Next Stop: Better

How Sasha Banks and Naomi’s exit from WWE is echoing the sentiments of Millennials and Gen Z-ers everywhere.

HELL YEAH!

Last week, after about a month of not making my moderately successful F*ck The B.S. newscasts, I was finally faced with the choice that people on the cusp of their big break tend to be faced with.

Do I continue doing what got me here, or make a pivot in search of something better?

And despite my ability to attract folks to my work via social media, I decided to choose the latter and walk away from it. And for good reason too; it was depressing the fuck outta me. Reading the news and interpreting it to make sense in the grand scheme of things is difficult on a regular basis. Even more so when the world is clearly on course to complete what feels like the world longest game of Behold a Pale Horse bingo.

Ok we got Pestilence, check. Death, check. War check. Famine?

Famine? Has anyone seen famine?

And it sucked because as much as I was enjoying starting to see the fruits of my labor blossom, it was taking a huge toll on me mentally.

An Old Familiar Friend

So I did what any logical 33-year-old going through an existential crisis at the end of the world would do.

I regressed into my childhood.

Not mentally. As a black person, I passed the nervous breakdown stage somewhere between Breonna Taylor and George Floyd.

But I did start back doing doing shit that made me happy as a kid.

And you know what I found?

Fucking joy. That’s right. Joy.

I started drawing and shit again. Writing and designing. It was Iike I conjured my 12 years old self minus the cripplingly low self esteem and incessant pining over boy band members.

I was an N’sync girl, Justin was my husband for life, judge ya mutha.

Facing the Old Squared Circle

Anyway this stroll down memory lane eventually led me back to one of the earliest love/ hate relationships I’d encounter in my younger days: wrestling.

the most electrifying move in all of wrestling: The People’s Elbow!!!

The hate for the sport comes because my grandpa and his buddies used to watch the shit religiously, and by default so did I every time we’d schlep down to Florida for the summer. Back in my day, kids weren’t able to control the remote for themselves, we had to watch what the adults did and suffer through it like everybody else.

But there was an advantage in my suffering.

See all the boys in elementary school were into wrestling. And as I was too weird to hang out with the girls, wrestling gave me something to talk about with the guys. We’d talk Shawn Michaels, Stone Cold Steve Austin and of course, my personal favorite, and the subject of one too many wildly inappropriate pre-adolescent fantasies, The Rock.

Oh yeah at the tender age of 8 I could definitely smell what he was cooking. Still can.

With me diving into my childhood joys, I figured why not start back watching wrestling? It also helped that I’d been watching Young Rock on Hulu lately, and his nostalgic walk down memory lane disguised as a clever push for his eventual presidency run, made me remember why I loved the sport to begin with.

Back to RAW

The only thing is I had no clue who any of the new players were. You gotta think I stopped watching somewhere around junior high for some vague reason I couldn’t readily remember.

But I do follow Snoop on IG, and saw he has a cousin Sasha Banks with blue hair like me AND born the same day as me. And because I harbor wildly narcissistic tendencies, I figured if I was gonna watch anybody it might as well be my birthday twin.

And boy am I glad I made that decision, because Sasha is fucking electrifying.

BOSS TIME!!!

I haven’t gotten deep into her character storylines as yet, but what I did see was enough. Not only is she talented as fuck — seriously, the Back Stabber and the Bank Statement are better than anything from the Diva era I came up with — but her character is big, bad, bold, and fucking brash as fuck. Just like the male wrestlers I’d come to grow fond of when I was younger.

A couple days of watching Sasha Banks highlights and my ass was ready to watch Monday Night Raw again. I even got her entrance music as my ringtone.

Yes me, a grown woman who has been around since the inception of ringtones, and who hasn’t had one since the great ringtone market implosion of 2013.

Note: There was no implosion but mentally it’s how I explain the seemingly overnight transition from “I like that song it must be played to announce all my calls from now on!” to “It’s been on silent for three months, I honestly don’t remember what the ringer sounds like anymore.”

Seriously is this not the hardest shit ever?!

Needless to say I’m officially a Banks head.

Extra Note: I do not know what the people of her fandom call themselves but I do know that is how I will be showing I’ve bent the knee from now on.

A Not-So-Shocking Blow

So color me fucking surprised when I found out my new favorite wrestler of all time and escape from my personal dystopia, had decided to quit the WWE earlier this week.

Now it’s worth mentioning Sasha had tried to quit before because the politics of the job was starting to wear on her mental health. But Vince wouldn’t let her out of her contract because she was one of his biggest stars putting butts in seats. Instead, he let her take a break so she could have time to work on herself, and she ended up coming back better than ever.

So for her to quit for what seems like for real this time, something had be up.

Lucky for me the WWE was brash enough to throw her and her tag team partner Naomi under the bus with this official press release that reads like that letter Human Resources sends out to block your unemployment claim.

it’s the Raw’s a scripted tv show so perform bitches fa’ me.

Naturally wrestling fans are confused as fuck because they can’t tell if tag team quitting is part of the script or not. Especially since the WWE has a history of shitting on talent for ratings. Matter fact there’s a whole arc right now about some rebel dude and his team getting revenge on Roman Reigns and the bloodline that’s quite literally the oldest story in the WWE playbook.

The Tale as Old as Time

But allow me to shed some light in this bitch.

Let’s take away the flash, glitz, and glamour that is wrestling for like 5 seconds and put this into regular terms anyone can understand.

Imagine that you are that rare unicorn person who actually knows what the fuck they want to do at 12 like all the stories tell us that we should. Imagine doing everything in your power to learn and practice and train to become a professional wrestler. Even if that means bugging your famous cousin to take you to matches when he can, just so you can be in the arena. So you can smell the sweat, the very real blood, and just get a chance to take in the energy that comes with being in the vicinity of the “squared circle”.

Boss from young

Then when you finally get your shot to be and do the thing that you have always wanted to be and do, there’s so much politics in the fucking way you start not being able to see the thing you love as what you love anymore.

Little by little your heart leaves. Not because of the game. Not because of practice. Not even because of the demands of the job. But just because of fucking politics.

And you try, you really do try — repeatedly — to abide.

You say thank you when you’re supposed to. You travel on a moment’s notice wherever you have to go. And you do anything and everything you have to, to show that you are very much still committed to this thing.

But when you raise very viable concerns about the future of your career, and your place in the company scheme, YOU get told you’re being impatient. That nobody else is complaining and you have to pay your dues. Because this is the way it has always been.

And what Sasha Banks did in response to that horse shit, is by far the biggest reason why I will continue to follow this woman for a very long time.

She took away the power of the cameras and dramatic storylines WWE is known for, and handled this shit like the Human Resources problem that it really is.

She said, ”The boss ain’t getting no fucking respect around here, neither is my crew. And some people might be okay with that shit, but that don’t make it right. Cause I put my time in. I’ve shown myself approved and willing to do the work. And since y’all won’t change, then I’mma control what I can and walk the fuck away. Good luck putting butts in them seats without me.”

And I applaud her for doing it because the shit she’s going through at WWE, people in all corporate industries are encountering right now.

A brazen and bold attempt to silence the voices of upcoming generations who will have to deal with what’s left when the shit is done hitting the fan. And we are tired of it. So we’re walking away.

Apparently right on time too, because try as I might to escape the news that I don’t care to report anymore, the fact remains that economically the US is about join the rest of the world in the clusterfuck that is the current global financial markets.

Summer from hell? We still ain’t recovered from the winter from hell.

And much like Sasha, I decided if I going to have to face this shit, I’m going to do it on my terms, not by playing by old rules that were never meant to work for me to begin with.

And if you tired of the bullshit too, you better get your walking shoes fam. The exit sign’s for better is not too far up ahead.

‘Till Next Time Loves.

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Jael R. Bakari

Jael R. Bakari

I write and speak about the shit that keeps me up at night. 4️⃣🖤🐑www.jaelrbakari.com