Champagne-Glasses

22 Things I Learned In 2014

Happy Old Year’s Day!!!  (New Year’s Eve for the foreign folks)

As I approached my 22nd birthday I began drafting a list of 22 things I learned over the past year.  Besides the fact that this list reminded me of how old I’m getting (as it took me so long to get to the end) it also served as a form of self-evaluation. So cheers to growth! And here’s to self-improvement in 2015!

ban

  1. I can be EVERYTHING I want to be – We’ve all been asked the question, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” And more than likely you’re expected to pick one thing. Whether it be a doctor or lawyer or fireman—whatever it is—we’re conditioned to believe we can only pursue one passion at a time or one passion only. Well, I say bullshit. Not only do you have choices, but you shouldn’t force yourself into a box just so people will have an easier time defining you. Don’t limit yourself. You can be everything you want to be.
  2. Don’t share your dreams with everyone – I don’t remember where I saw this quote…but basically, not everyone can handle your dreams. Not everyone can even handle that you have dreams and are pursuing them. There are people out there that will try to talk you into believing that your dreams are an illusion and you can’t achieve all you set out to do. They will try to feed you all sorts of hogwash. Don’t swallow it.
  3. When you’re at a corner don’t look for traffic and positioning, look for feedback as well – In this scenario ‘feedback’ basically refers to resetting the steering wheel; the movement or actions taken to get you where you want to end up. So in my practical application to life I can say, that for whatever goals I want to attain I need to be on the lookout for positioning (where it is that I want to go), traffic (anything that might hinder me getting to that position), and feedback (the actions that I need to take to get me where I need to be). (Lessons from my driving instructor)
  4. People will not always come through for you – Don’t depend on other people to see your own goals through; everyone is pursuing their own dream.
  5. Your purpose will stalk you until you turn around and do the pursuing – If you have something on your mind constantly…for weeks…months…and then years…stop ignoring it. Stop putting it off. It’s not a passing phase. “If God called you, he won’t change his mind.”
  6. Having a talent is a gift and refusal to use that talent is ingratitude – But not just using it–using it for purpose.
  7. You get credit for the things you do, not what you say you’ll do – Stop talking about what you want to get done and just get it done. Starting is the hardest part but the fruits of your labour will be worth it.
  8. “Instinct will always find opportunity”– Be true to yourself and everything else will fall into place. The universe reveres truth.
  9. People can only buy what you sell to them, therefore people will see me however I market myself – If you want to be known as an artist—share your art. If you want to be seen as an activist—speak out. If you want people to think you’re a douche, constantly bash minority groups online.
  10. If it doesn’t fit into your plan, if it won’t contribute to your growth in the grand scheme of things, don’t do it.—This may sound selfish but hear me out—I’m not saying that you shouldn’t spend your time helping people, especially your friends. Horizontal loyalty is important, but so is loyalty to yourself. If you find that most of your time is taken up doing things for other people that don’t contribute to your personal growth or take you closer to the goals you’ve set for yourself, it’s time to take a step back.
  11. Find your niche – According to a follower on my timeline: find your thing, and do you. You’ll be a lot happier.
  12. Learn to say no to the right people – I’ve been asked more times than I’d care to admit if I know any other words besides the word ‘no’. Some people might call me out if they heard me say I have a hard time saying no to people. The thing is, I can easily say no to my friends. When the time comes for me to say no to other people however, my resistance wanes. But this year, after accepting numerous tasks that I knew I’d be under pressure to complete, or somehow felt obligated to do even though I didn’t care for it, I finally said no. If you won’t be able to give your best at something, don’t say yes out of obligation. You’ll be doing both yourself and the other person an injustice.
  13. If you have a big plan, break it down- My friends and I are always coming up with these elaborate schemes. They’re good plans, but visions should be realistic and attainable. I’ve learned that while it’s okay to have big dreams, it’s also okay to start small and build from there.
  14. Successful people are always taking note of their accomplishments, no matter how small – I’ve learned this from watching some of my favourite people work. This is a key attribute of people who get things done.
  15. Experience is the strongest mental block there is – Look kid, sometimes bad things happen and there’s nothing you can do about it >_>…but when they do, they can cause you to build up defenses that you don’t even realize are there. They’re tough; and to people on the outside, they appear impenetrable. Heartbreak sucks, but ignoring pain doesn’t make it go away–it just prevents you from finding healthy solutions and pursuing healthy relationships.
  16. Don’t let your personal feelings spill over into your work relationships – Just…don’t.
  17. Not every good man is meant to be your husband – Nor is every good woman meant to be your wife. (Lessons from Whatsapp chats)
  18. Physics 101- Energy is neither created nor destroyed it just changes form – This law does not exclude emotions. Unfortunately. The thing is, an emotion that should be positive (like love), when suppressed may just come out as anger and then people will just think you’re a bitch. So try to avoid going through the denial phase. Embrace what you feel, don’t keep things pent up.
  19. Don’t think too much – I think about things. A LOT. Like really, a lot. I’m really careful in everything I do and I didn’t notice until twice this year on two separate occasions, strangers pointed out to me that when they ask me questions I never answer right away but carefully sift through my thoughts before replying. While they seemed to be impressed by this, I was taken aback. I don’t know why I’m so guarded. It might be the mystery of it all—the fact that we’re each like a vessel made up of all these memories and experiences that only we have complete access to and we have the power to let people see only what we want and no more. It’s like I carefully select who I think is “worthy enough” for me to share my secrets with. That and I like to be honest. So maybe I need to stop deciding who I think can handle my honesty and let them decide for themselves.
  20. Face your fears – All the things we fear are in our heads. I’ve been speaking in front of people for yearsss, yet I have an intense fear of crowds and public speaking. What I have learnt though is– when people say that the only way to overcome your fears is to face them, they mean it literally. If I stand in front of a crowd and don’t make eye contact, I’m more likely to be more nervous than if I do. Looking at the audience makes you realize that they’re not as intimidating as you made them out to be in your head.
  21. Don’t post your best poems online – Well…not that you should NEVER—I mean, you will want people to see your best work. But if you’re interested in having your poetry published in journals or entered into competitions it’s best to save those pieces until after they’re published to share them. Otherwise…you may regret it later.
  22. Your art should shock people into thinking about their reality – Artists are here to start a revolution. What then would be the point of art if not to produce impact? Some of the most impacting experiences I’ve had this year were from artists who challenged the status quo and stepped outside the box with their methods. Making people think is the first step to creating change.
A Letter To Mother Earth

The Environment Meets Feminism – A Letter to Mother Earth

A few weeks ago I wrote and performed a poem for Earth Hour. In honour of Earth Day (and Poetry Writing Month) I will share that poem with you :)

In this piece I tried to explore the dynamic of Earth as a woman and mother–as she’s usually described. It focuses on her relationship with man and tries to flesh out how this may have had a toll on her psyche and shaped her insecurities. My first environmental-feminist piece if you may.

#HappyEarthDay

 

A Letter to Mother Earth

 

Dear Mother Earth,

Your nature is often compared to that of woman

You’re a force to be reckoned with

potentially destructive,

but man do you create beautiful things

 

You’ve birthed nations of men

bearing the brunt of collapse on your back

all between building continents

changing seasons

and having approximately 7.5 billion mouths to feed

 

Impressive.

 

But to describe you in all your majesty

while excluding your deficiencies

would be a travesty

to every woman who has ever

felt pressured into

always

acting strong

 

So,

 

Dear Mother Earth…

 

Loving man has been your biggest suicide mission.

 

Your womb has become

a tomb

A lulling landscape turned

barren bed

where disease is bred

 

Babes barely breathing

Walls caving in to form

a birthing room

for the stillborn…..

and babies that are still born

regardless–only having a few months to live

years

if they’re unlucky

 

Your entire body

has evolved into this spinning showcase

this unexplained anomaly

How are you able to stand

being pushed off balance constantly?

 

Your days

spent purging the

contents of your stomach

The left behinds of children

whose only bid to immortality is

that their remains

won’t be degraded in this lifetime

Or the next

 

Tell me,

how are you able to stay alive when everything in you seems to want you dead?

 

Dear mother,

just how hard do you find it is for you to love yourself?

 

With skin that weathers into a million fragments

Some days you appear nothing more than a tattered canvas

This pile of rubble

a reminder

that some of us are forced to exist

in parts

Outside of ourselves

 

Your heart–

this habit of

breaking itself

in waves

Of disregarding time

and space

But there are parts of you yet undiscovered

Layers yet to be peeled back

 

Or touched.

 

You will find

there are things

better than being taken apart at the seams

and that loving man sometimes means

 

learning

 

that some secrets are better

kept

 

than shared.

 

 

gone

Kwame Dawes and How to be a Poet, even in Prose

My internet has been down for a few days so I’ve been forced to expend my energy doing things other than browsing lazily. It was a holiday weekend so I read a new novel I bought called, She’s Gone by Kwame Dawes. The rest of my time was spent making up scenarios in my head about all the ways we’d meet and   that sound not unlike stories I’d read myself. I think I’ll write them down.

I thought I’d write this down. One of my goals this year is to write more often– to blog more often. I’m not really sure where this blog is going. I thought I’d had a plan for it but now I’m not so sure and I think I like the fact that it has no direction. I don’t know what’s up ahead– I can’t tell you what my next bout of inspiration will be. I don’t know why I’m sharing this with you. I just know that I have the sudden urge to share everything and it feels liberating.

I woke up a few minutes ago, groggy. I thought, ‘It’s raining. It sounds like someone turned a pipe on in heaven– a rusty pipe.’ Turns out my mom was blending something in the kitchen. It sounded more like pebbles on zinc sheets. I don’t know what rust has to do with the sound of water crashing. Things are like that sometimes. Sometimes they come out all wrong. I got my laptop.

I think of all the things I want to write. All the things I could be writing. Sometimes I try and fail. Magic doesn’t always translate. I think of Kwame, and how I knew he was a poet even before I read his Bio.

You know you’ve done well when quotes come rushing at your reader long after they’ve sifted through your work. Sometimes it’s not fast; sometimes words ease their way into their subconscious slowly. But those are the ones—those are the words that stay.

Maybe I’ll yield some of that power one day. But until then, I’ll take things in stride.

I’ll conquer slowly,

vertebra by vertebra.’

waiting

Lessons in Waiting

I was sitting, killing time as I waited (yet again) for some colleagues to show up for a meeting when I realised: this has become a thing of my life– this constant waiting. I find myself in this perpetual cycle–waiting on people to show up; to make up their minds; to change their ways; to change their hearts.

Time and energy are valuable, and it’s time I learned to recognise which ventures are worth my investment.

Fashion Ideas Victims – How To Avoid Rape

Originally posted on Mumbled Truths:

I couldn’t make this up if my life depended on it.  I’m minding my business scouring the internet for news, only because I’m cutting down on my TV watching and if I’m going to be force-fed perspectives brought to me by big business, I will do so for free. So where do you go, not only for news, but reactions to said news? Why Facebook, of course. Trending on my timeline was an article from Guyana (South America), where Divisional Commander ‘A’ Division, Senior Superintendent Clifton Hicken had this suggestion to prevent rape: 

“While we try to prevent somebody from committing the offence we must ensure that we do not create an atmosphere for it to happen,” he said; adding that “and that is why we advocate for young females within a certain age group who are vulnerable, between 13 – 18, to always embrace an attire that is accepted…

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Throwback…Monday? New Poem…Kinda

Untitled.

Written the Summer of ’12

 

Dear Anonymous,
1. I wanna go back to the edge of the audience, right in the center of blackout 2 and 4 and take you for everything you havewhile God watches
Leave a trail of my DNA across your lips and a taste of my being on your tongue
Your kiss is imprinted on my cheek, even now, your kiss is imprinted on my cheek
My subconscious tried to recreate the event and failed terribly.

2. I wish I could trek through July’s days back to that Saturday night when I met you at your booth, arms loose. When your boss sends you away, I’d blatantly refuse his assistance.

3. I hope I never get to the point where I miss not knowing you. There’s a certain magic that exists when you’re drawn to someone and never feel the need to question why.

4. His birthday wasn’t January 26th, it was February. Maybe we’re compatible after all.

5. You may be the most thought-provoking person I’ve ever met.

6. In the crevices of our ego, we house all our differences. Stack them, worship them, then set out to find someone as cynical as ourselves. It is a rare thing when, in our quest we stumble upon someone whose nature is so sincere, that we question all we thought we’d learned about love.

7. Don’t ever go to bed angry at me again. Please.

8. The greatest love stories ever written are all tragedies; it’s time to break the cycle.

9. Tragedy is inevitable. Everybody dies in the end.

10. This is not the end.

Chameleon

Chameleon by Rudy Francisco

“This is an apology to every woman that I changed colours to get inside of.”

Chameleon (An excerpt)

I was mentored by black men with brown skin who turned yellow at the sight of swollen bellies filled with half of their DNA

I was taught that a woman’s vagina is just an underground railroad to masculinity,

That real men have tunnel vision and treat girls like subway cars, like nothing more than a space to parallel park our genitals,

a hole to bury seeds and leave orchards in our rearview mirrors

 

They say, they say you gotta peel a woman like a tangerine

And your job as a man is to chameleon yourself into her trees,

Bite a piece of her fruit and then leave the rest hanging crooked

And confused

This is an apology to every woman that I changed colours to get inside of.

 

You see, I still haven’t stumbled across the definition of man

But I know that we are hotels that stand a million war stories tall

I know that we carry guitar cases full of phobias hoping we can turn fear into our strongest instrument,

I know, that our hands break things just as frequent as we fix them…

And we often forget that sexism is a family heirloom that we’ve been passing down for generations.

As men, it’s important that we start asking ourselves…

What will the boys learn from us?

 

Chameleon, Rudy Francisco.

Rudy Francisco is the 2009 National Underground Poetry Slam Champion, the 2010 San Diego Grand Slam Champion, the 2010 San Francisco Grand Slam Champion and the 2010 Individual World Poetry Slam Champion.