“But, You Speak So Well.”

Black Women Are Intelligent, You Know.

Nkululeko Mabena|Unsplash

My speech precedes me. I was raised in a home where reading was mandatory. I had to read. I had to learn. I was programmed to not only listen in grade school but pay attention and gain as much knowledge as I could. On top of all of the knowledge gained, I had to study longer, work harder, practice more, and not only be good, but greathad to be more than my peers and I had to do so because I was a girl, I was black, and we lived on the East side of Savannah, Georgia (predominantly black area). I spent time watching orators give long-winded speeches about education, the arts, culture, the need for funding in Downtown Savannah, etc. I had teenagers for parents who struggled to raise me and did not seek higher education but drilled it deep in my bones that I would, in fact, obtain a college degree.

Thus began my grooming for a world that would look upon a young, black girl and not only respect her but allow her to play on its field. Or, this is what was supposed to happen according to my elders. I entered spelling contests and won. I wrote essays, poems, and short stories and was encouraged to test the waters, no matter how deep. I spent the bulk of my summers in Bronx, New York with my mother’s biological mom and her baby sister. Oddly enough, I have this unique blend of accents — not quite Northern, but not all the way Southern, either — a mixture. I have often been told, “You are too proper,”You talk White (seriously, what does this mean?)”, and my favorite, “You speak so well, you enunciate everything.” Oh, really now? Am I not supposed to?

Black women are intelligent too, you know. We read. We study abroad. We not only enroll and are accepted into Ivy League universities, but we graduate as well. We are innovative. We are unique. We can take nothing, turn it into something and allow it to multiply because we have had tons of practice in being resourceful. The fact that I am clear in delivering messages to you when I speak does not make me special or you superior. It simply places me in a category you may not be familiar with and that is reason enough to ask yourself why. How many black women do you know? Do you venture out to be friendly with them? Do you listen, truly listen to what is being said by them when holding a conversation?

We have the words of our ancestors pouring out of us, why would you even think we would not be heard? What makes you think that what we say would not be clear, concise, direct, and appropriate? I do not want to be anyone’s common statistic. How you form your thoughts surrounding who I am and how I operate in life is between you and your current mindset. It does not have anything to do with me. I love to watch the look on the face of others when I open my mouth to speak, especially if there is an important topic to discuss at hand. I am tactful, I am steady in my thinking, and not only am I direct — I know my facts when I have to.

When I speak — I am showing you an entire race and the many cultures that make up who we are. When you hear me, you hear a woman — a black woman giving you her thoughts. If ever we have a debate, slight misunderstanding, or an argument, know that what I will say, you will not forget. “But, you speak so well.”

I do.

And I do many more things “so well” too.


Originally published in Atomic Babes via Medium.

Black Is Bold

Black Is Bold

Living As A Bisexual Black Woman In The South

 

Jessica Felicio|Unsplash

had a friend, a long time ago, who read something of mine posted on another writing platform and ripped it to shreds. Another friend who saw the comment from that friend of ours sent me a text message that said, You are not writing for the minds of those who cannot understand, Tre. You are writing for the cosmos, girl. Since then, I have taken the last bit of her comment and applied it to my life. I am living for the cosmos.

What am I? Who am I? How do I fit into this world that oftentimes does not see me? Black can be offensive to those who are not used to being bold.

Let me break that down…

The very force in which we make ourselves known is too much for some to handle. When we get together and voice our opinions on things that matter, subjects that are for our personal gain (and rightfully so), the passion in which we express ourselves to some is too intense. We are intense. We are extreme. We have every right to stand tall, proud, and be forthcoming about who we are and what we give to a world that still benefits from seeing us ostracized.

Someone asked me recently who I am — how would I describe myself using only three words? I said, “Black, woman, and bisexual.” She then looked at me as if I had two heads, one viciously snapping at the other. I asked, “Should I expound?” And of course, I needed to. In the American South, I have three strikes against me before I open my mouth. I am Black. I am a woman. I am bisexual. To be just one of these three descriptions in 2019 is a struggle, but to be all three? That is a welcome mat for homicide.

Some say, we are living in a forward-thinking age, but we are nowhere near a time that will lend us peace wherever we may roam. I am being reminded daily that I am beautiful. That I am designed just right. That every layer of skin and its tone is what I was meant to carry. This is my cross to bear — I have to search for these reminders. I have to dig. I have to create the space I need for comfort, it is not readily prepared or given to me. I have to take it.

I Am Black’s Beauty…

i am always burning and no one knows my name
i am a nameless fury, i am a blues scratched from
the throat of ms. nina—i am always angry.” — Mahogany L. Browne


dated a guy while in my twenties who said to me, “There’s nothing left for a man to give you, Tre.” I thought it to be the oddest, most ignorant thing for someone to say. The comment led to our first major argument. Do I not need love? Do I not need comfort? Am I not worthy of someone who can step in and just be what I need him or her to be when I need it? He tried to explain to me that his comment was solely to point out that I was independent, in constant survival-mode, stable, and did not need “help” from him. This was before my coming out days, but he knew of my sexuality — he knew who I truly was.

To say that we were “young and dumb,” would probably be apt, but we both knew what and who we wanted and it was not each other. He needed a woman who needed him and often showed it, made him “feel like a man.” I wanted a man who acknowledged my independence, stood by it, and still loved me without measuring what I could and could not do. It was best that we parted ways. That experience taught me that all that I am will not be accepted by everyone. All that I am will not be applauded by everyone.

Black is sweet. Black is love. Black is light. Black is struggling to make ends not only meet but stick together forever. Black is golden. Black is the blues and soul-saving poetry. Black is picking up the pieces, putting them in their rightful place, and moving on.

I am Black. I am a woman. I am bisexual. And in the American South, I am still trying to push my voice out to a world that does not hear me, sometimes does not want to see me, and worst of all, will not understand me. “You listen to me and you listen to me well, the next time someone asks you if you are bisexual, you better damn well tell them who you are.” ©My Mom.

Black is the high road, the road less traveled, the road to all of your yellow brick roads. Black is new. Black is old. Black is learning to step aside and honor the ancestors’ calling upon us. Black is sincerity. Black is bold.

Every single day, I am paving a way for myself where in the past, I felt as though I could not. And in the South, I still feel that I cannot. I may not be what someone wants or expects of me. I may not have what someone needs or expects from me. I may be the very last thing you think about and can only provide a tiny space for in the corner of your weeping mind. But I know this —

I am bold.


This is a more in-depth breakdown of the following piece:

Bold
8 Wordsmedium.com
Originally published via Atomic Babes on Medium.

Prepared

The Inevitable

funeralflower
Tushar Adhikari|Unsplash

Today, I prepared my Living Will & Testament. I had been meaning to draft this up for years, started it, and never finished, but today–it is done. I have all of the necessary mentions, made one of my best friends the Executor and both she and my mom as primary and secondary beneficiaries. Why one of my best friends and not my mom? We have discussed this, my Mom and I. Should I go before her, she is not what one would call a stable person emotionally. She would be too overwhelmed with sadness and grief and probably not the one to execute things accordingly. As grim as death is, in the event of the death of your child, plans still have to be made, funeral arrangements need to be completed, the gathering of souls and notifying them as well must be carried out and well… to be frank, she would not be able to get this done.

My best friend, on the other hand, handles things efficiently and does so in a way that many cannot. Plus, it will not be her first time dealing with death and dying and head-mastering the arrangements. I hate tasking either of them with this, but it must be done. Although I am what most would call young in age, death does not care about that. When I am called by God, I will be called and age will be the last thing on God’s mind. While diligently compiling the list of belongings and making sure Jernee will be cared for and loved when I am gone, I became a bit emotional myself. To think of one’s own death is quite macabre, however, as I stated earlier, this is necessary. I have had a number of peers die “untimely deaths,” and I am certain there will be more. It is not my intention to leave my family wondering what my wishes are nor is it my intention to leave them solely responsible for funding my homegoing.

The nearly three-page document lacks nothing. I went through it with a fine-toothed comb and I am pleased with every item bullet-pointed, including the want to be cremated and have my ashes relegated to my mother who may do what she likes with them at her discretion. I requested a small funeral–family and close friends only. I do not see a reason to have a mass gathering for the purpose of me leaving this earth. The more people at this event, the more my mom and best friend will have to deal with and I intend for their burdens to be light. They will have enough on their plates. Should my Mom go before me, I am the Executor and her primary beneficiary and I will adhere to her wishes as she has laid them out for me. The same goes for my best friend. We talk about these matters, better to do so than not be somewhat prepared.

The only thing left to do now is to obtain signatures and get the Notary Public at my credit union to notarize the document. I will try to accomplish this in the next week or two. I can let out a sigh of relief because after the fall in the shower, nearly two years ago, the one thing bleating in the back of my mind like an untamed billygoat is, “you need a Living Will. Get it done, Tre.”

And now, it is.

“Go Tell It On The Mountain”

mountaintop
Courtesy of Neil Rosentech via Unsplash

You pick. You poke. You prod. I have noticed the change in you and I am of sound mind. I am a whole spirit. I still have my good heart and I thought you had yours, but you are unveiling a side to you that I have never known. And then, we have never been what we are now. Open. Honest. We have always walked on eggshells, scared to reveal our true selves to each other. Yet, there was love.

Yet —

There Was

US.

I will admit, there are pieces of me I now feel should have remain caged, but then this bird would not sing. There would not be a tune to share and ears to hear it as it flows melodiously through the cloudsI am slowly moving forward. I am clearing a way for desperate dreams. I will not deny you the deepest parts of me if you will give me your word that you will keep them safe. And I do not think you will give me your word. I do not think you will trust yourself enough to understand what we went through. What I went through while being with you.

I do not need any more egocentric fools racing to bid on my sanity — how long will I have it? When will I break? I thought, because I want to believe in the good in you than evil, that you would fight to remain beautifulAnd not the type of beauty that’s plastered on magazine covers or as subjects of famous paintings, but the beauty that comes from waking up next to someone who spent thirty seconds gently rubbing your forehead and whispering to you until your eyes opened. Or the beauty that comes from watching a toddler take his first steps, giggling at the momentous achievement.

I wanted your beauty to last so that when I looked at you, I would remember what made me love you.

But like all things that need sweeping and clearing, it did not. We did not. And it started long ago when I confessed to sleeping with a woman. I did not take the time to understand how the newness of the news shaped you. Changed you. Cut you open and split you at the seams. From that day, nothing was the same. There was no going back.

You ran after God, sure that if you caught him, the pain that you felt would dissipate. Prayerful that if you caught him, that I would not be who I am versus who I was. You thought that if you could attack God fiercely and dig deep enough to learn all there is to know of him, that I would change. And there would be another woman and another and then you again. Because you had a part of me that no one else could get.

The mountain in me sloped intensely and I knew one day, you would get tired of risking your life to reach the top. I was selfish then. I wanted what I wanted and could get it without much effort. That is the downside to being young, manipulative, and weak. We do not realize the damage done to others until the same begins to happen to us. Someone said they saw you happy, that you asked of me in a way that sounded more like you wondering if I was finally happy too, rather than truly wanting to know of me — of my life.

I was happy to hear that you settled again. That you are still preaching, leading a flock to fields of endless dreams. You are still chasing God. All the while oblivious to the fact that you had Him in you the whole time.

If I ever see you again, years from today, moons from tomorrow, I would tell you to climb the mountain once more and take special care this time.

She’ll probably let you reach the top.


I’ve got a seed in the ground
That he’s blessing
No more stressing.
I’ve got a seed in the ground
And it’s growing
Now it’s showing.

This is my season, for grace for favor.
This is my season to reap what I have sown.


Originally published in A Cornered Gurl via Medium