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the blacker life

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5 Things I Refuse to Take With Me to 2018

newyearsstairs
Me, New Years Eve 2017

Happy New Year! So many people I know are talking about what they are going to do this year. Some people plan to work out more, others want to save money and so on. We always talk about New Years resolutions and the new beginnings we hope they bring, but why don’t we spend as much time addressing things we want to leave in 2017?

After a lot of reflecting these last few days, I’ve come up with 5 things I refuse to take into this new year to live my best life.

I refuse to…

  1. Worry incessantly: I have spent a great deal of my time worrying. Will this be okay? Will that happen when I want it to? What if the worst case scenario is my reality? I’d be lying to myself if I said I’ll never worry again, but this year, I won’t let it consume me. I have a lot of irons in the fire this year, and the more goals you have, the more room there is for error, and I have to accept that possibility. I’m also a spiritual person who knows the power of prayer. Doing my best and staying prayed up is my mantra this year.
  2. Believe everyone is happy for me: As much I have worried over the years, I’ve been blessed just as much or even more. Some of these blessings I’ve shared and others I’ve kept quiet. In the process, I’ve seen who’s rooting for me and who isn’t and even some of the ones “rooting for me” ain’t really rooting for me, if you know what I mean. Nothing to harp on, but definitely something to take note of. In the words of my momma, “everybody ain’t ya friend.” Put the fake cheerleaders on the bench; sometimes you have to be your own biggest fan.
  3. Skimp on self-care: For the most part, I keep my hair done and nails done (unless you catch me on a hot mess day, which is more probable than not these days), but self-care is beyond surface level aesthetics. I typically don’t get enough rest, on busy days I don’t eat like I should, and on some gym days, stretching and adequate water intake fall by the wayside. Sometimes, I let the little stuff knock me down and forget who the bleep I am in the process. Addressing THESE things and more are also part of self-care. This year, I vow to step my game up.
  4. Stretch the circle: We learned how to color in the lines in kindergarten, and to say the least, some struggled more than others. In hindsight, maybe I was one of those kids. Although I’m not necessarily referring to coloring circles with markers and crayons, the message is relatively the same: stay in the circle. I have a circle of family and a few select friends that I trust through and through, but at times, I’ve looked at other people who could possibly join this elite team that aren’t qualified for the job. Not a good look. Don’t get me wrong, making new friends and spending time with others isn’t a bad thing, but I won’t go as far as stretching my circle into an oval.
  5. Seek validation outside of myself: I have come far on this one, but I still have work to do. When I was younger, schoolyard trials and tribulations had the power to influence how I felt about myself. As I grow more into adulthood, the ups and downs of relationships, my career, life changes and other things have played a major role in my self-concept. I feel that this is healthy and natural, but only to a certain extent. I have to make sure people and things don’t define who I am. If someone feels some kind of way about me, I can not internalize the negativity. If I don’t achieve the goals I intended to slay, I can not own failure. Why go broke on the account of people and things when you can stay rich off of self love, the gift that keeps on giving? I simply can’t afford to keep going broke.

I plan to stick to NOT doing these things and for real for real, I hope you will too.

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On Her Way to School

car

Before she pulls off

He makes sure she’s safe and

Buckled in before they begin

Their conversation

The stimulation of his listening ear

The way he listens is

Not of this world and

Neither is she

The people in the other cars be

Lookin

They be looking at them half crazy

Crazy Like the crazy type that be talking to themselves

But she is never alone and

She knows it

And maybe they do too

As she drives and

As she stops talking she

Be listening and he

Be telling her everything she needs to know but

The silence is loud as ever

So loud that the people on the street

Are overcome by his words

The power of these words that

They haven’t even heard but

If they listened to him like her they

Too could have this stimulation and

This conversation

Some of the people called her a loon and

Some of the people called her a fool but

All she was doin was talking to God on her way to school

Stop Looking

oncar

Because we women too often look to everything and everyone else but ourselves…to find and define ourselves


Stop looking for her

In between the lines and

Squeezed behind the confines of

The words of others

She feels no need to hide her unfinished pages

Her book is still in progress and

Writing is a process so

She takes her sweet time

Stop looking for her

In a man’s lustful gaze

In his validation, in his temptation and

His inclination toward what’s on her outside

He can go sit down somewhere because trust

She’ll be just fine

And if chivalry don’t pull out her chair before he pulls out his or if

Chivalry don’t give her no goodnight kiss she’ll

Pull out her own chair and sit where she wants to sit

Chivalry died but she still sleeps at night and

Before she closes her weary eyes

God always tells her He loves her anyway

Stop looking for her

In her accolades or in her titles or

In her degrees

When the dust settles underground and

When she is no longer around, what does a piece of paper in a pretty frame really even mean?

In life, all that forms above ground will eventually cease

Only to return through the trees and

Through the breeze and the dirt but

How she gonna enjoy her stay if she’s too high on hierarchy to come back down to earth?

Stop looking for her

In other places other than

Where you should have looked already

Just because you think you’re not ready for

Who you may find

Dig deeper

Some extra help

Something like a search and rescue mission

but this one’s for your damn self

An Amber Alert, a missing person’s case

You better do something different before it’s too late

me

Souled Out

pray.jpg

Because sometimes, in today’s America, there is no such thing as forgiveness 

you can’t make me say

I forgive you

while the blood is still wet on

the pavement or

on your badge or

on the American flag

and when that blood dries

my face

will still be wet with

tears and thousands upon thousands of years because

there is no such thing as consolation

you can’t make me pray

for the one caught red-handed while

people pay for his lies and

his alibis watching

black mothers cry

watching

their beautiful black babies die

I will never forgive you

you forfeited that kind of love

the moment you made the conscious decision

to hate me

you can’t make me

you can’t make me paint a smile

on this tortured face any longer

because meekness has tainted the canvas enough already and

my load is far too heavy

to keep carrying your weight and

carrying your guilt to

ease the burden

it’s too late for Kumbaya and

your “sorry” makes my ears bleed

it brings me too much pain

and I won’t hold your hand

because it is stained with

the blood of my brother

And I can’t make you wash your hands

 

Malcolm X

On this day in 1925, Malcolm X was born. He would have been 84  years old today.

malcolm x book

“My black brothers and sisters — of all religious beliefs, or of no religious beliefs — we all have in common the greatest binding tie we could have. We are all black people!”

We Can’t Afford It

boysittin

We can’t afford it

We’ve been nickeled and dimed far too many times

To make fun of our sisters on the welfare line or

To make fun of the young queens on the payday loan line in a bind

Trying to pay fall tuition in the wintertime

No more change left to spare

There’s no room to instigate and

publicly humiliate our brothers

Behind on child support and

Sitting

On the bench of the court

The same court that pit them

Against their fellow sisters and brothers and their own baby’s mothers

It costs too much

We don’t have enough to share videos

of fights on social media and the news and

Spectate and point at black people like

animals in a zoo

We don’t have enough to plaster photos all over of our women and our girls with no clothes on bending over

over and over and over again

Because the slave master’s check was never enough for us to spend

We can’t afford it

This predicament this

Carefully crafted division

Impedes the vision of our ancestors

The best laid plans of our foremothers and our forefathers

Why are we not bothered enough

by the darkness driving out the light?

Tonight there are torches glowing in the night’s sky

This day is far from 1959

Or is it? Part of the plan?

Black woman

Black man

We don’t stand a chance if

We don’t even take a stand

The piggy bank broke when we turned our backs on each other and

now we’re stuck stealing coins from our sisters and our brothers because

We can’t afford it

Microaggression

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Microaggression

That thing that is a thing

That really isn’t a thing

It’s real in a scholarly article or

In a library database

But the minute the word leaves my lips

To describe how I live

It’s fake

 

Unreasonable doubt

 

Microaggression

Too vulgar for your after-school special

But not enough for a therapy session

Because there’s no cure for oppression

There’s no medicine for this disease

Even though I have symptoms everyday

Symptoms that you may not ever even see

That no vaccination or inoculation could

Ever prevent

This is a diagnosis; this is a dose of reality

My pain, my wound, my infliction, my condition – it’s there

Trust me

 

Blind faith

 

Microaggression

Is when you don’t like someone for no reason —

Wait, there is a reason, but it remains to be unsaid

Even though it’s in your heart and

All up in your head

But you can hear it if

You’re really quiet and you really listen

To your bias and to your intuition

Microaggression by definition is

Subtle discrimination

Every day, threaded

The fabric of this nation

 

Sight seen and unseen

 

Microagression

Is If I looked like you, I would have gotten the job that you do and

I really like your people, and

I just love their hair too

Can I touch it? I mean, is it okay with you? or

You’re my favorite friend of color, my brother

Who knows your truth better than me?

 

Microaggression

I find you in traveling lectures and

In fancy books by fancy smancy professors

But I see you more in the hallways

And in the mall

And at work and

At the bar and

On Facebook and

On the news

And in my neighborhood

And in my blues

 

Too close to home

 

Microaggression

But you go by another name:

The girl that sits next to me in class who

Covers her tests with her hands thinking

Her answers are the only reason I

Pass

Or the mother that grabs her child’s hand real tight

When I walk by at night

And in the daytime and

The co-worker who pretends to be my friend but

Soon as I turn my back, she’s criticizing me and the position

I don’t deserve to be in

Who’s who?

 

You’re with me everyday

Some of you I don’t even know

Yet and still, I know you better than I

Ever knew myself

On Me

unnamed

They say they like

what I wear and

The lips on my lipstick

And the way my hair

wears my head but

It wears on me

The moment my words leave my lips and

I put my foot down and my hands on my hips

It’s too confusing.

And it’s too hard

Be quiet

Be cute

Little black girl

Play

Your

Part

It wears on me

Like when I wear my super skinny jeans

And they say to me

they look so good on you

I say thanks, it’s because I’m running

Running every other day of the week

I’m running

Because it wears on me

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