From the Crates: 2014-Confidence

I love this picture of me. This was last year. Stepping into this writer-voice role. Get into this melanin!

Confidence is an intangible, invaluable tool for navigating this life as a woman. With all the uproar over Gabourey Sidibe and a dress she wore to the Golden Globes on Sunday night, there have been mean comments via Twitter, Facebook and countless comments riddled with venom, or what the glamorous refer to as “shade”.

I sat, thought and wondered this…is this why we as women can’t unify? Is this why? We are still caught up on how someone LOOKS in something? Nevermind the fact of a woman being talented, driven and visible, operating in all facets of her talents regardless of station in life or situation she may find herself in. We as women have to learn how to get OVER ourselves. We really do, and learn to celebrate each other, and be an ENCOURAGEMENT. Granted, it can be a struggle to shift focus from the exterior to the interior of a person, seeing that the exterior is the thing that is most of us are taught to dress up, doll up and play up with the latest fashion, or mascara.

Whether it be Christian Louboutin’s she wears, Nine West slingbacks, Nikes or Payless flats she wears, why should it matter? If a woman is famous, infamous or anonymous there are some things that are synonymous to the human experience. As women, I believe with have this vision about our ideal selves, and what we wish to be or change. We confront insecurities, issues, and pains only the Lord knows of daily. Why make a day in the life of another woman harder than it must be? Each of us as a past written, present we live, and a future we are creating. Let us decide to do better.

Not just for ourselves, but for those whose lives we effect. Let us teach our daughter to be better women, sisters and friends. So at the time when purpose and destiny intersect, the sons of the Most High may have better wives to assist with the changing of the world.*-All of us, the writer included have been guilty of “sizing a woman up”, as if her worth is attached to what she wears to bare to the world. We have no idea what each of us has been divinely assigned to bare and conquer for the sake of our destiny. By design of the Creator, choice is the most incredible source of determination, compounded by the choice of words. Endurance in a choice. Confidence is a choice. Quitting is a choice. Running from what you have decided to do is a choice. To have your destiny stopped by what someone has told you is a choice. Being distracted is a choice. I am choosing to use my words to bless and edify.

Let the weeding begin.

THINGS I PONDER:(c) JPHarris, 2014

To Stacey Yvonne Abrams: We Thank You.

Democracy as we know it owes a debt of gratitude to Black women. At this point, that debt can’t even be repaid in a lifetime. As I sit this morning, basking in the hard work that Black women have done; Native/Indigenous women have done; allies and accomplices have done; 45 percent of White women did, and all those Republicans that pushed back a tide of absolute evil–one name sticks out to me: Stacey Yvonne Abrams.

It is through her hard work, her grit, her faith and organizing that flipped the state of Georgia BLUE–TWICE! Without her help, endurance and tactical brilliance there would be no Senator Warnock or Senator Ossoff.

Black women are WONDER WOMEN. This election proved the Nikkii Giovanni quote about the necessity and power of Black women:

Nikki Giovanni Quote: “I am a huge fan of the Black woman. I never hesitate  to recommend her when times are bad or things go wrong.” (7 wallpapers) -  Quotefancy

Sometimes as a visionary, you get discouraged when you cannot fulfill the plan you set out to complete. Stacey Abrams had an election stolen from her, and used that pain to push forward! In that pushing forward, look what she did! Look at the press, and what came from it!

The world owes Stacey Abrams. The world needs to realize what it means to have society aligned against you; fighting for the most minuscule advancement! Fighting to participate in a democracy we are promised access to! With her using all her talents and abilities, affected this level of change. Within all this joy, I am reminded of the Zora Neale Hurston quote about Black women being the mules of the world. As I celebrate, ask I bask–I cry.

With all this harnessed power, it feels unfair!

It is always left to Black women to fix, clean up, mend, tend and rescue! We see what happens when we don’t: LIFE DERAILS! That derailing isn’t just for us, it’s for everyone! We have been graced with unique blend of passion and vision. For that reason, we fight. We equip. We organize. We teach. We reach. We push.

We fight—because we cannot afford to die.

The world needs the heat and fire of Black women, and will never admit it. It will be whispered about, celebrated with nods and lunches with girlfriends and hugs that are too tight or too long–to push strength back into her. I want to push strength back into her. I want to cover her in a sheet and let her just pass out! I want to cry with her and tell her she can breathe. I want to tell her this:

“Stacey-

I see you. We see you. We are proud of you! If you do nothing else, you have done enough. You have done enough. Rest, sis. Rest.”

Thank you, Stacey. I hope you sleep so good tonight.

Dear 2020: What To Say To The Year That Was…

Mood leaving 2020…#CaptainMarvel

What to say about the year that is 48 hours out of memory? I am equal parts relieved and heart broken. In the 12 months that was 2020, I have feared for my life, been elated, hopeful and resolute all at one time. On the one hand, a relationship that needed to end two years previously, ended. And I celebrated being a college graduate for the year. I have cried laughing, and cried to the point that I could not get out of bed.

So, this what I have to the year that was.

I believe that 2020 was year that I needed. It wa a year that made me the woman I am destined to become! I needed the fights, the tears, the break-ups and the questioning of my own worth. Why? This is not because I am a masochist–far from it! But there were so many things in my life that needed to change, and without something major–nothing was going to change.

Nothing.

I want more for my life, and 2020 showed me that I needed to believe in myself.

I wanted to be a better mom for my kids, and 2020 gave me that time to reconnect in the midst of a global pandemic!

I wanted time to write, and 2020 gave me the thing I cried for–time.

For me, 2020 was hard. I’m sure I’m not the only person that feels this way. Yet, but by no means, will I allow myself to wallow! I refuse to keep crying! The year of 2020 reminded me that the superhero I needed was the dynamic duo of Jesus and me! There is a power that has been unlocked in me that only could be found in 2020! No other person was going to come and save me…and I secretly wished they would! I didn’t want to be the one (again!) to have to fix what I didn’t break, clean what I didn’t make dirty, and admit my part in making 2020 more chaotic than it had to be.

Getting to 2021, surviving 2020, started with admitting that some of it had to do with me. When I was able to do that, that’s when surviving of last year began.

I was off New Years Day, and couldn’t even cry. I just sat and…looked. I slept. I ate. And rested! I did all those things in peace. For the first time in five years. Imagine! So was 2020 trash? Oh, completely! But the fire that was 2020, made me realize I was going to stay a Phoenix to survive it.

Women whom are forged from fire, will never fear it. I am one of those made from it.

The Death Of The Black Body (Say Her Name: Dr. Susan Moore)

Always a mood…

Melanin is precious and sold by the pound,

just as bucks, pickinnies and mammies were

and are and always will be because there is always

amusement that corresponds to the death

of the Black body–

born celestial, holding power, light,

and all color, seeing it reduced of life,

ashen and quiet.

The world loves when we are quiet.

When tongues are no longer fire

Ears no longer the attentae for

what is wrong, missing or lingering–

Deaf to the ancestral, the integral and

hands prone and cold.

Reduced to pounds

gathered in shrouds,

bound, and hoisted inside

capsules to be planted in the ground

with the wails of the mourning

shaking the trees.

Hands reaching Heaven

because our shouts have not

reached, remembering that

the same Who remains yesterday,

today, and forever more promised

to be in the fire, the wind and the

earthquake, and in every breath.

To our last breath,

we fight.

And when we can no longer fight,

we become seeds

to grow trees, to give strength

to the weary in need of rest.

We have mastered being in the world,

yet never being of it.

-(c) JBHarris, 12.24.2020

Life Is Complete! ‘Blossom’ Is On Hulu!

Blossom (TV series) - Wikipedia

I am at the age where I can remember Clarissa Explains It All and Blossom! These kids don’t know how essential both of these shows were to a girl growing up in the 1990’s. Clarissa Darling helped me with my snark and individuality, while Blossom Russo reminded me that even if life around me was crazy, I would make it too! Plus, that is when Joey Laurence was SO FINE! But I’m getting ahead myself.

It was through Monday nights at 8pm on NBC from age 9 until 14, I was a fan of Blossom Russo—and thus Mayim Bialik. Yes, Dr. Sheldon Coopers girlfriend is ‘Blossom’! I loved this show, and even had the ‘Blossom hat’! There was something genuine about her, her best friend Six (it was the 1990’s! I don’t make the rules of naming these fictional people!)–and I so desired to be that cool! But, I loved Blossom because she was pretty and awkward and confident! And her family was just as off the wall as I thought mine was! But with that said, I began to be a fan of Mayim, followed everything she did after! So, when she earned her doctorate in Nanoscience?

HERE FOR IT!

I am even looking forward to her new show on Fox in January! Like?! I love with artists find a way to balance what they love and what they are drawn to do! I’m a working writer, and artist by nature–and still have a day job in healthcare. So, seeing Mayim do all this? It’s lit!

And as far as Joey Laurence wanting a Blossom reunion–the show is 25 years old now!–I’m on the fence about that. I’m not sure, honestly! I mean it is the same way I feel about the revamping of Punky Brewster. There’s a nostalgia to these shows! I mean I was invested! With that investment, I want either the revamp to be done right, or just put it on keep it on Hulu. Besides, I still dance to that theme music. You have to be raised in the 90’s to really understand how lit theme music is. But the kids aren’t ready for that conversation yet.

Tuesday, November 3, 2020 Was The Scariest Night I Have Ever Lived Through.

I have never been so relieved to see the final version of a map in my life!

I exhaled when President-Elect Joe Biden won. I had been holding it since November 8, 2016. I was at work when the election was called for Donald Trump four years ago and had not even realized I had been holding my breath. I had taken a sabbatical from social media in September, determined not to venture back into the quagmire of social media until after this election.

I was scared. I was more scared than I have ever been in my life. And I have been in some scary, crazy situations in my almost four decades. But this? This here?! No, this fear was ancestral, primal and I have never felt more helpless! But I am getting ahead of myself.

I gave in to curiosity and turned on my television on Election Night, after working the night before–I stayed up to go vote. I didn’t want to risk going home, sleeping, and shenanigans break out about my poll place. For reference:  I am in a red state (Missouri), governed by a COVIDidiot (Gov. Mike “I hate science” Parsons), and I am a Black woman. I had my voter registration purged, and had to re-register. So participating in this election I knew would be a fight! But, I had been ready for it. And I put myself in seclusion since before Halloween. I turned by notifications off. I didn’t check Facebook. I didn’t go on TikTok. I hunkered down.

I waited. I prayed.

When I peeked at my social media because of curiosity, I almost started screaming crying. I saw a sea of red–just like in 2016! I saw Joe Biden’s lead shrink, and I panicked. All I saw was red, and as I sat in my apartment by myself, I fought tears. I was on the phone with my love and he told me, “It is going to be okay.” That was a slap in the face! I told him he had no idea what that meant! I told him how scared I was! I was scared for my daughters. Scared for my mother and sister. Scared for my godmother, queer family, activist family and everyone attached to me. I was so scared I wanted my father–and he has been dead for almost 20 years. I wanted my father because that was the only man that I had ever known that would be able to protect me and my daughters. I could not breathe. I called my Godmother Vickie and panicked in her Facebook inbox. She told me not to panic–and that brought me down from a 20 on a scale of 1-10, to a  solid 10.

My chest was tight. My hands cold. I paced through my house, and fought tears. I thought where I could go with  my girls. I am divorced from my first husband (and father of my children), and he lives deep in Trump Country Missouri. Due to paperwork and wording of my divorce decree, I couldn’t move without his ‘permission’. I knew he would never give it, and he would never let me leave! I knew he wouldn’t understand, and would not protect the girls like they would need! I knew that he would deny my fear, say I was overreacting and say I was ‘trying to take his kids.’ It was the most obscene sort of auction block. I could not be assured the father of my children would be able to protect them–or have the desire to!–and he would do all in his power to make my life a nightmare, while I try to protect these children from the world, the flesh and the devil! With that knowledge, I realized just for a moment, what the ancestors felt while enslaved. I was in a land where the people in it wanted my death, my body or my complete erasure. And there was nothing I could do about it! NOTHING!

I got to bed after 2:00 AM that night. And it took all of my faith to pray, and pray to sleep.

My mother, my sister and I supported one another through this madness! My  mother and sister were watching CNN/MSNBC as recounts were happening, and when the mail-in ballots where added and the map began to change. We all watched and prayed. Prayed and watched, needed Nevada, Georgia, Arizona and Pennsylvania to certify their results and call this election.

It was my sister that texted me to let me know Saturday, November 7, 2020 at 10:41 AM CST this:  “Biden wins Pennsylvania, biden in the 46th president elect! “bout to lose ‘yo job!” Then, I exhaled. I know that President-Elect Biden is not White Savior. Yet, neither is he a incarnation of  Nero, starving for the blood of the poor, Black, Brown, Latinx, queer, Muslim, etc. There is still work to do, and now that I can breathe? I can fight again. Too much depends on the next four years to be silent!

Special thanks to my TikTok fam for getting me through the crazy of Election Night and the days that followed!  Namely Conscious Lee (@theconsciouslee); Quentin (@quentinjiles); Tommy (@my_doode); Jason (@bardude97);  Nicole (@nikkinoo813); Sunny (@_sunny_laluz) and Tiffany (@doubledeemuva). If you want to follow me, I am @whatjayesaid.

Ready For ‘Winter’

*Note: The other books in this series are based around the characters found in the book THE COLDEST WINTER EVER, written by Sister Souljah in April 1999. I suggest that you read this before reading this book–or reading it again. This book will be released March 2021.

The Coldest Winter Ever starts off with this sentence:

“I came busting out of my momma’s big coochie on January 28, 1977, during one of New York’s worst snowstorms.” This is how the main protagonist, Winter Santiaga, got her name.

From that point, with that sentence, I finished the book in two days! I was actually mad–I was legit ANGRY!–that I had to go to bed! Sister Souljah became my favorite writer (and she makes her own cameo in this first book!) and I devoured everything she wrote, and everything she said, or had to say.

Why?

She was unapologetically Black, smart and knew what it was like to grow up broke, Black and brilliant. With that said, when I found out that we as the audience would here more from Winter, find out what happened to her siblings (Porsche and Mercedes), her father whom was in jail–and all her girls she was locked up with after her 15 year bid! Man, don’t even get me started on the last dude she was messing with that let her take that case, her not snitching, and the abortion she had! And she saw her mother get hooked on crack?! Whew!

Through this pandemic, I find and continue to find solace in books by Black authors, the platforms we provide (and are building), and the joy that reading gives. How fitting it is for one of my favorite authors to come through with this fitting sequel!

I don’t want to hear anything about how long it took her to write this sequel! If you had read the first book, you would be aware just why it needed to take this long. You cannot rush Black excellence.

WHEN SHE WILL NOT CARE

Lioness in wait.

She will desire peace at the

Cost of war—

Being both prisoner and soldier

Believing if she fought harder,

Bled more,

And denied her own

Thirst for more

Hunger for justice

and sight for more

Then she will be enough.

When her body no longer

Blushes with your coming,

Has peace with your going,

And all love becomes an act.

The weapons of her warfare

Time, body, and energy

Have been taken as spoils!

And she will do all allowed

To pull herself back together

Your touch no longer soothes.

The heat that was there has

Cooled…

With the turning of

Her head…the love is dead.

she will put self above love—

and nothing else will matter

JBHarris, 11.20.20

The Road So Far…And Its End.

After 15 seasons…

I made the mistake of reading the synopsis of the series finale of SUPERNATURAL.

I read it.

I read it at work.

I read about my guy DYING—at work!

Now, I have made no secret that I am Dean Girl. I have been since 2005! I have liked Jensen Ackles since he was Eric Brady, but that’s another story. But, there was something about this show, it’s writing and the characters that drew me in. It was the bravado that he had which made me forget about my broken heart over the man whom shares the same name as the problematic angel in the show!

I still don’t think that’s a coincidence. But, I digress.

But this, this hits different! For fifteen years, I have seen this character grow, grow up, DIE (at least like 6 times!), and to just have Dean just be GONE?! I feels like a Puric victory! But yet, it feels fitting that I learn about his final passing into this Valhalla at work.

At work!

All of me is happy though, and impressed! This series finale was fitting. It was quiet, it was noble, loving and worthy of its dedicated fan base. It didn’t go out with a bang; my heart in my chest for months; I wasn’t in tears until Dean and Sam came back—they are gone now.

Resting. Happy and resting.

How fitting that the guy that made the snarky remarks, and looks incredibly sexy holding a shotgun, get to Heaven and wait on his little brother.

The boys are gone, y’all. Our boys are gone…

Carry On Our Wayward Son indeed.

Hold on! But I got on question: Who is Dean’s (Sam’s son)mom?!😳😳😳😳😳

Insert Dean voice: “SONOFAB——!” They did it to me again!

The Fight Continues

How to Seek Justice For Quawan "Bobby" Charles | POPSUGAR News

I am tired.

I cannot even tell you how tired I am. I am tired of the endless roll of death and injustice with 15-year-old Quawan Charles–found dead in a sugar cane field in Louisiana earlier this month.

I have seen the pictures of him. I have heard the coroner’s report. I have seen the apathy of the police.

Let me say this, joining my voice with all the other outraged and grieving mothers:

SOMEONE MURDERED THIS CHILD AND Y’ALL KNOW WHO IT IS!

From the details which have been released, Quawan was picked up by people he knew. His mother and father didn’t know he had been picked up. The door to his room was locked from the inside. The car that Quawan was in reeked of bleach. There was no Amber Alert issued. The family needs another independent autopsy! With the wounds that I saw, there was nothing about those wounds which correspond to drowning.

I am reminded of the writer and spoken word artist, Sunni Patterson especially her poem We Know This Place. One of the lines which I have quoted most often is: Not always have we had amnesia.

Say it again: NOT ALWAYS HAVE WE HAD AMNESIA.

There is foul play here. The people that were last seen with this Quawan, are now in the process of moving?! And the further insult, there was an anonymous call made to Quawan’s mother by someone who ‘knew’ what happened! And the police still don’t have a desire to investigate…because the tears of Black women are the amusement of White supremacy.

Yet, we fight. We resist. We question. We ask. We work. When asked why we fight? I answer as only a poet can:

We fight because we cannot afford to die.