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

To Make a Vow: Growth in Partnerships

Do you want a happy, healthy, fulfilling relationship or do you want Instagramable pictures?

Do you need to be seen smiling all the time or does your partner know that despite the look on your face, your heart is in the same place?

What is growth to you? Is it achieving more, reaching a milestone of age or talent? Is it evolving and finding flexibility in the standards and structures you’ve set? It could be the simple act of creating or respecting new boundaries.

Setting vows at the start of your marriage frames them as a promise that will then be formed into short, medium and long term goals. Once you feel fulfilled in some aspect of the relationship, you’ll tell yourself a vow has been met. But really, a commitment-vow is a determination you make and work to uphold. The proof that you are meeting your vow is how your partner feels, and the residual effects of reciprocity. Often “you’re not living up to…” stems from the framework set at the start of the commitment, not the marriage itself, but it seeps into the reasons why people cross the threshold. They are attempting to prove, through force and control, that the relationship will live up to the vows.

Expectations are implicit in relationships. Much of the work we have to do as individuals is to reduce or reframe the expectations we have of others. Are these expectations based on what we believe the other person is capable of doing or are they based on what we want to receive from them?

Vows should be personal. Even if someone (else) has said them before; they should mean something and align with your values and intentions. They are not just dreams and wishes. They are actionable. They are based in truth, not just the want of truth. If you’ve ever been told “I love you”—would you not believe it real and authentic if it was said again?

(Do you know you are lovable or are you asking, nay, expecting love from a source that is not for you?)

To Make a Vow: Even when I can’t, I promise you I will

This week has been a difficult one. Despite all the external chaos, I was suffering my usual health bouts. I couldn’t think. I was moving with little recollection or direction. I was a total automaton. Looked like a real life boy, but by late morning I was just a wishful puppet.

The one thing I’m proud of is the support I offered someone else. It’s easy to cut your feelings off, say you don’t care and shut down your computer, but people need us. If just for a moment. People need us to listen, to know they are valued in the life they feel they cannot control. If you’ve listened to someone lately, THANK YOU.

Listening can change lives and save lives. I don’t know what tomorrow brings, but I do know I can forgive myself for not being perfect. I may want to be unscathed, but I am scarred and marked, so I might as well embrace the whipping wind.

It’s far easier to stand against the wind with someone else.