Monday 1 July 2019

It's Just Hair

I understand why you think this. It's an easily digestible thought; sometimes I think it too. On those mornings when I’ve snoozed all three of my alarms and have no time to lay my edges, I think it too, “Oh it doesn’t matter—it’s just hair.”

The New York Times recently published an article saying that the state is finally putting laws in place preventing workplaces from having discriminatory etiquette guidelines, particularly those pertaining to traditionally black hairstyles: braids, dreadlocks, afros etc. Being reminded that laws like this still exist, puts “It’s just hair” in perspective. Hearing personal anecdotes from friends and family who’ve been told they look unprofessional or being sent home from school for wearing their hair as it naturally comes from their head makes it hard, rather impossible, to believe that it’s just hair. Maybe it is to me, but the rest of the world doesn’t view it that way. Is it “just hair” if it’s not suitable for a workplace?

There was also the ‘boxer braids’ phenomena. In 2016 Kim Kardashian wore her hair in cornrows and was credited with creating a style called ‘boxer braids’. Obviously, they are not braids, nor were they invented by Kim Kardashian but as a budding young adult having seen my own friends and family not being allowed to wear that very hairstyle to school and their jobs, and then seeing Kim Kardashian not only praised for the style, but credited with inventing it—I really do begin to ask myself if it is “just hair”, who’s hair is it? Because it’s not Kim’s hair. Or Kim’s hair type that is the problem. And it’s not the style, either. On Kim the style was chic and new. On me, it was unprofessional.

So what about when people who don’t have naturally straight hair wear straight hair? Is it just hair then? Not quite. The issue is the origins. The attack isn’t on the style, it’s on the person. When a specific type of person is disallowed from wearing their hair as it is, what choice is there but to make it fit the type of hair that’s allowed?

That’s the difference. There’s no historical ban or persecution of straight hair, or those who grow it. That’s the hair that’s “just hair”. Not mine. My hair was never just hair.

Sunday 11 February 2018

On Believing in Yourself

The air was harsh. Bitterly cold. The kind of cold that there aren’t enough layers in the world to protect you from. The kind of cold that rattles your bones straight through to your soul. Outside is cold. But, it can’t even begin to compare to the frozen over shell of a person I am since I’ve become a graduate. I’m walking to my car after a long day of working a job I hate to pay off student loans I’ve seemed to have amassed for no apparent reason.

I can’t afford to pay for parking in the building I work, so I park across the street at a mall. Of course, when I walk up I see the bright flashing lights of mall security. He’s in front of my car as I’m walking up and he says, “I have a surprise for you.”

In his hand there is a yellow slip. I don’t react. Didn’t have it in me, not after this eight-hour day.

My world paused for a second. The moment’s when you’ve truly stopped feeling and the times you need to stop and reflect on where you’re at. And what let you get here.

Time began to move at a normal pace again and he said, “This is a warning. You’re not allowed to park here more than 4 hours at a time. You don’t want to get another one of these.”

I take it, and get in my car waiting for him to move his, so I can leave. I run the engine, unmoving.

Of course no one lands anywhere by accident. At least, I don’t think so. Every step we’ve made was a purposeful one. One that we decided to make. Why did I walk here?

I seemed to be exactly on a path I’d desperately tried to avoid. Working a job I hate, with people I hate and feeling no sense of accomplishment at the end of my 40 hour weeks. And now, life wasn’t even making it easy to do this job. Where the hell am I going to park now?

I think if I’d believed in myself a little more, I wouldn’t have gotten here. I’d have been somewhere I belonged, with people I belonged. But I never felt deserving of that.

You might know, not know or never know exactly what you want to do with yourself and your life. But, make the decision based on the abilities you believe yourself to have. Not the fear that you might not be able to do that. Because, that’s where they’ll die.

Inside my car isn’t much warmer than outside of it. Because, I’m all that’s in there to warm it up. The petrol will warm it up eventually, but for now I’m alone. It’s me.

The four years I spent accumulating the debt that now holds me captive to the job I walk so grudgingly from every day, went by in an anxiety coloured haze. I met some cool people, had some good times, but the ever present existential crisis constantly over the horizon of graduation followed me around a bit like a tail. It followed us all around like a tail.

We had good and bad days. We had people cry and storm out of exam rooms. We had career counselling, which often led some of us straight to the bar shortly thereafter.

But what makes the experience isn’t anything external. Before, during or after. It’s never about the environment, as much as it is the moment within that space. I sat in one of the final lectures of my university career, with my friend of four years, whom would soon be cruelly left in the world with me. A student went up to the teaching assistant. She said she was going to drop this class, because she just couldn’t do it. He’d replied, “You need to believe in yourself. If ever you convince yourself that you can’t do something, you’ll never be able to do anything.”

I don’t know if that’s true. I don’t know if I agree. But, I know he has a point.

Sunday 22 October 2017

My Free E-Book: I'm in the Circus

I'm in the Circus is as much about myself as it is about you. It's as much about my struggles as it is about your own. And i want you to have it.

I didn't tell too many people I was working on this, and honestly am not even sure how many people I'd like to read it. But, it's done. And I believe in it.

The few people I told about it asked why I made it free.

I made it free because it's for you, and I want you to have it. I want you to read it. It's heart breakingly and painstakingly for you. I want no barriers, especially not money.

So please, download it and in your spare time give it a read. If you're so compelled, review it.

Whatever you like.

I'm in the Circus, and well, so are you.


And i hope you find your way out.

Download FREE: 

Click whichever platform is best suited to you


Barnes & Nobles




It's also worth stating, it's also available on Amazon, however it's not free there.  They don't allow for free e-books on Kindle. I made it as low as possible so it's only listed at $0.79


Monday 4 September 2017


The sun beats down on my face, and I radiate some of it back. It feels as if the warmth of her glow, is just enough to match mine. It's weird to think we're all just like the sun, but I believe it. Just the right temperature for life.

Recently, I've experience what I guess you'd call a burnout. At no fault, but my own-- and life. Adulthood happens. Recently, I just came back from a weekend in New York City. All I can say is, I understand why people fall in love with this city.

The warmth of the lights beaming down on my face from the plethora of advertisements in Time Square reminds us of the sun. Then it reminds us of ourselves. In a crowd of a million people, you couldn't feel more anonymous and more self-aware.

New York reminded me of that. It's a city of dreams, but a city of great failures, short-comings and loss. But what keeps New York going, and what keeps the dreams alive is the people. On the streets you see broadway lights twinkle, street performers in Time Square, Spider-man and Superman asking if you'd like  picture. What you see is effort. You see people trying, failing, falling and getting right back up to do it tomorrow. You see exhaustion, in a city that never sleeps. But it remains so full of life.

The only thing thats remained consistently true throughout mine, and anyone elses' life is that you're only as good as the chances you give yourself. I can't tell you they'll work. I can't tell you we'll amount to anything. All I can tell you, in 100% truth and sincerity, is that your only fighting chance is to try.

I said this far less eloquently in my last Youtube video:

(Also I haven't written an Open Letter in a while, if you have any suggestions on what to write, let me know.) 

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.