Sunday, 13 August 2017

Our Flag Will Fly

A rally cry,
A rally cry,
From valleys deep
And hills so high

For negros young
For negros old
Our flag will fly
Our flag will fly

Our fists held high,
Our blood runs dry,
As blue's in the sky
Our flag will fly.

In fifty years time I'll sit with my grandchildren, and tell them stories of my youth. My stories will reflect those of my grandmother. I'll tell them on Klans men who ran in the streets of Charlottesville. I'll tell them of Trayvon Martin. I'll tell them of Tamir Rice. I'll tell them that black blood, ran down the streets into the gutters, and bodies lay in the sun, cooking for hours upon hours.

I'll tell them that black lives matter. I think. I'll tell them despite all adversity the black flag will fly.

But most importantly, I'll tell them a story of happiness. Of prosperity. Of hope.

Sunday, 30 July 2017

Suddenly, I'm flying. Flying, like a bird. It's electricity.

Passion is an incredibly hard concept to grab at. I'm not referring to love, sex and marriage type of passion. I'm referring to the kind of passion that makes you get out of bed in the morning. The type of passion that's worth pursuing, worth risking it all for.

I've never known what life held for me. But, what I am craving more than anything is passion. I often wonder if I've made right or wrong decisions in the past but ultimately I've made them and they've led me to where i am now so it's about moving forward from your current starting point, right? You can't go back.

A few years ago, I'd written a novel. A full length novel. And while my writing was week, to this day I still believe in the narrative. The story of it. I'm excited to finally get back into it and that world and recreating something that had meant so much to me a few years ago.

I don't know what passion is. I don't know how you find it, or where you feel it but I know it takes you places. I've had the oppurtunity to do some amazing things in my life.

I've had my poetry published in a magazine, won an award for a short story I wrote. Fast foreward a few years, had the opportunity to speak at Canada's WE day in front of 16,000 people with Kardinal Offishal:

Have gotten to travel to some new countries around the world and so much more. I've never been sure where my life is headed but what I know for sure is that every amazing oppurtunity I've ever been presented with was because I took a chance on my passions. I entered writing competitions, I made youtube videos, I kept playing around with my photography (which ultimately is what led me to what WE day stage, I'll elaborate in a different blog post). All I've ever known be unequivocal fact is that no matter what the best moments in my life have come from doing what I love. Recently, I feel I've strayed away from them. Which is why I've decided I'm going to commit to editing my novel and seeing what happens from there. I've never known where the path leads only that the only way to find out... is to keep on walking.

I want to feel that feeling I get when I win awards for my writing again, or speak for 16,000 youth at a WE day. That's when I'm suddenly flying. I'm doing this as a way of speaking things into existence without completely knowing what exactly I'm speaking into existence. Just that, I'm ready to fly. And feel electricity in my veins.

Long story short, I'm putting here if failing being a published author, I will be auditioning for the next spiderman. I'll talk to y'all soon.

Friday, 21 April 2017

I don't got the answers

I peer outside the window, and it's foggy. The streetlights have become a muted orange behind the wispy white clouds. Outside is mostly silent, there's never much hustle around my apartment building. I turn around and peer at the endless boxes and suitcases that now encompass my room and wonder how exactly I'm going to get to my bed without stepping on something important or sharp. I made it. I look at my notebook, preparing to study for an exam tomorrow that really could determine the entire outcome of my university career and my laptop.

Instead of studying, the glow of the laptop reminds me of Leli. The girl I've always felt I was, but never quite knew who she was. Leli, I've always imaged, to be my end goal. Leli is the person, that once it's all said and done I want to become. I want to know she was proud of what we did. I did? She did?

There's a twisted relationship I have with this blog, and quite honestly I'm still trying to understand it. The last time I made this glorious comeback I was freshly unemployed, confused, lost, stressed, sad and a little hungry. I can safely say I'm all of those things yet again.

When a 17 year old Leah started this blog four years ago I was fresh out of high school and embarking on my university career. Now that career has come to an end, I've recently quit my job because I am moving, I've cut all my hair off and now rock a small afro, have seen three new countries in the world since then and have never experienced quite as much happiness, stress and anxiety than I have this past year. Adulthood is ridiculous and this doesn't make any sense.

I'm financially unstable, broke, indebted, sad, hungry, excited, worried, angry and all around discontented.

However, what I'm not--which I was this time last year-- is afraid. Despite the absolute endless, abyss of uncertainty my life is at this specific point in time. What I'm not, which is something I've never been so comfortable with, is afraid of it.  Fear is something that has crippled my movements my entire life, and I don't doubt at some point or another it will rear its silvery shining head ready to ruin my fun again. But for right now, I've never been any more ready to face this world broke, bald and unkempt.

Anyways, I've got an exam tomorrow and I'm afraid of failing. Talk soon.

Saturday, 19 March 2016

An Open Letter: Hey, Little Black Girl

You live in a world where extra melanin comes with a heavy price. Your black skin, thick hair, broad nose and full lips are expensive, baby. But I'm excited for you to experience it. Let me tell you what blackness is.

It's the colour of your skin. It's going to separate you from bigots, but unite you with love. True, indescribable love so deep within yourself-- your bones burn with sensation too. 

It's our food. Blackness is united all across the globe, though we're not all the same. We were born Jamaican, and that is part of our blackness. Ackee, fried dumpling, East Indian Mangoes, coconutes and the beach. 

Your speech. Some people that grow straight hair from their scalps and seem to constantly be asking you a question, are going to love it. They're going to make fun of you, but that's just because they're insecure. They were embarrassed of their own parents accents once upon a time, and they project. It's a thing that hurt people do.

Here's what we can't let happen.  

Don't ever lose your culture in this world. Your blackness, is so much more than the colour of your skin. It can be everything you are if you want it to be. Don't lose your culture, your language, your reggae music. Don't let this society drain you of the hood you bring.

Don't let them scare you. They're going to. Sometimes you're going to feel like a carcass amongst vultures.

Don't let them ignore you. 

Being you isn't going to seem fair. Having to work so much harder, better and louder for the same attention is going to weigh down on you. Having to constantly worry if people's attitudes towards you are racially based is going to tire you out.  Feeling your work isn't recognized will hurt. Being scared to say too much will frustrate you. 

But little black girl, you have a mission. To work, prosper, live and smile in a way that makes the next little black girl's experience easier. Every time you smile in the face of adversity, you remind another piece of coal that pressure only makes us diamonds. 

Saturday, 5 March 2016

Tears Are Warm

Tears are warm. But they fall nicely as a welcome against your scorching cheeks. Your eyes wish only to cool the warmth of sadness that causes blood to rush so forcefully to your face.

Hands are cold. Hands get clammy. They hurt in the middle, your pulse gyrates. Your heart beats with consistency of a gallop, and you just want to stop. You'd like to stop feeling so much. You'd like to wake up with the same vigor that's in your bones, in your soul. You're not sure what feeling exactly you'd like to stop, because a part of you loves the fact that you're feeling.

But you're tired. So, very tired.

You often have bouts of feeling, much like a flu. You never quite wake up with the warmth of tears or blushed cheeks on most mornings. Often you wake up with a gentle sea breeze. You're not happy, but you're not sad. Which usually means, you're still a little sad. You're not feeling right now, and you hate it. But then you start to feel and you get overwhelmed, but you're also scared. Petrified.

You're introverted. Telling your feelings to people you aren't extremely close to doesn't come easy. It's simply not your nature and you hate yourself for it. The regret of the one, two, three, four and five that you let slip away might not ever leave you. You allow things to cut deep and then you heal slow. You take it each minute at a time, and let the salt sit in your wound.

Feelings are lukewarm. It's hard to enjoy emotion a lot of the time, because they're hard to understand. Wrap your head around the fact that someone has made you feel. They have made chemicals in your brains do things beyond your control and now you're left to sort them out. That's what it is to feel.

Souls can adapt. Souls are very quick to feel cold in the cold and warm in the warm. A lot like denim. Souls are very much like denim. When you've walked out on a cold day with a denim jacket, it grabs the cold and holds it to your body. It's almost as if inside your denim is colder than the rest of the outside world. Sometimes it seems like a soul may be hurting more than the blow it took. But you don't know. I don't know, either.

But, the sun is warm as well. It will always remain warm and will always shine outside for you to find. Lay in the sun.

Saturday, 6 February 2016

Mean Girls

I hate having to write something like this. I'm a firm believer in women standing for women and us being here for one another, but the undeniable scientific proof that 'mean girls' are a reality is hard to ignore. It's always baffled me. How people can just seemingly so naturally, so easily mistreat another person for no apparent reason. It's hard, it really is to take crap from someone and be treated so terribly for no reason.

I've been told by several friends, it's not me. Which, I mean maybe it's not. I volunteer and work with a group that I deeply love. I love what I do with them, love what they stand for and everything about doing it but recently I've had to really consider stepping away from it because I can't deal with the overwhelming feeling of mistreatment and exclusion I feel from another set of girls in this club, who are part of the executive team-- as am I. So, supposedly we're on the same team, seemingly peers; but not really. I remember at an event we had last year, I was going to sit at a table with one of the executives and she kindly advised me to go and sit with my own friends. When she's around the rest of the girls just also become very cliquey, ignoring all others and it's incredibly off putting. I'm a naturally introverted person and a FIRM believer in not fighting for anyone's approval, so very quickly I became a bit of an outcast because I refuse to try and force myself to be a part of something I'm not. There's no reason to. I don't beg for friends, and why would I ever want to be friends with people like this? The clique mentality disgusts me. This is not to say having a core group of friends is a bad thing, it's more the idea of being exclusionary to somehow assert the dominance of this group. It's vile.

When I initially joined this group I joined with some other new people, whom due to circumstances have not been able to stick around. Granted, I love the members. I love the guys of the executive team. I love so much about this club, and the opportunities it has provided me but eventually you have to move on right? How long do you hold onto something because of what it did for you in the past? Joining this club was honestly one of the best things to happen to my university career, and my life in general. I got the opportunity to do what I love, attend incredible events, meet amazing people--who regardless of what happens after this is over I'm grateful to have met. I've opened my eyes to a world of opportunity and an industry I never knew existed which has shaped my future in very real ways. Very tangible ways.

I'm also a firm believer in you being responsible for what you do. If I quit, that's on me and no one else. This is a huge part of my life and provides more positives to who I am than negatives and I certainly WON'T let a cliquey group of popular girls make me disappear.
But Mean Girls need to be eradicated, it's a vicious cycle, that while I understand its origin, needs to disappear. I hate to even be using the term, but they are real. I've never ever been treated this way by a group of men before, it's just not somehow wired in them the way this competitive, pettiness is wired into some females.

Whatever though, Karma is real as well. And so is rewards for determination. I'm not going anywhere. And if you're reading this and dealing with some mean girls who are trying to make what you love difficult: do what you love even 40 times better than you're already doing it-- nothing shuts people up like talent.

Sunday, 13 December 2015

Don't take all the advice you're given.

I heard the other day a man said, "I like to listen to what everyone has to say. I think everyone has a little bit of wisdom they can share." Without sounding like I'm completely full of shit, I'd like to pleasantly disagree with this.

I listen, a lot. I do. I love hearing other's stories and their experiences, but I can't say I fancy other's advice too much as often they feel overstated. How can someone so far removed from myself and who I am possibly have useful advice to share?

During this year off, I worked for three days at a call centre. Sat in the cubicle with my headset on, mindlessly dialing, a man around 5'5", scruffy dirty blonde hair, a leather jacket reeking of cheap cigarette smoke sits next to me. I don't find him particularly attractive, but I am intrigued by why he's suddenly appeared at this odd hours. It was just after 7pm. He introduces himself and asks me what brings me to this call centre. I tell him I'm just looking for some easy money. "Well that definitely what this is," he says, "Are you in school?" Yes, I'm a third year comm major. "Nice. That's a good degree. Lucrative. What do you wanna do afterwards?" He pauses to take a call and we get told off by a supervisor about 'chatting' between calls. The supervisor walks off. I'm not sure, I tell him. Right now I'm really just trying to finish this degree and get the hell out of school.
He says that's not a good plan. He dropped out of his major in economics, and has worked at the call centre for two years. He's back in school now, but advises me to do the same. Drop out and find myself. I'm not sure if the intent behind that advice was well-meaning, maybe it was, but it is awful advice. Firstly, who told him I'm lost & in need of finding anyone? Who told him I hold that belief, that who you are is someone who needs to be found? When did I say I didn't like my studies? I'm not sure where I'm headed afterwards, but I love my program and I'm good at it.

My soon to be ex-manager, whom I despise, had some advice for me too. Firstly, it's a massive thorn in my side when people assume they know anything about my degree and more importantly what I'm doing. Especially people with no possible way of knowing. She is a manager of a fast food place who didn't even finish a (college) course in Social Work. Where does she get off telling me what I need to do to accomplish my degree? She laughs when I tell her my major because she says I need to be good with people, and I'm not. Yes, because that's all a communication major needs to be 'good with people.' Mind you her definition of good with people is to smile more. I fail at hiding how I feel about a person. If I hate you, you will know it. I physically can't smile in her presence, my disdain runs that deep. Communication is about understanding people, and proceeding as such. Less about fake smiling all the time and more about analysis. Communication does not only involve me talking to people all day, because surprise surprise we don't only communicate with words. As a matter of fact almost 90% of what we communicate to others doesn't come from our mouths. We can write, sing, use body language and create. Still communications. Yet, somehow...she thinks her advice is even remotely warranted, appropriate or useful. I should hand her one of the last paper I handed in and ask her opinion...even she even manages to understand past the introduction.

You're going to encounter a lot of people throughout your life. A lot of them are going to try to give you ill advised 'advice', in an attempt to deal with some personal mistakes they've made and some of their own regrets. Everyone's got advice, but trust when I say not all of it is worth listening to.