An Artist’s Vision

Total Acceptance 

From the mind of an exceptional Writer, Artist, & human being — DHBogucki. A bit of one of my favorite verses in scripture (John 13:34–35), inked on my skin.

Gently, 

the needle glides,

my skin becomes

a perfectionist’s canvas — 

a vision is born.

____________________________________

DHBogucki, who I lovingly call “B” blessed me with the ink you see above. I had an idea of what I wanted, pitched it to B, and he brought it to life. He’s a tattoo apprentice based in Western NC and a darn good one too! Originally published in A Cornered Gurl via Medium.

The Battles We Create For Ourselves

Are The Ones That Break Us

TreGranny
Left: My paternal grandmother at age 37. Right: Me at age 37.

By design, we are all different yet beautiful. Coming out is teaching me what unconditional love is. What life outside of a box feels like. The more I share with my family and friends, the more I am finding out, “but you know I knew that already, right?” And no, I had no idea my family knew the inner-workings of my heart, of my soul. I am rather private. For the most part, I keep to myself. I am significantly older than all of my siblings, so much of what I experienced growing up, they did not.

They looked up to me, yes, I knew that. But, I did not know how closely they were watching me. According to my brother TJ upon me asking, “When did you think you knew?”

“I don’t mean no disrespect sis, but I knew when I was little. I mean, I ain’t never really seen you with no boyfriends except that one dude that everybody liked. I thought, maybe my sister likes women. And then later, when you started dating that bald-headed guy like three years ago, I thought — oh, my sister still likes men. I see no difference in you, sis. I’m gonna love you anyway.

To this, I laughed. I am nine years older than TJ. He and I are quite close. Most people say, he looks a lot like me and really, I think that as well. Most of us have strong features that link up, however, I am told he and our kid sister looks most like me. I found his comment the best way of his expression. Of how he began thinking his big sister was not heterosexual. He has a big heart too and is sensitive in ways that my other brothers are not. As a toddler, he was one who would cry at the drop of a hat. I knew then that he would sincerely be connected to his emotions, unafraid to share, or one willing to listen when listening is of the utmost importance. I was hoping I would be right.

TjandTre
TJ & I.

I Am Right In My Assessment.

I know there will be hills that I will ache from climbing, someone will voice their opinion, will Bible-thump me with scriptures they have twisted to fit their model of beliefs and display not one modicum of common sense, but I am in a position to not let that keep me from being me. I have no control over the thoughts of others and my journey into this new life is not the responsibility of anyone but my own. I am tired of limiting myself to being with who I want when I want, yet “in the dark,” cut-off from everyone else. I am tired of waving happiness away because of a way of life that most of my religious upbringing planned for me.

I Never Fit Into That Box

So, why was I constantly trying to keep myself there? I created a war within me. The battles I fought needed heavy armor and up against myself, I was not winning. I was only breaking and withering away. A revelation hit me, that caused me to say, “You know what? You want to be happy, be who you are. Do not think about it, Tre, just do it.” And after that moment, I felt an overwhelming sense of FINALLY! My heart slowed down its beating. I could breathe better.

Cousin, I believe this is gonna help you so much in relieving the depression and anxiety you have been dealing with for years. You are learning that it is okay to be you.” ©Akua

And it is okay to fully be me. I have made a pact with myself. A personal declaration that I intend to stand by, to etch into my skin. I will make my life easier by being who I am and nothing more. I looked at myself in the mirror and declared that. I meant it.

I Am Focused.

I carry the strength of powerful women in my bones, women who will cut you with their eyes then tell you to get over it without a trimmer in their voice. Women who have been fighting for me without my knowledge. Women who will look you in your eyes and tell you while they stand on flat feet and shiftless legs, “you’re lying.” A long line of women who have stepped forward and said,

“You better be who you are while you still can.”

I Will.

Just bees and things and flowers
Just bees and things and flowers
Just bees and things and flowers
My life. My Life. My life. My Life
In the sunshine
Everybody loves the sunshine.


Originally published in Other Doors via Medium.

The Blood Of Old Souls

Part VI: Lemuel

Courtesy of Prince Akachi

Lemuel’s eyes are fixed on the broken sky. His big sister Cassie is planning to sneak out again tonight. This will be the fifth night in a row. Lemuel is not a snitch, but he’s been itching to get Cassie into trouble since she ratted him out for eating the last thin crust pizza, their Mom’s favorite. This behavior is not what he expects from Cassie, she’s never jumped ship on a “babysitting” gig before. Although Lemuel was thirteen and could practically fend for himself, he was blind. Their parents depended on Cassie to make sure Lemuel’s well-being was positively maintained.

“I’ll be back. I put some leftover barbecue chicken in the oven for you. The timer is set for thirty minutes. I’ve heated up the mashed potatoes and the spinach only needs two minutes in the microwave. Don’t forget to take the aluminum cover off this time, Lemuel. For God’s sake, just don’t.”

Lemuel nodded in his sister’s direction and did not utter a word. The timer dinged, signifying the sweet morsels of honey-glazed barbecue chicken and Lemuel skirted his way into the kitchen. In the dark, dank, confines of the tiny space, he could hear soft whispers,

“Tattletales go to Hell.”

Lemuel ignored the whispers, surely he needed rest. He devoured his dinner, remembering to remove the aluminum cover on the spinach. Before he could swallow the last bite, he heard the chant once more. This time, it filled the walls and filled the cracks in the floor. Lemuel’s parents came barging in the door, one after the other. Lemuel couldn’t wait to let them know about Cassie leaving every night this week when she was supposed to be overseeing his care.

The voices grew louder and louder. Lemuel’s parents gazed at the boy, finally believing his days were numbered. “Cassie isn’t here. I don’t know where she is. And, she’s been leaving every night this week.” He felt a sense of pride revealing his sister’s secret.

“Tattletales go to Hell.”

Lemuel pointed to nowhere in particular as the voices grew louder and louder. He smiled in his parents’ direction and bit down lightly on his tongue before opening his mouth.

“Cassie, she’s been…”
Thunder roared, the floor in their kitchen shook, and hands erupted from beneath Lemuel and his legs were the first to disappear. The souls pulled Lemuel under while his parents watched him sink in a fiery heap.

At that very moment, Cassie walked in. The only thing she could think to say was,

“Tattletales go to Hell.”

Making Moves While Moving Minds While Striving To Stay Alive

Say boy, we make the decisions. I need all hands in the air. Tired and shaking. Shaking and tired. DO NOT SPEAK! Orders are shouted at us before we can talk some sense into our hearts…

Keep them from beating too fast. 

Before dawn, four of us lay sprawled out on a cold ground. Blood spilling from our heads. Mothers of boys cough on constant tears, voices held hostage. When can they speak?  Make room for empty promises and ignoramuses stepping on pointed toes. 

Give them an inch and they take ten miles, none of them green. 

I got 5 on the next incident that’s an accident that’s not really an accident, but they’re logging it as such as we count the bodies piling up. Killing us softly with more than songs. Your word is as good as your false teeth. Who amongst you will fight for an honor that is batted down at every turn?

Don’t you all speak at once. We can only swallow a few lies at a time. 

Make way for hardened hearts and stealthy forces. An untimely exodus is long overdue.