On Me


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




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

The Friend in the Family by Fantasia Alston


There was this friend in the family

Who always came around

He’d make the kids smile

Whenever they began to frown

He was so damn cool

He was so damn nice

He was so damn handsome

And oh so polite

One day this friend in the family

Gave me a wink

I was in so much shock

I could barely think

Am I going crazy?

That might be so

Fantasia, calm down

It was nothing, let it go

This friend in the family started giving me money

Buying me candy

And calling me honey

I had no guidance

So naive and lost

Wanting to make a friend

No matter the cost

“He wouldn’t hurt a fly”

That’s what everyone would say

But this friend in the family

Tried to rape me one day.

I became a recluse

Always stayed inside

Because on that very tumultuous day

A part of me died

A few cousins took notice

Asked what was wrong

But I kept saying “nothing”

While pretending to be strong

The more time passed

The weaker I became

His presence around my family

Was driving me insane

Who would be next

If he couldn’t get to me

A predator like him

Shouldn’t be free

I finally spoke up

Told my cousins about that day

They were definitely in shock

But brushed what happened away

Acted as if it never happened

So he still came around

The very few I trusted

Had certainly let me down

I guess it wasn’t a big deal

Maybe I should be more vibrant

And when he sexually assaults me again

I should just remain silent.

unnamedFantasia Alston is a guest writer for theblackertheberry.org. She is a 22 year old free spirit  and visionary who spends most of her time  writing poetry, reading (preferably mystery books), and doing whatever she can to help better the community, whether it be volunteering at the nearest homeless shelter or picking up any litter found on the solid surface of the Earth. She also enjoys painting whatever comes to mind, cooking, meditating,  and taking long walks to nowhere.  She currently resides in Columbia, SC. She is a writer for #SCHOOLGIRLHUSTLE, an organization that supports and empowers girls and women to stay in school. Learn more about her and her work here. Follow her on instagram here.

Weekly Wisdom: Stand Out or Sit Down

Stand Out or Sit Down

There comes a point in time where, whether you want to realize it or not, you’ve longed to fit in. You’ve longed to be like everyone else. In honoring the legacy of Dr. Maya Angelou, who passed away this Wednesday, I think we all need to stop and think about our desire (or former desire) to blend in with the crowd.

Maya Angelou has centered a lot of her work on image and identity. In Phenomenal Woman, she teaches us to embrace our bodies – our wide hips and our full lips, among other things. In I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, she shows us that although we may have been through some wretched times, our songs, or our testimonies are still worth sharing. But, despite the brilliance of Maya Angelou and the beauty of individuality, many people still choose the value being like everyone else.

I remember being in middle school and in seventh grade, my pants got a little tighter. My hips started to fill in and it seemed like this booty appeared overnight. And I absolutely hated it. My pants never fit right because my waist was much smaller than my booty (often a problem still) and the bottom half of my body was growing much faster than the top half, if you know what I mean. And then my tallness set in, on top of it all. But most importantly for me at that time, my body wasn’t like most of the girls’ around me. The skirts my ‘straight up and down’ girlfriends wore were practically a crime for me to wear and although I have never been overweight or obese, I certainly felt so being the size 4/6 among the plethora of size 0s.

And even as late as my college years, as a writer for my school’s newspaper, I sometimes felt the urge to write more vanilla – and to blend in better with the masses. As a writer of controversial topics at ritzy private school, I was praised by those who were down all while I was shunned by the naysayers who refused to confront the dirt that had been hidden under the rug. I was faced with threats, hate mail and even vandalism just as often as my column made top 10 – Every. Single. Week.

“Why can’t I just have a normal experience?” I thought, reflecting on my newspaper stint. Slander, meetings with deans, more slander and my dad wanting to pull me out of school for the semester to protect me only pushed me and my writing closer to mediocrity…all but for a second.

Standing out isn’t all that bad.

My shape? I’ve embraced to the hilt. I love my curves. Now at 24, I find myself flaunting my curviness, in the cleanest of ways of course. Looking back on my middle school haze, I laugh at my seventh grade self. The same girls I found myself wanting to look like back then…long for the curves that I have been blessed with and the confidence that has been paired with it today. I was able to change my mindset from phenotypically challenged to phenomenally created. And my writing? Writing is my air. And I value my point of view more than ever. It’s a healthy way to deal with my frustrations with society and it’s my way of singing my song…and hopefully, the song of my fellow caged birds that are still afraid to sing.

It would be a lie to say it’s not tempting to fit in. It’s easy. It doesn’t require much effort. And quite often, it’s more comfortable than standing out. But there is beauty in standing out. More so than in fitting in. So stop fighting yourself to be like everyone else. It’s a fight you’re never going to win…because the moment you strive to be “normal” is the moment you lose yourself.


Stand out or sit down.

“If you are always trying to be normal, you will never know how amazing you can be.”

– Maya Angelou


Peace, Love & Consciousness,