my brothers, Dave, Tony. I am such a loved person.


When it takes longer than 15 minutes for me to get a text back, I start to wonder.  Where the fuck is he? What’s more important than me? Did he forget? Am I forgettable? Do I just not matter? 

I never want to ask “what is this?” in reference to our relationship. I don’t want to actually bring up making things official, moving in together, marriage, and kids…if I raise the stakes he’ll run. It’s what I was taught about myself and my value from my father. 

The first time I heard "A Trophy Fathers Trophy Son" by Sleeping With Sirens I was a mess of tears all over again.

I have to remind myself that I know how to form and maintain healthy relationships with men. My brothers, my uncles, Dave, Tony, my friends. Thank God for my friends. For Cobain who always calls me his best friend. For Richard, who didn’t talk to me for five months, and then squashed it, because we both knew it was dumb. For Louie, who didn’t let my Disneyland pass expire last year when I just couldn’t afford it. I have to remind myself that I’m an adult and I can’t excuse my poor behavior in relationships on other people and I have to be held accountable. I have to remind myself that I had examples of healthy relationships in my life.

But, my heart still starts to pound when it takes longer than an hour for me to receive a reply. But, I’ve just stopped talking to guys all together, because I was too scared to tell them about how I felt, and I just made things that much fucking worse between us. 

Sometimes I feel like an archaeologist in my own life, bumbling around, looking at my own past, trying to figure out how to got to be the way I am now. Mostly, I feel like a mad scientist, trying to sew myself back together and turn myself into something better. 

Heres to the girls who’s hearts were broken by a man long before any boy got ahold of it.
Heres to the girls who believe that they can’t be loved because the one man who was supposed to always love them didn’t.
Heres to the girls who can’t stay in a relationship because all they were ever taught was how to leave one.
Heres to the girls who are in an abusive relationship and don’t know it because it’s what they grew up seeing.
Heres to the girls who can’t trust men because the man they were supposed to always be able to count on left. 
Heres to the girls who are scared to have kids because they never want their kids to face the same pain they had to endure.
Heres to the girls who refuse to say they have a dad because all their father ever was is a man who helped create them.

-Tumblr wisdom