Thoughts About My Sister

Around this time of year, it is difficult to not think about my deceased sister. In thinking about her, I started to think about the following line: “I do not want you to be forgotten.” So, I decided that I might as well write this line down and see where it takes me. Here it is:

Thoughts About My Sister

I do not want you to be forgotten.

Your body lies in a grave in Hope Cemetery.

But your soul rests in Heaven with Father God.

Still, I do not want you to be forgotten.

I remember the day that you died.

I was in the bathroom when I heard mama scream.

Loudly, she screamed, “She’s dead? She’s dead?’

Her scream contained shock and dread.

And I ran out of the bathroom.

I stared at mama.

Then, I looked at your still face.

I did not want to believe that you left us.

That God took you away to the splendor of Heaven.

I stood in shock as police officers walked around the kitchen.

And as paramedics worked on your body.

I guess they were trying to revive you, but you were already gone.

In shock and sadness, I drove to the hospital.

Mama and sister D were the passengers.

And I did not want to face the present.

When we arrived, I kicked a traffic cone that stood outside the door.

My red TOMS got scuffed up

But I did not care.

Because I did not want you to be dead.

Mama, sister D, and I walked down to a room.

The rest of the family sat, with their own still faces.

My uncles sat next to my daddy.

A nurse entered the room and told us the news that we already knew.

You were dead.

The nurse led all of us into another room.

You were there, and we said good-bye to you.

Folks said you looked so peaceful.

But I did not see peace.

I could not see peace.

I wanted my sister to be alive.

I was sad and angry.

Distraught and hurt.

We all left the room.

But then, we had the nerve to go back into that room again.

I looked at you again.

And I still did not see peace.

I saw death.

Death did not look pretty to me.

It looked raw and harsh.

We left the room and that hospital.

We returned to the house, where you lived and died.

We talked about you a lot.

We cried and looked at your pictures.

Beautiful baby pictures and glamorous young woman pictures.

Pictures of a woman who could have been a model if illness had not captured your body.

We talked about you a lot during those days.

But it seems like we hardly talk about you now.

And I know mama and daddy still think about you.

I think about you.

And I remember the big sister things you did with me.

I do not want you to be forgotten.

I hope folks still remember you.

I do not want your memories

Or your face to be wiped away from my mind.

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Grief and Gratitude

First, I would like to wish everyone a Happy Thanksgiving! I hope that you spend this day in love and gratitude as you spend time with your friends and family.  As much as I love this holiday, I would be remiss if I did not mention the grief that folks carry around this time of year.  Last year, I struggled to appreciate Thanksgiving, because I was grieving over the loss of my sister. I did not really want to hang out with friends and family, but I forced myself to do so.

This year, I have been thinking about another loss. Along with others around the world, I received the news on Monday night that Officer Wilson would not be indicted for the death of Michael Brown. When I first heard the news, I was shocked. I am not sure why I was shocked. I should not have expected anything different, but I wanted to believe that the American justice system would actually stand for justice. Unfortunately, it did not. Indeed, people have different views on the news, and some wonder why there is such an outrage over the situation. There is outrage because Michael Brown’s death represents the deaths of numerous young black men in this country.  There is frustration because these deaths show us that black lives are devalued. But I know that black lives matter.

Since Monday night, I have felt the stages of grief. Shock, anger, and sadness are all a part of grief. I grieve because I do not want to see any more black women or black men die at the hands of racism.  Whenever a black woman or black man dies, I feel that I have lost a brother or sister. I also grieve because I do not want racism, as a  system, to be ignored. Despite some of the progress that has been made, we are still a country that grapples with racism. As a country, we need to think about racism as a deadly, disgusting, and nasty disease that effects everyone.

Often, I think about my response. As a black woman and a Christian, I see racism through two lens. I view racism as a system of power, in which, people of color experience social and economic disadvantages.  I also view racism as sin, as something that God does not approve of. I know that God loves justice, and wants people to experience justice.

With these two lens, I hope that I will have an active response. Right now, with grad school and work occurring at the same time, I do not know how I can respond. I find the work/school balance to be overwhelming at times, and it makes me unable to participate in rallies and protests. I am afraid that my inactivity will look like as though I do not care about what is going on around me. I wholeheartedly care and want justice to abound! Inside, I have an activist spirit that thrashes around, and I pray that God will show me how to be useful. Maybe, I will have to just write about the issues that I am passionate about.

On this Thanksgiving Day, I do not want to forget about what I am grateful for. Although, I think about the losses that have happened in the last couple of days, months and years; I must talk about the few things that I am grateful for.

I Am Grateful For…

1. God-He is my Lord, Savior, and my Help!

2. Parents-They love me even when I am being a brat! They care about my physical and emotional well-being. They are supportive of my work in grad school.

3. Extended Family-I have a huge family, and I may not see them as much as I would like to, but I still love them. They’re my fam!

4. Friends-I love my chicas. They listen to my whining and support me through my trials.

5. Wheelock Cohort- I am beginning to get to know a group of smart and extraordinary folks. I appreciate how down to earth everyone is, and how eager everyone is to learn and grow. I appreciate the encouragement that folks have given me, when I have wanted to give up on grad school.

6. My Community-So, I have been known to hate on Worcester, but there are a lot of activists and grassroots organizations around here. I have been very proud to see how many folks have come together in light of the Ferguson events.

When I feel overburdened by the pains of this world, I find it helpful to think about the things that I am thankful for. As a Christian, I have to believe in hope, even when things look very dark.

“O give thanks unto the Lord, for he is good: for his mercy endureth for ever.” Psalms 107:1

-Blessings y’all

Natural Hair Dilemma

I have been thinking about cutting my funky, thick 4C hair. Although I love my natural hair, it is becoming problematic to maintain lately. As you know, I have been working full-time and going to grad school part-time. As I deal with church, school and work responsibilities, I think about my hair as the last priority. My 4C hair SHOULD NOT be the last priority.

I used to keep my hair in pretty two strand twist updos. I had the time to look at YouTube videos and to experiment with my hair. Now, my head of tight curls is being neglected. 😦

So, this neglect makes me wonder about cutting my hair. I have noticed that a lot of natural gals are running to the hair salon or barber and cutting their hair short. Many of these ladies are rockin’ hair cuts where there is a bit of fade, but they are maintaining some length on top. I’m not sure if I am explaining the style correctly, but it’s a mixture of cute/chic/funky.

I already have a running PROS/CONS list in my head:

PROS:

1. I do not have a boo boo, which means I do not have to worry if a guy does not want me to cut my hair or not. Unfortunately, some women think about hair styles in relation to their boyfriend’s hair likes/dislikes. And yes, I tend to be one of those women. Since I am afrostastically single, I do not have to impress anyone. Regardless, I should not allow anyone to dictate my hair choices. Point is …no boo boo=no worries. Yesss!

2. I can actually wash and go. My hope is that I will be able to wash my hair, throw some product in it, and run out the door.

3. It won’t take me forever to detangle my hair. Again, my hope is that I won’t spend 8,000 years trying to detangle my hair. With shorter hair, it will be much easier…I hope.

CONS:

1. I have had short hair before, and it was not as easy to maintain as  I thought it would be. My hair was relaxed at the time, which may have caused the difficulties.

2. Since I already look like I am 12 years old, do I want to look like I am 6 years old? I have one of those baby faces which makes people think that I am teenager. I am actually in my late 20s, but no one ever guesses my age correctly. Will short hair make me look extra baby face?

3. Will I have to maintain this hair cut every few months at the hair salon or barber? I have not had the best hair experiences in hair salons, and I really do not want to deal with the headache of something going wrong.

4. I will miss wearing my hair in an AFRO! I loooove my ‘fro when I actually unleash it. I won’t have a ‘fro anymore if I cut it short.

Should I cut my hair or leave it be? Look at the link below, as it shows the style that I am thinking about.  And I do not wear weaves or braids as both styles will irritate my scalp. So, anyone have any advice/suggestions? In the meantime, I am going to think and pray about it.

-Blessings, y’all!

http://blackgirllonghair.com/2009/11/natural-fade-tutorial/

My Friendship With Words

Ah words…I love words. In August, I wrote a post called “Sounds+Words,” which detailed my love of music. Now, I will write about my love of words through writing. I’ve been writing since I was a little nugget. I’m not a nugget anymore, but I still love writing, reading, and thinking about words in my head.

One of my best childhood memories is of my dad and I at the Worcester Public Library. I remember the old Worcester Public Library before it was remodeled. The library had this old-fashioned look, but it was one of my favorite places. My dad and I would look for books to borrow. I would spend a long time in the stacks of the Children’s Room and grab a stack of books to borrow. I was fascinated by all kinds of books, especially biographies and autobiographies.

In elementary school, I spent several outside recesses, reading books and writing. I was shy and I did not have any friends. My best friend moved to another school when I was in the 3rd grade, so I spent a lot of time by myself.  I was teased by the other kids as well. Even though I did not have those human friendships, I had words. I could fall into imaginary worlds and learn about historical figures in books. I could write poems and stories. Words were my expression!

As I continued to grow, I wrote constantly. Some folks might remember the “books” that I wrote in spiraled notebooks. I took all of the fictional stories that were swirling in my head and jotted them down on paper. And folks loved my words. My friends read my “books,” and I even performed my poems at school shows

In college, my friendship with words became strained. I still wrote poetry, but I began to compare myself to others. I felt that I was not a stellar writer, and I wanted to write better. I felt that my poetry could not compare to the spoken word pieces that other students wrote. I can admit that I felt jealous, and I did not take care of the gift that God gave me.

I believe that God has given each of us a gift or talent. Indeed, you are probably saying that you do not have a gift, but you do. If there is something that you do well, it is probably your gift. I do not always take care of my gift of writing like I should, but I feel that it is the gift that God has given me.

Sometimes, I do get caught up in the competition. I think, “Why can’t I be a singer?” I have numerous friends who are wonderful singers. Singing is their gift. I can get into the mindset of wanting the gift to sing or to belt out tunes. When I make this wish, I am pushing my friendship with words away. I am not cherishing the gift that God has instilled in me.  I need to hold onto my gift, as God gave it to me to hold onto and to grow. Like a plant needs a water, a writer needs to write.

I have decided to keep the writing going through blogging. I have not written a poem or a short story in a while, but I know the words are sitting in my head.

-Blessings y’all!