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And now we come to…the end of an era

Today, oddly enough was supposed to be the pay off FINALLY for a number of posts about relationships that I thought might be better than all my previous ruthless on relationships post. And indeed I’ll get to that later.

 

Instead,

Today is a day I bring us to a place I knew could happen, but was happy every time it didn’t. Today we end the hour for the last time. What do I mean? Today is the beginning of a goodbye party. For this blog. Oh it will continue to exist, but a transition is afoot. And so with all transitions, some things remain the same, while other change or are left behind.

If you would have told me 3 years ago as I was studying for the bar that we would be here I would be shocked. But if you would have told me that we would get here after 450 thousand views I’d also be shocked so much attention happened. Words Don’t Do It Justice started as an idea, a bit of fun, and a lot of me. I have buried hatchets with enemies because of this blog, reconnected with old friends, and made new ones because of this blog, found meaning in the midst of my own personal depression because of this place. I have consumed it, and let it consume me. I love it. But loving this blog means knowing what to do. And taking a good long look I know the thing to do is let it go.

But I said this was transition not destruction.

And indeed it is. I’ll be taking Words Don’t Do It Justice away from our blogging past into a show based future. For me, the question was one of logistics. Was it better to end everything and walk away from these years of effort, or find a way to keep the place alive in the hearts of all of you who have supported us? I choose to believe that you will keep supporting us, and I chose to keep this place alive in a new way.

That means giving you what we planned. Give No Quarter, The Wrath of Ruthless, and Words Don’t Do It Justice are the three pillars of Ruthless Radio. 3 shows with different formats that bring you many of the topics you might see written about here, but in a new form and with some new and old faces/voices. Over the next few weeks as we ready to for the relaunch of Words Don’t Do It Justice as a podcast, you’ll get to read some farewells from various alums, and hear from the incoming folks for these shows. You’ll also see the Words Don’t Do It Justice site itself undergo various changes. With plenty of hard work, luck, and you listening in, I hope to earn your trust for these new shows, and continue to hold our interest.

SO! What about Weekend’s Don’t Do It Justice?

Well I’m happy to say our little casual interest site is growing well. And it is going to continue. We had a nice response to the sample chapter from Project 13, and now that game of thrones is done you’ll see a lot of other reviews, news, and related content there. Our gamers are doing their thing, and if Vantinel’s CEO appearance is any indication of commitment, we will only continue to grow over there.

As I end for now I just want to say thank you, and of course to keep watching what we do. But more than that, thank you for being a force for us. We continued to push because you were there with us. 100,000 visitors, 450,000 views, and 3 years of growth, While things must change, I am glad to have made it to this point. A point that let’s me look back and say that YOU made us more than I imagined. And though Words Don’t Do It Justice…Thank you.

 

“THE Ruthless Wonder” Matthew Elisha Williams

Founder of Words Don’t Do It Justice

Story Time: Hood Mentality

It’s been a long time since I lived in the hood. Even when I lived in the hood, it wasn’t theG.Ma's House kind of hood that I had to look around and feel some kind of way about. I lived in an area of Brooklyn with mostly Caribbean home owners. They took pride in what was theirs; swept the sidewalks in front of their stoops, picked up litter and trash, made sure the block was clean after the garbage truck passed. The area I went to school in on the other hand was a different story. The common theme–the mentality–was “no one cares.” It’s the hood. It’s supposed to be dirty. People occasionally complained about how infrequently the garbage was collected or how the so-called street sweepers only wished the dirt around, but they never seemed to care enough to not drop trash on the ground in the first place.

I wish this was going to be one of those simple pieces where I point my finger at an issue, give a brief history lesson, and provide a clean solution. Unfortunately, this is one of those times where the issue goes so much deeper than simply “clean it up.” There’s something about the hood mentality that makes everything about being from the hood the kind of struggle that even hood people don’t really understand. It’s goes Aristotle and Kant deep. It’s knowing that the hood is set up to keep people down, thinking you’re beating the system because you’re “living well” in the hood, then seeing how people live outside the hood and having one of those #awkwardmomentwhen. It’s trying to describe how deep it is only to find that Words Don’t Do It Justice. Let’s see if I can put this into perspective.

ChevronI stopped for gas at a Chevron the other night. I knew I was in the hood, and as such I was appropriately cautious and carefully observed my surroundings. I was with friends, one of whom is an equally–if not more so–hood smart young man. He pumped the gas, I surveilled. There was a woman begging at the door to the convenience store and one or two other gas station patrons. What was I most bothered by? That all but 2 pumps were fully functional. It’s the hood. There are supposed to be poor people, drug addicts, and cantankerous arguing patrons. What I don’t accept is that a multi million dollar corporation would allow it’s gas pumps to remain in disrepair or be left empty for more than a few hours. East Point, GA is no less worthy of services than Buckhead. Corporations shouldn’t be allowed to treat their patrons differently just because of a zip code. I’ll go deeper.

When I mentioned that I was irritated, my friend assumed that it was because of the Homeless at Chevronbeggar by the door asking him for change repeatedly. I don’t think I explained then, but I’m not generally bothered by people begging. A closed mouth won’t get fed, whether what the body needs is a meal, a roof, or their favorite chemical alterant. I’d rather her be begging than out stealing or hurting herself for what she needs. I don’t know what circumstances lead her–or any other person–to that position, but it probably wasn’t part of their life’s plan. I have a hard time believing that anyone grows up striving to be homeless, a drug addict, or mentally ill. It happens, but I highly doubt that it was planned. I also wasn’t bothered by being in the hood. I come from a hood that probably isn’t very different from the hoods of Georgia, or any other hood for that matter. When I did explain that I was upset about the state of the gas station, his first reaction was to remind me that the hood mentality dictates that the people who live there don’t consider themselves to be worthy of “nice things.”

So here’s the thing: it’s hard to believe that you’re deserving of things like a fully functioning gas station when everything in the social construct tells you that because you didn’t get the good job you were told you’d get after college or after serving in whichever branch of the Armed Forces… because the job you did get barely pays enough to keep a roof over your head which also means your income is low and thus a you’re in a low tax bracket. Less tax contribution–by means of property taxes, not income–means less service (i.e. road maintenance, garbage collection, public school funding, etc.) The lesser services means the hood children don’t have access to the same standard of education that other children in more affluent neighborhoods do; larger class sizes taught by underpaid, stressed out, inattentive teachers… and even if the children get into college, the cycle often continues. But wait! There’s more. What happens to the kids who don’t make it into college? What happens to a child who has one or two working parents who are too busy trying to make ends meet and keep the utilities on? What happens to the kids who basically have to raise themselves because the adults in their lives are absent? What happens to the kid who only gets attention when they act out? What happens to the kid who gets convinced that his life isn’t valuable? What happens?

No one cares.

Do More. Require Better.

Story Time: Reign Writes – Me As A Writer

ShadowShadow Bolt Reigns, my adventurous puppy, gives me something other than myself to focus on. He forces me out of my head and away from the things that keep me mired in negativity. He nudges whatever he can reach, jumps onto my lap, tap dances on my back or chest (ouch!), and licks my face until I get up to fill whichever need he has, which sometimes is just a few moments of attention. Even now as I write this piece, it’s as if he’s thinking “She writes, therefore I must nudge.” All he’s doing is what comes to him naturally. He’s probably just being completely self-centered without a single thought of my actual feelings or my needs, but he has saved my life and my psyche at least once a week ever since the day he showed up in my life. He’s the  reason I’m still here to talk to you. He keeps me Doing More because he Requires my best.

On any given day, I have at least 5 pieces in progress. I start writing, I lose my thought, I go off on tangents, and end up either deleting whole chunks of text or copying and pasting into new pieces to be worked on when my mind finds its way back to a steady train of thought. This is my version of writer’s block. I have so much to say about so many things; police abuse of power, the attack in Pakistan, the attacks everywhere, being Black in a world that seems to hate Black people, depression, my depression, my family, my friends, the media, the election, the American people, lies and liars, my desperate wish that superheroes were real… so much and so many things I want to talk about, and I can’t Do any of It Justice because the Words are all there at the same time.

Right now, I’m mostly bothered by the way circumstances have changed me. I never wanted to see things through colored lenses. In spite of the kids making fun of my dark skin, the little white boys in Virginia who called me a nigger, the kids in Costa Rica calling me “elote negra” which I didn’t actually understand at the time, but I knew it wasn’t meant as a compliment… the scary big girl in my first predominantly black school saying that I wasn’t special; that I was “just anotha nigga like the rest of us” I’ve always wanted to believe in the bigger picture. You know, the one that sees that the reason the system is set up this way is because it works better for the top 10% if the rest of us are busy fighting and disagreeing with each other, we aren’t paying attention to them screwing us over with crappy wages, the ever-increasing cost of living, and the never-ending list of drugs and products meant to mask the symptoms of the very curable diseases they infected us with.

I just heard a great line–one of many–on Jerry McGuire:

First class is what’s wrong buddy. It used to mean a better meal, now it means a better life.

Have you seen that commercial with Jennifer Aniston?

For me, its a picture of everything that’s wrong with the world. This rich white lady’s Greedy whonightmare is flying on a plane that doesn’t have a shower or bar, while the rest of us are worrying about jobs that we might lose if we take a vacation, and that’s if the job pays enough to afford more than a staycation. I’ve never been a fan of Jennifer Aniston, and this ad, while it might be just another job for her, does nothing to sway my favor. The disconnect between the rich and the poor is beyond vast, and so much deeper than skin… but the tools of division are strong; too strong to ignore. So now I see things through my brown eyes. I experience the world through my skin, through my gender, through my heterosexual privilege. I see the biases. I see the isms. I see the media ignoring dead Pakistanis. I see a reality TV star using the fear and insecurities of ignorant Americans to ensure viewership for his next show. I see it all, and am overwhelmed by the sheer magnitude of how well it is working.

I want to talk about it all, but I can barely focus on just one thing because it’s all connected. I feel like I’m not doing the other issues justice by not addressing all of them. It’s like I’m betraying my on mantra by only taking one issue at a time. I want to Do More and Require Better of my writing, and myself, because limiting myself to a world painted various shades of brown and white isn’t enough… and I’m still tired of the black perspective. The world is a big colorful place, and there’s a lot more wrong with it than race relations. I just wish I could Say more too.

Do More. Require Better. It’s not just about you. It’s about me and everything I do here too.

Story Time: Handling Depression, A Personal Note

Some of the first movies I remember watching as a child were Lord of the Flies, The Power of One, Sarafina… and my least favorite of all, Roots. Add to that the Women of Brewster place and The Color Purple, and you might think you have an idea about the direction I’m going with this, but I assure you, you’re probably way off. I’ve been programmed, and for the most part, the programming has worked. I believe in fighting for the greater good and doing for others for the sole purpose of doing the right thing. Unfortunately, my programming has come at a great price; all I can ever see are battles that need fighting, suffering, pain, strife, and all the unpleasantness that this world has to offer. My programming set the framework for depression. In spite of my beliefs and unimaginable capacity for caring, hope, and faith that things can get better, I just don’t actually see it. For me, the world is a sad, scary, painful place to be. In short: I have an uncharacteristically negative outlook for someone who believes so much in the greater good.

Wanna know something you probably won’t believe? When I lived alone, I only watched the evening news on Mondays so I could see the 5-day forecast. Otherwise, it was either entertainment or studying… whichever project would fill my time, build my skills, and lift my spirits. The thought was: There’s only ever bad news.

The day I started writing this–November 21st, 2014–I snapped at my mother. I knew I hurt her, but I just couldn’t let her say anything else. I was just so far from being in a frame of mind where I could parse or compartmentalize information. See, she was about to tell me about yet another serial killer; one more piece of bad news to take root in my mind and add to the already fertile breeding ground for more sadness. I was beyond tired of it, and I really couldn’t take much more. My depression had me in a choke hold. It was as if my mental garden had been overrun with negativity plants choking out the positive ones. All of the nutrients and fuel that could have been used to fertilize whichever remaining positive fruit-bearing plants was going to the negative ones. I’m stuck in a battle with myself; between my true nature, and the nature of my mind.

The worst part of this is that I’m not the only one who has these kinds of thoughts and feelings. While some people might think “at least you aren’t alone.” I wish I was. I wish I was the only one on the planet feeling this way because it would at least mean that other people were happy… or at least not the kind of unhappy that I am. It would mean that there would be one less battle that needed fighting, one fewer group of people that needed defending… one less thing for me to watch other people suffer through. I think that last part is the had part for everyone to deal with.

In the last year and change, I’ve acknowledged my depression publicly and taken steps toward mental health. This process has required discussions with people who have been supportive and understanding, and many more who in fairness might have thought they were being helpful, but in fact were really not.  They did the silver lining thing…

The Power of Empathy! Everyone should watch this and take note 🙂 It’s not so much about sympathizing with people and making them feel better with things or with stories to please their ego. It’s about getting to the core of things with people. Connecting with them, feeling what they are feeling, relating to them and bringing no judgement into the situation at all. Next time you are the ear that listens, provide words that don’t fulfill an ego/mind story and see how much of a difference it makes for the other person. 🙂

Posted by Collective Evolution on Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Something I found to be particularly difficult on my worst days: I couldn’t think of my having survived another day as a good thing. So when she said “Everyone doesn’t have it easy… At least you aren’t homeless or sick” I couldn’t help but wish for sickness to suddenly take over my body and take me off this plane, hopefully in such a way that my family could profit from my demise. In the middle of a conversation I was fantasizing about my own death. The possibility of dying gave me hope. I highly doubt this was anyone who was there for that conversation’s intent, but it became the reason I wouldn’t give up… because giving up would mean not being put in any situations to get a gainful kind of sick or have any unfortunate accidents that would allow my death to accomplish what I couldn’t in life. Because: silver lining.

So what’s this really all about? Its about understanding that depression is a lot of things with a lot of causes and can’t necessarily be Anxiety Realitysolved with a positive thought and a hug. If you’re in a position to help someone who is depressed, the best thing you can do is listen and acknowledge their struggle. Especially if you have experience with depression in your own life, your success story might help, but it might also not. Your frustration with not being able to “fix” your friend pales in comparison to how the  depression is making them feel. If a depressed person trusts you with their struggle, their feelings, their anxiety, their fears, their willingness to end it all, then you have been trusted with that person’s life and how you treat them and everything they have trusted you with is a responsibility that shouldn’t be taken lightly. You’ve been given a great power, and thus a great responsibility. If you aren’t up to the task, then be honest: say that you don’t know what to say, that you wish there was something you could do to help…. say nothing at all and just be there.  You never really know how deep in the darkness a person is, or what that person would be willing to do to solve the problem for themselves. Acknowledge and validate their feelings. Even if it doesn’t make sense to you, the feelings are real to them. They don’t need another voice echoing the insecurities already ricocheting off the walls of their mind. I know I’ve never forgotten the hurtful things that were said to me, and I’ve struggled to let go of the hurtful things I imagined. Depression makes reality hard to deal with.

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Do More. Require Better.

Story Time: Reign meets WDDIJ

Bloody JusticeIt feels like a life time has passed, but it’s only been 2 years. Geek Illuminati was barely 2 months old and I was just discovering my social media voice. I had just participated in my first pod cast, and I have to admit I was feeling pretty damned pumped about it… but I wasn’t ready to take a full step out of my shell. Not long after, there it was: the post that would invariably change my life forever. The Ruthless Wonder posted an open invitation to join him here at WDDIJ. It took e about a week to muster up the courage. “Is it too late to join? I mean, are you still looking for writers?” I don’t remember what he said, but he sent me to check out the site and read up on some of the content before giving me any information. I clicked through the side links, the Glossary, the Justice League… and then I read Ruthless Grab Bag: Open Letters and Women. Part one and just knew that I needed to add my perspective to what seemed like a gathering of sad bitter men… Little did I know that I needed them much more. WDDIJ, our readers, the writers, our pod cast guests and regulars have all contributed to making Reign the real me, and who I used to think I was the alter ego.

the R Revolution's ReignThank you WDDIJ for letting my Words Do some Justice. To The Ruthless Wonder, The Boss, The Partner, The Man who stared it all; thanks for giving me, well, Us, a place to vent. And of course I have to thank you, our readers for sticking with us for all these years. If not for you, we’d basically just be talking to ourselves, and as engaging a that might be, its better when you come around. You got us to 90,000 visitors and 300,000 views, and then you told some friends and took us over that milestone, and we look forward to meeting you in The Justice League where we always
Do More & Require Better.

Peace & Blessings.
Namaste.

And now… at the end of the hour

cropped-wordsdontdoit2-1.jpg

This week we debuted a brand new podcast with a livestream. We said goodbye to one of the founders. We tackled coons, and hoteps. As well as assault, and the HIV & AIDS treatment drug Truvada.

 

 

I skipped a couple lines to let that sink in.

When this started I literally just wanted to take my usual facebook ranting to a website. I figured it would be like the old days of my Xanga page. Now, now I deal with potential sponsors, have production meetings, worry about our average listening and reading time, and look for brand expansion.

I remind you, I was so bored in the last semester of law school I decided to make a blog to archive the things I would normally rant about on Facebook.

 

So you can understand that having gone from that place to now is rather…amazing if I’m honest. I had no idea. We’ve added and lost people over that time. But more than their contributions or mine, we’ve gotten to know a lot of you. As of this writing, 92,000 of you have come to get to know us over these 3 years of Words Don’t Do It Justice. And you must like it here, because you’ve dropped in 302,000 times.

300000

That is astounding. That is epic. And to think that it has all come before we put up a single ad, before we shilled a single product, without a marketing team, and mostly from the effort of our authors, and their friends and family who have additionally believed in us and shared us with other people.  I can’t tell you enough thank you for all you’ve done and continue to do. It really has made the difference.

What that means is even what I’ve done in the past year isn’t enough. I have to do more. And I am. While we lost a podcast co-host today, I’m proud to say we gained 2 new ones for our show Give No Quarter. While we have Reason on break for a while, I’m happy to say we will be launching Weekends Don’t Do It Justice as its own site (www.wkndlife.com www.weekendsdontdoitjustice.net www.weekendsdontdoitjustice.com). Look for a review of a hilariously bad movie coming over there soon from me.

Heck, go buy a shirt, phone case, hoodie or tank. https://www.teepublic.com/user/314publishing

Check out our current Shirt and cases designs. Buy one now while you wait for more. Click the photo to go straight to the store!

Check out our current Shirt and cases designs. Buy one now while you wait for more.
Click the photo to go straight to the store!

 

I’m also happy to say that I’m teaming with Mr. 9 to 5 gamer himself Bami O to open a new gaming site and channel called “Save State Society” (www.savestatesociety.com www.savestatesociety.net) here soon as well. And we’re open with some great games and reviews. But that is going to take a lot to talk about, and I’ve got work to do there.

You’re here reading because this is about Words Don’t Do it Justice. The granddaddy of them all. Okay, the origin of them all. Three years in, and even though health wise I’ve dealt with issues. Professional life wise, I’ve had great forward steps but also set backs. Heck life in general being strange. After all that I’m proud of where we are. Where you’ve brought us. And so for the third time we come to the end of the hour. Where I say thank you without any reservations. Where for the third time ever, I get to step out of my role as Head Blogger, Editor, Podcast host, Lucremo, THE Ruthless Wonder, and everything that comes with it, and instead just talk to you as Matt Williams. We have a few reflection pieces and some alumni coming back to give us a piece. And we are going to celebrate all the way to my personal birthday on March 14th. But right now I’m just going to end by saying thank you all for bringing me and us from where we were to where we are and pushing us forward to where we are going next. As always Words Don’t Do YOU Justice.

“THE Ruthless Wonder” Matthew Elisha Williams

Decorum Deficiency Disorder: Surviving Blackness

I remember when I was doing this recording, my original intent was to just talk about black as a color. I6837880-night-sky-wallpaper was going to discuss the greatness of black as a color, and how human perception turned blackness into an indication of evil and negativity. I started out the way I intended, but in true Reign fashion, I got distracted by my thoughts, my experiences, my reality. Now, I have to interject a disclaimer of sorts. I said some things about rape potentially suggesting that a victim’s life is less worthy of living. In context, I made that statement explaining another perspective (avoiding further spoilers). In no way do I believe that being a victim diminishes the value of a person’s life. However, I do believe that having been victimized might cause A victim to feel like death would have been a better end than having to live; to survive and try to figure out how to move forward after being victimized. End disclaimer.

On a separate note, it is no coincidence that I held this piece for this week. Its February: Black history month. What better time is there to talk about my history as a Black woman, my stories, my life. I should note that Black History is American history, and should be discussed all year round… but I will be discussing Blackness for the rest of this month. That said…

Surviving BlacknessThere’s something about being Black that I think I’ve always been conscious of, whether I was willing to call myself “black” notwithstanding, I still knew I was a not-white, or dark person. I don’t remember any specific experience or happenstance that said “Yes Reign, you’re Black.” There were several occasions that told me that there was something about me that was undesirable, unworthy, unattractive, unwanted, but not necessarily that my being black was a problem. That realization came much later.When people claim to not “see color,” while I understand that it might be an attempt at suggesting that they only see my humanity, it is also an assertion that they don’t acknowledge how the color of my skin affects my experience as a human.

 

Which brings us to the actual primary subject of this piece: how being black affects my puppy–of now 4 months–Shadow.

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So yeah, the narrative is still there, the reality is still harsh, I still don’t like it… and we still have to Do More and Require Better.