I was planning a trip to the beach. Fortunately, Atlanta affords me the leisure of choosing between various Georgia Islands, or a few hours drive to Florida, South Carolina or the coast of Alabama. I decided to do a quick turn around trip to one of the Golden Isles off the coast of Georgia. Distracted, I began to flip through Facebook and came across an article about Igbo Landing or Ebo landing.
“The Igbo Landing occurred when Igbo slaves who had taken control of their ship marched into the water and drowned at Dunbar Creek on St. Simons Island, Glynn County, Georgia.
After surviving the rigours of the Middle Passage, the 75 Igbo slaves who were bought for labour on the plantations of John Couper and Thomas Spalding for 100 dollars each.
The slaves were chained and put aboard a small ship to be transported to their destinations. During this voyage, they took control of the ship and grounded it, drowning their captors in the process.”
(from the site pulse.ng)
I looked up St. Simons Island and discovered it was a mere 4.5 hours away and I could choose lodging on the island or in nearby Brunswick, Ga. There are so many stories to be told. So many lands to be visited and honored or memorialized, and as a writer I believe there are always new words to discover. New smells and newly uncovered ways to describe emotions. So I booked my lodging, fueled up the Buick, and hit the road.
When I left the executive management world a few years ago, my goal was simply to find ways to stay creative and keep a roof over my head. This decision also involved me changing my career path in what some might consider, late in the game. After years of making an insanely, wonderful large salary, I began writing on more of a full time basis and substitute teaching in the public school system.
I tell myself the low pay was balanced with the daily rewards of working with young people and seeing them hit a happy plateau when they believed in themselves like I did. I guess I would say my philosophy in teaching was meeting the students exactly where they were and showing them the end goal everyday. And for three years I did just that! I worked with intent and passion, sharing my love for language arts and literature with 3rd and 4th graders. My respect for teachers and administration grew immensely. These are different times our kids are living in! Their access to information (and the lack of information) through the internet is a double edge sword. But I definitely have to say a huge challenge we are facing is the placement of charter schools that do not match the need or function for their perspective communities.
As I think of all the detours in life,
I am reminded that some of us are hurting,
struggling and stressed out
and God wants to remind all of us that our struggles
did not claim His promises for us
We may have some lingering emotional pain
and in other ways be bruised, but we are not ruined
We just need to be freed from any perceived faults
We need to be strengthened and restored
We need to be mended
and God is still in the mending business.
Some may say “Girl I don’t need mending, I’m good”
But the reality is things fall apart and when they do,
we start to question the essence of who we are
We are fearfully and wonderfully made women
We are the ones who were created from man because
we were necessary for carrying out God’s plan
We were given the spiritual insight to mother
the King of Kings, yet at times we’ve gotten
paralyzed by earthly things; and
some of these things severely rocked, and shifted us
and every time, the ‘Mender’ came and lifted us
because like the sun, moon and stars,
when He looked at us for the first time,
He said “That’s my best work by far”
God looked at Woman and He was pleased.
But even with His approval, sometimes,
the vibrations of our issues and traumas
bring us to our knees; afraid to move in any direction
But from a biblical recollection, we are pre-wired with
a spirit not intended to hold’s fear’s place
On the cross, He already set the pace for
dominating in life’s race, so, we must part ways with the
frays of those thought patterns that tend to leave us saddened.
When it comes to our spouses and children and
jobs and churches; we worry about being enough
and get trapped in the cuffs of “I need to do more”
or “What else can I do”
Women before us say the work of our gender is never through
We need mending!
Some of our history includes betrayal by someone who appeared
loving, but deemed us fitting for the splitting of our spirit,
as they denounced our value through acts of violence that
reversed our innocence; sent shock waves into our system
with every blow, until domestic violence became our daily show
and we no longer took time to enjoy the view…
Newfound positions as ‘Cover Girls’ with just the
right shades to camouflage our brokenness
We need mending!
Some of us had a foster brother or another
who took advantage of his vantage to, access
the bedroom where little girl memories are created—
elated was the perpetrator’s feelings each time they left
Now into adulthood, emotions swept, because those on whom
we relied—denied that the experience was more than
a fake story—now we accept their sentencing, or we,
keep pushing forward while burying the bones of
their infractions in fractions of our minds
We need mending!
We need the one-of-a-kind Savior whose
mercy on us never passes and His grace is open
wide to remove bandages and exchange beauty for ashes…
not needing any cashes because Jesus’ blood
dripped down until it was as round as the highest valued coin
He loves us from His loins, so know that the validity of
our pain and anguish are not in question
The ultimate sacrifice was made so that we could
move beyond tragedies and partake in divine function.
Some of us have lost jobs, cried through divorce and buried
our parents or children—
Bearing these crosses, made this world much more difficult to live in
Then there are women who are younger who have watched
the weeds of depression rearrange their emotional gardens,
hardened by the need to ease the tumultuous friction
Evil got us walking around like cutters
Taking painful memories and re-opening old wounds
while filling our minds with clutter,
feeling even lower as we realize that surviving can be
worse than the act—pack of angels the Father timely sends
to ensure we don’t end what He started
No matter how bad it seems,
His love for us cannot be departed and
He always knows when and how we need mending!
He will Make Everything Not Destroy us
even though it seems to deplete us
He will Mince Evils Needing Dismantling
He will Maintain Efforts to Needlepoint our Destiny
He will keep Mapping the Entrance to New Dreams
previously left dormant
He will Meticulously Endorse Noteworthy Declarations of
our forgiveness and favor for future foundations
After every problem, every issue, every crisis, every confusion,
every “why come,” every “What do I do,” every “How did this
happen,” every heartache and every tear…He, will, mend!
Women are intricate instruments intended to redefine this world;
and as we are impearled by His mending, we will meet the very
best version of ourselves and become, the greatest blessing.
Get ready to receive your mending!
Duania Hall aka “The Owner”, is known for owning the stage when sharing her poetry. She also previously hosted the poetry venue Speak Out Loud in Inglewood, CA. Duania is Woman of God, mother of two, Social Worker who creates and facilitates empowerment and poetry workshops for youth and adults, from all walks of life. Duania believes everyone has the capacity to create change and her motto is “when we create, we change the game”. Look out for her next poetry book, More than Words, set for release later this year. Duania can be reached at: email@example.com
One of my career(s) was being in executive retail management. It was incredible money but A LOT of work. Once I left that job, a part of my missed the none stop hustle and bustle of things so I created this character, Grace, to fill the void. (clever huh?) If you enjoy comedy, short stories and shopping- get a copy of “Grace in Retail – The Bonus“. Here’s Grace in action…
parents – (n) The hardest working person in the universe.
We can see beyond horizons and be as blind as bats.
We can hear as keen as owls and be as deaf as a day gone.
We can be energetically defeated.
parenting – (v) The hardest job in the universe.
I dare to say our most imminent goal is to ensure our children can live successful independent lives. And to make sure that goal stays in the forefront of our mind, we will do what we must. That includes perfect vision in a forest and closing our eyes in the light. As long as the goal is protected.
That is how I try to reach the parents of my students. Some of them have a spry and transparent engagement with the social and educational growth of their child. But the majority are only proactive towards their counsel to teachers on their personal goal and avoid any reactionary response on classroom feedback that does not comply with the said goal.
As a parent, I have had uncomfortable conversations in regards to the behavior of my three. And some have been the embarrassing repeated behaviors of “overly social”, “running in the hall” or “incomplete assignments. I had to grow into a position with my parenting to concede that, the same behavior I correct them with at home, is the same tone they exhibit with other adults. So when I get phone calls and reports that my youngest, who only stops talking when she is sleep, is “overly social” in class, I believe it. I’m not sure what it is that shapes in parents heads that their child’s calamity somehow stops the second they enter the school building. If your child is flipping furniture at home, there is a 90.9% chance you child will come into the classroom and do the same.
I love to read. Period. I didn’t get to do a lot of that this past year. I was a rookie English Literature teacher, I was preparing graduate school packages and doing more drafts on my latest novel. This summer it was all about reading, drafting (writing) and getting out of the city (beaches).
My favorite 3 that I read this summer:
Alice Walker -Anyone who knows me knows that I love prose and I love folklore. The prose in this book is magical! I found her POV writing to be confusing at times but it served its purpose for the storytelling. But the prose writing made me fall back in LOVE (again) with the magic of words.
Jamaica Kincaid – I can always count on her to teach me more technique on first person fiction writing. She is a genius with sentence temperature! Your typical story has structure for plot movement. She can twist plot in every sentence to keep you hanging on! But the genius part is, she’s writing just as we think. Constant growth/contradiction. Magic of words!
Mary Monroe – This was my second Mary Monroe book that I’ve read. The first one I read years ago and I suppose with life piled on top I forgot about her. NO MORE! This was my favorite book of the summer! I haven’t fallen in love and cared about characters as much as I did in this book in a long time! Magic of words!
My mentor/guide advised that I “find” time to read more. (We’ll see, with my upcoming schedule of teaching and school.) I told her about the books I read and why I chose these three as my top. Her reply was something to the tune of, ‘Because those books asked you something of yourself. They found you. Just as your readers will find your books, so take your time with your writing.‘
**NOTE: These are not new releases. Alice and Jamaica are two of my favorites and Mary Monroe’s book was published in 1995 (I believe). Other books I read this summer were:
Half of a Yellow Sun by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
Liliane by Ntozake Shange
Diablerie by Walter Mosley
There are several things I love about teaching but most notably I enjoy the time off during holidays and summer. (while still receiving a check 🙂 This is especially rewarding to me who spent years as an executive manager in retail and worked every holiday and most weekends.
Now I know you must be thinking, ‘my goodness Nikki, the school year just started didn’t it and you’re already thinking about time off?’ YES! You would be correct in with that assumption! And I think I have just the thing to help me get through the first half of the school year and my first semester in grad school.
A few months back, one of my friends exercised “staying in the moment” by writing daily things on what she most loved about herself. She did this for 60 days and surprisingly enough, she said the first twenty were very laborious. Laborious because she was having a difficult time discovering what she loved, or even liked on some days. The statements had to be instinctively linked about her and not some indirect love for something or someone else. She said this helped with her daily self care even if it was only 5-10 minutes a day. With my schedule becoming 12 hour days Tue-Thur due to school immediately after work, I thought this “I Love…” regiment would be ideal to ensure I think about me.
For the next 90 days, I am going to write in this little journal different things I Love about me. This is extremely horrifying to me because it involves commitment and I can be so anal (for lack of a better word) when it comes to committing to something and what loyalty means to me. But I am at a stop in my life where I am both an educator and a student, literally, and I am content. How do I insist that I remain present under both titles? By involving myself daily, by communicating with myself daily. Hopefully this 90 day venture will prove to assist with that!
Join me if you may! Also, after this 90 days, it will be Thanksgiving and time for a week break from both work and school 😉 Clever, huh?