Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Trudging through brokeness

I've been working on a lot lately-mostly on myself. I've been putting down more boundaries at work and trying to set regular (more like reasonable) expectations for myself. "Pressure off" has been my motto and my thinking is now filtered through the long lens of "what do I need?" What do I need right now?? It's been a lot of learning to be comfortable with my vulnerabilities-which is hard for me, someone who prides herself for being so "strong."

All this "work" is great because I feel free and more at the liberty to simply enjoy things. But the downside to taking care of my vulnerabilities and giving myself space to experience them is, I'm more aware now if I'm tired or hurt or exhausted or scared or lonely. Which is fucking scary - but good. Scary but good. That's my current status right now.

Everything I've done to push these feelings aside is now stopping and these feelings are flooding up in me like a tidal wave. It's overwhelming sometimes, the tears.  They just flood my face like warm droplets of love I've never felt before. Deep self love is almost magical how in how enveloping it is. I'm getting sucked back into myself.

A good friend of mine told me recently, while we sat under the bright lights of Cafe Grecco in North Beach one evening, that one day indeed, one very special woman is going to find these vulnerable broken parts of me beautiful. But that won't happen until I let them out and accept them.

So here I am walking around slightly afraid but deeply grateful for myself and my broken parts and of course friends.

It's a lot to take on, this trudging through brokeness to acceptance and so I've decided to give myself the gift of time. I have years to form new habits. Years to learn new ways. I'm not going to fall into the same rut of putting pressure on myself to get it right the first time....or even the 100th time. Pressure off.

Because I want to rebuild that space again, that space where it's just me and my thoughts and my wonders and my needs and my fears and broken places in hopes to build a better relationship of full acceptance.

Pressure off. Time. A gift to myself.

Leave me be...

A poem:

If loving you means I have to look into your eyes every time you speak, even if it's on the washer and if I've changed out the clothes, I don't think it's for me.

If loving you means I need to repeat what I say 3 times until you get the response in the tone you want, I won't take it.

If loving you means sitting with you on the couch and waiting on you to be comfortable with my ever changing moods, to always be prepared with an explanation, I'll pass.

If loving you means letting you help me with all that my hands find to do, even if I don't need your help, I'm going to explode.

My mouth unfolds like a wave and
I cry out for the space I need to breath
the totality of my being,
a being that needs to survive devoid of your constant hand.
The hand that fed me my first years of light crushed the very hand you wish to hold.
I could not wash the fifth off if I scrubbed it with a knife.
And now you want to feed? Dear love, you've mistaken me for someone else.
You've mistaken me for a whole girl, a woman full of a heart of love.
Mine just holds darkness, blood vessels that reach out for the ground.
I just need your face next to me.
Your gentle arms wrapped around me.
Your words when I'm ready.
 Flooding me with love will force me to swim-away.

It's been a hard lesson to learn that love is not all I need. Give me space to breathe in the woman in the mirror and filling up this skin.

Please.

-Ashley Roque

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

"Kyss Mig" (2011)

If I had to pick a lesbian film that was all around AWESOME and well produced and acted, it would be this one. Ruth Vega Fernandez delivers an incredible performance as an engaged daughter of an absent father who, himself, is newly engaged to emotionally competent mother of two beautiful adult children. To her bewildering surprise, Ruth's character falls head first for her new sister-in-law. It all sounds really twisted and a tad taboo, but, it kinda is. Being a lesbian is forbidden. Add on this unique family dynamic and you've dramatized an experience that's getting harder and harder to articulate.

What I can't get out of my head is Ruth's look of desperation plaster on her lovely freckled face. There's this shot where the camera pans as Ruth sits naked in a tub holding her knees to her chest. It that one beat, she conveys all the anxiety and heart break and foreboding one feels when a) one has found love and b) when one realizes that love may go away. It's just so great.





Liv Mjones (the blond) delivers an equally stunning performance. She has this curious look in her eyes, like she wonders what more lies within you. She just wants to play with you. It's beautiful, just watching her look at Ruth. Their connection and chemistry is so palpable.
There is this lovely scene in the film where Liv rides a bicycle and Ruth sits behind her, wrapping her arms around Liv while they ride through the green, recently rained-on-trees. That scene, along with other selections from this film, give this story such a lovely feminine feel. It's beautiful. I've never seen a lesbian film so distinctly female. This totally is and it's wonderful.

Everything from the breezy island that whips their beautiful hair in all sorts of uncontrollable directions to the fuzzy view of the water as they plunge in with the seaweed crawling up their legs.

I would dare to say that director Alexandra-Therese Keining, redefines femininity in this film. Instead of giving women a butch personality, in a feminine body, (like most directors do--including myself) she makes them womanly and gives them a womanly environment in which they fall in love in. What's feminine about their environment?? How wet it is. How soft the wind makes one feel, just watching it pick up their soft hair. The filters on the lenses. The night light that trickles in their shared room. Their sexual relationship, the way it's depicted without music and excessive drama. We watch her turn her on and her wet hair caress. It's beautiful. So beautiful.



Finally, because I can go on and on about this film, their is a wonderful family dynamic between Ruth's character and her father. He's about to embark on a familiar but new chapter in his life. He's getting married to a woman that can actually handle his darkness, a woman that can handle his vulnerabilities with such strength and command. She's just as powerful as any character I've seen on screen and I love it.

I only hope I can direct a film with such a beautiful eye.


The God Wife

I've begun the crafting of a new play on a story of death and love and friendship and ex-lovers and children and the future and ultimately the big "WHAT IF?" More so, it's about the big "WHAT AM I DOING NOW?? WHAT IS happening inside of me?? Where is all of this going???" because it can literally be gone in a second.

I came up with this story as I walked to Ft. Mason in San Francisco with my friend Meg on a hot summer evening. We were heading to their incredible dollar book sale and it was giddy fun imagining the "what if." I told her I wanted to own a boat one day. She was confident the name on the side would be hers. She also stated that when she comes to town (to LA) she expects her own side of the master bed and that my wife will be kicked out to the couch. That's our dynamic. And so naturally, I began discussing how our wonderfully grey relationship would have to become a little more black and white and boundary filled when someone else came into the picture and I settled down and got married. She laughed it off with that sexy smirk of hers. But I wouldn't budge. I stressed the importance of this change and how jealous my future wife would become if she ever felt like I was more connected to Meg than her. All in good fun, I decided that if something were to happen to me, I bestowed upon her the responsibility of helping my wife get back on her feet again. I named her my God wife. She agreed.

The prospect of my own personal departure wasn't the focus of my imaginative fire. That's not what fueled my thinking. It was the idea that she would be a part of my life and what I've built long after I'm gone. It made me happy.

Thus the play.

First draft--here I go.



Saturday, July 11, 2015

A strange dream....

My head was itching. I walked down Grant street in Chinatown, mildly comforted by the red lanterns that swayed with the odd foreigners walking through the street. I kept reaching for my head, wondering why my scalp was so tearable under my short, trimly cut nails. I felt lost. I looked around this familiar neighborhood, growing with fear at the idea that I may not actually know what is going on inside of my own head, under this itchy scalp of mine.

The afternoon was getting dimmer. I was feeling lonelier. I called my Mom, a knee jerk reaction I acquired in response to nerves shaking since I've moved 3,000 miles away from her front door. I held my old iPhone close to my ear, trying to make out her words over the loudness from the screaming inside my own mind. I slid my spare hand through my hair to the top of my head and discovered a loosely attached zipper. The zipper circled all around the top of my head-the top flap. How come I didn't see it there before? Wasn't it there all along?? I slid my hand through my large curls and found the ending. My mom answered her cell. I told her what I discovered and like a 5 year old little girl unsure of the world all over again, I asked if it was normal, if she had this problem. She held her breath. I carefully slid the zipper around my head and unzipped the top of my scalp. At the same time fear struck my belly like a pound of poison swallowed. I begged my mom for a reply and she wouldn't answer. Finally I pulled the entirety of my top part of my scalp off. It was so easy. It felt like a large scab removed. I felt open and free and relieved.

I wanted to cry. I asked my mother, one final time, if this was a real thing. Did I have this problem? Was my skin coming off my head?? Did she know I had no topping on the tip top of my body besides my hair now?? What am I going to do?? How do I protect myself?? Did she put this zipper on?? Did I put this zipper on??

She said yes, it's true. You have this problem. I felt a moment of terrible acceptance wash over me--like the acceptance one feels when they know they're going to die of AIDs or cancer and that is God's lot in life for them. It hurt. Knowing you're going to die hurts. I realized, for the first time, that all I had was myself, my thoughts, my arms, my unprotected heart and I'm going to die that way.

I woke up and sunk my fingers in my hair. Thank god it was just a dream.

Then I started to scratched my head.


Thursday, July 9, 2015

Community

In about 5 weeks, I'll be leaving San Francisco and moving down to Los Angeles. It almost seems surreal. I've been dreaming of this move since I was an eleven year old little girl and I seriously don't know how to handle it. I'm done. I've sort of reached where I want to. No more dreaming. I'll actually be there.

This big move is a new chapter in my life. A chapter that begins my journey of settling down and building some new and permanant roots. Before I leave I need to make sure I thank the community that carried me these last four years and make every effort to plug in when I arrive in my new home city.

The Chinatown community, the Y's, the schools, the neighborhood, has been for a wall of consistency that's kept me afloat while pushing through the chaos of film school. I love this community so much and I'm gonna miss them even more than they'll ever know.


First trip to Napa


I recently went on my first trip to Napa Valley and it was lovely. I spent 48 hours listening to the swaying of the trees, smelling clean grass, petting beautiful dogs, drinking too much  incredibly expensive wine while enjoying the company of deeply kind people. It was the first time in a long time I felt like the one being taken care of. I like the feeling.