The Things I Am Not

And who I am and who I’d like to be

Simple. Photo Credit: Tremaine L. Loadholt

I am an open book with a tired spine. I am not an only child — the eldest of seven. I creep beneath the sun’s shadows on cloudy days and savor a subtle breeze as it blows haphazardly in my direction.

Not a smoker. Not a drinker. Not a person who cares if you do or don’t, as long as you aren’t bringing harm to others — do as you please. I won’t sit back and keep my tongue on pause when a situation/action/ordeal rubs me the wrong way.

I am not your best friend’s best thing. Not a visual artist. Not a fan of everyone merging into one another. Where is the ability to be unique — to stand out from the crowd?

The bandwagon is toppling. We need to lighten the load.

I am not a night owl — not a club-hopper, can’t tell you the last time I’ve allowed someone to get within six feet of me if they weren’t family or a close/best friend.

I am not interested in cryptocurrency, bitcoin, sales & marketing. I don’t want to know how many ways I can flip a house.

I could care less about social media. You won’t find me on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, or TikTok; hell, I’m barely tolerating LinkedIn, and it’s lightweight entertainment on a good day.

I still listen to my favorite artists on CDs, others on vinyl. I have zero shame in pulling up YouTube to venture down memory lane.

Nope, I’m not addicted to Spotify, Apple Music, or any other app that gives me hundreds of thousands of artists at my beck and call.

I can write until my fingers bleed. I give birth to stories that have spent more than nine months in my brain. I am a healthcare worker leaning towards 20 years in the field.

I am not heterosexual.
I do not lack love.
I cannot stand what this world is becoming.

I am not in a relationship — don’t want to be “hooked up” with your boy or “set up” with your girl. Keep your friends where they are — they’ll have way too much to deal with as it pertains to who I am now.

I can say that openly without stuttering. I can say that and feel no shame. I know where my lane is and I stay in it.

I am me. Flawed. Fearful. Forgiven. The things I am not are exactly who I am.

This is a response to the CRY “Who Are You” prompt. Originally published in CRY Magazine via Medium.

N’Dambi, Can’t Hardly Wait

On: Loving What I Create

A free verse poem

My apartment leasing office. Every season, it’s appropriately themed, and this one . . . made me smile. I figured I’d share it with you. Photo Credit: Tremaine L. Loadholt

it wasn’t a when it was a where . . .
I moved hundreds of miles away
from my home state and fell in
love with rolling hills, vast mountains,
and four seasons. 
I knew I had several lives within me — dwelling
in comfort and begging to be set free.

before this change, I could write.
I could tell tales, weave poetry, and
set into motion articles of any kind,
but this change . . . changed me.
I won’t tell you my struggles
disappeared, no — instead, they further
shaped me and lifted me to a place
I needed for comfort.

I had to get away from where I
was to get to where I am. 
I’ll repeat . . .
I had to get away from where I
was to get to where I am.
I had become a shell of myself,
cracked on every edge, yearning
to be seen by anyone who would
widen their eyes in my direction.

I wrote my way out of traps I
placed for myself — wrote my way
out of arguments with my baby brother
over our (at the time) drug addict of 
a mother — wrote my way out of 
cells built for my kind . . . I learned to
push my anger into the deepest pit
of my belly and create . . .
I learned to pull myself out of 
the pits of hell and create.

I began to love this gift.
away from you — where I could
grow — away from all of you — where
I could stretch myself up and out.
I am touching the clouds now.
I am breathing clean air now.
I am comfortable in my skin now

this jungle of a world sinks its
teeth in, one by one, and I have
had to run away from the bite marks
pressed into my flesh. 
I wear layers, always prepared for
winter even when it’s seasons away.
God has been kind to me, overall — I’m
still able to cut a finger or two 
and bleed willingly.

I am giving my gift to thousands.

I pray I’m changing someone
and even if I’m not — I’ve changed.
I’ve changed.

I’ve changed.

and I love it.

Originally published in CRY Magazine via Medium.

Musical Selection: Drake|Jungle