pearls and swine. and all that’s in between.

we’re not refined enough.

that is what you would have us believe.

cut the wrong way, flawed at the core, hold us to the surface and there’s nothing there but artfully presented glass, cheap theatrics, gaudy paint, empty nothingness.

we just aren’t working hard enough. we are squandering our hours, shuffling to an endless, ear-bleeding melody of laugh tracks (the sassy best friend, the barely veiled stock, the hated adversary), patiently resting our hands on the chairs where you rest, nod us on, smile.

“you’re doing just fine.”

“you’re playing just right.”

“just keep marching.”

“keep climbing.”

“follow the rules, and receive your reward.”

until the music stops. and you won’t lift yourselves out of the chairs. we didn’t do it hard enough. you didn’t do it hardly at all. but that doesn’t matter. welcome to another year’s nominations of bland, soupy mediocrity. if we try hard enough, if we keep high-stepping and applauding your achievements with a smile on our face, we’ll get there. you promise us. we’ll get there.

on your terms.

at your discretion.

i spent the weekend with my hands cupped over my heart. i spent the weekend learning that it doesn’t matter how hard you put yourself into the industry - years! years of worn-down fingertips and full, warm words! years, and the first one of your family, of your ethnicity, of your beautiful heritage! - you can be sized up and cut down as a toy thing, a puppet, a denial of the true champions.

take back the crown.

rewind the coverage.

this winner is all wrong. just not refined.

cut the wrong way, flawed at the core, hold us to the surface and there’s nothing there but artfully presented glass, cheap theatrics, gaudy paint, empty nothingness, worthless, worthless, worthless.

i spent the weekend weighing out the issue of debuts. that moment when your face is exposed to the world, your giddy life blood and what it has been spent on: too little, too flighty, not serious enough, not important enough. just not refined. just all wrong.

it is worse when you know how you are Seen, how you are Judged. how you will be sized up by the color of your skin or the shape of your body or the sound of your voice. how many beautiful, blessed artists before you have stepped over trip wires, have been narrowed down to not being relatable enough, not being broad enough, not being refined enough.

so write, type, delete. doubt. doubt, doubt, doubt, doubt. is it better to not be Seen and Judged at all? is it better to modulate the key, remove the offensive Other-ness, restrain and refrain from playing the game at all until you feel you have gotten all the rules down and have prepared for any loophole - or just stay off the front lines at all?

we have cast our pearls and you call them fit for slop. we have squandered our jewels and you debase them and do not honor them.

watch how angry you get when you realize we are playing a game off to the side. watch how angry you get when you see the dragged off chairs, the ones you dismissed, filled by nobility, high-headed critics of the finest experiences who quietly observe our craft, our gift, our abilities.

take back the crown.

rewind the coverage.

except you can’t. except the rules have changed, the guidelines have expanded, long-denied lungs taking in a welcome breath of fresh air. it is only a matter of time.

we need to challenge the definition of refined.

we have our pearls. and we will not waste them for much longer. their talents are being seen. their exile is protested. they will have their seats. they will recline and relax and rejoice.

on reasonable terms.

and not at your discretion.

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