Awaken

April 2, 2013 006

this morning. i wanted you to know. how your words.

carried me to sleep. last night.

your voice. kissed my pain away.

a lover. you never thought you could be.

the world. was gone. or maybe it was too busy listening

to your steady stream of endless proverbs.

-awaken

Advertisements

The World She Created Within

She loved herself deliciously without the need of a lover. She was her own lover. Dancing freely in the midst of her own journey of life. Delicate and broken in the intimate parts of she. She, a raging beast and a prisoner of her own isolation. A heart in shambles, in need of answers.

In the wake of her own womanhood, she appears as a strong soldier that is deeply wounded in the battles of life. She is a wounded soldier.

I wonder if she will ever know the beauty of her woundedness. Will she ever fly with expansive wings open wide cascading the horizon? Or will she forever sulk in the pains of her yesterdays? The world screams for her. It stands up in an applause for her. For her courage in getting this far. For the risks she’ve taken. To be different. To question. To doubt. The world is ready. They are all ready to see her magnificence manifest itself in greatness.

Even in the spaces she tried to fit in, she is deeply bruised. She is her own success and failure. The world continues to look at her in admiration, in a daze, but she is too many light-years away to take notice.

A Love to Remember

I have managed to pretend that you hate me, that all efforts made were a mistake, that hours spent were meaningless, but this isn’t the case, right?
Does pain signify regret? I regret not what was
I yearned for the danger in us/ in you
You lit the flame/ the wick that forever awaited for a lover to light it ablaze
In the nakedness of our conversations, I unfolded and undressed my soul for you/explored the painful parts of me
You are a riveting madness/ an imminent threat/ a lover
what am I to do when the lover has hollowed out the intimate parts of me?
leaving me empty/ with just memories/ words to remember
I am guilty/ for the lover and the beloved are one/ never separated/ always together in each other

Gone and Found by: Mo

Lyrics:

“Gone And Found”

Hollow, old ghost
What’s the news, what’s the news
How I’ve longed to see your face again
Don’t look at me like I’m a stranger
Don’t be scared, there is no danger
We pretend that we don’t care
So let’s just take a walk and leave it there

‘Cause sometimes things just don’t turn out as you meant for
And that’s what late night city lights are there for
You asked me back then what I wanted to be
But I didn’t really know, did you?

My mama said, “Someday you are gonna shine.”
(Don’t know where I’m traveling to)
“You’ll meet a guy who’ll show you a love that’s kind.”
(Don’t know where I’m traveling to)
I’ll run away and follow a strange old sign
(Dare no others would do)
You know I am sorry I let you down
(Don’t know where I’m traveling to)

What did you expect from these red lips?
Curses laughter and a tender kiss
Hours went by and you got it all
Empty walls in a hollow city
What was I to do but flee?
When all my thoughts lay far beyond the sea

(Let’s go get lost)

And sometimes life just don’t turn out as you meant for
And that’s what late night city lights are there for
So let’s go get lost, we’re gonna go
Let us do it, my old friend

My mama said, “You will be wise this time.”
(Don’t know where I’m traveling to)
“Eager to ride on the waters of your own mind.”
(Don’t know where I’m traveling to)
Dimwitted man, you know I am so [?]
(Dare no others would do)
Someday the wave’s gonna show me the way to the sand
(Don’t know where I’m traveling to)

Let’s go get, let’s go get, let’s go get lost

My mama said, “Someday you are gonna shine.”
(Don’t know where I’m traveling to)
“You’ll be a woman, soft in your heart and kind.”
(Don’t know where I’m traveling to)
I’ll run away and follow a strange old sign
(Dare no others would do)
You know I am sorry I let you down
(Don’t know where I’m traveling to)

I’ll run away and follow a strange old sign
(Don’t know where I’m traveling to)
You know I am bound to be gone and found
(Don’t know where I’m traveling to)

(Dare no others would do
I don’t know where I’m traveling to)

I Still Remember

He was deliciously simple and delicate
Dangerous and ravenous, the way he loved tenderly
The risk he took in loving me
Clutching me in the arms of his romance
Stroking me earnestly through words of sincerity
Dying in his presence/resurrecting myself in his moments of laughter
He is the glue piecing together the broken parts of me
The erotic part of me that yearns for intimacy
his conversations seduces/ the way his hands settles in between mine’s
and although we’ve traveled away from each other/ I remember the way his smile lights up the darkness
I can remember the secrets in the midst of our alone-ness in our together-ness

In the words of Jennifer Lopez, “I luh ya papi”

The Right to Love and Be Loved

One of the things that I admire is the right to love and to be loved. I don’t care who you are, where you come from and where you’ve been, we all want to love and be loved. It is this right to love that compels us to enter into friendships and relationships. It is this right that compels us to forgive those that have created hurt in our lives to move on in loving another person again. It is this right that makes us risk everything to love even after the pain of losing a friend or lover. This choice is one of strength. Yes, if you’ve ever decided to love and be loved after the past drama of a friendship or relationship then just know that you are truly on your way. Fear is created by us. We create fear and we allow it to stop us from doing the things that we want in life.

In seeking to love again, we have to make the choice to love. We decide for ourselves what we want. We decide on who we want to engage with in a relationship, how far it goes, where it ends, what we want, what we dislike and what we need. We hold this much power within our grasp. In reading some lectures by Anais Nin, I remember when she stated that she creates the relationships that she enters into. This startled me. I didn’t really understand this until I reread this. As individuals, we hold friendships with people and relationships. We determine when enough is enough. We determine how far we want to take things. We determine if we will strive in a relationship of love or a relationship of misery. This is how we create the friendships/relationships that we enter into. It doesn’t create itself. The reality is that we can either be active or passive participants in the relationships we choose to engage in. So, in saying all of this, we decide on the right to love and to be loved.

The right to love and to be loved is a choice. We can sulk around in our past and think about all of the the things that could’ve change, but this will not help the present. The present-moment is where we are at. This is where we are. We are not yesterday, five years ago, twenty years ago, or even five minutes ago. We are here. We are in the present moment. In “How to Practice: The Way to a Meaningful Life” by His Holiness, the Dalai Lama, it is said that ” under no circumstances should you lose hope. Hopelessness is a real cause of failure. Remember, you can overcome any problem. Be calm, even when the external environment is confused or complicated; it will have little effect if your mind is at peace. On the other hand, if your mind gives way to anger, then even when the world is peaceful and comfortable, peace of mind will elude you”. So, the pain and misfortunes that we have dealt with in the past should remain in the past. We shouldn’t become hopeless in the face of the present moment. We can truly move pass the pain of yesterday or even a few minutes ago. We shouldn’t allow this pain to keep us from functioning. We can and should still love and seek love. This is magnificent. We are able to do this. Not only are we able to do this, but we should demand this of ourselves.

“Life is a process of becoming, a combination of states we have to go through. Where people fail is that they wish to elect a state and remain in it. This is a kind of death.” – Anais Nin

Putting The Pieces Together

image

Sometimes the only thing you can do is pick up the broken-pieces/piece them together with the last of the life that lives/ living without regrets is a life truly lived/ but how does one not regret the decisions they may have made that weren’t the best for them/ life is more like a puzzle/ just trying to piece together the right moves to fit in the life we wish to create for ourselves/ we, ourselves, are fallible, flawed and imperfect beings in an imperfect world

April 2013: Learning to Celebrate Life in the Face of Death

I feel obligated to talk about a woman that had changed my life forever in April 2013. It brings me to tears in talking about my dear friend, Esther. Esther, a sixty-years old woman with grown-children, a pocketful of memories and a smile that would make you jealous was dying to cancer. She was a warrior, a fighter, and my friend.

However, Esther was leaving me on a daily-basis. Not only was she leaving me, but I saw the fragility of life. I would usually go to school, get off work, head home to fix Esther something and drive to the hospice-center. I didn’t care for one of her nurses, but I wasn’t going for that nurse. I was going to see Esther. So, I would go and sometimes just sit listening to her. It became apparent a little later that Esther was losing all sense of time, hallucinated about past memories and would frequently complain about being in pain. I had a habit of nodding my head to Esther’s persistence that she was at home and that I needed to go to the kitchen to get some food. Or she would tell me about her neighbor, Johnny, and “his empire” next door to her home. Sometimes, she would tell me to watch out for the cat in the room. I would tell her early-on in these hallucinations that the people, animals, and places that she was seeing weren’t real. However, I stopped. I would just start nodding my head and going along with the hallucinations. It was painful to see how a sickness could strip away a person’s faculties. I would frequently leave the hospital with tears in my eyes and a heart heavy with thoughts.

Those nights in visiting her caused me to think about life a lot more. It allowed me to see how we are all full of life, imagination, hope, and memories. Nonetheless, we are all moments away from death. So, we have to celebrate the life in all of us. I made the mistake of seeing death instead of life in Esther. I had stopped going because I was afraid of facing death. I was afraid of coming from work one night and being told that Esther was gone. I didn’t want to face an empty bed without Esther. I wasn’t prepared for it. I wasn’t equipped to handle such news. I knew that death was near, but I didn’t want death to snatch away a friend I had only known for a little time. However, I would’ve continued in my visits because I knew there was life in Esther. Life should be celebrated. I know now that every second of our present is good enough to be celebrated.

In a way, I believe this quote explains how it feels to think about my dear, Esther:
“When someone you love dies, and you’re not expecting it, you don’t lose her all at once; you lose her in pieces over a long time—the way the mail stops coming, and her scent fades from the pillows and even from the clothes in her closet and drawers. Gradually, you accumulate the parts of her that are gone. Just when the day comes—when there’s a particular missing part that overwhelms you with the feeling that she’s gone, forever—there comes another day, and another specifically missing part.”
― John Irving, A Prayer for Owen Meany

The ironic part of all of it, I never kept going to know if Esther is still alive. I didn’t know how to stay. I didn’t know how to deal with this pain. I had to run. I had to flee. I couldn’t handle it, so I raced from Esther. Now, I know I owe her the life in her. I’m going to honor the life in the hallucinations she had. I’m going to honor the memories she told me about in those nightly visits. I’m going to honor the days we were together. She is my friend. She never left. Her life is a part of mine’s as I am a part of her’s. I will remember her even if she never remembers my name or my face. I will keep her tucked away in my heart.

In memory, in love, in life of Esther

Minor Literature #2: Feminist Theory from Margin to Center by: bell hooks

This is a far-fetch for me in categorizing feminism with Minor-Literature, but I will go forth in proving how this particular book could be defined as Minor-Literature.

I was exposed to feminism in high-school and found it empowering, but only to an extent. I was taught that feminism was a fight for women’s rights and for equality. It was a move to end sexism. However, the packaging of feminism at this point was geared towards White, upper-class women that were seeking to move outside of the home into the work-place. Unfortunately, this first-wave form of feminism didn’t speak or relate to all women. In putting this into perspective, bell hooks stated in “Feminist Theory: From Margin to Center” that Betty Friedan’s “The Feminine Mystique” “ignored the existence of all non-white women and poor White women. She did not tell readers whether it was more fulfilling to be a maid, a babysitter, a factory worker, a clerk, or a prostitute, than to be a leisure class housewife” (2). Additionally, hooks stated that “she made her plight and the plight of white women like herself synonymous with a condition affecting all American women. In so doing, she deflected attention away from her classism, her racism, her sexist attitudes towards the masses of American women” (2).

Additionally, hooks further breaks down the issue that many Americans have with in defining feminism. Hooks stated that “most people in the United States think of feminism or the more commonly used term “women’s lib” as a movement that aims to make women the social equals of men. This broad definition, popularized by the media and mainstream segments of the movement, raises problematic questions. Since men are not equals in white supremacist, capitalist, patriarchal class structure, which men do women want to be equal to? Do women share a common vision of what equality means? Implicit in this simplistic definition of women’s liberation is a dismissal of race and class as factors that, in conjunction with sexism, determine the extent to which an individual will be discriminated against, exploited, or oppressed. Bourgeois white women interested in women’s rights issues have been satisfied with simple definitions for obvious reasons. Rhetorically placing themselves in the same social category as oppressed women, they were not anxious to call attention to race and class privilege” (18).

bell hooks described feminism as “the struggle to end sexist oppression. Its aim is not to benefit solely any specific group of women, any particular race or class of women. It does not privilege women over men. It has the power to transform in a meaningful way all of our lives. Most importantly, feminism is neither a lifestyle nor a ready-made identity or role one can step into” (26).

In reading this text, I was being told that my experience(s) as a Black American woman was just as relevant as a White woman’s experience(s). In high-school, I was only being taught about first-wave feminism that benefited upper-class White women. Unfortunately, my Women Studies’ teacher would seek to apply this one form of feminism to various cultures all across the world. She would have us watch documentaries over women-suffrage (which excluded women of color), women from the Middle East, and the roles of women throughout history. However, the class was purely centered around this Western, White upper-class form of feminism which excluded women of color and poor White-women.

Fortunately, I was exposed to Black feminist and writer, Dr. bell hooks. In a way, bell hooks is my favorite feminist of all times. She connects the dots and doesn’t just say that feminism is about sexism. No, she looks at feminism through various lenses in order for individuals to grasp the inter-connectedness of: racism, sexism, patriarchy, and imperialism. She looks at how all of these factors affects the topic of feminism and the way we think about it. It is not just about women/men fighting against sexism. It is much deeper. It is about seeing how various classes and various racial-groups are struggling/dealing with capitalism/colonialism/racism/sexism. So, bell hooks stated very bluntly that “we have to constantly critique imperialist white supremacist patriarchal culture because it is normalized by mass media and rendered unproblematic.”

She is unwrapping feminism in a way that it can no longer be packaged up with upper-class White women in mind. She is reconstructing feminism and forcing people to see the intersectionality of: race, sex, power, and money. For many people, feminism is simply about fighting sexism. However, bell hooks would argue that this isn’t good enough because every women will not have the same struggles. The upper-class White American woman will not have the same experiences as poor women living in rural Brazil. This is and will not be the case because there are factors affecting the experiences of these women’s lives.

So, the thing about bell hooks that I love is her complexity. She breaks down the way we view things and how mass-media influences us. Furthermore, she makes this complexity so easy to understand that you could quickly see how all of the dots connect to one another. I remember going to the Women Studies’ Department at my university and asking about Black feminism and being told that I should contact the Black Studies’ Department for information about this particular form of feminism. This really stirred something up in me. I didn’t understand why the Women Studies’ Department didn’t have various views/perspectives of feminism present within their department. They ARE responsible for educating women and men on women’s rights. However, there is still this one form of feminism that they insist on being most important. I guess the plight of women of color aren’t as important as a White woman’s plight towards equality. I still believe that Black feminism is marginalized and “to be in the margin is to be part of the whole but outside the main body”. So, I learned from that experience that there is still racism happening in feminism. I will not be okay with this nor tolerate it, so watch out because women of color are wanting their voices to be heard. Let me back up for a bit! When I was directed to go to the Black Studies’ department, I was in utter dismay. This was the one place that women on campus would totally believe could serve them. However, this institutionalize marginalization of women of color experiences is just ridiculous. I wanted to scream. I couldn’t believe my ears when I was told that a department that focuses on women didn’t have the resources available to help all women. As the title of hooks’ book reads “From Margin to Center,” she is truly trying to take the experiences of women of color and place it in the center. It isn’t about being marginalized anymore. No, it is about acknowledgement. It is about being heard.

In short, bell hooks is definitely a feminist that everyone should read on, see in person, and study. Her works will blow you away! It will definitely open your eyes up to feminism in a new and fresh way. You will not be disappointed!