Category: reflections

Tears. #Orlando

Tears will not come to me
I fight them. For shame. I fight them.
When the faces of the innocent roll like tape
And the wake of their memory are desperate phone calls
Amidst shells of screams, and mothers who scream back miles away.
Hot coals in the hands. Hot flames on the breath.
Life is snatched; a bloody breath in darkness
Reverie joy becoming the nightmare no one can dream
No one can dream
My tears are meaningless in their testament
Because I am angry. More than anything. I am angry.
The cocktail of human failure fails us all
It is the unsuspecting who pay the toll
What a fucking waste. What a fucking curse.
What hell on earth we all partake in.
How we continue to deny each other, while we share this same planet.
Tears stifled by the purest rage
And the roll of tape faces leave saltine rivers.
In the all the pieces the mortal body left across the floor
May souls find the rest in the peace they deserve
And when I cry, they are not my own.
They are for you, my dear, because I cannot cry.
The heart cannot take it.
Rest easy, I pray.
nola
as inspired by Lorraine Hansberry

  1. the unending African vs African-American debate, and the assumption that the former are inherently a better people (and not merely because of continental pride)
  2. melancholy
  3. silly, lazy men
  4. the idea that black women do not or cannot support each other
  5. the fact that people actually live boring lives but pretend not to
  6. respectability politics, especially as perpetuated by the marginalised
  7. the “what about me?”, #alllivesmatter narrative: fuck feelings attempting to dictate self-love
  8. the currency of sex
  9. writing paralysis due to fear
  10. erasure
  11. typing in every individual work experience after uploading my resume on your website
  12. racism and sexism

 

We need it talk. It’s been years, but we need to talk. …or I need to talk. Doesn’t matter.

I almost forgot we were Facebook friends. I didn’t remember that cyber space had reconnected us in this way. After grade school, I always wondered where in life everyone was, but that was only a cursory musing I reserved for a select few – the few with whom I shared adventures. Honestly, despite my ebbing and flowing crush on you back then, I never remembered to wonder about you. How old were we anyway when you walked into my third grade class …or was it fourth grade? Fifth grade? The details are hazy. Nevertheless, you had the nerve to surface on my News Feed and like a conjuring, I snapped into grasping at fading grade school memories of you.

First of all, age looks inexplicably fantastic on you. Good-ness! You’ve clearly found a pattern to this manhood thing and created a lane that works rather comfortably for yourself. You’re taller, darker-featured… and the look behind your eyes seems inquisitive, in the adult, grown and sexy kind of way. As I unabashedly click through damn near all your photos, I see you’re nurturing a lovely pelt of facial hair. I hope the people in your life tell you that it’s completely striking on you. It is; I hope you keep the look.

I’m not going to assume you remember me because I sat behind you in history class or some such nonsense. That never happened. In fact, I don’t think we ever shared any activities of note together throughout the time we went to school. Not a stolen kiss on the playground… not a strange obsession with postcards… I was the kid who kept thoughts in a journal, the real world being inherently awkward to interact with. I was the kid with too much elbows and knees and height for all the boys and too much of an early bloomer to be comfortable in her own skin. So I tended to shrink from public view. So it’s likely you wouldn’t remember me. It’s cool. I liked foursquare at recess though. Maybe you remember that? I do.

But even back then, I thought you were cute. I was lanky and bones and bug eyed and weird, but I know I incubated a crush on you. I can’t remember how long or even how fervently, but I recall hoping you’d like me. I think. I just hope I was nice to you back then – that I never laughed too hard at you, as I tended to do. I do remember laughing at you once though: when your mother walked to you to class in the morning and demanded from you a goodbye kiss. You were horrified. And I was there, laughing like a fool. I still laugh like a fool. It’s become a bit of a signature, this laugh. Maybe you’d appreciate it more now than perhaps you did back then.

Well, I hope you are happy in life. Your photos on Facebook seem to suggest you are. You are all husband and father now. Geez, we’ve become that old! Nevertheless, I still think you’re cute (perhaps more handsome, than cute now, no?) and I hope people let you know that from time to time.

toes in the sand

Where are the articles about dating and relationships for the woman in her late 20s?

…for the single woman on the precipice of 30, the single woman who is still growing in her womanhood, the single woman who has purposefully given up the college scene, but finds the “older crowd” a little too…married with kids. This the single woman who is self-aware and self-confident enough to know that rom-coms are a scam and most dating advice online is click-bait.

There is so much growing up that takes place between 22 and 28 – it’s the difference between having been able to legally drink for a year and finishing up a graduate program/negotiating a starting salary. After 25, you’re truly an adult, making adult-ass decisions, such as replacing your college love for vodka with an appreciation for wine and brown liquors. You’ve come to the point where the weekly Thursday-Friday-Saturday party scene is unsustainable. Thursday is for staying in (it’s usually wash day for me), Friday is reserved for socialising over drinks and appetizers, Saturday – you’re tired; it’s a Netflix night, and Sunday is for brunch and long naps. Listen, you’re grown, the over-excitable large party scene is only needed once…maybe twice a month. And you’re more apt to gather among friends in cute shorts over a grill, sipping homemade sangria anyway. Why all the loud noises every single night of what ought to be a restful weekend?

Dating for the post-25 year old is a different kind of beast, seeing as you’re becoming a different kind of woman. You’re more calculated about your time (‘no’ is a stand-alone statement), the language you employ is more robust (you code switch like a mutha!), your expectations have taken shape and heightened. In all, while still a creation in progress, you’ve become a much more defined, fleshed-out woman than your 22-year-old self.

For the sake of musing and to end my seeming laundry listing of how peculiar this specific age group is, I’d like to highlight a few realities that are perhaps unique to women who are actively dating between the ages of 25 and 30:

1 | Younger men are largely still immature, even though they will argue tooth and nail that they are not. It’s just true. Yes, there are the occasional exceptions, but dude, give it to me straight, how many exceptions have you met lately?

2 | Take the dating game lightly. While finding the kind of guy you’d like to settle with might be your ultimate aim, right now you’re dating. Don’t take every single date so seriously that you wear yourself out. Many dates, you’ll wind up sipping wine across from an absolute joker. Trust me, when brunch rolls around Sunday, you can cackle about it with your girls.

3 | Go with your gut about the whole damn thing. If communication sucks and you’ve been clear about your thoughts on the matter, go with your gut: it’s probably not going to work. If you think he’s harbouring more drama than you need in your life, go with your gut, it’s probably not going to work. If talking to him seems more forced than natural, go with your gut, it’s probably not going to work. Don’t ignore the spidey-senses you have. You have ’em for a reason.

4 | Your mid-twenties are an awkward time altogether. Guys at this same age range most likely aren’t going to have all their shit together – much like you might not; let’s be fair. Know what you are willing to deal with and be up front about it, because you should always go with your gut (#3) and you’re dating anyway, right (#2)?

5| Say what you mean, dammit. At times, this would mean you’re more communicative than he is. Maybe that means you actually initiate a telephone conversation to clear the air, rather than resorting to strained text message conversations. If there is any worth or merit therein, invest accordingly. You’re a grown up now; own the responsibility of your emotions, perceptions and thoughts.

Be Peaceful, They Said

may your black body bring you the peace you ought…
they said, this world you live in is just and fair
you’re just being dramatic
don’t break the law, just pay your taxes
this world was built for us all – humanity first, they said
be peaceful, they said, not too much unrest please, they said
as your city streets still fill with the blood of your daughters
tree barks still marking open graveyards over which your grandmothers’ bodies hung to dry
sidewalks still wet with the bruises of the punched cheeks of your mothers
bodies whistling away in the winds
be peaceful, they said, as they cuff your sons, carrying them away in open caskets
pouring bullet holes through their young brown spines
choking away their future, their health, their well-being, their humanity
shh, now, no need to wail this way, they said
why wail this way
justice is being served, trust the systems to save you

they said, be peaceful, sleep tight, don’t stir
yet your daily bed becomes colder; where are your children to fill your hallways

and may your black body bring you the peace you ought…
 I dread networking events by default. Meeting strangers and hoping they like you well enough to actually engage with you is exhilarating to the thrill seekers. For me, it’s a thing I have to gird myself for. I’m not much of a small talk person; I like deep discussions, meaningful banter. Small talk confuses me: the weather is really not that riveting. You know this… I know this… And then again, networking can be the most pretentious of affairs. People adorn themselves to impress: over-priced high heels, suits they normally don’t even wear to work, the expensive perfume they only turn to for worthwhile outings. Folks come ready to wow you. I like meeting new people and networking can be rather important, but there is absolutely nothing wrong in enjoying an evening of Netflix/Hulu+ and wine. Shoot, the show Hannibal is starting to get really good! And if your next event is among psychology folks, a sprinkle of pop culture references can be appropriate.

But regardless how you feel about it, networking can be crucial part of your professional portfolio. You want to be able to speak to strangers about what you do, and where your passions lie. You want to be able to connect with other more or less like-minded folks about your professional side. You never can be sure where you might find your next job, or mentor, or lover!

So to assist in preparation for your next networking event, I’ve drafted a few key points for consideration:

1 | Business cards
The very least you can do is throw business cards at people and hope they become useful down the line. It’s a curious thing, the business card. You or your company has literally paid money for printed paper, just for you to aim to give them all away. The alternative, of course, is that you get stuck with heaps of cards bearing information you already know about yourself. Might as well come prepared to give away as many as possible. Who knows? This networking event might be the one where you shine and people really do think you are interesting!

2 | Prepare your mind
If you’re the naturally shy type, you’re going to have to dig up some courage somehow. I wouldn’t suggest liquid courage. That would be a mess. Slurring your words in your best corporate heels or your three-piece suit isn’t the business. You know, pace yourself, and prepare your mind to be present.

3 | Wear comfortable clothing
There is no point wearing your tight pant suit or six-inchers when you’re supposed to be working the room, nibbling the passed around hors d’oeuvres, and sipping wine water. By all means, look cute, derive confidence from looking cute; I certainly do. But finding a ledge to lean or sit on halfway through the event and looking mad uncomfortable puts you out of the game. This happened to me once, I felt like I was at a club and over-danced in shoes I didn’t break into properly – not fun. Be comfy, you have business cards to distribute!

4 | Be pleasant, say hello to the people you make eye contact with (why not?), ask tons of questions, and smile through it 
You decided to spend happy hour here, instead of catching up on Hannibal from under your comforter, right? Might as well make it all worth your while!

small things | #3030poetry

…and as for me, it’s the little things

i swear i don’t require much, you know
shoot, and how do you teach the seemingly insignificant

a hand gently placing on the small of my back
a pull-in before an embrace that ends only after i feel something
i sit back in reflection, washing down feelings with wine
she looks back at me curiously, i know i know
you want to feel relaxed again, in control
that everything around you is doing what it should
the warmth of sunshine caressing your scalp
the stillness of sunday morning awakening 
maybe closure need rely on the absence of others
she leans in to kiss my forehead
find you again
Remember how I said January about planning and getting the ball rolling… well……..
This month marks the launching of a project churning in the creative incubator. Alongside a team of two other phenomenal women, I am thrilled, nay ecstatic, to launch Meraki, an online magazine aimed at bringing together creatives on continental Africa and the Diaspora!
Interestingly, the word meraki [may-rah-kee] (adj) is a Greek work often used to describe doing something with soul, creativity, or love. It’s when you put “something of yourself” into what you’re doing, whatever it may be. I doubt there is an English word equivalent.
At any rate, the launch is taking place January 18th in the great city of New York. $30. Open bar. Can’t beat that. Tell a friend to tell a friend and see you there!