Affirmation 

Affirmation 

​Woman: 

You are an astoundingly aesthetic soul.
A beautiful humanbeing.
Do not disrespect the amazing woman you are becoming by settling for a man that treats you like you are mediocre.

This concept that you must audition for a space in someone’s life, plz bbz,
if they can’t see your worth and treat you accordingly then kindly request them to  please step aside.
They are are standing in the pathway, obstructing road for adequate beings,
to the mecca that is you.

Do not ever settle to be disrespected,
Your mother did not go through hours of labour pains for a person to make you feel like you aren’t enough.
 
“Enough” is a default setting.

Let them leave the valuating your worth,
and rather, concern themselves with the introspection on whether they are worthy of a woman like you.
  

The Voice and The Writer

The Voice and The Writer

I think that we are born with many talents, and if we are fortunate to live long enough, we get to explore many of them. I have been fairly far removed from writing, exploring other gifts that I suppose landed in my lap. I had always thought that if I had to start speaking my mind as opposed to writing, it would be as a performance poet, but as ironic as life would have it, it has been as a mystery voice through an electronic machine. In pursuing this and finishing law, writing somehow got lost in all the new found talents of the voice.

In the stormy months before I had to vacate from being a voice and in between mourning and longing, I found myself in this quiet place where the warm regards, condolences, and hugging hands can’t reach. I found myself watching  poems again and somehow found myself conversing with my writer self.

For the first few minutes I didn’t recognize her, at first she showed herself in small bits and pieces. Her reflection faded in a half empty bottle of red wine, and clung against the gulp of the white tablets it washed down. Her familiar songs, loud in the clutter in my head, in the frantic panic to find something or someone destructive enough to destroy herself with before she drowned. She was always a strange one, would always rather pick a weapon of choice, gale winds, and Iceberg, or a ravenous storm than accept that her ship was actually not built for these waters and was sinking. She would rather let them blame the winds than let them know that, all the while they thought her ship was floating, there was a hurricane in her with a gravitational pull stronger than the waters that carried her. She was a hurricane woman, trying to stay afloat forgetting that she had the force to propel her way out the storm.

It is strange, suddenly, I see the young girl in me, who couldn’t make sense of the storms that life kept hitting her with, so she held on to a pen. She wrote, but didn’t tell the pen her secrets, she wrote away the voices in order to find her own on paper, she wrote away the several showers a day that hid away the tears, she wrote away the silence she had given her pen once she discovered her voice, she wrote away many things, stripped them carefully of their meaning until all the omissions wrote her back into existence.

And there in the quiet, sweet centre, she found the girl that held on to pen for dear life, where pen was the shore and the navigation needle, where pen was the needle and ink was the fix for a hurricane trying to set sail, in a boat.

The Contour Tutorial

The Contour Tutorial

I think that in a world where your hair is forced into being straight with chemicals as opposed to coiled and natural from as early as the age of three. It says something to you from a very young age, it says that you are to be corrected, that you are born wrong and your hair must be fixed into submission, and “fixing” it is making it look straight and flowing not stiff and coiled.
I remember how in primary school, we always used to refer to the peach-coloured crayon/pencil as “skin colour”, I remember how all my people were always drawn in “skin colour”, and not brown because I was a five year old regurgitating the norms that surrounded me and failed to recognise my own brown skin as my norm. I’m half chuckling right now remembering this picture I once won some art competition for in nursery school. It was a picture of me riding a horse on the beach in the sunset, and my mom has somehow kept it all these years. In the picture my skin is light brown and I have long blonde hair… it was almost like five year old me had never looked in a mirror. I knew I didn’t look like that, but I thought that was what I was meant to look like because that was the standard that surrounded me.

From a little black girl who played with white dolls and read books about little kids with blonde hair and blue eyes, it makes me question how deep one has to dig to find the identity of black and then of woman and merge the two when none is found in the literature (magazines and school books) we use to educate little black girls.

The other day (basically how this train of thought came to me), I was sitting and doing my make up, as I sat there contouring my nose- it hit me… the essence of contouring your nose is to make it look more pointy and highlight the bridge, but of course my nose is flat and wide. Here I was, a full grown black woman and still correcting myself into European beauty norms… These are hard things to unlearn. We are raising little black girls constantly  telling them that they are wrong through correcting their speech, their grammar, their bodies, hair and overall looks into whiteness. And there is nothing wrong with whiteness but constantly trying to ‘whitefy’ the black girl by implication, says how wrong she is for being born black and female.

While typing this I randomly decided to do a little experiment, which you are more than welcome to try too, I insist. I typed a google image search with the words “beautiful women”, and the entire first three page were different shades of white women and two of black women with long straight hair. Eight search pages later, not a single black woman with natural hair.I  was gutted. I tried again, this time searching just “women” and still, hundreds of white faces and one or two black faces. Perhaps it is a silly experiment, but it spoke volumes for what the norm is for how the world conditions little black girls to see themselves through white lenses.

This took me back to a heart breaking quote I once saw, “black woman is the nigger of the world”.

Our self love is hard, it has to be forcefully deliberate and it almost amounts to defiance just to acknowledge your flat nose, melanin skin, full lips, midnight eyes,  and hair that coils and defies gravity.Loving yourself as a black woman is a challenge and protest in a institutionally sexist and racist world.

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*images not my own

Unraveling 

Tonight,
I felt your touch for what it was

     -a touch, and not a caress.

I felt your grasp for what it was 

     -a grip, and not embrace.

And when I held you in my arms, I held you like you do a liquid, with certainty that is was not solid enough to hurt you,

Yet disappointed at how easily it slipped through your cupped hands without ever quenching your thirst.

The War

The War

Loving you was like going to war, I was never home for my return.

I had dragged home into the battle field on the front line. The welcome home fire place that burned was an automic bomb of goodbyes that exploded from kissing lips. My arms swung around the cold metal in an intimate embrace, I pulled the trigger in a rainfall of bullets that poured like a storm cloud of cupid’s arrows.
That bastard is a liar.

No casualties found, no civilians harmed just a fist full of lies to punch fluttering butterflies out my gut. Just veterans with ghost limbs to wear like glistening badges of honour, like when our armour was taken off and words fired at bare chests like 50 calibre bullets of feeling and numbness and blood. And a hankerchief to wipe the tear on the skin, to hold the face together. Hold your face up to the one you fight and the one you love with battle scars like a braille erotica novel.  Your hand once touched me before your gun did. You once fired my belly with mustard gas, and all butterflies fell to the hard floor to harden, like how all men do after a war.

You’re a cold, cold war. Your fire jet planes disappear into the warmth of the sun but drop heavy, heavy kamikaze pilot corpses. I fell in love with the art of your war, but my only weapon was my self destruction in your cardio vascular muscle, between expansion and retraction, a Trojan horse in the centre of your atrium.

I’m sorry the war had to end that way, but loving you was like a war and I was never home for my return.

A Memory…

Have you ever lived in a shack? Have you ever set foot on the sandy carpet of a shack where they can’t afford to get cold cement put in? Here is the funnier part, have you ever been too poor to own that type of shack? Have you and your family ever had to place black disposable bags over that sandy carpet floor, all four of you, sleeping on that in a make shift living room where strangers had taken pity on you because you had nowhere to go. Have you ever had to sleep next to a rusty punctured bin burning with coal because the body heat of four bodies was not enough to keep winter from penetrating the metal? Many a times I watched my mom wash our uniform and hang it outside overnight, only to take it down in the morning after we have had our meal from the paraffin stove, so that the paraffin smell won’t cling to us, so that the scent of poverty won’t escape from our colours blazer in our model C schools. What’s scariest is that I never, not once did I see my mother cry. Everyday she burned the imboula and every day she washed our clothes late at night long after the candles were out that marked our homework, and every day she went to work and disguised the poverty as hard labour.