Featured Writer for August

Sara Weaver

Sara is an incredible young one and has been along this ride in A Cornered Gurl since I made the announcement to open it up to all Writers on Medium this past January. She is also a Young Mind of Medium and she and I have collaborated over the last three years on three projects and with each piece, I learn a bit more from her. To answer July’s challenge, Sara shared a letter she wrote for her boss who would be leaving her place of work to experience new endeavors. He was her inspiration.

In Goodbye (Well, Technically), Sara shows exactly why it is important to let those who inspire us know it. She shares her heart and she does it without being overly emotional. She is incredibly sound in her work and this is an indicator of that. And here, we have it–the reason for her feature:

Photo Credit to me, Sara Weaver

Goodbye (Well, Technically) Young Minds of Medium Inspiration Call

The greatest boss I will ever know has left. Here’s to you, boss.

Hey (well, now former) Boss,

I didn’t say much when you dropped the bomb that you were leaving, but I know that what I’m thinking and writing deserves some sunlight.

When you said you didn’t want to put our jobs in jeopardy I understood how much of a role model you’ve been to me. I may not understand the entirety of the drama you were involved in, but I have an understanding of the sacrifices you made for your family and us. I have always trusted that you would make the right decisions for yourself, and that trust hasn’t faltered.

Since you’re no longer a constant factor at work, there are some secrets and “thank you’s” I would love to disclose. For starters, during my interview, I faked all of it. I had tried to look up some potential interview questions that would have done better elsewhere, but I magically came up with answers, like in an SAT-pick-the-best-option kind of way, and prayed that they were the ones you were hoping for. I was super lucky and started working the next week.

Hilariously enough, I never thought I would end up in childcare; I used to think that I would never want to work with kids. The only reason I applied to work here was because I didn’t want to work in a bank, which was what my mom had suggested since she made the same move as a young adult. Now that I want to stay for as long as possible, I realize how wrong I was about kids. So as my first “thank you”, thank you for giving me a chance. I definitely don’t think I made the strongest first impression, but you were still willing to take me in, and now I realize I’m better at talking to kids more than adults.

I haven’t turned into my mom in a lot of ways, but when it comes to working through conflicts I have only seen my mom yell so I came into this job with the same tactic. However, I’ve always known that I don’t want to be that way. After seeing you work your magic, your modeling has meant everything to me, and I continually impress myself with how much I’ve improved at talking. Thank you for pulling me out of that rut and for showing me what communication should look like.

Of course, my next “thank you” goes to last year, and I know you know what I’m talking about. I don’t think I ever thanked you properly for helping me keep my head above water, and that was wrong of me. I admit that at some point I contemplated quitting because dealing with the stress was like trying to contain a tsunami in a container, and the uncertainty of how long it would last was an overwhelming thought. It was a test of our emotional resilience and we both came out on top. Thank you for believing me even when I didn’t believe myself. Thank you for being there, for listening, and thank you for staying. I had a small idea of what you were dealing with on your end, and I’m sorry you had to deal with it, too. But seriously, thank you . . . Just thank you.

For the last couple of weeks, I’ve had and heard a lot of thoughts on everything that has happened and despite it all, I am positive that you will find something else in which to excel. There is a legacy you’ve stamped on this place and none of us want to erase it. It will be impossible not to compare the new director to you; the new guy has impossible shoes to fill. Thank you for working with us, for sticking it out as long as you did. For you, we will remain resilient.

Finally, there’s something else you’ve said that I have remembered: if you could sleep at night, then you knew you made the right decision. I’ve decided if you can sleep at night, then so can I.

Thank you for always reminding us that we’re the ones with the ball in our court, I wish you the best of luck in everything!

— Sara


Originally published in A Cornered Gurl via Medium.

Featured Poem of the Week

Zuva

Zuva is one of our newest contributors to A Cornered Gurl and she comes to the publication with strength, power, brutal honesty, and “black excellence” in her bones. I love reading this young one and she decided to answer the “Young Minds of Medium Inspiration Call” with the following piece entitled: The Making of a Government Manifesto–Erasure Piece. At nearly twenty-three years old, Zuva is already making waves with her work and if you are in her way, you will be moved. And now, for her poem as our featured work for the week:


Photo by Rosemary Ketchum from Pexels

The Making of a Government Manifesto–Erasure Piece.

Immigrants are “stealing your jobs” but really it’s machines

A homeless man asks me for change, the world is contactless now

Education is free when it protects and promotes government agenda

Does the voice of oppressors get silenced or do they learn how to whisper and

pass secret notes?

men are taught to hate feminists when we want to help them too. Nothing changes

Obesity is a money-making industry,

that’s why salads ain’t cheap

They’re crippling our NHS to privatisation

This is how it’s meant to be

Trump is to cause divide

And illustrate your rights still don’t matter

People are gunned down for being people

Children are shot then and called victims


*It is very easy to look at the world and just see the negative. But when you look again you can find and create hope.


Originally published in A Cornered Gurl via Medium.

Featured Writer for July

Jose Pita

Jose hails from South Africa and brings to A Cornered Gurl via Medium passionate writing and a love for our craft that is clearly visible. He delivers emotion-filled and heartfelt work that not only connects with the writing community, but makes you think too. I am honored to have him in our midst and to read his work and share it with all of you. The following piece taps into how one can see heaven differently and why. It is entitled “Heaven is a journey, not a destination.”


Heaven is a journey, not a destination

Think of your favorite story, think of the first time you heard that story . . .

Now imagine someone carelessly spoiling the ending before the journey even began. 

Could you continue to read the story with the same enthusiasm if you knew the end?

Does the belief that we are going to ascend to heaven give us an illusion of knowing the end of our story, hampering our ability to live our lives to the fullest? 

Imagine being completely oblivious to the existence of such a place. Imagine having no illusions of your end.

What if our immortality lay only with the stories we leave behind as well as those willing to share them?

Would this paradigm shift force us to live more complete lives?

Live life as a mortal, not as one given a promise of immortality. Each of us has an interesting tale to tell, but it is our responsibility to ensure that we, not fear, continue to be the authors.


Originally published in A Cornered Gurl via Medium.

Featured Poem of the Week

Ashwini Dodani

Ashwini was recently added to A Cornered Gurl as a contributor and is a faithful supporter and pretty well known Writer on Medium. He specializes in gut-punching, knee-buckling poetry, and can also melt your heart too. He is the Editor and sole host of From The Poet’s Heart, a publication on Medium that is budding beautifully. What he will bring to the publication is a sound and consistent flow of the beauty of words and I am rather happy he is now apart of our community. His poem “Standing Up For Myself” is this week’s feature.



Standing Up For Myself

Not Your Business

Photo by Allan Gonzalez Vega from Pexels

Of Course!

Stare at me, as you always do,
judge as you always do,
measure me in all the small capacities
you can but I will not be affected,

and I will not even let you know that I am not…

I don’t expect you to know
my battles, my pain,

my insecurities, my leftover sanity,
my ego melted into self-respect,
my self-respect shattered into hollowness,
No, I seriously don’t,
But if you can, if you really can,
do take those eyes off me,
that keep doubting and make me
even unsure of my most determined
decisions,
 I request not command
to let me be, and take my beliefs
to turn them into reality…

But somehow I can sense, you won’t change,
and hence 
I am forced to tell you in your face,
I am standing up for myself,
and it’s none of your business…

 


More poetry by me and 50+ others, join us at From The Poet’s Heart.


Originally published in A Cornered Gurl via Medium.

Featured Writer for June

Noe

If I had to describe her, I’d say she’s an eclectic superwoman with the ability to weave words into wonderment. She is captivating without trying and has done nothing but share connection and heartwork pieces in A Cornered Gurl and I, for one, am very happy to have experienced her work. We also share a birthday. She is our Featured Writer for the month of June. The piece selected? Tightrope. Just one read, and you’ll see exactly why I shared the description above.

Photography also by Noe

Tightrope

A flash of lightning may one day strike me down but in that half-second of illumination, I can see for miles. Some doctors call it temporal-lobe epilepsy others call it PTSD and years ago, they called it a Dissociative Disorder.

I don’t answer to those names, anymore.

Thunderstorms, even tornados don’t frighten me as much as the dark stillness that falls just seconds before they hit. For fifty years, I have continued to walk leaning forward into the wind. My journey is inward. My head spins — I close my eyes — and after all of this time, my sleepwalking feet are steady. There is no tightrope too thin for me.

At fifteen, living with my mother had become unbearable. My father was residing in Moore, Oklahoma. I had not seen him in years. After the divorce, my brother and I were never truly wanted by either parent but we were used like weapons that could be withheld or inflicted. Child support went unpaid and visits were scheduled and missed in this monopoly. We had no other value outside of the game. Resentments festered. When I asked my father if I could stay with him, he saw it as a chance to strike back at my mother.

My brother remained in Los Angeles. He barely attended school anymore and spent most of his time with the boys we grew up with; friends who had turned mean under pressure. Despite their hand-hammered armor, they knew how to ease his pain. They shared a brotherhood through glass pipes and punches. My brother didn’t need me anymore.

Still, I was used as bait to lure him back to my father but my brother refused to play the prodigal son to the man who had abandoned him.

My father said that he went back to Nicaragua to fight in the war but I never really knew what side he was on. I don’t even know how long he was actually there but for four years, we waited for letters that never came. When our dad finally called from Nicaragua, he said we had a new sister and that he was coming back with his family to the U.S.

My father’s smooth-skinned wife had never scrubbed a toilet, washed dishes or done laundry. She showed me a rash on her hands and handed me some cleaning rags. She was reluctant to immigrate to the United States but soldiers had seized her family’s ranch. They tied her brother to his prized horse and sent him out to the desert to die. In her mid-twenties, she had no choice but to flee with the help of my father but she could never fully leave her memories of the cook, the maids, the gardeners, and good silver. She had nothing left of her former life but a depressive aunt and a nursing infant.

The hidden casualties in the Contra War were often apolitical citizens like her. She watched me from the corner of her eye. I was a terrible maid. She and her aunt hissed my name from a distance and hid their secrets in deep pockets of whispered Spanish.

Within two weeks, I was sent back to California — without warning or explanation. On the flight back, looking down through clouds, I watched the barren landscape shrink back. I wondered what it would feel like to be forced to leave one’s country, to lose an estate, complete with an equestrian center, in exchange for the small and charmless home of a factory worker. I thought about my stepmother serving my father his dinner and I remembered her weak smile. Without him, she may not have escaped but when my father boasted of her previous wealth, she seemed like a souvenir pressed under his thumb.

Sometimes, I can’t look at my face or hands without thinking of my father. He had a way of owning those around him. Few of us broke free — none of us entirely.

I don’t remember very much about that stay at his home but I remember looking out of a bedroom window. It was early summer and the sun was reluctant to leave me alone. I had never experienced such oppressive humidity. My hands rested under my chin on the window sill … my nose touched the glass but I could not see any sign of my breath. I scanned the red and gold field, it was flat and as dry as a well-ironed sheet. Then, suddenly, at the very edge of the horizon, I could see dust spinning upward. It twisted and gained strength like a dark and furious shadow. At that moment, I felt a fist strike my head, out of nowhere. It cleared everything in its path with a final blackout.

This memory became a recurring nightmare until six years ago when Moore, Oklahoma was finally destroyed by a horrific tornado. I watched the news on the television as I rode a stationary bike at the gym. I could no longer feel my feet and my ears hummed as bad as 80’s rock thundered over the sound system. I leaned forward and looked up at the screen. Sometimes, it is hard to believe my eyes but this time I recognized what I saw as a true memory.

a red and gold field
is torn away through thin glass
an angry sky twists

Copyright © 2019 Noe. All rights reserved.


Originally published in A Cornered Gurl via Medium.