Sunday, February 5, 2017

Super Sunday by Christa Tomlinson

I skipped my friend’s Super Bowl party this year. You want to know why? Well, there are two reasons. First, this year it was moved to a different location in the Heights. That made it an instant no for me. There was no way I was getting on the highway to drive anywhere near the city of Houston where the Super Bowl is being hosted this year. No, thank you. I have enough anxiety driving inside the loop without the added traffic of a major sporting event. 

The second reason, is that the social climate is just too doggone tense right now. I’ll be honest, with the exception of the Super Bowl, I don’t watch football anymore. But I follow along enough to know what the hot button issues are. Last year it was the criticism of Cam Newton doing the dab to celebrate on the field. 

Most black people I saw talking about it didn’t have a problem with it. On the other hand, not all, but lots of white people did. Newton was boastful, unsportsmanlike, blah-blah-blah. Never mind the fact that Aaron Rogers does the championship title taunt – aka the discount double check, dozens of other guys currently and in the past jump into stands after a touchdown, and that celebrating in the end zone is just in good fun. The players aren’t robots after all. 

 I didn’t have a dog in last year’s fight, but since I saw Newton getting so much heat, I decided to wear Carolina colors to the party. I walked into my friend’s house, the only African American there, and the only one in teal, black and silver. Everyone who was in team colors and not just regular clothes was in Denver blue and orange. And there were comments just shy of unpleasant. Nothing to outright offend, but enough to raise suspicion that if I wasn’t there, they might have been a little uglier. Then BeyoncĂ© took the stage. 

The sound was awful, so I could barely hear what she was singing, but as always, her dancing and overall performance was amazing. I loved it. Or, I wanted to love it. I was too tense to really enjoy it because the mood in the room shifted. There were a few I don’t like this kind of music comments. And after 37 years as an African American, I know how to translate that. And then of course when the performance was over, the country exploded with BeyoncĂ© hate, and misrepresentation of the Black Panther party. 

This year I can only assume the party would have been worse, at least for me, and others who share my views and experiences. I’ve seen the picture of Tom Brady with his MAGA hat sitting in his locker. I’ve read his comment about not paying attention to what’s going on in the world because he’s just such a positive person. Must be nice to be able to ignore the world’s problems so easily. I also saw Trump’s tweet to John Lewis the Civil Rights activist and US Representative from Georgia. As an added bonus, Lady Gaga, whose songs show her solidarity for LGBT citizens, was the half time act.

I’m no good at math, but I can put two and two together and guess what the atmosphere at the party might have been like. That doesn’t sound in any way fun for me. In today’s political and social climate, it’s already hard enough staying creatively charged in order to do my job, which is to write romance. That made it a hard no on going to a party and spending three hours with tight shoulders hoping no one made a comment that got my face hot.

We’ve had a rough few months in this country. And right now, a lot of us are walking a fine line between staying informed and wanting to help, and trying not to be overwhelmed with the stress and fear of it all. Everything is tense. And it’s making all of us tense. With that in mind, it is important that we remember we have to look out for ourselves. For me, that meant skipping a football party. For many people, it might mean spending a little less time on social media so we don’t feel like the world is sucking us beneath the undertow. Or worse, getting burned out and losing interest in being politically and socially active. 

Do what you have to do to recharge your emotional and physical batteries. Eat chocolate. Have a glass of wine. Play with your doggos, kittens or babies. Or go crazy and play with all three. And of course, you can always read a good book. Books are so important right now. They, and other creative entertainments, are an escape for artists and consumers. Tonight, I’ll be settling down with Sam B. Morgan’s new release, Love By Design. I’ll let you know how it turns out, but I suspect it will have a happily ever after. ;-) And a little happy is just what I need right now. 

Thanks for reading!

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