Roux, Regrets & Restarts

At my day job, a lot of my co-workers are married or seriously dating. This is not a bad thing! I don’t really weigh on those things unless asked. I grin at the married people jokes. I chuckle at the shenanigans of single people dating. I watch the quiet faces of women that cry in the locker room because of relationship drama.

I have been all of those women. All of them.

In this wisdom I have accumulated by experience, gleaning and folly, allows me to give empathy where there could be none, save for these experiences. And in that space, I realize how serious healing is. I realize how relationships might be distractions from addressing just what is wrong with you! In the almost year I have been single, I have made the decision to not shy away from the hard work of healing up. Truly healing up! This means confronting what I allowed in relationships, what I did to harm/end them, as well as what not to do again.

And that is hard. It’s hard to stop playing the tape of “I’m hurt and it’s all someone else’s fault.”

I never thought I would be repairing my heart right now, not like this. Not again. With that the pain, I can heal. I can clean out the things that hurt in order to be healthy. I even have become serious about therapy for myself to understand what it is I was content to be where I was no valued; stayed when it was the healthier thing to go; why I took care of myself last. I now have the time to ask myself, “Why?”

As I figure those things out, I’m sure I will keep healing. And that is the goal. Dating will come. No rush. Time is on my side for once.

A Letter To The Men That Want To Date Me.

I’m a lot. And I don’t plan on changing that.

Dear Potential Suitors/Crushes/Dates/Boyfriends/Ghost Texters/Husband:

I need you to know that nothing about me is easy. I need you to know that the woman you say you want to be with, get to know, take out, or make scream your name is neither easy, nor a conquest. What I want you to know up front is that what I want, what I need more than anything else is your attention.

Undivided.

I will never play second, nor will I ever settle for being an option. I am a resourceful woman able to take are of myself! Truly capable of making my way in the world independent of the male gaze or its praise. Neither do I need it in order to truly function! However, I will always ask how you are. Always looking you in the eye, needing you to know how serious I am in all inquires which involve your mind, body, or time.

Know that I am not mean, but I am firm. Resolute, even. Yet, I make comprises and concessions only when needed or necessary. I do not swallow my tongue–no solider swallows their weapon in battle! But, I want you to know there is tenderness there, not just warrior Queen fire! I need you to know that passion is still important, and if you desire mine…chase me. Make every day a pursuit as if I might float away! Make me feel special and precious.

Note: Sex, by itself, cannot keep me.

Read it again.

You sending pictures of your penis and I do not know your last name are not intriguing. They are tiring! They are trite! I need you to know that for what I want, I am not willing to settle. I cannot settle! What I want is to be able to be both Queen and partner. Friend and lover. I want to be able to count the seconds until I see you again, rather than dread the hours until you return.

I want you to be able to understand me when I say I have to write, or when I ask for a few more minutes with a post before bed, or before we go out.

I want you to know how seriously I value your time and my own. I want you to know that you have the space to pursue all you desire, and I will help in whatever way I can! Know and understand that I do not like to argue, but I will defend my point!

Know that kisses are the best way to have me hush and listen. Know that I ache to listen and always aim to understand what you need, where you are in a situation, and where you want us to go. As I am used to leading, I am not against you doing that heavy lifting of leadership or providing direction. However, don’t get mad when I ask, “Where we are going?!”

Know that I can pump my own gas, but I’m glad when you offer. I like having my own money, but I like when you take care of me and hand me lunch money. Know that I like to cook, and will master the thing you love to eat because details matter. The little things are what make things grow…or will tear things apart.

Know that I desire reconciliation over being right. Know that when I fold into myself I am not angry, mad, or running from you. I am only looking for space inside myself to figure out the world. So I can react to the situation and not reactive to you.

Know that I am trying every day to be a better woman. I am my own worse critic, but every inch of me is every bit your cheerleader. Match that energy accordingly. Please? Thank you.

Know that my heart is broken, but I want to love again. And I just might love you.

Love,

Future Bae/Girlfriend/Crush/Ghosted Girl/Wife

From The Crates-2014

Things I Ponder:
(c)JPHarris, 2014

One of the most upsetting things to encounter for those gifted to be scribes/writers is to be silent. It is dangerous for a writer to be silent. It is dangerous for our pens to be still, screens blank, skills dulled to the point of collapse. Our eyes seeing with no faith to believe for change, no words to create to draw attention. Words which have power to stir thoughts to instill or stimulate change. It is the artistry of imagination where possibility is created, exposed and changed. Writers are misfits. We see the unseen, name the unknown and touch what is hidden. Yet, these things must be seen and said. The atrophy of time must be rebelled against. We must race against the light given to us, race against it. We cannot curl up with the words, the word inside us. The unsaid, the unwritten must still be said…even in dreams.

Going Home Again…

I always recommend this podcast. With the backdrop this month being Black History Month, it goes without saying that now is the perfect time to listen. Find it wherever you find your podcasts.

1619 - The New York Times

As I said before, it was my best friend that told me I should be on TikTok (follow me @whatjayesaid). And in the four months I have been on this app, I have been amazed at how engrossing it is! From random challenges, to laughing so hard I cannot see, news pages done by Black women and all matter of fashion, and crafts for anyone that wants some! But, I participated in this challenge that brought me to tears, and from those tears, finding myself in a conversation I wasn’t prepared for.

For the longest time, one of the longest perpetuated lies told to Black folk on this side of the Atlantic is we ‘can’t’ go back home–said along side the hateful slogan of ‘go back where you come from!’ Which is it racist, people? Make a decision! Ugh!

But in being on this app, I came across one video where the African woman was almost in tears. She said, “Who told you that we didn’t want you to come home?” This was the same woman days earlier whom made a funny video about coming to pick up her cousins from the airport–elated that they had ‘come home’. From there, I began to wonder what going ‘home’ would truly be like?

If you are not familiar, TikTok has sounds (often made by other creators) which can be funny, profound or give instructions for other challenges. I used one sound that corresponded to a challenge put up by another content creator whom had a follower say she could identify what part of Africa you as a Black person could be from by your picture.

So, I did. I used the sound with the corresponding #AfricaTikTok/#AfricanTikTok, uploading 6-7 pictures. What brought me to tears was the responses–I was told that I could be from the following parts of the continent: Ghana, Nigeria or Guinea. There was even someone that was so specific about my possible Nigerian ancestry, that said I could be descended from the Yoruba Tribe in Nigeria.

And I wept.

This is what growing up and being unable to identify where your roots begin will do to you! This is what happens when you realize the lies that white supremacy has told you are the deepest form of brainwashing. These lies are so insidious they will make you doubt who you are at your core.

It was so great to be seen, to be seen beyond just ‘being Black.’ I had people that looked like me, from picture, who told me where my line actually began. It was humbling. It was powerful. I felt both seen and all alone.

Home. Really, truly home.

What a thing to see, and feel! But I suppose that is the humbling thing about ‘home’. There will always be someone waiting there, no matter how long you have been gone–and there is still room for you…even after 402 years.

For The Love Of It: ‘Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom’

Ma Rainey's Black Bottom: Viola Davis, Chadwick Boseman Star in New Images

I will say it again, we were robbed.

I had tried not to watch this movie. I won’t lie about it. Since I am still grieving Chadwick Boseman, I didn’t–I wasn’t prepared to see this movie. I thought I wouldn’t be able to handle seeing him on film, and knowing he was dead–I was hurt. And I still am.

With that grief, it pushed me from this movie–despite Viola being in it. I just wasn’t ready. I just wasn’t ready. For those of you that are unaware, this film is based on the August Wilson play of the same name (shameless plug: read August Wilson’s work.). I cheered when I heard that Denzel Washington was going to be producing the work of August Wilson. I was so happy, and still am!

In watching this movie, I was enthralled! I loved it! Not because I am a lit nerd, and not just because I’m a lit nerd! Everything was good from the writing, the music, and–as only August Wilson can—the dialogue was everything. Simply everything!

I love the Jazz Age anyway! I am a student of history anyway! I love period pieces anyway! So, to have all of those things in front of me, with an artist that I respect? With artists that I respect? It was glorious–it was a love letter to Blackness, and so well done. So, so well done. You have to be familiar with the power of August Wilson’s work to get the small details that are in the movie, and how powerful they are!

From the conversations the band has, to Ma being late and asking for her ‘cold Coca-Cola’, the nephew that stutters (badly!), and Ma not budging on what she wants–even down to the sauntering she did, and body language! I love this movie, and it affirms my love for August Wilson, moreso.

Black art matters.

Black artists matter.

Black stories matter.

Keep going y’all–we got more work to do.

[image from Netflix]

For Eric

Beloved Author Eric Jerome Dickey Has Died At 59

My mother should have been a teacher. It was her that truly cemented my love of reading. It was through her love of fashion and nice things, that I began reading ESSENCE magazine. In ESSENCE, through there book review section, I came across Eric Jerome Dickey.

Now, this was the late 1990’s, and he was just gaining popularity and success! I purposed in myself that I would start reading his books. The beautiful thing I found in Eric’s work was how he –as a Black man–wrote about Black women.

We weren’t caricatures. We weren’t stereotypes. The Black women he wrote about were complex. They were beautiful! They were vibrant and alive. Eric Jerome Dickey was truly a storyteller–and that endeared me to his work. Of course there were people whom wanted to read his book, wanted to borrow mine and I wanted to borrow theirs! The presumption about writers –especially when they are Black!–is that you assume they will always be here to write.

The thing about what Eric Jerome Dickey was he elevated Black fiction. Too often the white gaze will tell or show the world that Black writers can only write about Urban Fiction (and I still to this day, do not not like the term Urban Fiction–I think it’s coded language for ‘only Black people read and write this.’), and nothing else.

Nall.

Eric didn’t do that.

He gave Black life, Black people and their experiences color and a life that made you forget it was a book! This is the power of good writing with the rocket fuel of storytelling! Eric Jerome Dickey did this…so well. He will be so missed. The beautiful thing is when a writer dies, like any other artist, there is a legacy which soothes that grief.

I miss him. Thinking of him in past tense is heartbreaking, and unnerving. And at the same time, he isn’t truly gone, is he?

No. No, he isn’t.

[image from Essence]

January 6, 2021

American Flag Ripped from National Guard Soldier's California Home |  Military.com

Throughout the whole tyranny of reign of Orange Thanos, I have kept my strength on a steady diet of dystopian fiction, PoliSci and V For Vendetta. I remember the night Vader came to power I sat at work, and watched V For Vendetta. I remember holding my breath, baring down, teeth clenched and—scared. That same feeling I had when I gave birth, both times no less.

I had a panic attack on November 3.

I waited for the whole world to catch up with votes, recounts and abject craziness.

I watched as the right fawned, lied, prayed and schemed to take this election from President-elect.

Fake news.

Legitimate versus illegitimate votes (which is really just coded language for it was too many non-white people voted).

Crazy television appearances.

The non-conceding.

And the abject delusion and outright denial of reality–to the tune of 74 million people.

With that said, what happened at the Capitol, on Capitol Hill, in broad daylight? How? How in the big wide world does one get the unmitigated gall to take off work, storm a federal building, to LARP Call of Duty or Metal Gear? On buses? And–it’s just too much!

I will say it forever that this insurrection was an inside job. The footage being revealed to the greater world shows police officers moving barricades, taking selfies with insurrectionists, and directing the mob to where all the legislators were! The thing that is so glaring with this–aside from the treatment of these domestic terrorists and BLM protests!–is the fact that these people thought nothing would happen to them!

Now, people are unnerved that these group of racist, White people are being held to account–because the law does not lean favorable to the delusional! There is a whole thread on Twitter called #NoFlyList that depicts people whom were at this coup, being put off planes, being arrested and being labeled terrorists!

And as this story develops, I want all of these Call of Duty Navy Seals to be caught. I want them to be prosecuted! I want them to know that the law is not a weapon for evil–and it ain’t no fun when the rabbit got the gun is it?

Addictions & The New Drugs

No Matter the Drug, Addiction Treatment is a Family Affair

My mom has been checking on me non-stop since this pandemic started. I mean, texting, calling and FaceTime. She said she wanted to make sure that I am ‘doing okay.’ After my initial irritation, and eye rolling, I would pour back into whatever I was doing.

During the pandemic, I have written. I have submitted. I have been a part of dope projects. I have created dope projects! But I have submerged myself in my writing–like I had not before! Why? There is time. In the beginning of the pandemic, I won’t lie to you. I slept, watched the news, corralled my kids and wrote.

And wrote. And wrote.

My addiction has been reactivated: writing.

However, this got me thinking. I watched a documentary on VICE called Battling Addiction During A Pandemic (apt title I know) last week about people with substance abuse addictions and how they are caring for themselves in this pandemic. And, I wish I hadn’t. What I have found that helps me in this global pandemic, is what I have always done to cope–I write. Yet, in watching this documentary I had blinders taken off of me!

This pandemic has forced us all to turn inward, yes. But in that turning inward, we forget there are people in the world whom are truly struggling! In this documentary, there are mental health workers and substance abuse counselors detailing how they are trying to care of their caseloads, clients whom are finding community and support on-line, and the reality people are relapsing or committing suicide.

It was a rude awakening. There are people barely managing the issues that have come with the pandemic (isolation, unemployment, etc) I cannot imagine what it is like to have those feelings compounded by the maintaining of sobriety! It truly is humbling. It truly is a reminder to be understanding, present and realize that the world is larger than my issues. It is also a reminder that my Writers’ Block is not as bad as I think it is.

[image from news.fordham.edu]

Do You See What I See…

I got this idea from the lovely and brilliant Luvvie Ajayi Jones. In her post, she talks about all the things she saw in this picture. With that said, let’s examine this.

I have said that President-elect Joseph R. Biden, Jr is inheriting a mess.

The country is on fire.

The country isn’t even a country! We are more divided than oil and water could ever be! There is a LOT to clean up. So much to clean up! When I look at his picture, I see something that I think is easy to over look.

It is always the job of adults to clean up after children. The outgoing president is a child. There is nothing redeeming about him. But with all that said, let’s look at this.

*1.) I see the bravery of the new POTUS, and taking stock of what we have witnessed over four years (I wanted someone else to be president, and I did support Bernie Sanders! But here we are, about to depose Cinnamon Hitler Vader).

2.) Through the window, watching this evil man, we see Orange Thanos being drug out of the White House. DRUG! Why? This is what happens when you shatter the illusion of a narcissist! They cannot cope! The fact this ‘grown man’ might be drug from office, rather than having some degree of decorum, grace or statesmanship associated with the office–he does not possess.

3.) The Tweets. Four years of insane tweets and tweeting. I cannot wait until he gets put off of it. Just now, the overlords of Twitter are fact-checking him. Fact-checking THE PRESIDENT.

4.) The Presidential flag and insignia associated with the office. He has robbed any integrity of this office–and that cannot be overstated.

5.) The ripped drapes. The drapes are often pulled to hide things. Well, see all that he is now.

6.) The lumps under the rug. We know now what he is hiding–but not everything. The SDNY will find that out, just wait.

7.) The MAGA hat. It’s the new Klan hood. Irony that all of these hats were made in CHINA, CHINA, CHINA.

8.) The fast food wrappers and Diet Coke. We know he served McDonalds at state dinner for a NCAA champion football team. And it was cold. Also, he denied the state of his own health–and broke into a doctor’s office and Walter Reed Medical Center to get his records. The man is sicker than you all think he is…

9.) The spray tan on the wall. Well this could be from him being thrown against it to get him out–and also the stain he has left on the office. Until the end of his life, he will be known as a former United States President. As well as the rumors of him tanning in his bedroom–and the very visible tan lines he has.

10.) Now, Luvvie said the body of Lady Liberty is under that rug. But look at the placement of her head. She’s not under the rug–she’s discarded! Do you all understand what fascism is?

11.) There was no policy–Cinnamon Hitler Nero wanted to play king. Signing executive ordered allowed him to believe they were decrees.

12.) The fallen American flag. Demonstrative of our place in the world–fallen.

13.) The picture of Mt. Rushmore–remember how he wanted to be on it?!

14.) The pouting Putin bust on the wall. Aw, is Pootie upset that his sub is leaving?

15.) The golf clubs. Always golfing. Never governing.

16.) The tie. Now, I am not a man. But I do know that when a man wears a suit, the tie needs to be an appropriate length. But this is a reminder of that superspreader event in Tulsa (the one Herman Cain went to!) when he left Air Force Once without a tie. Why? Not enough people came!

17.) The TV. Now, love said that this is because of the results of the 2020 Election. I don’t think so though. I think is because once FOX NEWS (which was cable news bae for 4 years) called it, that is when he knew he was gone. I think that the broken TV and nearby remote shows just how much he relied on television to be see and heard.

18.) The US Constitution ripped. All you can see is the top that reads WE THE PEOPLE. It was the people whom voted to remove him. It was the PEOPLE the deposed him in an election.

19.) The oil drum that is leaking. The nation thrives on GOD–Guns. Oil. Drugs. This is also a reminder that DAPL happened on his watch! Also, how the oil industry only wants money! This and remember Scott Pruitt? He was in bed with the oil and gas lobby–AND WAS HEAD OF THE EPA!

20.) The Bible on the floor. This man was back by the Evangelical Right, and couldn’t quote a scripture, didn’t think he needed to repent or ask forgiveness for anything–and had protestors tea gassed so he could take a photo op at a church he never attended, holding this same Bible upside down.

21.) The deep grooves in the land outside. He will do anything to hang on to power. Anything.

22.) The Bleach bottle. Remember that time he told people to drink disinfectant to ‘cure’ COVID-19? Yeah.

23.) Look at the desk. There is a phone knocked over, chairs everywhere—is representative of the relationship with allies and how he didn’t want to talk to anyone that didn’t agree with him.

What do y’all think? What did I miss?

[image from UK paper The Times]

Long Live The Rebellion

Black Panther's Shuri Is Officially A Disney Princess
This is the only Disney Princess I want my daughters to model themselves after.

I’m a fighter.

I fought to get into this world, and I have a fought every day thereafter to stay in it. On the eve of this election which feels like the into Star Wars: A New Hope (Episode IV if you’re counting), I feels as if the Empire has indeed ascended and the only hope left in the universe is the Resistance–us!

According to astrology, one of the most rebellious signs is a Cancer. My birthday is June 24–I’m not on the cusp, I’m a true Cancer. What ever the outcome of this in the succeeding days and months, I am indeed a part of the resistance. I am a part of being a point of resource, help, and light to all that need it! It took the Avengers 10 movies to snap Thanos, so I don’t have room to sulk or cry! I gotta suit up!

The preceeding four years have been dark, scary and eye-opening. I have seen like never before what people will do to hold on to power, access to privilege and proximity to powerful. I have seen the Gospel of Jesus Christ—a rebel in His own right!–whored, watered down and shown to be sold to the highest bidder. I have seen division as I have only read about in dystopian novels!

July 4th Zodiac Sign
I neither can confirm or deny…

Am I shocked? No.

Am I scared? Yes.

How unfair it is to have lost Stokley Carmichael and Chadwick Boseman in the same year, only to have Racist Vader’s life be preserved by healthcare average people cannot get! How is this life?

Do understand I ask this rhetorically.

What this election has shown is what people respect, what people honor, what people cherish, what people want, is all tied to what they can control–which is all the more scary. With this said, I’m not too scared to fight. I am too scared as to what will happen if I give up! I am afraid what will happen to my children if I allow the learned helplessness to encroach, overtake and rob me of that fire Audre Lorde spoke about. That light that Dylan Thomas told us to rage against–‘rage, rage against the dying of the light.’

Then, I shall rage. I shall roar. I shall work and love and support. I will do as my forbearers have! I will cry loud, and spare not–there is work to do. There is an Empire to takeover, and I will not allow the story of my life to be told by someone whom did not help me write it.

The Resistance is now. The Resistance is happening. The Resistance is on-going.