GingerSass

adding ginger to your sass

GingerSass - adding ginger to your sass

Today was hard for me.

I’ve never really put into words how much Whitney Houston meant to me, and it seems unnatural to not discuss the one year anniversary of her death today.


I’m currently watching The Bodyguard and crying. I watched the Whitney documentary from CBS earlier and bawled as well.

When Whitney’s death was announced last year, I can remember every last detail about it. It was a Sunday evening, and I was sitting at my computer desk in my dorm room, dangerously rocking on my rickety desk chair. E! was on, and I was attempting to do homework, although I wasn’t doing a very good job of getting anything accomplished. I was actually working on a poem for my poetry course, trying to base something on Denise Levertov’s “A Time Past.”  I had nothing– nothing— until E! broke the news that Whitney had been found unconscious in her hotel bathroom, and then that she was dead. I remember calling my mom in disbelief, and being unreasonably close to tears. I couldn’t turn the television off, and I just watched the news unfold. Like the end of Whitney’s life, it was like watching a train wreck unfold.

When I was a little girl, it was hard for me to fall asleep at night. I don’t remember the exact details, but I do remember that my mom’s Whitney cassette tape somehow glued itself to the tape player in my bedroom. Whitney’s voice would often lull me to sleep, and even now, as a 23 year old woman, when I cannot sleep I listen to her melodious voice to drift away to a calmer state. Whitney was a large part of my childhood. Her music was the first cassette I ever owned, if you call jacking my mom’s cassette owning it, and I will always associate Whitney with my childhood.

Finding out Whitney was dead was heart-breaking to me. Although I had been coming to terms with the fact that my childhood was dead and I would soon be graduating college and approaching “the real world,” Whitney’s death almost seemed to be tangible evidence of this right of passage. I was numb with grief, and it really shook me that someone I didn’t even know, yet felt so connected to through her music, was dead. I felt a bit embarrassed about how much Whitney’s death left me grieving. As I watched the television glow with repetitive reports of her death, The Grammy’s, and the shock of her death felt around the world late into the night and then into the early morning hours, my tears turned to determination, and my heart felt compelled to write a poem about Whitney’s death.

I’ve always felt a bit of disdain, even disgust, towards poems written for a celebrity. I’ve felt they’re creepy and sort of unrealistic. It’s not like the celebrity you’re writing about is going to read your work. Yet, with Whitney’s death, it felt necessary to write about her. I didn’t want my poem to mention her name, but I wanted it to be her, subtly. Whitney’s story connected with me as a Jersey girl who knew the roads she had driven on, knew the need to start over, knew the desire to start fresh and surpass what you had once been. To me, that’s what Whitney was starting to do at the time of her death. Unfortunately for her, and the world, sometimes the demons from your past find their way back into your life.

Thank you for being such a large part of my childhood and life, Whitney. This one’s for you.

“Suds”
KB

The wooden chair creaked beneath my bottom
where I was sitting as the television glowed in the background.
Somewhere, three thousand miles away, a few hours earlier,
your honey skin slipped down below the suds
as I hummed the melody to your voice
in the solace of my car
driving down the road you had driven so many times before
in your years of youth,
which is when your voice first discovered
that it had the potential of leaving the place you called home.

Those days are gone, and you’ve left again,
this time more permanently beneath the suds of a porcelain tub
hidden in the ornately decorated hotel room
where you laid down to rest
and cleanse your soul
and eradicate the demons
that everyone was waiting to return
as you timidly tried to rejuvenate your glory days
and melodic words
that had become a constant ritual
during my younger years.
Now, all that is left
are the memories:
your soulful melodies with lingering tears.

2012: A Year in Review

Tonight is the last Friday night of 2012, exactly one week after the world was supposed to end. A lot has happened in 2012, and I decided to highlight everything significant that happened to me this year, month by month.

gs2012

It’s been one heck of a year at GingerSass.

January

Not much happened in January. I turned 22, which was actually a better birthday than my 21st. My friend convinced the bartender at a local bar that I should be given a free bottle of champagne because my 21st coincided with a blizzard and I didn’t get to celebrate. I received a stuffed unicorn and zebra print seat covers from my parents. I, once again, pleaded to Ellen as to why we should celebrate our birthday together and she ignored me. Ya know, the usual.

February

I made it onto PostSecret for the first time. Whitney Houston died and I was devastated so I wrote a poem. Ryan Murphy pissed me off so I wrote him an angry tumblr post turned into a letter, which he never responded to.

March

March was a very important month for me– I STARTED GINGERSASS! (All of the posts posted before March 25th were transferred from my tumblr site.) Fun fact– GingerSass was started because I was pretending to be an investigative reporter at the Sex, Love, and Dating Conference. Also, Adrienne Rich died, which devastated me. A lot.

April

April freaking rocked. Highlights of the month include:

volunteering with NOH8 and later being featured on their website
meeting Frank Warren at my first PostSecret event
saw an opera and a concert in one week
my Poefy (poetry-wifey) was fantabulous in The Vagina Monologues and I wrote about it

May

May was a good month for me. Obama came out in support of gay marriage. I won an award. I graduated college. Life was pretty awesome to me in May.

June

June was an interesting month. I started it out writing about suicide after finding out that the partner of my friend who had committed suicide also committed suicide. I wrote a bunch of 10 Minute Musings for a grad class and reconnected with myself. I came out to my family as a blogger, with the support of Cady McClain, aka Dixie from All My Children. I even inspired her alter-ego, Suzy F*cking Homemaker, to create an internet meme. Suzy also encouraged me to write a post on why I want to be a celesbian…so I did. I also  booked and performed my first paid poetry gig, which was pretty darn awesome.

July

July started off with a roadtrip to Massachusetts with Poefy to the wedding of Taylor and Mike. I basked in the glory of cheeseball goodness. (This post is still one of my most-visited posts, btw.) I fell in love with my job over the summer. I also figured out What Obama Taught Me. I indulged in Restaurant Week. Then I got serious about my blog, invested in an actually site host, got free magnets, and was overwhelmed by the idea of going to BlogHer. I also posted about teacher dress codes, which is also one of my most-visited posts of all time.

August

August started off with me going to BlogHer’12 and MY LIFE CHANGING FOREVER. I made so many blogging friends through BlogHer, and I’m going to (eventually) categorize them on her so you can so who I’m reading. I also won a happy hour party in August and celebrated with wings and food at a local bar with my friends. Woohoo! To top August off, I started my new job, got an apartment to go along with it, and ruminated on why Res Life will always be a part of me.

September

September was an emotional, crazy month. I had an awesome first week of September. I was a national runner up to be the next Verizon Ultimate Insider, mentioned on AfterEllen, and yogurt was on sale. I made it through the one year deathaversary of my friend’s suicide, and I participated in yet another walk for dead people. September was emotional, tough, and trying, but I got through it.

October

October started off with me reflecting on how much I love my car. I also met Jack Hanna, which was a childhood dream come true. I had a kickass lesson on bullying on National Coming Out Day and fell even more in love with teaching. I went to the Dodge Poetry Festival for the first time as an educator, and I helped my students fall in love with poetry. I met Geena Davis and she told me, “You’re changing the world to be a place I want to be in. Keep up the good work.” I saw Melissa Etheridge in concert. I survived Hurricane Sandy, was really upset that Sandy canceled Halloween, and was upset by the whole Sandy experience.

November

November feels like such a long time ago. I participated in NaBloPoMo for the first time and wrote about how I’m a Jersey girl, how Sandy domesticated me, and what Obama’s win meant to me. I also talked about bacon, ghosts, and just how important it was that I found my voice again by going to poetry open mics. I cut my hair, took silly webcam pics, and thought about my future. I ended my first NaBloPoMo experience by being grateful for stickers, and really having peace in knowing that I’m on the right track for what I want to do with my life.

December

December flew by. I think the biggest thing that happened to me this month, right before my student teaching internship ended, was that I realized why I want to teach. I arranged for an assembly for my Creative Writing students, and  it really changed my relationship with them forever. It taught one student to not be afraid to be who she is, and this, in return, encouraged me to come out to her. She then wrote me a note and made me cry. Then the Newtown, Connecticut shooting happened and it hit really close to home, as it was the first school shooting that has happened since I began student teaching. My students asked me if I would take a bullet for them, and I was able to respond honestly and say yes. Student teaching ended, and I managed to make it to the parking lot after school before crying. I got creeped out by the whole Elf on a Shelf phenomenon, but secretly loved my creepy little elf.

2012 was a year of growth. I rediscovered my writing identity, and GingerSass became a very large part of who I am. I’m grateful for the opportunities blogging has given me this past year, and I cannot wait to see what 2013 holds.

Happy New Year, folks! What are you looking forward to in 2013?

PS I’m not sure if I’ll be able to attend or not, but if you’ll be at home this NYE, consider joining in on #Tweetin13. There are prizes, fun people, and it’s hosted by two of my favorite ladies. Get on it!

Road trippin’

On Saturday morning, after a night of babysitting 5 year old and 7 year old self-declared princesses for 8 hours, I got up bright and early to set out on what I was sure to be a treck to the wedding of My Pleonastic Life and Folk Sneakernet in Massachusetts. I had never been to Massachusetts before, and I was a bit paranoid about the trip. (Mapquest told me it would only take 3.5 hours; I was convinced there would be traffic, unforeseen chaos, and that we would arrive in 5 hours.) My poefy (poetry wifey) Dina (@L_w0rd) joined me as my wedding date, and I was super excited to be roadtripping with her. I felt we were obviously destined to be the lesbian Thelma and Louise.

I made a few mix cd’s for our trip. First up we had what I dubbed “Roadtrip CD.” This cd, for lack of better words, was extremely emotional and girly. It had everything from Fleetwood Mac to Billy Joel to The Go-Go’s. It was full of female power ballads, and a lot of fun. I also made a “Singalong CD” which was, well, full of classic singalong songs. It had everything from Whitney to Grease to Taylor Swift. This was perhaps the whitest cd I’ve ever created. We also listened to Taylor Swift, Melissa Etheridge’s greatest hits, and sad, depressing lesbian-themed music Dina had once burnt on a CD for me. We were super gay.

Roadtrip CD

Singalong CD

We made excellent time during the drive to Massachusetts. We gossiped like there was no tomorrow, stopped for Dunkin Donuts, and then gossiped some more. When we crossed the Massachusetts border, we screamed like crazy, pulled to the side of the road, and took the obligatory tourist photo of the “Welcome to Massachusetts” sign. We called our respective concerned individuals to let them know we had arrived, and kept driving. (Rumor had it there wouldn’t be cell phone reception in the town we were going to for the wedding rehearsal.)

We literally stopped traffic to take this photo.

We turned into Stockbridge, Massachusetts, watched our cellphone signals die, cried momentarily, and then stared in amazement at the quaint town before us. It reminded both of us of Stars Hallow IMMEDIATELY (Google it, you non-Gilmore Girls junkies), and we excitedly jumped out to explore the town. We oohed and ahhed at all of the small stores, window shopped, and made plans to come back again one day. We went into the The Lion’s Den, which was waaaaay beyond our expectations. I mean seriously, no place in Jersey has waiting areas like this:

The wait was too long (and fancy) so we went downstairs to the pub area…which was rustic, cute, and came with “Trivial Pursuit Baby Boomers Edition.”

We ordered some alcohol because we needed it, and then ordered some lunch because we were famished. We enjoyed a leisurely lunch and a few rounds before realizing we were late for the rehearsal. Oops. (That’s what happens when you don’t have cellphone service.)

Lunch.

We ran to the Stockbridge Library (our destination), where we found the only other black person in Stockbridge, Massachusetts. (Seriously.)

Dina and…well, I forget what her name was. It started with a D.

The rest of the bridal party arrived, and we tore the library apart. Heavy labor ensued, and we took away tables and chairs, put up new chairs for wedding guests, and built a chuppah. (In skirts and heels I might add.)

Our chuppah creation. Thanks for the pic, Jamie!

A rehearsal followed, where Dina moseyed on over to the general store and got her first ever bee sting in the process. (Note: It is not good for a person who has never been stung by a bee before to be stranded walking in town by herself with no cell phone reception and to only have experienced bee stings through the death of Thomas J in “My Girl.”) After the rehearsal dinner, we sped out of town into Great Barrington where we were staying AND WE HAD CELL PHONE RECEPTION. We stocked up on basics like raisinettes, snocaps, party mix, and salt & limes to go with our tequila. (Which, btw, Dina had basically never had before…yay!) Since the bride-to-be was sharing a room with Dina & I the night before her wedding, we decided the night should be equivalent to the bachelor party the boys (and 2 girls) were having a town over. We gossiped, shared scandalous stories, drank, ate junk food, and drank some more.

I was going to insert more scandalous photos, but we have job searches to worry about.

The wedding was fantabulous, but I’m not going to talk about it now because it gets a post of its own. (I specifically asked Mike & Taylor if I could exploit their lives and nuptials on my site; they said yes.)

After the reception, Dina & I stripped in the car and changed into roadtrip-appropriate gear. We then did one of the most AMAZING THINGS EVER— we pumped our own gas! (We’re from Jersey, mind you.) We specifically went to a gas station because it had a “Free Coffee Day” sign out front, and while Dina went inside to figure out why there was free coffee, I was left trying to figure out how to work a gas pump. I couldn’t figure it out, and even resorted to calling my dad to ask for help. Dina came back out and told me that a) there was indeed free coffee because it was the first of the month and b) I had to pay ahead of time if I wanted to pay in cash. I got my free coffee, spilled some on myself, and gave the guy a twenty. Then, the following sequence of photos ensued:

Look! I can pump my own gas!

Wait, what am I doing wrong? I’m from Jersey. I don’t do this.

Get a picture of me doing this!

I PUMPED MY OWN GAS BITCHESSSSS!!!!!!

We drove for a bit before stopping for food, and we ate pizza and jalapeño poppers at a roadside pizza place. We watched a hippie van drive by covered in peace signs and tie dye paint, and Dina almost beat up a Cont in the bathroom. (He was a baseball played being a cunt to her for being in the bathroom when he had to go, and when she got out, the name on his jersey was “Cont.” Ha.) The ride back to Jersey was tiresome, and it took way longer than our ride up, but we finally got back. Fireworks literally erupted around us at one point while we were on the Parkway. It was magical…just like my trip with Dina.

I had a fantabulous time roadtripping with my poefy. It definitely brought us closer (insert sappy moment here) and I couldn’t have picked a better person to be my date for the wedding. I’m so glad Dina and I were able to be a lesbian Thelma & Louise! <3