Friday, December 24, 2010

Home For the Holidays!!!!

Twas the night before Christmas
And all through the house
Not a creature was stirring
Except for my dad turning my heat back down to 65 degrees.

We’ve been going back and forth since yesterday. I realize I’m in Los Angeles but my house gets chilly so if I’m going to turn on the heat – I’m going to turn on the heat; a reasonable 78 degrees.  65 degrees is not heat.

Air conditioning and heat were always a hot commodity in our house. Spring was about the only time of year I didn’t hear my dad yelling, “Shut the door!” morning, noon, and night. Summer was especially stressful with all of us running in and out of the house with all the neighbor kids. Not only did his “Shut the door”s increase ten-fold, he had to keep up with the “Take off your shoes!”, “Slow down ya little rugrats” and“Is that water in my house?!” It’s no wonder my dad always walks around with a look on his face like something is about to break.

So when I woke up this morning freezing and saw that he had snuck out in the middle of the night and turned it down yet again, I calmly explained to him that I’d rather have the heat off entirely than down that low. He didn’t seem to be listening as he was too busy inspecting the locks on my windows and responded by giving me a lecture about how many candles I had around my house and what a danger it was.

My mother used to read us a children’s book when we were younger called, “I Love You Forever”. The mother would say to her son at various stages in his life (birth, being sent to school, graduation, wedding day):

I love you forever
I like you for always
As long as I’m living, my baby you’ll be.

This book culminates with the son rephrasing this to his mother on her deathbed but instead of saying 'baby' says 'mommy'. Touching, though a little creepy when you’re 4. But I think this a good bedtime story for grown adults who aren’t used to having their parents visit them during the holidays. Because no matter how old we get, we are always our parents’ children.

As he put on his shoes to go check the oil in my car which I had told him was fine no less than 20 times, I asked:

“Am I old enough yet to say ‘my house, my rules?”
Without hesitation or even looking my direction he replied, “Nope” and walked out the door.

Ahhhh, Merry Christmas Daddy. I hope I’m never too old to call you Daddy.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

You Need To Be Held Accountable For Your Actions

Funny thing happened yesterday. I got pulled over.

The first time I ever got pulled over I was driving home from Champaign, Il to Downers Grove and made the mistake of listening to Journey on the 55. I got so lost in Steve Perry's titillating voice I was apparently going 90 miles an hour. As if the ticket wasn't bad enough I was then accused of being high because I hadn't noticed that the t-shirt I had grabbed off the floor actually belonged to my boyfriend and had a big marijuana leaf plastered across the front. Right underneath it said "Phour-Twenty". Having never done a drug in my life, I swore on everyone's grave and their mother's that I had no idea what that meant. It was the truth. When he threatened to take my license I cried and begged him not to as the reason I was speeding was that I was trying to catch a flight to Mexico. This did not help my case. Somehow he let me go and I had my day in court. Pleaded one hundred percent guilty and learned my lesson. You don't speed.

The second time was about 3 months ago. In the midst of moving, I had lost some mail and also my reminder to renew my registration on my car. I also might have blown through a crosswalk right next to the kind police officer's car who decided to let that part slide. I hadn't been pulled over in almost 12 years and I was so nervous - I just starting throwing everything in my glove compartment at him hoping it was whatever he was asking for. "No ma'am I do not need a map of California or a receipt from your last oil change. Just your insurance." I learned my lesson. It is my responsibility to remember to renew my registration, not the city's.

I received a $35  ticket in the mail and was asked to send it back with proof of registration. Only problem was I hadn't received my new sticker and the ticket was due in 30 days. I called the DMV and found out there was nothing I could do to expedite the process. I called the courthouse and was never able to reach a human being. So, being the naive person that I am, sent my check with a nice little note that read:

Dear Courthouse,
I haven't received my new registration in the mail but I didn't want to be late in paying my ticket. I'll send it off as soon as it comes. Let me know if you need anything else!

I might as well have sprayed it with perfume. Imagine my shock when I opened up a letter back from them 2 weeks ago with a $900 ticket!!!!! This just wasn't right. I hadn't ignored it! I tried to rectify the situation, granted my approach was that of a 9 year old. So I called and called and tried to bypass voicemails and robots and left messages for anyone who would listen and decided my only option was to schedule a court date. I was not backing down on this.

Which brings us back to yesterday. Officer Alvarez was finishing up writing my warning for yet another traffic rule I was unaware of (different day/different blog) and I said "Hey, can I ask you a question?" and proceeded to tell her my story.

"Yeah," she laughed. "I noticed when I ran your license that there's a warrant."
I froze. "A warrant?" She nodded.
"Like for my arrest?"
She chuckled again. "Well technically, yes."
"Who would want to arrest me?" Now I was laughing. "I pay all my parking tickets! I don't do drugs! I don't rob banks! I vote! I serve jury duty! "
I was rambling on and on about how I never break the law and how much I respect those in her position and what a responsible person I tried to be as Officer Alvarez was doubled over in hysterics at my window. I was also laughing and crying. Mostly because her fly had been down this entire conversation and I had been debating whether or not to tell her but now I was afraid she was going to arrest me.
"So I'm like....wanted?!?!" I asked her with wide eyes.

After we both finally caught our breath, she gave me some helpful, though still very unclear, advice as to what I could do. She was pretty much telling me to pay it. I drove away feeling like a woman on the run. But I learned my lesson. That my parents raised a moron. And a good citizen.

So please realize that if you hear I've been arrested it is purely because of principle. And also partly because I'm confused as to how the system works and not used to being in trouble with the law. I will and have paid tickets that I accept responsibility for. But if I went out of my way to do the right thing and feel it is unfair....well, that deserves a little bit of a fight, no? But like mom used to say, "Well, sometimes life isn't fair Kate." We shall see.

To Be Continued....

Monday, November 29, 2010

Best. Birthday. Ever.

November 29, 1984

I woke up on the morning of my 6th birthday, smart enough to know I probably wouldn't be getting the circus in my backyard that I had wished for, but still naive enough to think it just might happen. What I was really hoping for, more than the circus even, was the brand new stuffed Care Bear that had just come out. The only thing I cared about was Care Bears. Big, miniature, stuffed, posable, cartoons - you name it. I wanted to live in the Forest of Feelings and Care-A-Lot and roll around on big puffy clouds with them. I was sick.

Literally. Sick. The previous year I had been hospitalized with Reye's Syndrome. I had spent half the year out of school, hence why I'm a year older than most I graduated with. I had to repeat kindergarten. Sounds kinda funny when you first hear it, right? But it was scary and Care Bears got me through it. The nurses would watch as I had the Care Bears reenact the soap operas that played on the tv. After 8 am, that was pretty much all that was on all day and it helped my mom pass the time as she worriedly stayed glued to my bedside. I think my dad even got a little hooked. I would escape into their world and forget the stark white hospital bed I was stuck in and the needles in my arms and the yucky tasting medicine and the horrible bananas they made me eat with every meal. Instead, I was in Care-A-Lot.

Deep down, I think this was a special birthday for my parents as there was probably a time where they weren't sure it I'd make it to 6. As I walked down the stairs for my annual birthday breakfast of ice cream waffles, I couldn't believe what I saw in my living room. It was better than a circus. It was Care-A-Lot. A huge Care Bear tent was perched on the floor. All my favorite bears were all over it floating on clouds and inside was my heaven. Every stuffed Care Bear I didn't own yet ( and there were a lot considering I only had 2 at that point) was lined up inside, ready for their Care Bear stare and looking at me like I was their new best friend. And I was. It was one of the first moments I remember thinking that wishes do come true.

But I also knew my parents were up to something. I heard mom and dad talking about money from time to time and I knew we weren't rich. This must have cost them at least a million dollars. There was no way. I started noticing subtle differences in my bears. First off, the new ones didn't have any kind of tag. They were also slightly bigger. I couldn't quite put my finger on it, but there was just something different about 'em. Kind of like when you know a set of identical twins and one's just slightly more attractive but you can't really pinpoint why. I don't remember the exact moment I realized it but when I figured out that my mother had spent months hand sewing every last one of those bears to look like the real thing (or pretty darn close), I also had one of my first moments of realizing what it meant to love someone. And I've never loved anything or anyone more.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

If A Guy Pulls Your Hair, It Means He Likes You...(or there's actually no underlying meaning at all and they just feel like being annoying and girls are just over-analytical)

I've always liked boys. Even when I was little. This will never change. I wasn't a tomboy - I might be one of the clumsiest most uncoordinated athletes there is, hence, choosing a life of theatre and writing. Although I was a pretty big girl when I was young and could wrestle just about anyone under the age of ten to the ground so I was always the first choice in a solid game of Red Rover. I also didn't mind getting dirty and still don't to this day (proven by the sweat pants I'm wearing right now for the fourth day in a row....I think that spot might be spaghetti sauce). I liked girls too. I've always had a tight group of girlfriends. I loved sleepovers, wearing make-up and talking (obsessing, whatever) until the wee hours of the morning. But I've always had a very strong relationship with boyfriends. Not boyfriends. Boy. Friends.

My first boyfriends were Danny and Mikey. They were my mom's best friend's sons and so we would always be creating some sort of mischievous game or playing ghost in the graveyard, cops and robbers, (just kidding about that last one). Danny and I were such good friends I actually peed in my pants for the first time in front of him and not because I was laughing. It was because we were watching "Double Dare" and I could not tear myself away form the TV. To this day he won't let me forget the helplessness he felt as it all went down. Poor Danny. I think I scarred him for life. Throughout my schoolgirl years there was Peter and Tony and Nate and Jeremy and John and Andy ...and then there was college....and then there was my point.

My first day of college I met Jonathan. We were set up on a blind date and I thought he was obnoxious. That's a frat boy for ya. Then we became buds, going through the theatre department together and were thrilled to find out we'd be moving to LA together. The first couple of years in a new city as adults were great fun. I had my other guy friends in Cali like Gabe and Oakes  and Brock - but it was Sadowski (or as others would and will call him, Jonathan) who became my roommate for four years and in time - my brother. And today is his birthday.

See, girlfriends will hold you when you cry. Guy friends will hold you - and then smack some bloody sense into you. They will listen to your problems and then respond back with ten million reasons why you should feel ridiculous for thinking it's a "problem". When you have a bad day, they will make you watch a marathon of "Intervention" to make you feel better about your life (and if you feel fat "Man vs Food). They will hear you gab about the new boy you're in love with and then break his face when he breaks you're heart. You will ask them what is wrong and they will ask you to make them a sandwich. When someone is jealous, they will be your biggest fan. And when you start to get down on yourself and start to think that everything is wrong with you, they will be sure to give you a power point presentation on ways in which you could improve how you react to situations to not seem so crazy. Okay, maybe the last one is just a Killacky/Sadowski thing. But there's no doubt that these are the reasons I cherish our friendship. When I hear people say guys and girls can't really be friends, I am dumbfounded because he has been, without a doubt, the best friend a gal could ever have. And no, it will not culminate in some cute little 'When Harry Met Sally' love story. I don't think I could ever end up marrying someone I peed my pants in front of:) Yes, it happened twice in my life. But the this time, it was because he made me laugh.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

And You Thought Your Parents Were Embarrassing?

This is not a joke. My father actually wrote this letter to Oprah. What blows my mind even more is that he forwarded it on to me thinking I'd be thrilled.

Dear Oprah,

Alert ! Katie Killacky considers a return to Chicago!!

My daughter, Katie Killacky, is a theatre graduate of the University of Illinois Champaign. She has been living in Los Angeles for the past 8 years. She is a former Miss Southern California and a runner-up for Miss Illinois in the Miss America pageant. She has done acting, modeling, commercials, game shows. She currently works for a Beverly Hills plastic surgeon. She is still single and I (dad) want her to meet a great guy who lives in the midwest. Katie is considering returning to Chicago to restart her theatre career. I would like Katie to be a guest on your Chicago television show and have her seek advice from Oprah on whether to move back home to CHICAGOPRAH!

Thank you for your consideration in this matter,
Keith Killacky
Downers Grove, Il.
Katie writes a blog:
You're Ruining My Life!!! (and other things I wish I hadn't said to my mother)

Now that I'm in my thirties, I'm beginning to realize that all those times I thought my mother was trying to ruin my life, she was really just trying to stop me from doing a fine job of ruining it all on my own.

My followup email to Oprah:

Dear Oprah ( or underpaid production assistant probably reading this insanity as I doubt Oprah has the time),

I wish I had really good excuse like "my father is suffering from early stages of dementia" or "I lost a bet" or "my dad's a drunk". Unfortunately, this is just the sort of thing my father does and has done my entire life. I realize that every accolade he stated happened about ten years ago and that there are only 23 followers on my blog he mentioned, but my cross to bare is that my dear father thinks everything I do is gold.

While I'm completely aware that an Oprah episode based around my potential move to Chicago, and apparent "still single" status, would not take up an hour show or even a 45 second blurb, I think it's adorable that he finds me that wildly entertaining. Deep down, I think it's he who wants to be on your show so if you happen to run a segment anytime in the near future on overbearing stage dads who are desperate to get their daughters married off, know that he would make an ideal guest.

On a side note, while this sort of thing used to embarrass me growing up, I now find myself feeling pretty lucky that he thinks I'm that great. He's pretty great himself.



My follow up email to my dad:

Dear Dad (or whichever one of your 8 crazy personalties I should be addressing at this moment),

If it walks like a lunatic and talks like a lunatic...guess what?

Have you lost your ever loving mind? If you want me to move home that bad you're doing a really good job because I'm about to get on a plane and come to either A) Smack some sense into you B) Take you to get your mental faculties checked out or C) help you put down the booze.

Oh, and the next time you want me to write a blog about you, just ask. Because I have a pretty good feeling Oprah doesn't care...but I love that you do.

Love you,

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

It's the Thought That Counts

Is it just me or are some people a little too abrasive about this whole voting thing? "Get out and do it!" "You MUST vote", or (my personal favorite) "I voted. Did you?" It feels like good, old-fashioned Catholic guilt. Some will even go as far as to say  "the worst thing in the world you can do is NOT vote!" Really? The worst thing?

I get it. It's important to exercise our rights; to not take for granted the freedoms that our ancestors fought for. I plan on voting. But I can't help thinking that I wish there were some people who just wouldn't. I'm voting because I've educated myself on the candidates and the issues - not because society guilted me into making my way to the polls. Do I really want some idiot participating in our democracy when their only contribution to society is punching a hole through a ballot once a year? To be honest...not really. I realize that some, if not most, will strongly disagree with this statement. I realize that candidates tend to gear their campaigns towards the elderly so young people need to vote, it's our civic duty, and every other valid argument stating why it's so important. I also know from an economic standpoint it's a very expensive system and at the end of the day the "your vote could mean all the difference" statement is really only intended to be directed to the supreme court.

The clearer message, and what we should really get "abrasive" about,  is how our country is educated about the elections. Voting should be exciting not an errand. And I certainly don't want to be threatened via commercials, facebook, or strangers on the street about what a horrible human being I am if I don't do it. Let's try for some positivity, unity and encouragement here folks. Most importantly, let's try to make sure we all know exactly what we're talking about before we step up to those boxes.By knowing the black, the white and the grey side to every story, every candidate, every decision - it ignites a passion that makes you want to get out and vote. It shouldn't feel like an obligation. It should feel like a freedom.

The following is a bit offensive but has some amazing points. The great George Carlin.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Don't Forget Where You Came From

There's a lot of talk about how technology has taken the personal touch out of relationships. First it was cell phones, then email, then social networking like myspace and facebook. Some people turn their nose up at it saying "I don't need to broadcast when I eat a pumpkin muffin" or "if I cared about what someone I knew 18 years ago was up to, I would've called them". As someone who moved away from home 10 years ago, I look at these advances as a blessing. Being able to see a video of my nephew's wrestling match, pictures from my sister's birthday party, or read a smart aleck comment from my best friend in college, makes me feel not so homesick. But there's also other reasons I find it truly remarkable.

When I was in elementary school, I had 3 BEST friends - Michelle, Karyn, and Kristen. I can still remember the smell of Michelle's basement, the way Karyn's mom laughed, and the way Kristen and I would watch movies I wasn't allowed to watch at home like 'Loverboy. We all used to sit at recess by the swings or the mouseholes (they were just hollowed out cement cylinders with holes in them so we called them that) and talk incessantly. I don't really even really remember what we talked about, but at the time, it was the only thing that mattered in the world. They would be my best friends for life and when our 3rd grade teacher, Mrs. Fetzer, got mad at us for being too "cliquey" (first time I'd heard the word), we were almost secretly proud to be recognized as being that close.

By the time Jr High came, we started on our own paths. We developed other interests, we made different friends - we lived different lives.  Another "best" friend I made in 6th grade was Erica. She had just moved across the street from me. Call it luck, kismet, geography....she's still my best friend to this day.

But I think like any relationship, you never forget your first. Your first best friend(s).  You experience first sleepovers and first crushes and getting in real trouble for the first time. Like the "You're grounded" kind of trouble. Most importantly, they shape your relationships from that point on. So am I happy there are things like facebook that allow me to know that they're okay? Am I glad I'm able to see pictures of their children or just a snippet of their lives every once in awhile even if we don't talk much except for the occassional comment? You bet. Because the joys we shared and the mistakes we made together helped shape the friend I have become today and are part of the reason I have the amazing circle of friends that I do. And they will always be a part of me.

My mother used to say "When you're my age, you'll be lucky if you can count all your friends on one hand"...because people always grow and change and move apart. I feel like the luckiest person in the world that I need to use all my phalanges and then some to count the people I call friends. Michelle, Karyn, and Kristen are a big reason for that. And I don't have to look back on my fond childhood memories and say "I wonder whatever happened to......" I know they're more than okay; they seem to have gotten everything they deserved.

And now I'm gonna text Erica. Because I want to experience the joy of technology.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

I Gotta Pee Like A Race Horse

"If I win that $50,000, I plan - "
"No, Katie! Not if I when that $50,000. WHEN I win that $50,0000!!!
"Okay, when I win the $50,000, I plan on -

I stood there sweating, looking for the nearest possible emergency exit. What had I gotten myself into? I hadn't gone to the bathroom in 3 hours which may not seem like a lot but when my nerves feel like Mexican jumping beans in my stomach and I drink a crate of Arrowhead, I have to pee at the same rate my mother does on a road trip after drinking a pot of coffee. But in the interest of time, I had to hold it.

Being a on a game show had seemed like such a good idea. Go out there, have fun, maybe win some money and prove that not all contestants have to be obnoxious Mid-Westerners jumping all over the hosts and clinging to him for dear life while waiting to hear the answer. No, I was going to be cool and collected and make the viewers at home think, "Finally, someone like me is up there." But this is not how it went down.

"Jump up and down, you're winning money!," exclaimed the producer, demonstrating how I should be jumping.
"But I'm not a jumper,"I whimpered trying to find a way to authentically exude excitement. Just please let me run to restroom.'
"But you have to show your excitement! You're excited! This is great! This is the best thing you've even been a part of! You're going to open up a pub with your dad!"

Whose idea was it that I was opening a pub with my dad? Had I said that? I thought I was going to pay off some debt and maybe get a new car. Where did this pub come from? After being in a delirious state of what seemed like an eternity in a room with no windows and what felt like no air, people jumping and screaming at me that I needed to jump and scream, I cursed what my mother had advised when I asked her if I should participate in the show. 

"Why not? You only live once," she replied. I never bothered to ask her if she would ever be caught dead doing something like this.

"So as soon as they give you the intro you're going to run on stage!," the stage manager instructed.
"Do I have to run?," I asked, I believe with tears in my eyes, terrified of what I was about to become.
"Well you don't have to run."

But I ran. I ran with all my might as I was announced to the stage like a horse being let out of the gate. I'm surprised I didn't run straight through the screaming crowd to the nearest port-a-pot. Nerves, combined with adrenalin, combined with game show boot camp, had turned me into a crazy, jumping, screaming, gambling fool who lost $10,000 because all I was thinking about was "WHEN I WIN THAT $50,000!!!" and how badly I had to go. And I walked away with $1000 and I'm not gonna lie, wet my pants a little.

Not bad for a day's work. It was fun. I won some money. I had an experience. And whenever I watch a game show from now on my heart will go out to the poor fool onstage who probably just wants someone to let him go to the bathroom.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Track and Field

'Life's a marathon not a sprint.' My mom used to say this whenever I wasn't getting immediate gratification.

My brother is running a 50 mile race tomorrow. That's not a typo. A marathon is 26 point something miles so I don't know what you call what he's doing except stupid. But stupid in the good way like "Man that party was so cool it was stupid". My other siblings have run marathons but I've never quite understood. I don't even like walking down my driveway to get the mail.

The other day my girlfriend, Jen, told me she was starting to train for the marathon in March. I, on the other hand, was starting to make the plans for my annual St Patrick's Day bash. No wonder I wouldn't describe myself on an online dating site as being "fit". Legend has it, the word marathon comes from a man who ran from Marathon, Greece to Athens ( still Greece ) to deliver the message that the battle had been won. He preceded to keel over and die. So in my mind, Jen was basically telling me she was training to fall to her death. History shows us, it just doesn't seem like a natural thing for the body to do. And I'm not going to pretend to understand it, yet I will always be impressed by anyone who takes the phrase "what doesn't kill us makes us stronger" to heart.

But this is my brother who was a straight A student, attended the United States Navel Academy and by the time he was 30 had graduated law school, was a partner in a successful firm and had a house, 3 dogs and a kid. Sorry, a house, 3 kids, and a dog. I can't keep up. Meanwhile, I have a Toyota and my bartender friend Javier at the local Irish pub who hooks me up with happy hour prices anytime I want. Go me!

I guess that's the thing when you have a big family or even more than one kid. Even if they're raised by the same parents, they can be so vastly different. I consider myself a shot put kind of gal. I'd rather stand in one place and throw the heaviest thing I find and watch where it lands. But as a parent you probably just love watching your little team; the sprinters, the ones jumping over hurdles, THE OVER ACHIEVERS RUNNING 50 MILES!!!! Though I'm sure watching your child run 50 miles is pretty cool. No matter how much I make is pretty cool.

So congrats bro. You always amaze me. I'm very proud of you for being stupid:)

The following article shows there may actually be some truth to this...

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Grandpa Driving

When are they going to develop a car horn that can mean different things? We can keep the usual BEEEEPPP for when someone cuts you off and you're upset. But why not have a sweet little toot for when we think we see a friend on the sidewalk? Or a, 'hey mister, I think you left your gas tank open. Just trying to get your attention." Even a passive aggressive horn sound for times when you want to say, "Really? Have you not noticed the light's been green for a good 5 seconds?"

So a car cut in front of me on the way to work. I was going a little faster than I should have been but still, it was obvious that for him to make that right turn out of his driveway in front of me, I would need to partially slam on my brakes. I stopped patiently but became enraged when it rolled ever so slowly towards the green light. Then it turned yellow. Then red. Damn! This light takes forever! Why did he have to pull out? Does he know how much of my day he just wasted? Like a good 3 minutes! I was so close to honking when I took a deep breath and realized that he looked like he was a bit old. Almost like my Grandpa (at least how my Grandpa looked when he was alive). What if someone had honked at my Grandpa? I'm one of those people that hasn't figured out that just because you're old, it doesn't mean you're nice. I am just so taken with old people...their wrinkly little faces.....their slow, hunched over walks....the shakey little hands. I just love them all.

What if this man was driving so slow because he just couldn't see where he was going as well as I could? What if he had been in a car accident years ago that left him without the use of one arm and he was afraid to drive but really needed to get somewhere? I bet he had a job interview. His social security ran out and he was going for his job interview at McDonald's because he still had to pay off  the hospital bills from his wife, June's, illness (she passed away last April). Not only that, it was raining today and she used to love the rain. A tear comes to his eyes which he swiftly wipes away as he thinks of June telling him not to worry about the young, crazy driver behind him because he needs to get to where he's going safely.

So I didn't honk. Instead, I was suddenly driving behind my partially-paralyzed grandfather who had just lost his wife and was on his way to a job interview at McDonald's. And it took everything in me not to jump out, bang on his window and give him a hug. I've either inherited my mother's empathy, or have completely lost my mind.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Dear Mrs. Pinkett-Smith

Dear Mrs. Pinkett-Smith,

First of all, you looked beautiful on Oprah. You and Will are such a handsome couple and seem to have such an amazing relationship both with each other and your children. It's so rare these days that you see any marriage last so long, let alone in Hollywood. It is definitely something to proud be of. Your children seem to be very intelligent and extraordinarily talented.

This brings me to the point of this letter. I was perusing the internet today when I saw something that caught my eye. "Watch Willow Smith's Video Debut". Imagine my excitement when I clicked on the link. After all, I've been such a huge fan of your's and Will's work over the years and I even remember when "Parents Just Don't Understand" came out. Being only 8 years old at the time, I wasn't "technically" allowed to watch it, but I did steal sneaks when my brothers had MTV on. That's the thing about kids. They always find a way.

So back to Willow. I clicked and eagerly awaited to see this cute young thing perform. And what I saw left me incredibly...disturbed. For like the whole day. I don't have children so I was really trying to figure out why this bothered me so much and I was able to break it down into a few reasons. I have some questions that I would just like to ask you about, seeing as I think you appear to be a good mother and maybe this is just one huge misunderstanding. Or I'm incredibly old fashioned. Or the world is going to hell in a hand basket.

She's 9 right? Does she know the difference between a noun and a verb? I only ask because I feel that you may want to go over these things with her after school while you bake her cookies as I'm sure you do. Because if she wrote this song herself (which I believe that's the claim), I'm a bit concerned with her grammar and proper sentence structure. Phrases like "pay no attention to them haters" "we ain't doing nothing wrong" and "don't tell me nothing", concern me. I'm also very confused as to what lengths a fourth grader might go to in order to "keep the party jumpin'"as well as what kind of party that might be. And while I'm sure you're very proud of the "swag" she mentions, the issue that causes me the most disquiet, is her reference to "getting her grind on". I have looked everywhere for a definition of what grind could be besides a) to reduce to powder through friction or b) vulgarly rub one's crotch on another's leg. Now, I did come across something that said in slang, to "get one's grind on" could mean that one is a focused individual not wanting anything to get in his or her way. However, once again, she's 9 right? Do you really think she needs to "get her grind on" beyond a ballet class or an occasional game of kickball?

Haters. Who are the haters? I understand with bullying being such a prevalent issue these days it's important to believe in and stand up for yourself but I'm not sure that calling bullies "them haters" really helps your cause. If it is even bullies she is referring to. In my opinion, and again this is just my opinion, the mere use of the word haters, perpetuates the hate. And she's such a pretty little girl. Could she not smile once in the whole video? It was uncomfortable to see her look so angry and a bit unsettling that I almost thought she would be capable of beating me up. Call me crazy, but it almost made me long for the days when we thought Miley was setting a bad example (though I happen to know Mrs. Cyrus asked her to tone it down after she read my letter).

She's too young to be wearing that much make-up. Period. I don't even think it needs an explanation. I just wish you could be in every bathroom across the nation on a school morning as a mother fights with her child about why she cannot wear make-up and "bling" to school like Willow Smith (don't even get me started on the hair extensions).

I understand your kids have aspirations and boatloads of talent but is it not good enough to just see them in a school talent show? I realize you want to give them every opportunity in the world but their minds are still forming and they're still learning who they are. So when you say things on Oprah like "We tell our kids, you're not rich. Mommy and Daddy are rich" and then you go on to produce their blockbuster movies and record albums, it's a bit disappointing.

I once wanted to cut my own hair in 3rd grade and my mom said no. Shaving a star into the side of my head was just never an option. I didn't have the money to just "be myself" by dressing in Dior or whatever else was bought for me. My choices weren't nearly as fashionable seeing as I was limited to hand-me-downs. Bottom line, when are we going to start raising the bar and teaching kids to express themselves through their thoughts and their words and their ideas and their intelligence? When I started being able to do that, that's when my mom start letting me make more decisions about how I did my hair, how I dressed, etc. With each sign of maturity, I graduated to another stage of responsibility in the decisions made about my life. Because I was trying to discover who I was. A nine-year old might have strong opinions, but they have no idea who they are or, more importantly, who they will become. I say that not as a judgement or a fact; I say this based on experience. I used to be 9.

I wish you and the rest of the Pinkett-Smith family much success and luck and thank you for taking the time to read this. I know you must be very busy. Maybe Willow's next video can steer away from they dark side a bit and find a way to be current and hip with a brighter edge. Something more, dare I say it, age appropriate? I don't need puppy dogs and rainbows...but maybe a smile would be nice:)



Willow Smith's "Whip My Hair" video