It’s about 4:50…

I  normally don’t piggyback like this…especially not about things that are almost a fad, trending topic. However, I think enough time has passed about and around Mr. Carter’s album, that I can give some realspeak to this.

I’m not going to rehash the lyrics, or the symbolism, or Jay-Z’s/Mr. Carter’s ‘frank’ nature and discussing his indiscretions. What I am going to do is this–be honest. There is a YouTube personality that I follow (*Derek Jaxn) that spoke about how proud he was that Jay was able to do that (Ready…)…and that men need to take a lesson from (Aim…), and how he has grown as an artist, and how not to go ‘Eric Benet.’ (Fire!)

There was an interview I was listening to that said Jay-Z has ‘started a movement.’ What movement is this? Now, I am all for the male of the species to be that and be awesome and righteous. However, I am not about to say growing up and treating your spouse holistically should be classified as a movement. I don’t think he should get medal for admitting how badly he messed this up.

Now, of course–I’m not one to mince words especially about crazy-making bullsh!t, but I will offer this observation. What makes something a movement is exactly that:  movement. This sustained motion towards process and its success.

So, in the 4:44 short (making rounds on TIDAL and Facebook), we see clips if all these famous guys and what they think the album and Jay’s honesty means. I sat, rapt and irritated. Why? The lyricist himself said, “…this is the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do. Nothing’s harder than this.”

Yes, Shawn–it is.

It is a hard thing to relearn what was treacherous, and toxic and realize that you were wrong. However, the blessing in this is–he learned. And because he learned, he can teach…

So here is my message to him–

Remember the eyes of your wife and daughter, and what healing looks like in them now. Remember you now have harnessed the ears of young men old enough to be nephews and young enough to be sons. Teach them what it is to love and value a woman, teach them what it is like to indeed be a man while upright and clothed. Teach them that men indeed are needed and need to be shown what one looks like and carries himself.

Remember the tears of your wife, and the life of your son, whom may have her eyes. Remember what you promised her when people could not see or say or report. Remember that he will need you to show the invisible of manhood– that it does not make him more male to disrespect women, or mistreat them, count how many he can make say is name during the course of sexual acrobatics–show him what it is to be in love with one. You’re the one the said that you ‘almost’ lost Blue over all this madness. And ‘what’s a threesome ‘when you have a soulmate’ right?

Right.

Remember the young men that look up to you, strive to sit on top of your shoulders, throw dough like you do, covet your spot, lust your shine…now you have to help them launch off these newly strengthened shoulders:  you now have new assignment and power. You have created a space to facilitate the bettering and betterment of the young men that follow you, bruh. You can’t back off from that now. You gotta keep going: the conversation has started, and you have to answer the questions.

Teach the Princes how to be Kings.

 From here on in, your “legacy” is more than money.

Signed,

The Daughters of The World

 

 

*-Video referenced:  Jay-Z New 4:44 Album Should Be A WAKE UP Call to Men Everywhere, published July 2, 2017. This post was not to bash, but to have a conversation. I thank Derek for his candor  (I am #TeamJaxn).

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Gifting

The world needs its misfits. It’s magic workers. It’s conjurers.

From that, we get those with the blessing of being soft places to fall. The ever-present open ears and able shoulders. The open eyes that see and never say–unless asked. The healers of this world and work.

Those of us that see suffering and pain and loneliness and strive to stop it. Seek to understand what it is, why it is, and how to avoid it–channel it into better. That’s what those of us that are healers do.

We write. We emote. We sing of passions and callings. We tell the truth about this mortal experience, even when it hurts. We tell the stories that need to be told, even when they are our own.

We gift those we love with our own tears, spun gold and as medicine to give to those in need of that wisdom. That wisdom of that weight can only be given and used when it comes from experience. When we didn’t die after that first heartbreak, we can tell you that you won’t. We didn’t panic when trouble came, ran our of money or when our parents died. We go through to give you a map.

Sometimes this is the trouble of being one of those unique open God has opened to see the world behind the world–to see the trouble of mankind and a way out of it. Sometimes you have to be the first one to bleed to teach the second to follow how to heal.

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

Radiance

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

Handiwork.

 

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 http://www.southardsartstudio.com 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…