Poetic Bends · Story Time · Thoughts of the Day

Regarding My Blackness

While sitting in the movie theater this past January, I watched as Moonlight began to borrow itself deep inside my heart. It clung to my lungs and wrapped around my rib cage. It crept into my brain stem and spread across my skull.

I was covered in it from head to toe. Unable to separate myself from it, we had become one. Suddenly and wholeheartedly.

After the commotion at the Oscars and Moonlight was finally given its well deserved title and prize, everything that I held inside burst through my tear ducts. It was as if every single marginalized person out there, the ones who were born with the words “I AM DIFFERENT” written on their forehead like a birthmark, were finally able to wipe away the permanent marker. The slate was wiped clean and they could finally write something else.

Because suddenly, through the shocked, ernest and tear stained faces of the Moonlight cast and crew, they, along with many baring witness, watched as the word87dedde498b70bbac653e4389497036ds that looked back at them in the mirror were clearly and miraculously, “YOU ARE SEEN”.

I’ve spent these 26 years of my life trying to understand what it means to have a white mother and a black father. What it means to be biracial. What it means to be black. And I have to say that it wasn’t until recently that I truly found myself able to embrace my blackness.

And maybe that’s because we don’t have to only be seen as victims of racism and police brutality or as images that take up space, or as bodies to be consumed, or darkness to be feared. Maybe it’s the mere fact that our stories are not only being told, but they’re being recognized as worthy and worthwhile.

It shouldn’t have to be said, but I’ll say it anyway. I’ll say it until my throat is raw and my voice is raspy.

We run just as fast as you (though some might argue). We laugh jus
t as loud as you (though some might argue). We smile just as bright as you. We love just as hard as you. Our burdens might not bear the same weight, but we matter just as much as you do.

I am part of the black community. Those are my people. You are my people. And I love every single one of you. 

And if we’re getting technical here, I am not only just black, I am also a woman. But that’s a story for another day.

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Daily Post Challenges · Story Time · Thoughts of the Day

Closeted Fear

In response to the Daily Post’s prompt “Closet”

When I was a kid I was afraid of my closet. The same way I was afraid to go to sleep with my door closed or the hallway light off.

In fact, when it came to sleeping, there were a lot of things I was afraid of.

I remember once in elementary school, we were having a Read-In. You know, one of those Midwest things where kids brought their sleeping bags to school and we would basically spend the entire day inside them while the teacher read us stories.

One of the stories that our teacher read to us was about a young girl whose bedroom window faced the cemetery outside. As I recall, as the girl slept, a demon or a ghost of some kind climbed in through her window. I don’t remember how the story ended exactly but I remember being terrified. So much so, that I still remember the story some 15 years later. (This also gave me a fear of cemeteries for a while)

So I was afraid of my windows. I would refuse to have my bed near the window for fear of something coming in through it to get me. I was afraid of my closet and would make sure that it was closed before I climbed into bed. I was afraid of sleeping with my door closed or with the hallway light off. It made me feel better to know that my parents were up and that they were the source of the soft noises as I feel asleep. I wanted to be able to see them going about their evenings. Knowing that with them there, I was safe.

Now, I can’t sleep with my door open. I have to have all the lights off, including the hallway or kitchen light to even entertain the idea of sleep. The closet can be open. In fact, it’s always open. I don’t even think I’ve shut it once.

I still have a slight issue with the window though. However, being on the 5th floor of my apartment building, it doesn’t seem to matter as much. But when I go back home to visit my parents, I sometimes think about unsavory possibilities that lurk outside the window of our ranch style home.

When I was a kid, I was afraid of a lot of things. Things that would seep into my dreams or prevent sleep altogether. I’d like to say that I’m no longer afraid. But I guess I’m just afraid of different things now. But maybe that’s okay.

Though my soul may set in darkness, it will rise in perfect light. I have loved the stars too fondly to be fearful of the night.

Thoughts of the Day

An Ode to My Mad Fat Diary

In homage to season 3 of My Mad Fat Diary premiering Monday June 22nd, I thought I would write down everything I’ve learned from the past 2 seasons.MMFD2

This is one of the few shows that I’ve watched that has gotten through to the very core of my emotional soul. I have never laughed more, cried more, felt more or connected more with a show and its characters. It’s a show that gets me through the dark days and helps me to understand myself and to accept the full capacity I have to live the life I want to live.

For that, I have nothing but gratitude.

So here we go:

  1. Some people are holding on to life by their fingertips. If you’re given the chance to start over, take it. Grab it and don’t let go. It might just be the best thing  you ever do. It might just help you learn to breathe again.
  2. Don’t sit on the sidelines and let life pass you by. Happiness starts with you. If you want to have friends, get out there and make friends. If you want to enjoy yourself, go and enjoy yourself. Don’t let your own fears keep you from doing and having what you want.
  3. Don’t be afraid of your own reflection. Don’t fear what you see in the mirror. It’s okay to look at yourself and say: “Damn, it’s scary how good I look some days.”. It might take a while to believe what you’re saying but keep saying it. Confidence and self-love starts at home.
  4. Stop wishing that there was a Finn Nelson out there. The Finn Nelson that will accept you for you and like you just the way you are. The Finn Nelson that doesn’t care what other people think and wants what he wants simply because he wants it. Be that Finn Nelson instead. Once you learn to accept and love yourself just the way you are, the world will be overflowing with rays of Finn Nelson sunshine. And we’ll all be better for it.
  5. Winston Churchill said: “If you’re going through Hell, keep going”. We all struggle. Some struggle more than others. Some go through their entire lives with a pain in their hearts that even they might never fully understand. But no matter your level of pain, it is justified. Whether it’s your self-esteem or body image, or fear of rejection, your pain is your own. The key is to find a way to own it, learn from it and then move on from it.
  6. The past is your past. But it might not stay in the past. It might try and keep up with you every step of the way and follow you into the future. Don’t dismiss what happened in the past or try to forget about it. What’s been done to you and what you’ve done to yourself shapes who you are. But it doesn’t have to define you. You can still create the person you want to be.
  7. Don’t be afraid that you won’t find true happiness or beauty or love. You can find all of those things in the people you surround yourself with. Find your gang of people that make you laugh, hold you when you cry, listen to what you have to say, keep your secrets, love you for everything that you are and all you are not. These are the people that will help you find everything that you are looking for.
  8. Don’t worry. You will one day find your Finn. And your Chloe. And your Archie. And your Izzy and your Chop. And you will ultimately find your Rae.

Thank you My Mad Fat Diary for giving me everything I didn’t know I needed. Thank you for always being there.

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In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Moved to Tears.”

Poetic Bends

Love, Hate, Fear

Fear is the path to the Dark Side. Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering.” – Yoda

3bbbf5b90d2295fa9ca9a0198495c219We hate fear

We fear love

And we love to hate

They say “Hate” is a strong word

But so is “Love”

“Fear” can be an even stronger word

A stronger emotion

A stronger attitude

We fear the unknown

Unable to welcome it

It’s easier to hate what we don’t understand

Instead of taking the time to truly learn

To appreciate

To love

We fear love

And yet we desire it most

We covet it

Like we covet acceptance

But not everyone will love you

Many will fear you

Many will hate you

For just being you

Just because it’s easier

Easier to oppose

To oppress

To object

Then to take the same side

It’s hard to accept our fear

So instead we learn to hate it

In order to gain back something we lost

To let go of that uncertainty

And take back our power

In an already unknown world

Standing up and spewing hate and fear

Can make you feel tall

It can make you feel just

It can make you feel important

But standing up

And spreading love

Can make you feel empowered

Known

Heard

Seen

We can fear fear

And we can hate hate

But we can also love love

…we must choose between what is right and what is easy.“- Albus Dumbledore

Story Time · Weekly Writing Challenge

1,000 Empty Words

For this week’s challenge, use one of the images in this gallery as a starting point for a short story, poem, free-write, or musing on whatever you’d like.

Emptiness I can see it.

I can see everything around me. It’s dark and damp and unwelcoming. I’ve heard this all before. Many times before. You say things to me so I’ll listen. But you’re never actually listening. The walls are closing in. Concealing my mind and body inside. There is no way out. There is no way to escape from your wicked tongue. You’re constantly spewing words at me. Because God doesn’t only know that I love words. You voice calls to me in the darkness. It echoes slowing and surely in my mind. It pulls me further into the shadows. I know what’s waiting for me there but I can’t prevent myself from moving. I’m always moving. Always in motion. It’s hard to put a stop to a habit. I’ve never been one to do things cold turkey. I strive to push your voice away. Push it deeper and deeper into the back of my mind. So far back that I can no longer hear it. I wish to let you go. Wish to let you float away into the sky and trees and never bother me again. I wish for a lot of things. But not all wishes come true. My wishes contradict with your wishes. You wish to tear me down and put me in an empty room. You wish for me to be alone. Wallowing in my own dark self-pity. But I won’t let you take over. I can’t let you take over. Because once you do there is no going back. You might always be there in the back of my mind but that won’t stop me from letting go. It won’t stop me from attempting to forget the impossible. I believe I can change this empty room. This dark and daunting hallway. I don’t have to be alone. I don’t have to want to escape. I can make it anything I want. I can be anything I want. But you constantly try and stop me. You’re always there with a harsh image or a blunt word. I can’t escape the voices. Your voice in particular. I can’t escape the sound forming around the words “different”.

I can see it.

Every minute of every day. It’s always in front of my face and the faces of the ones who are most dear to me. Your voice has entered their heads as well. It’s whispering to them in the night. It’s telling them things that they didn’t want to know. It’s telling me the same thing. There are other voices that try and stand up to you. Try and tell you that you’re wrong and that we’re all wonderfully, extraordinary individuals. But your voice is strong. It’s imbedded in the heads of every single person on this earth. Every day is a struggle. Every day is a constant battle against you and your powerful friends. It doesn’t help that you have a consistent daily supply of anguish, fear, and uncertainly to fuel you.

But I can see it. I’ve seen it with my own eyes. You may make people feel empty and alone and afraid. But no one will ever feel as empty as your 1,000 empty words.

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Story Time

Characters that Haunt You- Part 2

Since I received so much positive feedback on my original Characters that Haunt You post (of which my heart has now grown two sizes), I thought that I would continue the journey of my character. I would love to hear thoughts on it!

I can already smell it, from hundreds of miles away; the greed of men and their desire to conquer. I try to push down this feeling, push it back into the dark depths of my overcrowded mind. Once it gets out, there will be no containing it. I cannot, and will not, be a monster. But what’s stopping me? They already fear and loathe me. But fear of an idea only increases fear of a thing itself. They fear desolation just as much as they fear their own greed. Just as much as I fear my own innate desires. This fire burning, building, churning inside me is desperate. Desperate to put them in their place. But what place is that? What makes them any less capable redemption? Redemption for me isn’t possible. I am already condemned for something I may or may not do. They, however, will be condemned for not condemning me. And why should we show each other mercy? We will never grasp hands and call each other “friend”.

In fact, I have no desire to side with the likes of men. Men, who are no different than common beasts. Men, who constantly thrash, kick and tear the world apart simple because they can. How are they any different than my ancestors, the ones who chose to succumb to their burning rage and their thirst to take the pride of others? How are they any different than their own ancestors? Surely, not all of them have chosen between the lesser of two evils and yet. And yet, every single inhabitant of this land strive to keep or take back what it rightfully theirs. But does that mean that I have no right to keep what is mine, as well? However, what would I consider mine?

I am the wanderer. I see more in one day than most of these inhabitants will even see in a lifetime. I have seen vast mountain tops, dreary dark caves, vast lush lands of greens and golds. I have also seen fire and rain and death and destruction. Some of which has come from my own hand, from my own ignorance. But even after the devastation, I have seen great men rise from the ashes. It seems, however, that it is the pleasure of lesser man to light the flame. I’ve also seen that after the fire dies out and the grass begins to grow again, when the sounds of tiny featured creatures resume their cheery songs, each and every one of those “great men”, get up, dust themselves off, and return home. But does a wanderer ever really have a home to return to? Do these inhabitants even care if I have been forced out, alone and injured, into a great big world? A world, that even at my size, is too vast for me to comprehend? Or am I just the creature who will uproot their lives and let the world end in fire? But if that’s so, they have one thing I do not. They at least have the privilege, the honor, of burning together. I, on the other hand, will be forever alone. I will burn, sad and unaccompanied, in my own, potent and powerful, embodied flame.

Through the years, I have heard stories of the magnificent one. The one whose horde was so extravagant and grande that it brought the short, gruff creatures across hundreds of miles, across desperation and hope, back to their once grand and expansive land they proudly called home. But even things magnificent can certainly be destroyed. Through hope comes the ever changing, ever growing, desire to regain some semblance of peace, some notion of having a new opportunity to live. And how do I want to live? Do I want to be known as the vile, vast winged creature who scours the skies looking for it’s next opportunity to displace? And all for the sake of sitting atop a grand waterfall of gold, as if I were king? As if I were worthy of such a throne? As if I were like any other jealous, blood thirsty, mongrel who fought tooth and nail to rule? I am not so sure. Could I ever embody the lives of those before me? And what of those after me? Can I change the perception, the prejudice, by one simple act of…inaction? Could I change the world? I may never know.

I am, after all, but a simple dragon.