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.