Pose Season 3: Oh! We Buddha

Season 3 of Pose began “On the Run” and started with a bang. Or rather the crashing sound of the universe as Billy Porter’s Pray Tell enters a room and says “Oh! We Buddha…Nam Myoho Renge Kyo, Nam Myoho Renge Kyo, Nam Myoho Renge Kyo.” For me, hearing that phrase, repeated 3 times at the top of the show, was a signal. A blessing on the final chapter of this journey.

In Episode 3, “The Trunk”, Mother Elektra’s past comes back for a reckoning. We see the timeline reveal how Elektra became the woman before us. The trunk was the only thing she had left from her family home before she was kicked out. The trunk is where we first saw Elektra place a dark secret; a wealthy client who overdosed on his preferred drug. To protect herself, the girls rally to “cocoon” the man, this specter on their safety and survival. He remains there for years with the company of Elektra’s finest furs and pine scented air fresheners.

She had to leave it all behind. She only wanted her things, but her things were in her mother’s house. What is in mother’s house, belongs to mother. Elektra sobs “but what’s inside belongs to me…please, it’s all I have!”

When Blanca, Ricky and Papi come to help, they are thrust again into the face of violence and fear. Upon bringing the trunk to their apartment, Blanca suggests they hide the large black box as an altar. A dead body resting beneath a space to pray. It is a clear symbol of life and death existing simultaneously. Inextricably linked to one another and the challenges we face in between.

Blanca tells the trunk, its contents, “there, there, you’re safe now”, despite the stench of decomposition, the heaviness that made it difficult to carry. “This trunk held some of her most prized treasures, all her dreams. And she gave them all away for us.”

I can’t help but to believe that the presence of Angelica Ross on this show has helped to weave in the very practical aspects of Nichiren Buddhism. Cut to Candy in a flashback of the House of Abundance before they fell apart. Elektra again takes it upon herself to go to the piers to work. There, she meets Cubby, Lemar and Angel. She sends them to her home, calls herself mother, disappearing in the night to feed her growing family. This is the first family to retrieve her trunk from her own mother’s home.

“Oh, I thought somebody without a hammer said something.”

Lemar retorts that he didn’t know what kind of “house” he was joining, as they attempt to break in. With fierce protection, Candy guffs “huh, you say something…oh I thought somebody without a hammer said something.” This is the House of Abundance. Which begat the House of Evangelista, the House of Wintour and the House of Ferocity. Three strong houses built on the desire for freedom, autonomy and a stand alone spirit.

Pray Tell continues his journey to accept the circumstances of his life. His health conditions and his alcoholism. Elektra continues to ebb and flow between the role of matriarch and an independent woman who needs no one. Except now, these two Icons need their chosen families to show up for them so that they may alter the course of their lives.

Nam Myoho Renge Kyo

Nam Myoho Renge Kyo

Nam Myoho Renge Kyo

Aunt Marion: The last of her generation

My great aunt, born Marion Moss, died yesterday at the age of 94. To be born Black and female in 1926. My grandfather‘s sisters all outlived him, and rightfully so.

And in my father’s voice was the muffled pain of losing a generation. A strong woman. A generous woman. The last of the Moss’s.

The last of a group of cousins who changed their family name due to racist aggression by white teachers. Years later, some changed it back. We hold unnecessarily hyphenated family reunions.

*A note on moss: Only mosses have a multicellular rhizoid, a root-like subterranean tissue that absorbs water and nutrients from the soil…Mosses have radial symmetry, in that a cut down the long axis of an individual gives two similar halves.

We’ve always been a whole. Even if a mess…a whole hell of a mess of moss.

Suited (2015): Dressing Gender

Documentary available on Amazon Prime

If it’s never crossed your mind that the clothes you wear match your gender expression then you’re privileged.

1) Professional/Class Identifiable attire for job interviews and employment are important for anyone. It is even more critical for a non-binary or trans person to navigate this with the outcome being employment and maintaining reliable income.

2) Seeking traditional clothing as an untraditional person. Maintaining social norms through clothing allows people to act “in stealth” where they are “passing” as the gender they want to be seen as; or dressing traditionally for the gender they were born into. This incongruent behavior, or misalignment, causes a myriad problems in work situations when relating to someone socially is inauthentic or met with bigotry.

3) Body. Tailoring requires communication, a conversation. Measurements. Consciousness. Heightened sense of awareness. Fear. Relief.

4) No matter the age, body consciousness and negative self perception and sometimes body dysmorphia make these decisions even more challenging.

5) Weddings and other ceremonies! The best way to celebrate and enjoy your special day is in clothing that makes you feel comfortable and happy. Style should not be substituted for comfort. But sometimes we “clean up” and we feel damned good about who we are in that moment. And we can finally celebrate ourselves!