After living through 2020 EVERYBODY has something to write about. I hope everyone considers what words you have in your collection to contribute to this year’s She Chronicles. Please click the following link for more information: https://nikkiskies.wordpress.com/submissions-for-she-chronicles-2016/
Happy Birthday Toni Cade Bambara!
March 25, 1939 – December 9. 1995
She’s heard more eulogies than poetry so I wrote this for her.
Amidst the sips of licorice tea, I asked her
“what would she do differently.”
She replied she’d “love as fearlessly as she fought
take more time,
soak the greens instead of rinse ’em”
research his heart as she did antiquity.
She truly believed that for years she had a melody
but never a song
“conquer your souls duality” she told me
the world is depending on you to love
Nikki Skies, ©2007 Published in anthology of “His Rib: Stories Poems & Essays by HER” by Penmanship Publishing Group
I am reading this jewel of a book this morning for one of my classes. (ok… it’s Saturday so I am doing some work around the house so I have the audio on as well)
There are so many jewels that I am coming across in this text that I want to share some. Enjoy 🙂
“I learned to love my son without wanting to possess him and I learned how to teach him to teach himself.” – Maya Angelou
“I am convinced that people do not grow up. We find parking spaces and honor our credit cards. I think what we do is mostly grow old. We carry accumulation of years in our bodies and on our faces, but generally our real selves, the children inside, are still innocent and shy as magnolias.” – Maya Angelou
“Some entertainers have tried to make art of their coarseness. When they heap mud upon themselves and allow their tongues to wag with vulgarity, they expose their belief they are not worth loving.” Maya Angelou
“The ship of my life may or may not be sailing on calm and amiable seas. The challenging days of my existence may or may not be bright and promising. Stormy or sunny days, glorious or lonely nights. I maintain an attitude or gratitude. If I insist on being pessimistic, there is always tomorrow.” Maya Angelou
I have seen Alice Walker speak twice here in Atlanta. Both times, the crowd was mostly women, predominately white women. My last observation of the energy from the admiration of her literary works came during the Q and A. I remember sitting there trying to construct a precise question on how she connects her creative process with her person as a black woman. What I realized specifically is that the majority of the questions from the black women were trying to get the same information as I was and that the white women were asking her about spirituality. I remember thinking how odd that seemed to me that both black and white women seemed uninterested in the documentary that was just viewed. We wanted more and yet, Alice Walker is for the most part a fiction writer.
Fast forward to me now back in grad school and how often she is referenced in Africana Women’s Studies, Gender Studies and Women’s Studies. It all makes sense. My question on how she connects her creativity and her womanhood is in all of her work. I know realize how intuitively and effortlessly this is done in her work. I’m not certain of this, but I don’t think as she sat and wrote prose, short stories or poems that she was thinking on how she could contribute to feminist critical theory or black feminist theory. Nor could she have known how her personal expansion of feminism into “womanism” would take on entire subjects. Or perhaps she did… after all she is also an essayists and speaker.
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: firstname.lastname@example.org
Sex education for me and many young black girls in the 1980s consisted of shallow, scary, guilt-laden directives on what to and (especially) not to do. From the women in my family I learned, 1. Keep your skirt down and your panties up. 2. Good girls don’t… (do anything related to sex with men, definitely not with women, and especially not with yourself). 3. All men want is sex. The only thing my father ever said regarding sex was, “Ain’t no abortions in this house”. From school I learned that if I insisted on being a wild, unruly, teenager and having sex, absolutely use condoms because unprotected sex causes pregnancy and nasty diseases that itch, burn, stink and cause sores. Finally, from the church I learned that my body is solely for my husband’s pleasure when making babies and premarital sex will certainly send me straight to hell.
To say old school sex education was less than comprehensive is an understatement. Additionally, girls’ education was drastically different from, and often in direct opposition to, boys’. While girls were taught to guard and value virginity at all costs, boys were often encouraged prove their prowess by having sex with multiple girls and women before, during and after marriage. Girls were given chastisements for chastity. Boys were given condoms and told, “Just don’t bring home no babies”.
In addition to being inaccurate and contradictory, these lessons lacked information on anatomy (female and male), autonomy, consent, sexual assault (particularly by acquaintances and family), the reproductive process, and pleasure. How do you talk about sex and not talk about pleasure?
Not only was the teaching incomplete, it was physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually dangerous, proving detrimental to girls’ development into holistically sound women. Hence, the staggering number of sexual assault survivors who have come forward during the rise of #MeToo is not surprising given society’s, especially women’s, poor sex education. Sadder still is that as bad as the sex education of the 1980’s was, for previous generations it was worse. Basically, our parents didn’t teach us better because they didn’t know any better.
But better knowledge is widely available now. And those who know better must do better and teach others so they can do better as well. We must uproot the culture of sexual guilt, shame, oppression, repression, silence, toxic masculinity and rape that has grown from the seeds of miseducation and flourished under sexist and patriarchal reign and rain. Simultaneously, we must sow new seeds of equality, respect, honesty, trust and communication to cultivate a new society free from sexual violence.
In teaching we must continue learning, to avoid inadvertently imparting obsolete and therefore erroneous information to those trying to learn. Education, like sexuality, is fluid: it can change over time. We must be prepared to adapt. And now that we know what we must do, let’s begin. The bell is ringing. School is back in session.