Posted in Anittha, Movie Review

Movie Review: Someone Great

There are few things I love more than a serendipitous movie moment.

Over the past couple weeks, Netflix has been continually recommending me Someone Great. I took one look at the poster, saw three chicks on it and wrote it off as the usual fun-wild-girls’-night thing that ends with them realizing they have issues with each other and they confront it and blah blah blah…

So, I swiped left.

Until today.

I decided to go ahead and watch it while getting my nails done. I would have preferred talking to the lady doing my nails but we communicated primarily through over-exaggerated head shakes or nods and thumbs up or down gestures. A prolonged conversation seemed unlikely. Anyway, I digress.

The movie is about Jenny (Gina Rodriguez) who gets dumped from a goddamn nine-year relationship – which in itself, felt like a slap in the face from the get. The whole premise just seemed rude and as a fellow female, I already felt a strong urge to resolutely hate her ex-boyfriend, Nate (Lakeith Stanfield).

Jenny then contacts Blair (Brittany Snow) and Erin (DeWanda Wise), tells them about the break-up and they proceed to skip work and have a drug/alcohol fuelled day leading up to a music festival, Neon Classic.

The kicker is this, Jenny has a series of flashbacks to her relationship throughout the 90-minute long movie, showing us how the relationship began and how they were when things were good and what happened that led to its end. It comes up randomly. Like in emotional conversations with her favourite drug dealer and while listening to a song in a convenience store. Even when looking at a bottle of coke.

You see all the important bits. You see the cute things they did when their relationship seemed to stretch on forever – like writing their names in a corny-ass heart bubble on the edge of a fountain.

You see the things they did that gave them their identity as “us”. Things like giving each other piggyback rides or answering “I love you” with “forever.” You witness the first time they see each other – really see each other. You’re there the first time they say I love you.

And it’s all done in the most authentic fashion. Jenny is your genuine real-deal average girl. She isn’t holding onto some ridiculous label that seems to completely define her. She isn’t the drunk college girl, the I-need-to-marry-someone-rich gold-digger, the can’t-get-her-life-together-because-she-can’t-stop-partying mess or the perpetually-chasing-the-wrong-guy chick that we’ve all probably been at some point. Jenny is a girl who fell in love in her early 20’s and showed up every day to build a real relationship with a guy and then found that she still had to be there every day as it crumbled around her.

The bits of their relationship coming to an end is heart-breaking. I mean, truly gut-wrenching, tear-jerking and whatever other hyphenated verbs you can think of.

It’s all the stuff that is sometimes impossible to talk about – the screaming fights that isolate you from each other and from everyone else in your life. The arguments that make you wonder when this person that you love changed so much. The anxiety of feeling the swell of your lives well up around you, pulling you in different directions. The shock that comes with realizing that not even the sex is good anymore. It’s frenzied and desperate, trying to hold on to each other a little longer but when the release comes, it falls flat, leaving you empty when you used to be so full after. And empty is just so much worse than feeling bad. Empty is an abyss. A vacant lot that was once taken up with something that you can no longer name.

Which is why I’ve always hated the term “break up.” It does zero justice to the absolute mind and heart fuckery that you go through to finally get to this point of separation. First, you break each other, then you break yourselves. Breaking up is only the final stage – the cancer started way before that.

So, yeah. I don’t know how they do it so perfectly. How they captured each moment and suspended it, making you feel the pain of what is about to come. And boy, do you feel it deep. You feel Jenny’s desperation in trying to hold on, in trying to draw things out. You implode with her when he pulls away from her kiss. You can’t help but empathize fully when she’s sobbing uncontrollably. This journey is now complete; this chapter has closed. And it’s clear that Jenny being unprepared for it didn’t matter.

The movie discloses the ending of two other relationships. Blair and her boyfriend have a mutual, completely unemotional break-up that only gives them a tsunami of relief. Erin divulges to her newly-minted girlfriend about a relationship she was in that ended because her partner decided to just “go back to dudes.”

The movie is about a lot of things. It’s about love, loss, growth, friendships, courage, strength, partying, fear and choices. But ultimately, it’s about endings that flow very messily into new beginnings. That messiness is wonderful to see on screen because that’s how life is after all. Few of us experience clean breaks from out pasts.

Jenny spends her final week in NYC with her two best friends before heading to San Francisco alone to begin a new job. Erin navigates a fully-committed adult relationship for the first time in her life. Blair is now in a friends-with-benefit-situation and is loving it. We leave these characters in the middle of their lives, which is exactly how it should be.

Watch this with your girls, you’ll love it. Don’t watch this if you’re fresh out of a break-up, trust me on this. If your recently single friend is ignoring all warnings and watching this anyway, go to her house now with ice-cream or alcohol. Or both.

Image: genius.com

Posted in Anittha, Book Review

Book Review: A Wrinkle in Time

A Wrinkle in Time has been my absolute favourite book since I was 12. I consider myself to be one of its founding fan club members, despite having no freaking idea that the book was just the first part of a series of novels.

Here’s a tiny summary. I emphasize the word tiny. Mr. Murry (Meg’s father) disappears into nothing one day when toying with the idea of a tesseract. A tesseract is a way to “wrinkle” the space-time continuum and essentially move great distances (and I’m talking about the distances between whole galaxies here) in a few seconds. Three other-worldly beings come searching for Meg, Charles-Wallace, her brother, and their new friend, Calvin. Together, they move through the Black Thing (cosmic evil at its finest) and enter the planet of Camazotz where they search for Mr. Murry. But things do not go according to plan. Not even remotely.

And end summary!

Usually, books-turned-movies aren’t quite my cup of tea, but in this scenario, I have the movie version to thank for finally realizing that there were books and not book.

A Wrinkle in Time came to me in a box of multiple novels sent over by older cousins. It was the first book I pulled out and despite being dog-eared and scribbled on, it had me at the first page. It was the first time in my life that I realized that books could actually change you. That they were capable of instilling new beliefs, new perspectives, and new ideas.

The book was the first one I ever came across with a strong female lead. Meg Murry is presented as a headstrong child with a stubborn tendency to resist authority simply for the sake of it. The book was written in 1960 and in this particular decade, a female, especially a girl, resisting authority was as far from being celebrated as possible. Meg was portrayed as struggling with the space-traveling aspect more than her companions. But the important thing is this: she overcomes it. Added to this her somewhat unbecoming appearance, Meg Murry is a girl written for the all the girls in the world who had far more to offer than just their looks.

I loved her immediately. I still do, really. I love how protective she is, how she pushes on relentlessly. How she loves despite not understanding. And though I absolutely loathed the subjects, Meg was great at science and math. Meg is just more. And as the heroine, she needed to be more. She rose to the occasion of saving her father and then her little brother. She showed me that girls could be more than just their assigned roles. Truly revolutionary to a girl who was constantly described as “chubby”, “fat” and “plain.”

I consider the book to be more forward-thinking than those of the present because it shows how strong females come from strong females. This isn’t your typical story of just one strong woman thriving in a sea of penises. Nope. Exact opposite.

Mrs Murry is an experimental biologist (what in the fuck even is that) who works mainly from home while taking care of the kids and keeping house. She’s brilliant. In the wake of her husband’s disappearance and the ill-mannered gossiping of the townspeople, she keeps her head held high and continues teaching and most importantly, living, for her children. She didn’t disappear into an emotional abyss; she didn’t attach herself to a slew of men. Nope, this badass stayed present and functional for her kids. And yes, I know what you’re thinking, it’s just a book! But think about it. Really consider how ground-breaking such characters are in the 1960s!

The remaining three female characters are Mrs Whatsit, Mrs Who and Mrs Which. Three inter-dimensional beings who were once stars. Yeap, actual stars that exploded and now spread their light through the Universe in different ways. The choice of putting these beings in the form of women shows how capable women are and how resilient and wise we can be. It shows courage and love and nurturing and all these great female qualities that were also combined with characteristics viewed as traditionally male.

I’ve read A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle more times than I care to remember. I’ve read it as a child, a teenager, and an adult. And every time, I get something a little different from it. It’s a book that is worth getting your hands on and I promise you won’t be disappointed.

(Even if the movie was complete trash.)

Image: Amazon.com

Posted in Anittha, Thoughts&Revelations

Rock Bottom is Solid Foundation

Hi, my name is Anittha.

I am a writer, teacher, obsessive dog-mum, avid reader, Netflix binger, and ocean enthusiast.

Ocean enthusiast is just my really bratty way of saying that I love being in the water. Floating in it and staring up at the sky is the closest I have ever gotten to peace and tranquillity.

I am also a new entrant into the blogosphere.

In four months, I will be making my unapologetic goodbye to my twenties with my middle fingers raised in salute. My twenties were not kind to me or rather, I wasn’t taking care of myself during these exceedingly tumultuous years.

I had zero direction and somehow managed to stumble across every narcissist in a five-kilometre radius. I put everyone before me because their validation of me was more important than my own. I turned my back on my health and fitness and was fully dependant on others for my own happiness. I was truly lost. A Dora-the-Explorer-like map would not have led me to salvation because I didn’t even know I was lost. That’s what happens when you spend all your time convincing yourself that you’re okay when you’re really not.

But the heart is limited. It can only hold so much pain before it rebels against your choices and demands you take a closer look at your life. My heart staged this great rebellion a year ago. I call this rebellion Rock Bottom.

The beautiful thing about Rock Bottom is that its solid foundation. Nothing is as honest as Rock Bottom. I took a real look at my life. The kind of look that hurts your soul more than your eyes. I made a few changes.

The first one was to stop second-guessing myself about my writing. It wasn’t doing me any favours. The second one was to focus on my life only one day at a time. Tomorrow can wait till tomorrow. The third change was to reconnect and get to know me, regardless of where it will take me.

The third change is by far the most important to me. I’ve realized that the most important thing we can do for ourselves is to take time to really listen and love ourselves – and not just sexually (heh heh).

Allowing myself to say no to people without guilt, turning off my greedy phone and really figuring out what I need for my personal happiness has laid out a whole new possibility for me. For the first time, I can see a life for myself that will be filled primarily with things that add beauty and joy to my life.

But it’s not enough to see this every now and then or only when I’m in a good mood. No. I believe the trick is to show up fully in our individual lives every day. As our own cheerleader. Pom-poms in the air. Cute little uniform. Perfectly executed cartwheels.

Like Renuka, I have a bunch of things in mind that I will like to accomplish this year. But one stands out among the rest and it’s something that I’ve always wanted to do but kept putting off to some unforeseeable future date.

But I’m entering a new chapter in life where I want to attack life. In a loving way. Perhaps attack is the wrong word but I’m sure you get my point.

I want to run a full marathon. For me, doing it will be the biggest challenge I’ve set myself so far. Running 42.195-kilometres may be just another Tuesday to some but for me, it’s a testament to how much I would have grown. Preparing for something like this requires a strict training schedule, eating the right foods, stretching and getting enough rest. It means saying no more than yes to alcohol. It means saying no to hanging out late at night with my friends. It means fuelling my body properly. It means discipline. It means saying yes to myself and my goals again and again and again.

I’m determined to put myself first in my thirties. To allow myself the freedom and the joy of caring for my soul the way I care for the people I love. Crossing that finish line at the Standard Chartered Marathon in December will mean a whole year of making me happy first. An unprecedented move in my life.

I’ll give you guys updates along the way. Things I’ve learned, how my progress is going. Stuff like that. I figure since I’m going to accomplish something that’s so huge for me, I may as well have things to look back on when I cross that finish line. After all, as it’s plastered all over the Internet, the journey is far more important than the destination.

So, welcome to our blog and to our version of 2019. We love that you’re here and we hope that you check back in with us.

XOXO
Gossip Girl
Anittha

Image: _Mxsh_ on Unsplash.com

Posted in Joint Post, Self-Love

The Virgin Post

Hello there.

WELCOME TO BROWNGIRLSBYTE!

No, this isn’t a food blog, despite the dropdown menus and various food references. We just like food, alliteration and bad puns.

Regardless of how you got here (willfully, got forced into looking up our site by one of us or because you misspelled your favourite porn site) we are very glad to have you.

Our names are Renuka and Anittha. We’ve known each other a long time and hated each other for a tiny insignificant portion of that time. (Anittha is cackling at this; we may be banned from this coffee bean soon).

We are turning 30 in a tiny insignificant portion of time, and THE FEAR IS REAL – not because we don’t want to get older but because by many standards, our lives are not where they are supposed to be for 30-year-old brown girls – i.e. married, dealing with beautiful children and exasperating in-laws.

So, we’re going to set our own standards. This decade feels like it should be about what we truly resonate with. We expect there to be some changes, growth and a lot of discomfort as comfort zones are forced open. Luckily (we think so, anyway) you get to read all about it!

SCHEDULE

There will be one new post every Sunday from one of us. Renuka will start the ball rolling. Every few posts, the two of us will join forces and discuss something that we both want to talk about or care enough about. This could pertain to politics, travel or something we see that annoys, confuses or sparks joy in us.  Joint posts could also be about things we try together (i.e. sharing our hobbies). So, keep an eye out for Anittha setting her kitchen on fire and Renuka passing out from Insanity – the workout, that is.

EXPECTATIONS (OURS AND MAYBE YOURS AS WELL)

Essentially, the two of us have plenty of ideas, thoughts and feelings, just like you. And we want a space where we could talk them through, reason with them, explore them and share them with you.

We’ve made a pact this year. We’re determined to love ourselves completely. To love ourselves especially when the world demands otherwise. We’re thinking, doing and believing only in those things that honor the best in us. We invite you to do the same.

So, yeap. Instead of entering the next decade of our existence feeling powerless, we want to be fearless and shameless in pursuit of our dreams!

Side note, we only anticipate one reader, at best. So, this is going to be a 3-way conversation. Welcome. Have a seat at the table.

*pulls out chair and looks at you the way Gollum looked at the One Ring*

Image: Gaelle Marcel on Unsplash.com