let’s do it for your 50th, rosie!

Standard

Dear Rosie,

TWEET.  TWEET.  Okay, so it’s obvious by reading Twitter that you realize people are upset with you. And I’m REALLY trying here to give you the benefit of the doubt.  You see, I read your books.  Find Me and Celebrity Detox are two of the most raw and insightful memoirs I’ve ever read.  I liked “Nice Rosie,” “Crafty Rosie,” “Passionately Political Rosie,” “Stand Up For What You Believe In Rosie”…even “Flinstones Rosie.”  I didn’t even hate “The View Rosie.”  I liked that you were seeming to come back to American television with more balance, temperance and graciousness, as demonstrated through the OWN network.  I don’t think you’re an innately hateful person, I think you shared a fear that you feel awkward about.  It probably wasn’t the best idea to share this on television, but you did, the cat’s out of the bag. So now, let’s deal with it.  And I hear the people screaming and calling you names, which will never justify our cause.  People are justifiably angry, but they ruin their entire argument when they result to name-calling and demonizing you.  And commenting on your appearance or your family is just uncool and off-limits.

  • Education is the ability to listen to almost anything without losing your temper or your self-confidence. -Robert Frost
  • If you lose your temper, you’ve lost the argument. -Proverb

So that’s what we agree on.  But Rosie, oh Rosie, when you open a bag like the one you did, you can’t run from the ramifications.  You want “us LP’s” to just quiet down because “you’re done”?

But here’s where it all gets a little iffy.  Concerning.  Beyond frustrating.  Okay I’m going to use a feeling word here and I feel really angry.  You can’t just expect “us” to “sense your heart” in 140 characters or less. This is Twitter.  It’s not really meant for something, a discussion, this profound.  You didn’t start the conversation on Twitter, you started it with the most powerful culture-maker in America: television.  And the myth that I can just “spread your apology around” to an entire disability group, to an entire population in America, is absurd.   I can’t just get on my phone, which is not miniature, and call up “all my peeps” and say, “Hey Rosie said ‘she’s sorry’ on Twitter.”  I mean, I live in a big world, not to mention, most of my friends are average-sized and were equally offended.  But that’s not even the real issue.  The real issue is, had you heard something like what you said stated about any other minority group, you’d have handled this way differently.  But it’s okay, because Little People are the last minority group where it’s okay, perfectly acceptable actually, to be openly made fun of.

Here’s where we can get agree – your mentioning of “that little person who won the Emmy AND the Golden Globe” Peter Dinklage and the importance of learning about Martin Henderson.  That’s where the real stuff of this life comes to the forefront and all of the stupidity on Twitter can fall away.  Here’s a real human being who got thrown by a bunch of drunken idiots and will now spend the rest of his life suffering.  But here’s the kicker, until we address “dwarf-phobia,” face it head-on in all it’s ugly glory – warts and all – things like what happened to Martin Henderson will continue to happen.

Because I guarantee you, if you had said what you said about the LGBT community, the medically-obese, people with Down’s Syndrome, the hearing-impaired, black people, anyone else — American media would have had a field day.  You’d have the NAACP, the Human Rights Campaign, GLSEN, the Special Olympics and about every American media channel speaking up.  Because they know, that angry consumers means less advertisement dollars.  But since it’s “perfectly acceptable” to make fun of Little People and there’s seemingly no dollars attached, everybody’s quiet.

I don’t want you to feel ashamed that you have a phobia.  I want you to face it head-on.  On your show.  In a real way.  Because I’m only almost 30, but I’ve learned a little something with age.  You have to face what you fear.  You’re months shy of 50.  If you still find it okay within yourself to be afraid of Little People, you have got to question your stalwart devotion to inclusiveness for everybody.  Think of it as a “Happy 50th Birthday gift” to yourself.  To no longer be afraid of something.  To accept your fear, to package it up as something “awkward that you feel uncomfortable about” makes it pretty.  So let’s tear the paper off and get to the bottom of it.  You can do it!  I believe you can. I mean, girl, I was a part of the NO H8 campaign and I’ve got “nothing to do with it” or so they say on paper.  But I’ve got everything to do with it.  Because the marginalization of ANY people group directly affects me.  Because I’ve got to clean up my side of the street first.  I’ve got to see where I’m a part of the problem and not part of the solution and do something about it.  And for me, that meant standing up for another minority group and making sure I begin to truly wrap my head around injustice as a social institution.

  • I’m for truth, no matter who tells it. I’m for justice, no matter who it’s for or against. -Malcolm X
  • Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. Men often hate each other because they fear each other; they fear each other because they don’t know each other; they don’t know each other because they cannot communicate; they cannot communicate because they are separated. -MLK Jr.
  • In the beginning there was only a small amount of injustice abroad in the world, but everyone who came afterwards added their portion, always thinking it was very small and unimportant, and look where we have ended up today. -Paulo Coelho

So Rosie, what do you think?  It’s something pretty cool that you can do to celebrate your 50th birthday!  I’ll make you a really good Funfetti birthday cake – and I can’t even eat flour!

Love,

Jen

an open letter to rosie and chelsea

Video

 

Dearest darlingest Rosie and Chelsea,

First of all, I genuinely enjoy both of your work.  From what I know, you are raw, real and funny as hell! I think we would have great talks over dinner. I think you’re both worldly and whip-smart. I can imagine learning a ton from the both of you.  But I don’t genuinely know you or the feelings you have behind your probably-not-the-smartest comments you made on Rosie’s show.  I’m hoping the close-mindedness of your comments will actually spur change in a positive way.

I’m not so hurt by what you said, partly because I’m used to it.  I’ve experienced it first hand.  It’s more painful coming from people I actually know and opportunities actually lost because of ignorance.  A lot of people think the same thing, only most people don’t voice it or don’t have a public platform from which to speak.  I really want to change your mind, but I don’t think this can be done through screaming.  I think the only way to change your mind is for you to get to know me, or someone in my community, someone who is educated, passionate and fully alive.

I’ve lived in Hollywood for 3 years now.  I’ve seen a lot.  I am a teacher and an actress.  A lot of people out there have the exact same prejudices.  Nothing really surprises me in humanity in general.  Let’s hope that by you voicing your thoughts so publicly, that we can use your platform to make a difference, to really have a discussion that brings light and changes minds.  Vilifying either of you won’t really do that.

Chelsea– us LP’s, well I can only speak for myself, we don’t need to be rescued by you.  I get how you feel about Chuy.  He seems to have had a pretty painful life.  But you’re kind of perpetuating the problem.   We just want to be equal in society, we don’t want to be fetishes. Not all of us work in the porn industry and need to be rescued.  A lot of us are pretty darn normal.

  • “I want to tackle them.”
  • “Who else is going to give that guy of job?  Someone has to rescue him.  There’s not a lot of opportunities for that kind of people, they need our help.”

And Rosie–thanks for your honesty but get to know me so you won’t be afraid. We’re pretty freakin’ normal, well most of us, and yeah- don’t be scared.  Here’s where people get angry.  You’re a staunch advocate for equal rights in the LGBT community.  If you’re going to stand for the marginalized, you need to stand for all the marginalized.  If I campaign for No H8, I’d really like you to do the same.  As they say, injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.

  • “No that would be child abuse, I would never do that.”
  • “I have so many feelings, I can’t just act normal.”

Little People are as varied as black people, fat people, gay people, etc. Please, educate yourselves so you aren’t ignorant.  A lot of my LP acquaintances and friends want to vilify you both.  I just think you need some education, you need some healing.  We’re all a little bit broken.  So let’s do dinner and meet somewhere in the middle.

C’mon ladies, let’s just talk.

XOXO,
Jen

P.S. I’ve read all of your books, ladies!
P.P.S. Ro, I like your show’s new 1-on-1 format MUCH better!
P.P.P.S. After Lately is amazeballs!

Aside

“And I just ran out of band-aids / I don’t even know where to start / ‘Cause you can bandage the damage / But you never really can fix a heart.” -Demi Lovato/Fix a Heart

It’s National Human Trafficking Day and I promise this post relates…while it may seem that we are veering off-topic for a moment, I promise, if you just keep reading, it all relates.  And by the way, while we’re chatting, if you do anything for me, at least make this issue a hot-button topic that you want to hear candidates talking about.  Because people are not for sale.  20,000 of them US citizens, by the way.

Sometimes, despite all of life’s annoyances, AKA dropping your driver’s license and losing it, God really just has a way of putting people in your path whose stories you simply need to hear.  So yesterday, I went to a DMV in the Valley to avoid the craziness that is the Hollywood DMV.  And while I did forget my checkbook and have to return to the Hollywood DMV to actually get my replacement, yesterday’s waste-of-time activity really ultimately wasn’t a waste of time.

You see, I sat down to a perfectly normal-looking eccentric woman.  Yes, she was wearing a very peculiar outfit, yes her hair needed to be brushed, but she blended it with all the other eccentricities I see in Los Angeles.  She noticed my new cross tattoo on my left wrist and asked me if I was a Christian.  And I knew the way she asked, that this wasn’t a loaded question.

It wasn’t full of the typical, “oh you love Jesus so you must hate gay people” contempt and well-earned judgment.  So I said, yes, I am, but not in the way you might assume and before I was able to become nervous, she began talking.

It was a bit like pulling teeth to find out the real root of her pain, but once I did, I knew it was one of those moments that I needed to remember for the rest of my life.  Long story short, she is probably 60 years-old and somewhat mentally-disabled.  She is not also not very physically mobile so she watches church on television, particularly TBN.

Well, she was watching and she interpreted the pastor/speaker/whomever was on TV to be saying that in order to be blessed by God they needed to give money to that particular network or cause.  I can see how she may have misheard or misunderstood the intent, cue mild mental delays, but I can also connect-the-dots and understand how she internalized a message that is rampant in prosperity theology.  So she, earnestly wanting to “be approved by God” and “needing to be blessed” completely emptied out her bank account and wrote one well-meaning check to this particular organization.

Again, I realize that there are significant problems in logic in doing so, but this woman’s heart was in the right place.  She zeroed out her bank account, got evicted and became homeless.  All the while believing that her money was going to good use and that God would ultimately bless her sacrifice.  Since then, she has been living behind a Jack-in-the-Box fast food restaurant and sleeping on the ground.  She eats refried beans and rummages through the trash for food.  Again, I understand that her thinking is completely illogical and off.  She has some problems.  But here’s the bigger issue.

The bigger issue is that you can donate your every penny to an organization out of a sense of guilt and shame and a gut-wrenching desire to be loved by God.  Not knowing that He loves you completely as is.  Not understanding that God wants to be kept far away from manipulative, disgusting, deceptive marketing ploys.  Not believing that if shame is involved, God isn’t.  I know we have free will.  We can do perfectly idiotic things like empty our bank accounts and become homeless.  But the thing is, this woman has some significant mental handicaps.  I wish someone on the other side of the phone, who was accepting her money, asked her if she had the money to be doing this.  I wish there was a way to stop her from doing this.  She’s on Disability, I really wish someone had financial conservatorship over her. I really wish people would just stop falsely advertising the earning of God’s grace to perfectly desperate people.  People just longing for God and ending up down this rabbit hole called American Religious Capitalism.

My heart really ached for her.  It still does.  I don’t know how I can be a part of the solution.  She wouldn’t accept a food handout.  She wasn’t stable enough for me to feel comfortable giving her my name or phone number.  She wanted to use my address to receive her mail, which just made me uneasy in my gut which I tend to listen to.  I guess all I can do is pray and lend my voice to honor her story.

And I promise, this does relate to human trafficking.  The sale of your body or the sale of your soul is very interrelated.  What people will do out of desperation to connect to God, to connect to themselves, to feel worthy and loved.  Human trafficking has personally affected me and if you looked at me from the outside, saw my teaching resume or were even decent friends with me, you would never guess that in a million years.  Someday maybe I will be brave enough to tell you how I got lucky, how I listened to my gut, how it could have been me if I would have taken just another step in a particular direction.  I’m going to give it time, years to heal, before I tell my story publicly.  I was that close, without me even looking for it.  That close to just falling in the trap that was waiting.  That close and I am a savvy, college-educated, independent woman.  That close to getting out of control and causing me major harm, if I made it out alive.  It’s not just a problem of poor people.  It’s not just a problem of “prostitutes” who “are asking for it.”  It’s very real and if you don’t care about the adult women affected, think about the other 50% of victims — the children sold — little kids sold into modern-day slavery.

So, to sum this up, people are not for sale.  God is also not for sale.  What do you think?  Lend me your thoughts!  Tell me what stirs your heart, what hits you, what you resonate with, and even what you don’t…

fix a heart

happy new year, my sweet readers!

Standard

Dearest Readers,

I am speechless that 16,000 of you follow this little blog.  That’s 15,990 more than I anticipated.  Please, please do not hesitate to drop me a note and let me know topics you’d like to see featured or a little more about yourself.

Here’s to 2012.  Let’s keep all who are hurting especially in our prayers as we greet the New Year. May 2012 be a year of healing and hope for us all.

It is my deepest, heartfelt prayer that I will continue to advocate for children as a teacher and move toward working more and more steadily in the media as an advocate for women and people with disabilities.  Fingers crossed for at least one of my two pilots getting picked up this pilot season!

Love,

Jen

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Syndey Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 16,000 times in 2011. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 6 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

a dialogue between christians and scientologists

Standard

“So the Christians and the Pagans sat together at the table,
Finding faith and common ground the best that they were able,
Lighting trees in darkness, learning new ways from the old, and
Making sense of history and drawing warmth out of the cold.”

-Dar Williams/The Christians & The Pagans

I must first give credit to the source of this information– Erwin McManus at Mosaic.  You can download his sermon -“Truth Between Us: Scientology and Christianity” here.

Here are some of the highlights:

  • We should not be surprised that Scientology’s incubator is Los Angeles.  It should be no surprise that it encompasses the culture of LA.
  • We should not be surprised that L. Ron Hubbard made his living from writing and using his imagination.  LA is the epicenter of creativity.
  • LA is also the epicenter of brokenness, the artisan’s dilemma.

You can’t be an artist without being depressed.  -E. McManus

These central narratives of Scientology can be defined as “the truth between us:”

  • Every human being is spirit.  We are essentially spirits with bodies.

“Scientology is where atheists and loners came together.” -Paul Haggis

  • Scientology emerged in the 1950’s when the Church was focused on “sin management.”  Scientology was focused on a human’s “unlimited creative potential.”

Where it’s a little overstated is the word, “unlimited.”  Change “unlimited” to “unimaginable” and this aligns itself with the Christian perspective.  Dreams and imagination are part of how God designed us.  The human spirit does need to hear that.  Jesus does want to come to the table and speak to that.

Scientology countered the idea that we need to live in our weakness.  Christianity agrees: “in our weakness is His strength.”  Where we deter slightly is that, even in our optimal best, God is still way better.

  • Scientology stepped into Christianity’s silence on creativity and imagination.

Scientology says that there are wounds and scars in our past lives that paralyze us from truly living.  If you take out “past lives” and simply state that there are wounds and scars in our past that paralyze us from truly living, we really could agree.  Scientology created the “E-Meter” to deal with this karmic debt.  Christians needed to address these deep wounds and brokenness to be relevant in LA.  Scientology has — perhaps this is why it’s “mecca” is in Los Angeles.

Some of us spend our whole lives just holding the broken pieces together (like a broken mosaic).  These things anchor us to the past.  That’s where Scientology steps in for so many Angelenos.  While most of us are born unordinary with unordinary potential, the tragedy is that we choose ordinary lives and die ordinary.

Where we align with Scientology is when we realize that living out of our best is not incongruent with God’s plan.  Yet, there’s so much stuff holding us back.  We’re living under all this rubble.

Romans 12:2 calls us to be free from the weight that standardizes us.

Again, I urge you to listen to the full sermon here.  I am longing for a world that seeks, as Erwin McManus says, to find the truth between us.  To find where we agree, where we can sit together.