Everything's Trash, But It's Okay

Everything's Trash, But It's Okay

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Overview

New York Times bestselling author and star of 2 Dope Queens Phoebe Robinson is back with a new, hilarious, and timely essay collection on gender, race, dating, and the dumpster fire that is our world.

Wouldn't it be great if life came with instructions? Of course, but like access to Michael B. Jordan's house, none of us are getting any. Thankfully, Phoebe Robinson is ready to share everything she has experienced to prove that if you can laugh at her topsy-turvy life, you can laugh at your own.

Written in her trademark unfiltered and witty style, Robinson's latest collection is a call to arms. Outfitted with on-point pop culture references, these essays tackle a wide range of topics: giving feminism a tough-love talk on intersectionality, telling society's beauty standards to kick rocks, and calling foul on our culture's obsession with work. Robinson also gets personal, exploring money problems she's hidden from her parents, how dating is mainly a warmed-over bowl of hot mess, and definitely most important, meeting Bono not once, but twice. She's struggled with being a woman with a political mind and a woman with an ever-changing jeans size. She knows about trash because she sees it every day—and because she's seen roughly one hundred thousand hours of reality TV and zero hours of Schindler's List.

With the intimate voice of a new best friend, Everything's Trash, But It's Okay is a candid perspective for a generation that has had the rug pulled out from under it too many times to count.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780525534167
Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date: 10/15/2019
Pages: 336
Sales rank: 122,620
Product dimensions: 5.40(w) x 8.20(h) x 0.80(d)

About the Author

Phoebe Robinson is a multi-talented stand-up comedian, New York Times best-selling writer, and actress. She is best known as the co-creator and co-star of the hit podcast turned TV show 2 Dope Queens, which aired eight hour-long specials on HBO in February 2018 & 2019. On her second WNYC Studios podcast, the critically-acclaimed talk show Sooo Many White Guys, Phoebe interviews today’s biggest stars and ground breakers such as Tom Hanks, Issa Rae, Abbi Jacobson, and many more. Phoebe is also making her presence known in publishing as she is the author of The New York Times best seller You Can’t Touch My Hair & Other Things I Still Have To Explain, a collection of essays about race, gender and pop culture. Phoebe made her feature film debut as one of the stars of the Netflix comedy Ibiza and followed that up by acting alongside Taraji P. Henson in the Paramount film What Men Want. She was also a staff writer on MTV’s hit talking head show, Girl Code and IFC’s Portlandia, as well as was a consultant on season three of Broad City.

Read an Excerpt

Introduction

In summary: The world is currently one big “Previously on Homeland” recap that plays on repeat. Nothing but a bunch of dumpster fires and Claire Danes ugly‑cries.

Despite a few glorious things—Beyoncé’s historic Coachella performance and Solange’s A Seat at the Table, Pamplemousse LaCroix, sitting in the window seat on a flight with an empty middle seat next to you—the world is en fuego, boo‑boos (and has been for a while, to be honest), and I have the receipts to prove it. I mean, Brexit happened. And some of the people who voted for it were like, “Oops, J/K,” and the Legal System responded, “Lol. Wut? This is literally how voting works. The thing with the most votes wins. I don’t have time for your #Jokes‑NotJokesButForRealWeHighKeyJokesLife, so please pack your bags.” Then there was the De‑Peening of 2017 aka very powerful men such as award‑winning actor Kevin Spacey, legendary journalist Charlie Rose, comedian/auteur Louis C.K. watching their lives and careers implode following the uncovering of their sometimes decades‑long sexual‑deviant behavior, which ranged from harassment to sexual assault. And let’s not forget the murder of Harambe, the gorilla, at the Cincinnati Zoo; Apple removing the headphone jack from their iPhones because this company is hell‑bent on being the Nurse Ratched of our time; or the first black bachelorette, Rachel Lindsay, incorrectly choosing Bryan over Peter, thus denying the world some cocoa, gap‑teefed babies. Oh! And remember a few years ago when a dude in the US legit had Ebola and went bowling and ate chicken wings with friends instead of quarantining himself because #WhiteNonsense? Say it with me: Dumpster. Fire. But far and away, the most telling sign that the world is in dire straits is the fact that in the past few years, the universe started killing off everyone who mattered in my childhood.

There was Carrie Fisher (White Jesus, why?), Prince (Black Jesus, why?), George Michael (Levi Jeans Jesus, I can’t), and David Bowie (Alien Jesus aka the feathers from Björk’s swan dress at the 2001 Oscar ceremony, squawk, blergh, blop—because y’all know Björk and anything in Björk’s universe only communicates through sound). Oof. I don’t know about you, but I was overcome with emotion at seeing so many pop culture icons pass. Utterly devastated. Heartbroken and beside myself. So I mourned like we all did. Appropriately. Okay, I didn’t, but I tried. Well, I tried the way I do when the heater in my apartment is too high and instead of getting up to adjust the thermostat, I say to no one, “It’s too hot,” and then unzip my onesie down to my hips so that I end up looking like a caterpillar taking a cigarette break mid‑metamorph‑morph aka metamorphosis. #IgnorantAbbrev #SorryForWastingYourTime. Anyhoo, I did not try very hard not to be utterly inappropriate mere days after Bowie’s death.

When he passed, I fell down the usual internet rabbit hole many of us are wont to do when someone famous dies. I read think pieces, bought any albums I didn’t already own, watched old performances on YouTube. After about forty‑eight hours of this, I became an unofficial truther of Bowie’s personal life, hoping that in my quest to unearth all the last unknown details about him, this busywork would distract me from the reality that we’re all going to die. And since this mission was rooted in earnest and profound love for the dead, I felt like Doogie Howser at the end of Doogie Howser, M.D., just writing smart bon mots about what I’d learned. But I wasn’t. My good intentions were quickly replaced by my just‑below‑the‑surface hot‑mess tendencies.
About three days after Bowie died and amid a particularly wide‑eyed‑and‑awake‑at‑four‑in‑the‑morning internet hunt, I typed this into Google:

Did David Bowie have a big penis?

I know, I know, I know! And it’s not like I pulled up Googs’s “incognito window,” which wouldn’t have recorded this question in my browser’s history. I typed this question in the broad‑as‑the‑Alaskan‑daylight‑during‑midnight‑sun season aka Google’s regular search window, where anyone could track what I’d done. To which, Google basically responded à la Danny Glover from the Lethal Weapon franchise, “I’m too old for this shit,” and then set about unsuccessfully trying to save me from my trifling ways. I started with “Did David Bowie,” and before I could continue, Google countered with this auto‑ complete:

Did David Bowie wrote “My Way”

What in the hell kind of poor‑grammar‑of‑a‑troubled‑youth‑from‑Dangerous-Minds voodoo is this? Can’t lie, I admire the tactic, but this search engine knew not who they were messing with. In my twenties, I once had a girls’ sleepover and made us watch Showgirls. Then we went to bed, and when we woke up, I convinced them to watch Showgirls again. Clearly, my ignorance is only matched by my determination. Googs sounding like the “Cash Me Outside, How ‘Bout Dat” girl was cute, but no way was that stopping me.

So next Google tried to attract me with honey:

Did David Bowie Have Pets

Suggesting there might be pictures of pets at the end of this search is the visual equivalent of a coworker telling you there are cookies in the break room. I’m intrigued, but I’m a grown‑ass woman and can literally get cookies any time I want. Plus, I have an “in case of emergency” photo album on my phone called “Chocolate Puggle Puppies.” I’m good, Google.

Starting to feel defeated and tired, Googs began throwing haymakers, but it didn’t have the strength, and as soon as I typed “a,” I was met with this:

Did David Bowie Have Any Siblings

Lmao.com/WhenSearchEnginesGiveUpAndStartSoundingLikeAOneNightStandStrugglingToMakeConversationOverBreakfast.

And then when I hit the space bar after the letter “a” and typed “big,” Google knew it couldn’t save me from myself, probably did the sign of the cross, and mumbled under its breath, “Maya Angelou, I know you didn’t work this hard so Phoebe could do this bullshit, yet here we are.” I typed “penis.” And pressed enter.

Yes. This. Is. Trash. And. I. Am. Not. Proud. But like I stated earlier, I’m a truther, and somewhere along the way of reading copious amounts of articles and learning the basic deets—why his eyes were two different colors (they weren’t; they were both blue—it’s just that one had a permanently dilated pupil after he got in a fight with a good friend whose fingernail sliced into his eye), the name of his first band (the Konrads), and checking out his and Freddie Mercury’s isolated vocals on “Under Pressure” (if you haven’t, please listen ASAP)—I stumbled across an old interview with one of his exes, who “casually” mentioned that Bowie was packing down below.

Three things:

1. LOL for the rest of my life over his ex “happening” to provide a State of the Naysh about his peen. It is wack to kiss and tell about someone, especially if the person in question has moved on (Bowie married the love of his life, Iman), but more importantly, peen size never casually comes up in conversation. It’s not like some dude is chilling at a house party, shooting the breeze about the latest home renovation he’s working on, and goes, “Speaking of wood, the other day, I chubbed twice and measured once and whaddya know? I have a big dick.” Real talk, discussing peen size in the press is an IHOP (Intentional Hijack Of convo vis‑à‑vis Peen) triple stack. She knew this was going to get her attention, so she did it.

2. I’m not even a size queen! Just like a nation hosting a hundred‑plus countries at the Summer Olympics, after the countries proved your athleticism, if you qualify as sauseege, I’m giving you a thumbs‑up, a team windbreaker, and a Target‑sponsored sports bottle. I welcome all even if you have no chance of making the podium. ANYWAY. What I’m getting at here is that I didn’t truly care what the answer was going to be re: Bowie’s peen.

3. If a dude had Googled about Zsa Zsa Gabor’s tatas after she passed away (RIP, boo‑boo), I would have hollered to the heavens in the key of “Hell to the naw, to the naw, naw, naw,” which is one key below Mary J. Blige’s “I’m on my period, at Walgreens, and they’re out of Toblerones, so I can’t get my chocolate fix” key. In short, I would have been livid and grossed out.
Yet there I was, trying to Lester Holt my way to the truth. Why? Because I am a trash person living in a trash world.

To be clear, I’m not calling myself “trash” because I’m fishing for a compliment. I’m saying this because I love myself. And you know what they say: Only with the people and things you love can you be truly, and sometimes brutally, honest. As funny, smart, kind, thoughtful, pretty, warm, and talented as I can be, I am also a ludicrous trash fire like the kind you see on Naked and Afraid when people sign up to be in the wilderness when they’re barely capable of troubleshooting Mozilla Firefox, let alone making an actual fire from scratch, so they end up with fire that’s the length, width, and height of just the hair part of a troll doll. Real talk though, if my allergic‑to‑manual‑labor‑with‑the‑upper‑body‑strength‑of‑an‑eight‑year‑old self could find a dude who could make a fire as big as an entire troll doll (if not bigger), I would say adios to “spray and pray” life and yes to “leave it in and let our new lineage begin” life. (Mom and Dad, I literally do not engage in spray and pray; this is just jokes.) MOVING ON! What I’m getting at is that I can be a nightmare, but in case you don’t believe me, here’s a sampling of my trash from the past couple of months:

• I’ve walked into several stores mere minutes before closing and took my sweet‑ass time shopping.

• I ordered and ate a small Papa John’s personal pan pizza because I didn’t feel like washing a Granny Smith apple that was straight chilling in my crisper.

• I misspelled my own name.

• I attempted to cancel my own going‑away party one hour before it was supposed to start because it was raining. Not like disaster‑movie rain, but what Seattle would call “Every day.”

• Instead of telling my masseuse that I needed a moment, I eked out a fart in segments like it was a seven‑course tasting menu at Spago. Oy. A fart is still a fart no matter how you try and dole it out over time to lessen its effects. I think the Dalai Lams said that.

• I rented The Counselor on iTunes even though it only has a 35 percent rating on Rotten Tomatoes just so I could look at Michael Fassbender’s hotness. The movie—dis is where they fuq’d up—put his sex scene as the film’s opening scene, so then I just watched that and turned the film off. Rude? Yes. A waste of my money? Of course. But also, everyone knows when you make a lame‑ass movie, you put the sex scene like forty‑three minutes in so the viewer will be too invested to peace out. So really, it was the filmmakers’ fault for putting the sex scene up top, giving me time to abort mish and still catch the monologue on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert.

• I made my ringtone the “Somebody!” part from Smash Mouth’s “All Star.”

• I skipped going to Equinox because I didn’t feel like walking the flight and a half of stairs to get inside the gym. Like I don’t want to have to work out before working out. That’s too much working out.

• I snuck a burrito bowl from Chipotle into the movie theater and made it everyone’s responsibility during Creed to be a lookout in an after‑school special and make sure I didn’t get busted by one of the ushers.

• When I was behind on my student loans and the American Student Assistance would call me, I’d say, “Now’s not a good time to chat.” They’d ask when they could call back and I’d pretend to be earnest and give them a time, knowing damn well I wasn’t going to pick up my phone at 4:45 p.m.

• Even though The Bachelor and The Bachelorette burn my toast with their antifeminist ignorance, I watched The Bachelorette when they cast their first black bachelorette, Rachel Lindsay, and I thought, Ooooooh, this must’ve been what some white women went through when they chose race over gender and voted for Trump. Literally. Not. The. Same. Thing.

• I had my sister‑in‑law, who lives in Cleveland, buy and mail me “rosé all day” white slip‑on flats from DSW that I barely wear because white shoes are a mofo to keep clean.

• When I started my period while on a working vacation on Vieques Island and only had two pads, I called Olga, my hotel’s concierge, and she told me they only had tampons, which I’ve never used because I’m scared of getting toxic shock syndrome after leaving the tamp‑tamp inside me for too long. Anyway, she offered to call me a cab to take me to a convenience store about fifteen minutes away. I hard‑passed on this suggestion and thought to myself, Well, I guess I’ll give this free-bleed thing a spin. Free bleeding is generally considered a feminist move, but in my case, it was just unbridled laziness. I didn’t feel like going through the trouble of putting on pants, which makes me wonder: Is this what parenthood is? Something inconvenient happens with your kid and you must fight all urges to be like, “Peace out, dawg,” and instead help them? Like if my kid came to me and said, “Mom, I need new shoes for school and the mall closes in thirty minutes,” I can’t respond with, “Okay, but I need to read this InStyle magazine profile about some white lady in Marrakesh—YOU KNOW, A PLACE I CAN’T AFFORD TO VISIT BECAUSE I HAD YOUR ASS—doing a fashion diary and posing next to elephants that are like, ‘Bish, why you have that goofy AF smile on your face when the back of my knees are like ashy celery?’” Point is, because I didn’t want to leave my hotel room, I free‑bled for two days, which were my super light days, so it was less a typical menstruation sitch and more like a few drops from a glass of V8 Splash spilling on a kitchen counter. Then on day three, I called Olga, she gave me one from her personal stash, and I went to the convenience store.

• THE FACT THAT I MADE THAT STUPID “SPRAY AND PRAY” SEX COMMENT WHEN I KNOW MY PARENTS ARE GOING TO READ THIS BOOK BECAUSE I WAS HOPING THE JOKE WOULD MAKE READERS LAF (TYPO, BUT I’M LEAVING IT, THUS MAKING THIS TRASH WITHIN TRASH. #INCEPTION).

See? I can be garbage! And it’s okay. Because guess what? Everyone is garbage. Everyone. I don’t care how great or altruistic or insanely talented a person is, there is something (or, if we’re being honest here, some things) absolutely ridiculous that they do, think, feel, or say. Repeat after me: No one on this planet can completely rid themselves of their trash ways. Meaning you, me, your parents, the local nun, J. R. R. Tolkien, Selena (both Quintanilla‑Pérez and Gomez), Langston Hughes, your auntie, all your cousins (but you already knew that tho), the entire bobsled team from Cool Runnings, the lunch waitstaff at Mae Mae Café who told me after I asked for the egg on my avocado toast to be scrambled instead of fried that they can only scramble eggs in the morning (so ig), Galileo Galilei, your boyfriend or girlfriend/husband or wife/side pieces obvs, manufacturers who make it impossible to open scissors packages unless you already own a pair of scissors, Lucy Liu, the movie To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything! Julie Newmar (J/K, it is the most perfect movie that ever movied), poet Gwendolyn Brooks, Martin Luther King Jr., and the founder of the St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital (we don’t know their life). All of them have been low‑key trash from time to time. Period. End of subject. No rebuttal required.

At this point, you’re probably wondering, “Um, great . . . is that it? Everyone sucks or has tons of moments of suckery? Where’s the moment of hope, the ‘But It’s Okay’ that’s in the book title? You know, something positive?” Right, right, right. Well, here’s the thing. I think admitting to our “trashery” is a positive because it helps us see ourselves more clearly and makes it a liiiittle bit easier to deal with the Major Trash that’s the world right now
.
In summation: We have a president who proclaims that women need to dress like “women,” meaning dressing for the visual consumption of straight dudes; who behaves as though all African‑Americans live in the inner city; who endorsed Republican and alleged child molester Roy Moore during his 2017 campaign to become Alabama’s newest senator; and who emboldened neo‑Nazis to be out, loud, and proud in a way these groups haven’t been in quite some time in America. The CDC aka the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently revealed that drug overdoses involving heroin tripled from 2010 to 2015. The latest version of North Carolina’s bathroom bill completely fails to address which bathrooms trans people can use, thus making it impossible for them to feel safe using public restrooms. The Program for International Student Assessment (PISA), which measures skill levels in reading, math, and science every three years among fifteen‑year‑olds from dozens of developed and developing nations, has, as of 2015, concluded that the US placed fortieth out of seventy‑one countries in math and twenty‑fifth in science. Women’s reproductive rights are still a contentious battle, as documented by that 2017 viral pic of Vice President Mike Pence and a sea of dusty‑ass, evil‑ass, and old‑ass white dudes discussing whether maternity care should be covered by insurance companies. Jobs for blue-collar workers are drying up and have been for a long time, and some of us (myself included) have unfairly ignored this problem for far too long. According to the Center for American Progress Action Fund, one‑third of Congress (182 politicians, to be exact) are climate change deniers, including Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Senator Marco Rubio; meanwhile, the Honey Nut Cheerios bee is like, “Every day, I’m legit buzzing the Bone Thugs‑N‑Harmony ‘Tha Crossroads’ melody because my family is dying thanks to humans, but a’ight, keep pretending Earth isn’t on life support.” And the list goes on and on. I don’t know about you, but I find this amount of mess to be overwhelming and depressing AF.

Still, not all is lost. Far from it. For starters, all we need to do is look at history and remember that if humanity could survive the worst atrocities—famine, slavery, the Holocaust, natural disasters, corrupt political systems, inequality, Christopher Columbus, etc.—and still be here, then there’s hope. We are stronger, smarter, and braver than we realize, and when we’re deep in the weeds, we can override our trash instincts and help advance society further. And even in those moments when it appears that we’ve made less than honorable decisions (ahem, the election of Donald Drumpf), the pushback (the 2017 Women’s March, the Ninth Circuit ruling against the Muslim ban) has, time and time again, served as a reminder that everything will be okay. OKAY. I know that folks who live in the middle‑class‑and‑above luxury of America and other first world countries and whose daily diet includes therapy and self‑help books (I myself love me a good self‑help book) and who have been raised on the notion of “living your best life” like Oprah has taught us might view the word “okay” as not promising. But life is fucking hard. Extremely hard for most. And that’s why, to me, “okay” is not a state of settling (aka ordering Sprite at Wahlburgers, but all they have is Fresca and you’re like, “Sure, I guess”—see also: dining at Wahlburgers in the first place); “okay” is a state of acceptance and then pushing forward (aka coming to terms with the fact that you were sober when eating at Wahlburgers, analyzing everything in your life that led up to that moment, and thinking to yourself, I’m going back to school, I’m joining a gym, I’m completing my Alicia Keys music catalogue once and for all, or whatever gets you back on the right track in life). In all seriousness, to me, waking up every day and not only contending with our baser instincts but also dealing with the multitude of curveballs that life throws our way and coming out the other side, perhaps a little dinged up but tougher and smarter and ultimately okay, is good. In fact, okay is great. Better yet, okay is for closers.

And I don’t know about you, but I consider myself a closer. I’ve successfully talked (in Barack Obama’s hypercorrect pronunciation) a karaoke staff into letting my friends and I have an extra half hour so we can do our rendition of Biggie’s “Hypnotize”; I’ve gotten free Wi‑Fi at a swanky hotel just because I treated the employees like humans and not indentured servants; and on more than one occasion, I’ve made a sick day 1000 percent more bearable by lunging to my Spectrum remote in time to press the start over button before the option went away so I could watch old reruns of America’s Next Top Model from the beginning. To put this in perspective, I’ve never seen Schindler’s List, but I’ve devoured seas three of ANTM no less than eight times. If my eyeballs could #Unsubscribe from my body, they would. In all seriousness, I know how to get ish done and motherfreakin’ close. I’m sure you have your own coming‑through‑in‑the‑clutch moments that you use to remind yourself of your awesomeness. I’m also sure that you’re nowhere near done closing on the regs, nor finished with the everlasting journey of accepting and dealing with your own trash as well as others’. I know I’m not.

I’m still battling self‑doubt, trifling dudes, sexism in the workplace, people who hold up the line because they take forever to figure out what kind of latte they want, internet trolls, the barrage of depressing political news, homophobia and transphobia my friends and strangers are on the receiving end of, and the fact that I believe that “showering on the weekends should be optional AF for single people” falls under the umbrella of “civil liberties.” Clearly there’s so. Much. Trash. To. Contend. With. But all of it takes a back seat to the biggest problem of the day: getting this book into Viola Davis’s hands so she’ll read it and want to meet me. All right, all right, I should have written “the biggest problem of my day.” Oops. But also I’m medium‑key garbage, so you should’ve expected that I would pull some monkey mess like this.

Anyway. Why Viola Davis? Well, she’s an acting genius, insanely gorgeous, and I love her. But my mom, Octavia? She loves her. I can’t blame her. My mom is also a badass, so this is merely real recognizing real. And because my career in entertainment as a podcast queen, writer, and performer has taken off since I started ten years ago, I occasionally brush shoulders with the A‑list. As a result, my mom has only one thing on her mind. Her Hoda Kotb–esque follow‑up query to whatever career news I share is forever “Have you met Viola Davis yet?”

This is one of my favorite things about black parents, besides watching them cuss out their kids in public and witnessing the resulting fallout on their child’s face. (Truly, getting read to filth in a Burlington Coat Factory will really make you have a mini existential crisis.) But getting back to my original point: Black parents typically have five to seven celebrities that they are impressed with—and this roster of celebs will never ever change, mind you, for as long as the parents live—and all the other famous people? The. Parentals. Could. Not. Give. Less. Of. A. Fuck. About.

Exhibits A to D of My Mom’s Not-Giving-a-Fuckness

A. I worked with Kevin Bacon on the Amazon show I Love Dick, and by “worked with,” I mean I had one scene with him where his character said two words to me and I tried not to vomit, smile hugely, or blurt out, “MOTHERFUCKING FOOTLOOSE IS TALKING TO ME!” I told my mom about being on set with K. Bake and she didn’t care.

B. Jon Hamm, who is in the running to be America’s Next Top Zaddy did the 2 Dope Queens podcast I have with Jessica Williams, and he and I crowdsurfed while holding hands like this was the fucking end of My Big Fat Greek Wedding, Sex and the City, and Roots all rolled into one. I texted video proof of this sexcellent moment to my mom. No gahtdamn reply. A month later, I worked an event Jon attended and chatted with him briefly. I mentioned this to Octavia, and she goes, “By any chance, did you bump into Viola Davis?”

C. I recently had the extreme privilege and pleasure of interviewing Tom Hanks for my other podcast, an interview talk show called Sooo Many White Guys, and he was a good sport and recorded the outgoing message on my voicemail. My mom’s response? “But what about Viola Davis?”

D. I was a guest on a talk show to promote my previous book, and my parents flew out to attend the taping. Before we arrived to set, I was gabbing with the parental units about dream run‑ins at the show and I said, “It’d be insane if Beyoncé was here. I mean, she never does TV, but it would be cool to be in the same building as her.” My mom responded, “I wouldn’t even say hi to her.”
You did not misread. Octavia Robinson’s reaction to Beyoncé Giselle Knowles‑Carter is not an ugly‑cry nor a squeal nor to ask for a picture. My mom’s instinct is to ignore her like the two of them are a WASP couple midargument on Big Little Lies: just nothing but chunky knits and silent rage.

To be clear, there is no backstory. It’s not like Yoncé and my mom were at Trader Joe’s one time and Bey snagged the last Amy’s Thai Red Curry frozen meal. Nor did Beyoncé cut her in line at Starbucks and pretend like she didn’t feel my mom staring her the hell down. And finally, no, it’s not like Beyoncé and my mom are in the same baking club and B showed up with some dope‑looking pies and casually said, “Oh, yeah, it’s this new recipe my friend Patti let me borrow,” and locked eyes with my mom real hard on the “my friend Patti” line to make it clear she’s talking about Patti LaBelle, my mom’s all‑time favorite singer. And once everyone else in the club finished oohing and aahing at the pies, my mom showed her dessert, which was vegan oatmeal raisin bars, and she was met with some weak encouragement like she’s on Family Feud and just gave an asinine answer.

My mom and Beyoncé have never met. There is no rivalry. It’s just that Queen Bey did not make the cut of celebrities that my mom gives an eff about. So who did make the cut? Oprah, Barack Obama and Michelle Obama, Bruce Willis, The Rock, Patti La‑Belle, and, of course, Viola Davis. So, dear reader, how about we make a deal? Throughout this book, let’s acknowledge all the trash that’s surrounding us (literal litter and also the state of American politics) and accept the trashery within ourselves that we cannot change (the way I eat chips, you would think a Sonos surround‑sound system was installed in my molars) while fixing the garbage that can and should be changed (e.g., FaceTiming in public with‑out headphones on so everyone can hear your friend regaling you with a story about her noisy neighbors like it’s a Greek tragedy), and then please put in your prayer requests that I meet Viola Davis or, better yet, my mom and I meet Viola Davis together. In the meantime, let’s do a search to unearth more Justin‑Trudeau‑looking‑fondly‑at‑Barack‑Obama pics because that ish is #Goals for whomever I marry. Sure, compatibility, sharing same values, attraction, and emotionally and financially supporting each other matters greatly in a marriage, blah, blah, blah. Whatever. If my future husb looks at me the way Trudeau stays looking at Obama, we won’t have any problems. If not, there will be some dreadheaded n***** in the lobby, waiting on bae. #ChanceTheRapper‑Reference.

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