I think you deserve
better but I am your choice.
I think you deserve
things are going right.
When you have reasons to smile.
Things to look forward to.
…And you can’t help but look back.
You can’t help but rub your finger against the edge of a broken glass. You know it’s going to cut. You will bleed. But you have to try your hand at invincibility anyway.
Why is that? Why do we have to hurt ourselves?
Logically, I know I’m probably better off but I miss them. I don’t get it.
Not love, just longing
for hope measured in smiles and
kisses that explode.
What about Jasmine is so hard to say? Can you tell me that? Do you know how many times I’ve had white teachers and potential employers and whoever else mispronounce my name? Jazz-mean, Jasamine, Jazz-mine, Jazz-minnie, Yasmine, Jasine, and so on and so forth. I know other people of color with names that are common words that this has happened to. White people trying to exoticize our names because we’re black or brown so there must be some alternative pronunciation.
Suntrell. My mama made up my middle name. I have an older cousin Sonya (but we’re country and say it with an accent like Sunyah) and an older cousin named Mel who’s middle name is Tremel. Sonya wanted my middle name to be Sunya because my daddy’s nickname was “Sunshine” and it was basically the spelling of how we pronounce her name and Mel wanted my middle name to be Tremel which is her middle name and where her nickname comes from that she goes by. My mother, not wanting to choose between her two eldest nieces who she helped raise, did the name version of a portmanteau and came up with Suntrell. I spent years hating my middle name and ashamed of it because I let white people convince me it was so hard to pronounce when, in fact, my middle name is spelled phonetically. What in the fuck about Suntrell is so hard to say when English is your native tongue and you know what sounds those letters make? Sun is a real word, we know what sound “tr” makes (the same one it does in truck) and -ell is in some words we commonly see like bell, smell, well. Yet, they still go out of their way to fuck it up. Sundrill, Suntrill, Sunill, Santrill, etc.
In the last year or two I have tried to embrace my middle name, using it in place of my last name that doesn’t represent me, my family, or my history. My mama didn’t choose her last name and neither did my daddy but she chose to name me Jasmine Suntrell. I’m proud of that shit.
I’m getting this out because I love that Quvenzhané Wallis isn’t going by Q, or Quin, or Jan, or Annie. She is not settling for some nickname that makes it more comfortable for them but detaches her from her identity. Her fucking name is Quvenzhané and it is BEAUTIFUL. It is a portmanteau of her mama’s name (Qulyndreia), her daddy’s name (Venjie) and the word zhané (which, according to her mother, is Swahili for fairy). It means something to say her name.
And my fucking name is Jasmine Suntrell. And it is just as lovely and I am. Jasmine because my mama thought I resembled a flower and Suntrell to represent the love and strength of women in my family. It means something to my name.
Don’t let them erase you.
Don’t let them other you.
Own who you are.
Make them say your name.
I was going to post about how robbed it was for not winning anything but instead I’m going to say this:
Stop saying how sad or depressing this movie is. Sorry you are so removed from the world and privileged that you didn’t know or are capable of believing that poverty exists. Step the fuck outside of yourself. This movie IS inspiring. Hushpuppy IS triumphant. If all you get out of this movie is that her mommy left, her daddy dies, and she’s really poor than you aren’t really seeing this amazing story for what it is.
She didn’t burn her father because she was so poor - it was his wish. This is the story of a child who stood strong, took care of herself, and others in the face of adversity. Hushpuppy wasn’t afraid of nature, poverty, life, or death. She is a feminist role model. If all you took away from this movie is that death is sad then you didn’t get it all. Hushpuppy doesn’t need you to be sad for her! And that goes for every other person, real or imagined, that doesn’t live life by the societal norms that YOU think are important.
Because they are the sum of fleeting encounters, imagination, and hope?