So I was on the train today and these two black guys were having a conversation not even that loud and said “nigga” like once when this white lady turns around and says “How do you think MLK Jr. would feel about you using that kind of language” and one of the guys snaps back and said “Idk maybe if your people didn’t shoot him I would know”
If they label you soft, feather weight and white-livered,
if the locker room tosses back its sweaty head,
and laughs at how quiet your hands stay,
if they come to trample the dandelions roaring in your throat,
you tell them that you were forged inside of a woman
who had to survive fifteen different species of disaster
to bring you here,
and you didn’t come to piss on trees.
You ain’t nobody’s thick-necked pitbull boy,
don’t need to prove yourself worthy of this inheritance
of street-corner logic, this
blood legend, this
index of catcalls, “three hundred ways to turn a woman
into a three course meal”, this
legacy of shame, and man,
and pillage, and man,
and rape, and man.
You won’t be some girl’s slit wrists dazzling the bathtub,
won’t be some girl’s,
“I didn’t ask for it but he gave it to me anyway”,
the torn skirt panting behind the bedroom door,
some father’s excuse to polish his gun.
If they say, “Take what you want”, you tell them
you already have everything you need;
you come from scabbed knuckles
and women who never stopped swinging,
you come men who drank away their life savings,
and men who raised daughters alone.
You come from love you gotta put your back into,
elbow-grease loving like slow-dancing on dirty linoleum,
you come from that house of worship.
Boy, I dare you to hold something like that.
Love whatever feels most like your grandmother’s cooking.
Love whatever music looks best on your feet.
Whatever woman beckons your blood to the boiling point,
you treat her like she is the god of your pulse,
you treat her like you would want your father to treat me:
I dare you to be that much man one day.
That you would give up your seat on the train
to the invisible women, juggling babies and groceries.
That you would hold doors, and say thank-you,
and understand that women know they are beautiful
without you having to yell it at them from across the street.
The day I hear you call a woman a “bitch”
is the day I dig my own grave.
See how you feel writing that eulogy.
And if you are ever left with your love’s skin trembling under your nails,
if there is ever a powder-blue heart
left for dead on your doorstep,
and too many places in this city that remind you of her tears,
be gentle when you drape the remains of your lives in burial cloth.
Don’t think yourself mighty enough to turn her into a poem,
or a song,
or some other sweetness to soften the blow,
I dare you to break like that.
You look too much like your mother not to.
Ever feel like you’re talking but no one is listening?
Or worse: they are listening, but they aren’t caring?
Y’all really just don’t understand how hard it is just having enough to stretch over current bills, only to be reminded that
there’s kind of a huge move coming up and we don’t have money to put aside for that and oh I really just needed to grab something quick for lunch but now I feel guilty that I spent money because that’s a couple dollars I should have set aside for the move I have other obligations.
Sometimes this makes me feel really down. So I take a deep breath, keep talking to God (sometimes in my head, I literally just say Jesus Jesus over and over again) and keep it moving.
For tomorrow is another day.
I hate asking.
I have realized in recent years that I am a control freak, minus the “freak” part. There’s nothing freakish about my need for control; I find safety in depending only on me. Depending on others can be unpredictable; reckless, even.
It’s a defense mechanism to not need from anyone. If you can avoid depending on others, then you can avoid getting hurt in the process when people don’t come through for you. Depending on people will inevitably let you down at some point, as people are not 100% reliable.
This move is causing me to struggle with this, and I’m pretty sure it’s being done on purpose by the entity upstairs. Essentially, in order to move to New York in the next three months, I have to ask people for help. (*cue the horror music*) It may not seem like a big deal, but I will try and exhaust every option before I ask for help. I value my independence very highly. (Not in that “I don’t need a man I’m never shaving my legs again” kind of way though. I enjoy shaving and the company of my man.)
It’s a real struggle for me, but I feel like God/the universe is pushing to break me out of that because there’s absolutely no way I will ever make it as a reporter/in grad school/in life if I avoid asking people for things simply because
A). I’m afraid of their reaction
B). I don’t want to seem/be needy
C). I don’t want to hear “no”
D). I’ve already assumed I’m going to hear no
E). Any other stupid reason why one would avoid asking
This all being said, I’ve started a page on GoFundMe.com, which is a fundraising website where people have all types of personal fundraising campaigns, non-profit needs, personal projects, etc. It has taken me all of three days to make this site; I’ve spent most of that time staring at my picture, trying to drown the doubtful voices in my head. (And they are plentiful and loud as hell.)
It may be hard for me to ask, but I’ve got to do it. Please take a moment to check out my page, tell your friends and family, reblog this and spread the word. Seriously, and I’m not bullshitting you, seriously, every little bit helps.
There are two people you’ll meet in your life. One will run a finger down the index of who you are and jump straight to the parts of you that peak their interest. The other will take his or her time reading through every one of your chapters and maybe fold corners of you that inspired them most. You will meet these two people; it is a given. It is the third that you’ll never see coming. That one person who not only finishes your sentences, but keeps the book.
Gorgeous. And true.