Talking Not To Talk

There are people that talk and never say anything. There are people that speak and say everything.

Sometimes, it is the job of those closest to us, as ugly as that job is, to discern which is which.

We speak a for all types of reasons and occasions, but what is it that we say? There are conversations we have when we really don’t want to talk about what really bothers us, troubles us, or keeps us awake at night.

The loneliness of man and woman is often found in the company we keep. We can know a lot of people, and a lot of people can be acquainted with us, but how many people really know you? How many people in your circle can discern speech from chatter? Can they call you on and in empty conversation?

You don’t have to answer that out loud.

We have these levels of people in our lives, these outer people and inner circle. In the case of some people, all they have are outer people:  the yes men, the yes women, the people you pay, the people that fear you, the people that never tell you no or bad news.

The inner circle people? These are the precious ones. The people whom have watched you grow up, cry, sweat and in some cases help you leap out of burning situations. This level of intimacy, this level of friendship is crafted and cultivated over years. The society in which we live doesn’t lend itself to intimacy. It pushes us to likes, and follower counts, and what can be remedied with an app.

Perhaps this is why the chatter can be indistinguishable from speech, including the cries for help. Hidden in the reflexive, reactive “I’m okay,” “Nothing’s wrong,” or “Wyd” text messages.

We’re all guilty of it. We find ourselves on these desolate, emotional islands with no one to pour out to. All matter of chaos is breaking loose in your life, and you’re surrounded by people whom have no idea how to connect with you, speak to your heart, or even understand the gravity of the weight you carry.

Reach out.

It does not make you week to ask for what you need. Those around you should be able to love you and hear you–even by what you don’t say. Don’t have filler conversations when it feels like you’re going to drown in your own pain and grief.

I’m far from saying, “Suck it up, buttercup.” What I will say is, “You won’t die in this.” The thing that helped me–what I’m doing right now–WRITING. That helped me to channel everything that I thought, and but all those storms on paper. For you it could be, a hot bath, shopping or even sitting outside and watch the sun.

But remember, filler conversations, solve nothing. Life is not a term paper–there is no word count to satisfy. Say what you mean–mean what you say–mean what it is you ask for. Even if that is as basic as needing more of you to give back to the world.

The world indeed owes you nothing, but you owe everything to yourself.


Why Mama Cry When You Can’t See Her

The first time I saw my mother cry, I was about 3. It was the worst, most helpless feeling I have ever had. I told myself that anyone that made my mother cry was bad, and I never wanted her to cry over something I said or did to her.

In this, the 36th summer of life, I haven’t kept that promise, and I, too, have cried in front of my daughters. The thing I never wanted to do, or have them see. 

Why is this? Let me off you this…

There is this myth surrounding black women. That we are hard, unyielding, and callous—bitter, sour and mean. 

Far from true.

We’ve been taught that we have to become and embody a strength reserved for God and to the envy of other people. We’re seen as these women devoid of the weight of emotion, but assigned with the burden of man.

Not. So.

I cry most when my children can’t see me because I want them to remain children. I want them to maintain their innocence the world strips from little black girls. 

I cry where they can’t see me to remind myself  I am owed myself. I’m a owed space to grieve, process and acknowledge what is happening to me. I get to be human. 

Self-care is always seen as a luxury black women, sometimes. Like we don’t “need” space to “breathe and be”.  We do. We are women like anyone else and deserve that same respect and luxury to rest and emote.

Mamas cry when you can’t see them to release. We cry when you can’t see them to regroup, to allow for grief not to overtake and make you bitter. 

Mama is our superhero selves. 

But we still suit up, every day…even when Kyptonite is present.

*First, Awakenings…

First, Awakenings…

In this daily grand unveiling

Between mirror and man,

I present as goddess, mortal, and woman.


More invulnerable than I would like

The woman is choked out,

Voice stolen in the awakening of

Constant responsibility,

And the duty of the service to others.


In this moment, both bare and naked,

I embrace the most excellent now.

I see me as I wished I could

When girldom and life we before me.

I seize and reclaim all that is me and you

In the legacy of all whom are female

And woman to follow,

To be resilent  and thankful.


From my crown, I see hair of


Free and authentic as lion’s wool.

Indicative of the she-warriors before me,

And to be descended from me.


Eyes as clear as summer blues

And regal and brown as earth,

Housing passion, hot and molten

As moved by the whims of God Himself

To Gaia in love  and justice.


Skin as luminous as clear moons,

To the luxe shades of ebony alabaster.

Because you see, I too am

And am made by sacred fire.


I stretch hands, open and warm

Towards sunshine, surrendering to

All the day will wield and hold.

I remember the strengths of

Them that bore and shaped me.

Proud of my blood—beyond family.

Sharing wisdom beyond years

And years lost.


Those forces both male and female

Whom have poured into my

Mortal divine,

Have given ear to unapologetic secrets

That make girl-women invincible

In times proven to try our souls.


I house, we house courage limitless

When none are left,

But we who see and defend

Them, too, whom bare the

Weight which is accustomed

To the bold-believing to effect change.


I am she.

               She are we.


In this light, in this place

Before one but my Creator,

Whether in locker rooms, offices,

Beaches or quiet nights,

I can at last admire His complete



The deft of the skill of

A sovereign power, that

I be made oracle, over this life

Given, without hesitation,

Chose to live.


I am a vessel divinely written

And breathed that exudes

Joy  and hope unspeakable.

The creative power of the

Almighty is infused in every

Sway of hip, slight of hand,

Full use of tongues and dialect

I seek and speak.


The worthy harmony of my voice,

Our voices, together remind the world

Of the tenacious beauty harnessed

In the presence of the impossible.

These things hidden in my, our, souls.


I am more than breasts,

And curve of hip, plump with oh’s and ah’s.

I am more than the hunted and unconquerable pussy.


I will not be stifled by boxes

Meant for those without truth.

I am human, I am present

And I will not fade away.

My voice, my sound, as echo

Is joined with heavenly choruses

From my belly that sing in

Ancient tongues, fit and fluent.


Ancestral wisdom I greet

In my reflection, reminding me

Of all that is priceless to those

That listen to the whispers of

The aged:

IMANI (faith)

KUJICHAGULIA (self-determination)


I embrace the non-smootheness,

Thickness of my thighs,

How they gape, tough or rub,

As they end and become calves,

That attach to feet,

Fearless as thunder.


I am aware  of curses sent by

Conjurers of this world,

Conspiring to weave a shroud

Around the path of whom I will

be, in favor of the steady seducing of

Whom it is easier to become.


I embrace that sentient

Autonomy that has made me

Unstoppable as water.

I own all that has been owed to me,

To be able to transcend this

Shell that the soul inhabits

And let go of all weight and waiting.


Such vulnerable, soft dignity

To live life embracing scars from

Wars future and past—capable, compassionate.

Yet, I smile, still beautiful, with

Healing presence offered to those

Found weary along street corners,

Bar stools, and the Jericho road

Fallen among thieves.


It takes a survivor, to know a survivor.


After I have imbibed perseverance,

               After earnestly suffering awhile,

I can breathe deep and easy, as naturalists do.

When the new, fresh journey is set before them.

The world outside is home,
Carpe diem its theme.


Now, peace  for the life after,

For now, always now,

I can awake, and look at whom

I always was, to whom I will become

And know I matter.

Know I am special.

Know I am engraced and equipped to journey.

I know to this world, I belong.


(c)-JBHarris, 4/1/17

*-This work was performed in February 2017 at the unveiling of The Awakenings Project (now known as A1), and is my own work and copywritten. All words from this project were used in this work. I was asked to create a piece for the unveiling, and the artist included the entire poem in the first volume of The Awakenings Project. For ordering information, please go to or follow The Awakenings Project here on WordPress, Facebook or Instagram.


It’s Not About The Dishes…

My mother’s pet peeve was her house being dirty, especially dishes dishes in her sink. Oh, she HATED that! I didn’t understand why she hated it until I became a mother…

It was never about the dishes. It’s never about the dishes. It’s about respect, time and energy. The plenty of it and the desire for more of it.

My mother was married, worked, went to school and had three children. She was constantly being pulled and poured out into everyone that needed her.

It wasn’t that the place where we lived was constantly in squalor, she needed something she didn’t have to control. Something else she wasn’t expected to handle.

I get it now. I give to people constantly. My job. My husband. My children. My immediate family.

Even y’all…

I constantly am expected to gift and give and not think I need more than the joy of having spent myself for the greater of other people.

And I come home to laundry, vacuuming to do…and dishes. I fuss because it’s another thing I have to handle…and I don’t always want to be the one to handle and do and save the day.

I deserve to have my thoughts heard and ask for help. It’s not always up to me and I am more than a work ethic and suppression. I deserve help and safety too. I’m learning that slamming my way through chores helps nothing. What does is when I set expectations for myself and the people around me.

From that, I create accountability and consequences. I don’t put my power in the hands of other people. When you do that, other people the. Control how you respond, and its intensity.

It’s never about the dishes, even when it’s the dishes…


We try and do everything…for everyone, us women-folk do. We create time, to create time for everything and everyone else…at the cost of ourselves. At the cost of ourselves. The dirty secret no one tells you about adulthood is that there is and never will be ‘enough time’. This concept of making time is a fraud. I hate to tell you. The more time you make, the more time you think you need to make, and the more time you truly don’t have.

Let me explain it this way.

There are seven days in a week. Twelve months in a year. Fifty-two weeks in any given year. This standard of time does not change. It will not change. How much time is allotted, is all that will be allotted. You can never ‘create’ time. What we do is become better facilitators of that time, better stewards of it.

That reminder get lost in the pacing of this life, doesn’t it? All the weight we pick up, put down and lie about the weight of. We do it because…we have to, and ‘no one else does or will.’

In my day job, I see the wear of that pacing. In the hands of women that are my mother’s age and past. I see it in their eyes, their feet and smaller diagnosed parts of their bodies. Hearts. Eyes. Lungs.

I get to see what the result of the pursuit of creating time, making time, and racing it becomes. I get a window into what happens when that battery pack runs out. I get to see what happens when I say I’m okay when I’m not. I get to see what happens when that recharge is given to everyone else. When that strength, skill and resolve are given to everyone else. When the value I pour into everyone else is never put back into me.

I found out what happens when Wonder Woman can no longer be a wonder to herself.

I find out on a daily basis what the giving of self at the cost of self gives.

It is admirable what we as women do, and must do, and God has gifted us to do. It is remarkable. However, in the caring, and doing, and saving of others, we tell ourselves that we will ‘rest when I’m dead’ or ‘I’ll be off in the next few days’  or my favorite, “Just let me get through this shift and I’ll rest this weekend.”

Creating time. Making time. Not having time.

I’m learning that sometimes I have to be my own hero. I’m learning that I can’t to do it all, save everyone and be all things to everyone. I can’t, It’s not normal. I’m allowed to say what hurts, why it hurts and why I don’t want it to hurt anymore.

Supergirl is allowed to be a Kent– every now and then…



*The Awakenings Project (Thank You, Marissa…)

I consider myself a word alchemist. I love the written word, and the power that it brings. So when I was told about The Awakenings Project, I thought it was the dopest thing that I could participate in. I was humbled to even be asked. I thought the premise was genius and in the cultural tempest that we are in, I thought it was needed. I had to add my magic to it.

My word:  ORACLE.

To me, this word carried so much power. So much history, and so much weight. I adore words, so I had to look up what it is the modern Merriam-Webster dictionary defines an ‘oracle’ as  I found there were 7 definitions.  The ones that I thought were most applicable to me are:

  1. a person who delivers authoritative, wise, or highly regarded and influential pronouncements.
  2. divine communication or revelation.
  1. any person or thing serving as an agency of divine communication.


Oracles in folklore are secret keepers, storytellers and always are presented with this degree of mystery and mystique.

 They are these mystical, metaphysical creatures that touch natural and divine and there is something about them that is indescribable. 

That ‘certain something’…that aire, or charm.

Being a writer, I believe that this word encompasses everything that I felt growing up and daydreaming; being able to ‘pull’ these imaginary, real people into paper and ink, conjure what is not to what is. 

Being able to tie together nows and thens into the could be’s and futures yet. I think that word wraps up all that I am as an artist.

Since participating in the project, I have been more active in exercising my gifts and talents in my pursuit of being a writer. I have become more confident in my talent and gifts, and sharing that with people and venturing out in different arenas that those of my kind are found.

 I have embraced that portion of myself, and honor it.

The Awakenings Project has helped me accept that of myself which I was unsure about, and was not confident in. 

I’m an Oracle. And that is badass.

Subject:  Jennifer Harris

Date of Session: 12/2016

*The Awakenings Project is the brainchild of a dear friend of mine, Marissa Southards. She asked me to be a part of this project (now known as Awakenings I or A1) in 2016 and I agreed. With the launch of her blog of the same name (The Awakenings Project), she asked those subjects to write a reflection of the involvement in that process.  Any questions about the project can be answered there.

Y’all should hop over to her blog and follow her awesome.