Switcha and Shadows: Part 1

a status update i made on my facebook page reads as follows:

here in the Bahamas we don’t make Lemonade, we make Switcha.

the difference between limes and lemons is minute enough that you could dismiss it as a matter of semantics- but it is there.

and yet the drinks are still so similar in theory and execution- and pretending otherwise does everyone a disservice.

so yes, if you haven’t guessed, this is Part 1 of a #LEMONADE think-piece.  it’s not going to be the most articulate or thought-provoking, as there are far more gifted writers who have already dissected Beyoncé’s newest offering to the media in the form of another surprise-album, with an hour-long narrative visual premiered on HBO.

but i did eagerly watch this newest offering because i liked what i was seeing in Beyoncé’s evolution as an artist and person as of late, and visual storytelling is my shit.  and i will be thinking about this video for a long time to come, so i wanted to write my thoughts down as i’m able to process them.

so first, a disclaimer: i am no member of the BeyHive, and while i quite enjoy a few Beyoncé songs on their own [and make no bones about enjoying Destiny’s Child], as an artist, i never really connected with her to the same extent i did with others.  [i was a rebel child, i didn’t like popular artists, sue me :P].  what i respected about Beyoncé tactic-wise, though, was her command of her own hustle and revealing information about herself through her art, when she deemed appropriate [the wedding ring ‘flash’ in her Single Ladies video remains one of my favorite ‘gotcha!’ moments in recent music video history].

bottom line, she was undeniably talented and media-savvy.  she just wasn’t my cup of tea.

now as a showgirl, and someone who’s had the benefit of age and maturity, i can better appreciate Beyoncé’s need for artifice- the carefully constructed and polished persona of the undisputed Queen Bey.  but if there is an similarity between someone like Beyoncé and someone like myself- is that eventually, artifice gets old, really damn quick.

it’s tiring to live up consistently to the labels society expects of you, without any recourse to actually express yourself honestly, without fear of backlash, ridicule- or worse, a lack of sympathy- for any ‘negative’ emotion.

[this is something i’m retraining my brain on, to remember that celebrities are still people and are allowed to have the veneer crack].

and even someone like Beyoncé is not untouchable.  she’s not leading a perfect life despite her celebrity status, and she didn’t come from a truly idyllic home.  and she is still- despite people suddenly being surprised by this fact- a Black Woman in America.

it basically means that the pedestal she’s been placed upon [and one can argue whether it was her own doing or not] is dangerously high.  and to me, Beyoncé has been leading up to her leap from that peak for a damn long time.  her self-titled album was your first *obvious* clue, but i would like to argue that it’s been happening from her time in Destiny’s Child back in ’99.

which brings me to seeing LEMONADE as a wake-up to herself, to her fans, to Black women all over- that the era of the Black Artifice is done with.

we’ve seen this cultural awakening for a while now.  the Glo-Up.  Black Girl Magic.  whatever way you want to dress it up.  where we as Black Women [no matter or origin, creed or circumstances] are now embracing ourselves and connecting with our Sisters.  but sometimes i feel like the movement is still sanitized and too pretty [it’s easier to consume in the media, for sure].  we are never allowed to be shown as capable of feeling rage, vengefulness, spite, cockiness, etc. for fear of falling into the Angry Black Woman trope.  and we know for a fact that this is rarely a side of Beyoncé we see in her music [she’s been rage-filled before, but it’s often again under that too-perfect veneer of the triumphant victor, not the in-the-moment searing hot fury], which is why i guess the film still remains divisive- or at most, as hot-button gossip tabloid fodder.

but regardless of how you choose to view the narrative of LEMONADE- as a chronicle of overcoming infidelity, a generational commentary of the state of Black Lives, or anything else, let me assure you of one thing: if you think you found the *definitive* synopsis, you’ve only found *one* interpretation.

but regardless, Beyoncé had some shit to work out [the artist is always present in the art].  i can only imagine how cathartic this process must have been for her.

one of the things that i have been studying as my magical journey progresses, is the concept of Shadow Work, or Shadow Integration.  the accepting of our shadows- the primal, dark, ‘not fit for society’ parts of ourselves, and wholly working it into the core of our being… instead of hiding it in a box and denying its existence and its effect in our lives.

essentially, in order to step into the light, you have to confront the darkness.

the pain, the rage, the lust, the pride, the despair.  all of it.

and then most importantly- you have to work through it and use the lessons acquired to grow and heal.  you take those experiences and you let them ride its course, sure- but you don’t allow them to imprison you any longer in fear.  instead, you choose to walk forward and live and love more fully in the live you have made for yourself.

you are, essentially, taking lemons and making them into lemonade.

so make no mistake- LEMONADE is about a lot of things, sure, but it’s absolutely imperative that you do not allow your own opinions about Beyoncé’s *worthiness* as a feminist icon or role model for your daughters stop you from actually sitting with yourself and hearing/seeing everything- i mean EVERYTHING- that the visual album presents to you.  this is not a project to listen to piecemeal and expect that to give you the answers you are seeking- the songs at the beginning are rough, angry, visceral but are NOT the summation of the project [and in fact, neither are the gentler, unifying songs at the end either].  but they are still important pieces of the equation.

you don’t get lemonade without the lemons or the sugar or the water.

you don’t foster acceptance of the self without embracing what makes you human as well as otherworldly.

LEMONADE is Shadow Integration in a deliciously raw yet engrossing visual display that i didn’t think i needed to see- but my thirsty soul is glad for it.

but i’m not done with this topic- part 2 is incoming 🙂

Two Months, A Fool

a lot can happen in two months, huh?

  1. i got a job!  it took a while of feeling some internal despair, but i finally  am back in the bahamian workforce.  i’m working as a walking tour guide for a company here in town, helping our visitors obtain a different viewpoint of the Bahamas instead of just pretty beaches [although let’s be real, that’s a big and valid draw].  the added touch to this tour is that i get to tell visitors amazing stories about our culture and history, while they get to enjoy some local cuisine and BOOZE [because they are advertised as beer and rum tours!].  the job is very taxing, in the sense that i do put out a lot of energy throughout each tour, and feel quite drained afterwards.  but it’s the good kind of draining, in the sense that storytelling is something that i do enjoy doing, and it comes naturally to me, so i don’t mind ending my day and feeling like i got hit by a truck, haha.
  2. i turned 27! it was probably the most ‘normal’ birthday i’ve ever celebrated, as the 22nd of February was when i started my job.  but it was still a good day.  i received a lot of love from people i haven’t seen in years, and from my beloved second family in Vancouver, as well.  it was a humbling experience to be away from social media for the day [because work] and then coming home to hundreds of messages.  at that point mentally i had more or less come to terms with the very-possible permanence of my situation here in Nassau, so to see the manifestation of those 6 years of bond-forming in another land result in such an outpouring of support was really, really special.
  3. i booked my first gig! or more accurately, i created my first gig!  while watching the local news with my parents i noticed a story featuring a local talent show, and its founder was talking about its plans for a second iteration.  i managed to locate him on FB and inquire about having a showgirl in the mix, which he readily accepted- in fact, he went as far as to propose an entirely new show concept as more of an ‘after party’ for adult audiences- but it would feature ME as the headliner~ i’ve even done the graphic design work for the poster/tickets, because well why wouldn’t i *wink*

    AF_AndrosiaPromo

    not bad, right?

  4. i have made friends! i have reconnected with old!  i have made the resolution to not give a fuck anymore about what people think of me, and i’m -slowly- being more honest with people about the magical side of me, the witch i have cultivated in silence and secrecy.  i’m not quite yet in a position where i can blare that truth from the rooftops- i do still reside with my Christian parents, and i remain respectful of their beliefs by not taking a hammer to the facade and shattering it completely.  but i continue my studies and have even made friends with people here in town that believe like i do in the esoteric.  a welcome surprise to be sure!
  5. i have renewed hope- and that is where The Fool comes in.  i’m still keeping up with my daily tarot draws courtesy of the Galaxy Tarot app on my phone, and today’s card is The Fool.  it’s the beginning of a journey, an experience, or an opportunity- and more importantly, it’s the knowledge that anything and everything is possible, so long as you have the courage to take that first step.

    today is also the day that my husband submitted his permanent residency application, after receiving the CIC nomination nearly two months ago.

    obviously i’m sweating bullets over here.  the last two months have been spent with the two of us making a mad dash on opposite sides of the continent, trying to secure all the documentation and funds that we needed within the time limit.  there were a lot of hiccups and frustration, and a lot of logistical planning.  but amazingly- amazingly- things fell into place.  our parents stepped up to help wherever they could, and friends and family-friends offered assistance in remarkable ways.  angels have swooped down in our last, dark hours and literally pulled our asses out of the fire.  today, we have been able to submit everything with precious few days to spare, and in the best circumstances possible- with both of us holding a job so that we can start to build the foundation to a future where either he returns to me or i return to him- either way, what bliss ❤

#IslandGyalGoals

as i have officially hit the ‘restlessness’ point of my time at home, i’ve been trying to figure out what exactly i would like to do to continue persuing the Androsia Adventures whilst i’m here!  i don’t think that these are things i’ll be able to immediately, by any means [after all i’m still relearning parts of the island and have yet to get behind the wheel of a car to take myself anywhere], BUT it’s always good to have a game-plan for when i CAN, yes?

so!  what would Androsia Wilde like to do?

  1. Get new headshots [as my hair is still long post-wedding] and maybe some promotional shots as well?
  2. Reacquaint myself with the local fabric stores [for eventual costuming needs, of course]
  3. Listen to Bahamian music to eventually work on Bahamian-themed burlesque routines [old favorites and new stuff!]
  4. Incorporate Junkanoo-styled costuming and dance into my routines [which means i need to make a visit to the Valley Boys at some point!]
  5. Get in contact with one of the local Bahamas Carnival groups for possible networking opportunities~
  6. Work at least ONE Bahamian-based creative project: TV show, comedy skit, commercial, etc
  7. Work with at least ONE Bahamian clothing designer
  8. Look into corporate gigs? Surely someone out there would pay for some cabaret-showgirl entertainment? *wink*

i’m sure there are more ideas that will come up as i continue to get my toes wet and re-immerse myself into this island living!  if you think of anything else i should get into, by all means leave a suggestion!

What Does It Mean?

… to be a Bahamian? to be a woman from this land?

when i take in the sights and sounds and smells that i feel that i have only imagined instead, i find myself asking a lot of questions.  maybe it’s just the saltwater in head.

but hear me out.

what does it mean when i walk these steps upon this land, reunited with my home but still a foreigner, blindly searching for the footsteps of those who were here before? my mind drifts.  those lone-gone Lucayan women, barebacked and cherished, comfortable in their world and in the power they may have wielded?  who were their witches, their sacred women?  who kept their world’s mysteries so securely that it is now all but lost?

conversely what does it mean to be a woman in her own power in this era, feeling this power within her bones grow stronger with each passing day?  what does it mean to harness the strange and feral and familiar electricity that flows like water and burns like fire?  i have learned to embrace my femininity, but i have weaponized it in turn.  i can enchant, i can charm, i can curse in equal measure.  what will it take to leave myself truly vulnerable to my femininity, instead?  to feel so deeply it reduces me to ashes and allows me to rise, to become something else.  is it worth it here?  in a place that doesn’t understand or appreciate our own history, let alone the actions one must take to seek what i feel burning a hole into my heart with each breath?

how can i take those two sides and unite them?  how can i remember what was so forcibly removed, and reconcile it with my world in a way that is innocent and explorative, but not patronizing or condescending?

the lost Lucayan, the returning Bahamian.

island witchery and obeah, womanhood worship, that forbidden exploration into the lost annals of our country’s history, and perhaps the meeting of ideologies that fly in the face of established doctrine.

burlesque, and its showmanship, its place in the feminist revolution, giving strength and voice and nuance where the world has been conditioned to see something else- just sexiness without purpose.

dancing without abandon.  returning to and reuniting with the arts long lost in a way that stirs deep with the soul, both transformative and harrowing.

i don’t know what it means, but i think i’m onto something.

The Hopeful Star

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The Star from the Shadowscapes Tarot deck, painted by Stephanie Pui-Min Law.  i could wax poetic about this deck for millenia…

my first inclination towards the magical life was my fascination with tarot cards and their usage in divination.  it started off as wanting to learn how they worked [as i still harbour plans to create my own working deck, and simply drawing pretty pictures without understanding is not particularly interesting to me], but very quickly became an awakened fondness for these pack of cards and what answers one can glean from their dazzling pictures.  it does so happen that i own two physical decks and i do greatly enjoy learning their individual intricacies.

 

but a quick fix, i turn to the Galaxy Tarot app on my phone.  there’s certainly no reason why a digital app shouldn’t be any more powerful or potent than one i can hold in my hands, and so I use the app to give me a Card of the Day, which i then jot down in my daily planner before i go about my daily business [even if that business is snoozing in my living room while my birds chirp to themselves!].  while i continue to get my bearings in my home, it’s a small act that i do for myself, to stay connected to the side of myself that is wilder and more in tune with life’s larger magic than what i can freely express while i’m here.  i’m still learning that side of myself!

it’s today’s card that prompts this entry.  The Star.

i’ve done a commissioned illustration for a client before with this card. so it’s one i know the meaning of very well.  it’s one of the nicest cards in a traditional Tarot deck, as its keyword is Hope, or Encouragement.  i also like it because of the card it follows [as the Major Arcana illustrate a Journey, when taken in sequence].  it follows the chaos and turmoil of the Tower before it,  and therefore signals that the Querent is open to a gentle and transformative healing process of the spirit.  this card helps to facilitate a step forward into the light, with the trust in a higher power that all will indeed be well.

in reverse, the card may mean that you are still stuck in the Tower’s shadow, and are waiting for a sign to proceed to higher ground, [or to the Messiah you seek, as the Wise Men looked for- for my more Biblically-minded readers *smile*].  or depending on the deck’s interpretation- perhaps you are taking the wrong path to your intended destination, and this card acts as the gentle voice saying ‘hey! wrong way!’.  or gentler, still,  ‘this is just a setback, i promise you’.

it’s easy to extrapolate your own associations with a Tarot reading, especially with only one card presented to you [the more cards introduced, the more nuanced a reading you can obtain- or perhaps it’ll just muddy the waters further!].  i think that is why Tarot is so universally powerful- something will connect with you!   so i can’t really say that i don’t see this card, the Star, mirrored in my life right now.  it’s very apt, and encouraging.  and scary.

why scary?  because things do look very dim right now.  the Star is not the Moon [which gives out a lot more light and is closer, yet secretive in nature], nor is it the Sun [which is MUCH stronger and brighter, but with its own dangers of being over-powering].  maybe this is just the signal of the setback we had come to expect.   i do not feel as Hopeful today, but this is only one day, and there are always more days ahead.  the minute we give in to that despair and lose that sense of Hope- then what do i have but a stumble through the dark?

huh.  writing that out helped out more than i thought it would 🙂

Living in Paradise [Island]

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the view from one of New Providence’s connecting bridges- AKA my daily commute home.

well… i’m here.  a frantic weekend of goodbyes, packing and serious tears shed [loneliness, remembrance, mourning], two early-morning flights and some serious lack of sleep, i’ve returned to the country of my birth, the Bahamas.  my parents were overjoyed at my return, of course, and i was also glad to be able to see them, as it has been a while since i last saw them [SKype convos don’t really count, after all].

there is a lot that has changed in Nassau.  the national airport looks beautiful and far more professional than the extremely dated version i have in my memories [trust me folks, it was bad!].  there are new roads, and new pockets of construction all over.  familiar restaurants that i just assumed would be around forever- suddenly are not there anymore.  a few have been replaced, but many just sit empty, derelict.  a faded memory of what was once there.

there is a lot that is familiar too, even if the coats of paint suggest otherwise.  political pundits still thrive on the radio airwaves [and more importantly, people still use the radio here!]. for every familiar sight now long gone, there are many that still remain standing, unchanging.  and my childhood home is still cozy and familiar- even with the obvious lifestyle changes my parents have made now that their kids are grown.  my darling lovebirds are still darling.  the area is still quiet and peaceful- until someone gets overzealous on the long strip of road and decides it’s prime time to test out their bitchin’ new engine, of course.  the food and drink is still delicious.  and my parents are still the funny, caring and awesome people that i’ve always known.  falling back into a steady, joking rapport with them is painless, and though i still am testing the waters about how i can talk around them [after all, i am married now], nothing feels forced or out of place.

it is truly a surreal experience, being home, and i am grateful that my family has not paraded me around town so that i have to play catch-up with a whole bunch of people- i stayed indoors for a lot of the day and basically worked at my own pace.  but in the moments like now that i am alone, my parents now slumbering and i have the house to myself, i still close my eyes and feel the hole in my heart that persists the longer that i am absent from my  husband, and the family of friends that i have made.  i got to hear his voice again, but it’s not the same as being able to wrap my arms around him and watch as he works, or having him join me in bed with a story from reddit to make me laugh before we settle in to sleep.

this is something i never want to get used to- his absence.  it’s only made the resolve to get back to him all the stronger.

Look Ma, I’m On TV!

tonight i got to chat with people both in Canada and the Bahamas as the episode of ‘Untold Stories of the ER’ i worked on in the summer premiered on TLC [i already got to watch it with my parents on Discovery Life on the 1st, which was nice!].

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meet my TV-coworker and my TV-fiance’ haha

as i mentioned in my first post, i have been on TV already for this year, but this role was also my first Principal TV role [with lines, and everything!], and it was also interesting playing someone out of type [choir-girl nurse who is engaged to someone else, haha].

the episode is called ‘Shocking!’ and my specific segment is ‘Family Matters’.  according to my dad it’ll be back on Discovery Life on 3 pm this Sunday, 9 pm on Tue 12 Jan and midnight Wed 13 Jan [not surre about TLC but i’m still it will be at some point and will update accordingly], so there are still opportunities for people to catch it if they’re so inclined~

2015: Wow

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the glamorous calm before the oncoming storm.

this 1st post goes out to three people:
Lola- your post lit a fire under my ass, and you remain iconic and humble.  i am so grateful for you, and all women like you.
Jasper- yes we ended up here unexpectedly, but we got this, i know we do.
Beloved- “Te Amaré. that one thing won’t change.”


 

just under a year ago i was writing a post on my Tumblr blog.  i was working a volunteer gig as a promo-girl for Pin-Up Perfection Photography at their booth for Vancouver’s TABOO Sex Show, which was honestly a lot of fun.  i got to be an interactive pinup girl, amongst the few minority models in the booth at all [if in fact i wasn’t the only one there!] and my contribution to the group was the facilitation of making t-shirts with the company logo for everyone, since i worked at a custom t-shirt shop.  the post was really about my wanting to continue working as a model and performer because of all the positive feedback i got from that event from the occasional black woman who walked past the booth and couldn’t help but smile at me, because i presented the notion to them that black girls could be pin-ups too, and i wanted to join the ranks of people like Angelique Noire, one of my modern-day style inspirations.  i had also been featured on a Buzzfeed post not too long after of ‘modern pin-ups’ which was very humbling [and a needed ego-boost, not gonna lie!] and i wanted to use that as a positive sign that i could use 2015 as the year to step up my game, so to speak.

that post was never finished or published because a few days after that event [and after completing the shirt order for my friends which was good business for my store, i must add], i was let go.

thus began a… rather tumultuous 2015, if i can say so.

i was never able to regain steady employment, and it eventually had disastrous consequences for my ability to live and work in Canada.  hell, the last job i had cost me the chance to work with a local lingerie store in their fashion show, and in the end it didn’t matter anyway because i was let go from that job anyway.  *womp womp*

but at the same time, this year was not devoid of enjoyment.  it’s easy to look bad and see all the things i probably could’ve done to progress further as a creative person, but i don’t want to downplay the accomplishments of this past year either:

  • going on tour with my friends in Geekenders and bringing Star Wars to the Yukon, Victoria and Sechelt- in turn seeing parts of BC that i never would’ve on my own!  i also got to perform a 12-day summer show of our first show A Nude Hope to raucous acclaim.  and of course, it only made sense to close off my 2015 as a Vancouver-based performer with them with a final visit to my very first nerdlesque role, Lando Calrissian.
  • i worked on making more original routines- my first solo routine as Lt Uhura from Star Trek: TOS!  i debuted the number at Beam Me Up Sexy right before my birthday and it remains my favorite number to do~  i also got to create my first duet- choreographing a number i once pulled out of my butt last-minute into a respectable nerdlesque number and something i’m also very proud of!
  • dipping my world into the world of go-go dancing thanks to Lydia DeCarllo!  between my summer stints of being a tropical go-go girl for both Go-Go Bungalow and Mondo Exotica [RIP to a great show, btw] i got to meet and befriend amazing performers, and dance away to my heart’s content to both retro tunes and the occasional soca treat.  as far as being a Caribbean gal who loves to dance, it was the closest to home i felt!
  • working with Burgundy Brixx- technically this happened at the end of 2014 but the bulk of my working relationship with the crew at Kitty Nights West happened this year.  i had opportunities to sub in as part of the Viva Vancouver dancers as well as perform as a featured guest or go-go girl a few times- i even was their poster girl as I got to bring my Uhura routine back again!
  • beginning an acting career!  i sent an application to Maijah Lewk Talent on a lark and I did not expect to even be humored, let alone invited up to join their roster.  my time with them was brief but eventful- under Dean Osmon’s guidance i went from audition to audition and managed to book a commercial, SOC role on a tv show and my first Principal acting role in the short span of a summer.  i even got to score a gig on my own as a body-double on a major FOX television show for a few days, which was a pretty awesome experience, if i can be honest!!

this of course doesn’t count the other amazing and transformative experiences i’ve had this year, which included my new-found appreciation for all things magical, and of course marrying the love of my life.  even when i am despondent in my bed over the darker days, i know and recognize that i have had moments that still shine brighter.  i wouldn’t trade them for smoother sailing.

this year’s theme for me is Courage.  last summer i resolved to myself that i was going to live a more authentic life- one devoted to the cultivation and creation of a creative life, for both myself and my people.  i knew that it wouldn’t be easy, but it could only be possible if i was brave enough to go for it.  i intend to continue that decision into 2016.

i will need this Courage more than ever now- in a few days i will be returning to my motherland of the Bahamas… for an unknown length of time.  i will have to leave my beloved husband behind, in the care of our treasured family of friends that we have cultivated here.  i will return after a 3 year absence, to a place that probably still sees me as the young person i was when i left for the first time over 6 years ago.

instead they will receive a woman, wholly transformed in body and spirit.  with glitter in her hair and magic in her lungs.  i will leave smoke in my footsteps and adorn my eyes with stars, move like water and seep into the earth, taking what i can learn and give birth to something new.  i will attempt what i thought impossible [living as a magically-minded showgirl] in a world that is woefully unprepared.  New Years’ resolution are a bit cliche’ but 2016 is the year that i no longer wait for my desires to fall into my lap, at the behest of others’ benevolence.  i shall take it by the horns and will it to submission, with only a smile and a word.  and i can only do this if i possess the Courage to do so.

Courage.  i repeat this word in the silence of the night.  a spell that grows in strength as i gaze upon the moon, as i hold my lover’s hand, committing his touch and his smile to memory.  Courage.

Courage.  to make my mark and manifest the power i see in myself.

Courage.  to keep moving forward when circumstances are bleak.

Courage.

Courage.

Goddess please