30 day sleep cycles

it reminds you of premenstrual cramps

when you know you haven’t bled in a while, so the time must be near.

all of the comfort was too good to be true.

you feel it coming, weighing you down, waking you up with pressure in your chest

the slight nudge reminds you that you are not safe and you were never okay in the first place.

o p e n y o u r e y e s

nudge becomes harder and your mind doubles over in pain.  it’s like your stomach is curling inwards and for once you don’t feel an urge to eat.

…oh this is bad

you don’t want to eat

but oh this is also good, that you don’t want to eat…

because you’re a pig.

take advantage of this blessing and hit the gym while you’re at it.

o p e n y o u r e y e s g i r l

nudge becomes an annoyed tug.  urging you to just hurry up and fall, stop trying to prolong the jump that you’ll eventually take

o p e n

you sleep so damn much cause you’re weak and cause you feel too damn much when you’re awake

c l o s e

tug becomes a push and push becomes shove and now you’re spiraling inside an abyss of feelings that you don’t want to face

o p e n

you’re not Dorothy tho ’cause when you finally land you’re going to shatter into a million pieces

that sheepish smile is not going to protect you and bring you home this time

not that humor not that sarcasm not this goddamn poem

c l o s e

this slumber can’t save you

i know the pillows are soft and that memory foam stops your back from aching

but one day you’re gonna feel a pain that won’t allow you to sleep anymore

o p e n

you can save yourself.

all you gotta do is walk down that yellow brick road.

all you gotta do is get some help from the good witch

all you gotta do is constantly fight off the bad witch

all you gotta do is

c l o s e

cry three times click your heels three times laugh three times and repeat

you think you’re back home and you think you are happy

but you’re really just fast asleep

o p e n y o u r e y e s g i r l ,

p l e a s e

 

Vulnerability: What It’s Like Being Seen

 

I think the worst part about being a bigger girl (and black to be more specific) is the feeling of never being able to hide.  I have to make up for being conventionally  “unattractive” somehow.  Pay the price for my size by either dominating my space or pretending that it doesn’t exist.  When it comes to personality, do I really have a choice?  I felt like I wasn’t good enough to have a voice.  I really did feel that way.  Shy, but the underlying reason for my reserved character was my fear of being seen.  Metaphorically and literally…I didn’t want people to see me.   It was terrifying having to do simple things like walk to class and force myself to navigate large open spaces alone.  I was never familiar with myself.  If a stranger told me about myself, I would believe them.  I felt like I could literally crumble to pieces with a glance, and that all of my flaws would suddenly seep through the cracks of my conflicted surface so that I had no choice but to wear my insecurities openly… As if I didn’t already.

I guess you could call it anxiety.  Feeling eyes burning into the squishy flesh on my back, into the folds of my inner-thighs, into every blemish and discoloration on my cheek, and into every crack in my crooked smile.  Imagining what I might look like through someone else’s vision and somehow morphing into that monster every time I glanced into the mirror.  See, I wasn’t acquainted with myself so I could easily mold and bend my reflection into what I thought I should be. It’s challenging trying to find new corners within yourself to hide.   I could suck in my protruding belly to make my curves appear less swollen.  But whenever I went to pick up something I dropped on the floor, everything would just spill out again, like the truth from a lying child’s eyes.  I could smile with my lower lip curled in just enough to conceal the gaps between my bottom teeth (took a lot of practice).   But whenever I would laugh, I forgot to cover it and all of my hard work was undone.

You would think: of all the time I spent in the mirror I would’ve learned to love myself.

Something told me to write this post in past tense, as if this is how I used to be.  As if I have grown past that insecure and fragile stage of my life.  But unfortunately, this is me on my bad days.  This is me today.

See, I could write extensively about my good days too.  About how I can confidently stand in front of a mirror, look into my own deep brown eyes, and thank myself for bestowing blessings upon the ungodly land I walk on.  I could go on and on about how much I love the bouncy definition of my curls, how much I adore the maternal gentleness of my skin and the way it soaks in Shea butter, and how much I smile for absolutely no reason at all just because I love the ethereal glow it gives me.

I can write about that too.  But today I wanted to write about this.  I wanted to purge the ugly parts of me that I told you about before.  Because I cannot hide, and if I’m going to decide to be seen I might as well be honest.

 

An Era of Excellence That Never Ends

I am asking you to believe.  Not in my ability to bring about change – but in yours. – Barack Obama

As I watched Barack Obama deliver his farewell address for the last time as President of the United States, I was touched.  Not exactly touched by his words, but the impact his presidency had on me and so evidently on others over this short eight years.  As I listened to him give his final goodbyes, I remembered the day when my mother took me into the polls with her. I remembered when he won and I saw he had two little black girls my age walking on that stage with him.  I remembered joy.  At the time I didn’t fully understand, but I knew that his victory was a special thing.

During Obama’s farewell, the one moment that touched my heart the most was when he declared his appreciation for his wife and children.  Tears began to fall because suddenly I saw the immense strength of that family.  And as I saw the crowd give Michelle Obama a standing ovation, it reminded me of how much credit and respect black women, mothers, and wives often deserve but never ask for.  I can only imagine what Michelle had to endure throughout this entire presidency, not only as an iron backbone for her husband, but as a mother, a role model, and a representative for black women across the nation.  It was a beautiful moment being able to reflect on the many accomplishments the Obamas had and their impact on this nation.

In his speech, Obama’s final request was for Americans to believe.  He asked that we believe in ourselves and work hard to create a better future.  As his presidency comes to a bittersweet end, the excellence that the black community has consistently displayed will not.  What a privilege it was to not only experience a black president spend not one but two terms in office, but to experience black excellence in all areas of society from film to music to sports and education.  I experienced unity and greatness like never before.  Through the tension and despair these past few years/months brought, I saw great things happen because we supported one another and believed in each other.  From simple little things like Gambino shouting out Migos and causing an increase in their sales (R.I.P to Bad and Boujee though),  to black actors and actresses being cast in diverse roles (and delivering amazing performances), to average people like you and I donating thousands of dollars towards families of victims of police brutality, we had an impact and made a very clear statement; that we are powerful beyond measure.

This also applies to my millennials (its about to get real y’all).  We’ve been flourishing and displaying our excellence so well.  For a bunch of lost lazy social media-obsessed optimists, we’re doing a pretty damn good job and we can do even better if we remain optimistic and keep believing in ourselves, regardless of the criticism we so often receive.  I am amazed at how socially and politically aware we are, how we’ve used social media to create a platform for unheard voices, how we hunger for knowledge and strive to obtain an education, and how we are so driven to make change.  Like Obama said, he believes in us and he is waiting for us to finally believe in ourselves too…like for real for real. There’s so much pressure for us to have it all together, to grow up faster because the world needs us more now than it needed those who came before us.  Take your time to grow and find yourself.  Don’t let some of those dusty milky miserable old people discourage you, we got this.   But also, let’s not forget to constantly reflect on our history and gain wisdom from past generations, because even though we lit af…we still young af.  There’s some things they have that we’re going to desperately need later; so stay humble, observe, and be willing to learn.

Many of us have been dreading this goodbye, because we all know orange is really about to become the new black.  But we too have to wipe our tears and while we cherish those moments, we move on and push forward so that one day we can experience those moments all over again.  Obama’s farewell was a clear call to action and it’s our responsibility to follow through.

 

 

-Des

Reflection Is My Resolution

Before I start, I want to say thank you to whoever is reading and to those who may read in the future.  I would love to be supported on this journey of mine because this took a lot of courage and isn’t going to be easy for me. Friends, teachers, and family have told me to keep on writing, but because of my insecurity and self-doubt I stopped and never thought to start again.   This is the first seed I’m sowing in a while.  I miss the passion, I miss the excitement, and most of all I miss the therapeutic and healing experience that writing offered me.  This blog is to get me writing, thinking, and applying myself again.  Lately, I’ve been feeling dormant so it’s about time I erupt and actually produce something.  Thank you, even if you’ve only read this far…you read.  I hope you will leave this blog with something, but I also hope that you will provide your feedback so that I may grow as a writer.    – Destini 

Resolution –  1. “a firm decision to do or not to do something.” 2. “the action of solving a problem, dispute, or contentious matter.”

My great grandmother would pick the dandelions in her front yard, wash them, chop them up, and toss the stems into her salad.  I would return from school and see her outside stooped over, carefully selecting and inspecting each one.  That was one of her many keys to good health and longevity.  She would suggest I try and have a taste, but I never did.

Before this year, I never had closure with myself.  Years were never like “pages of a novel” to me, but merely dandelions that would flower and then begin to dry up as the years came to a close.  I would make hundreds of memories and feel a sea of emotions, but I let the premature seeds of those emotions scatter away in the wind without direction.  Convinced they were gone forever, I thought I was spared the rest of the pain, but they were just planting themselves elsewhere in my life.  That was the consequence.  Those seeds would present themselves in unexpected ways by sabotaging my relationships and confusing me by disguising themselves in insecurity.  They grew tall like trees and cast dark shadows onto me, making it hard to see and find my purpose.

I took a lot of things for granted and focused too much on questioning why I’m the way that I am instead of working on what I want to be.  I don’t want a short ominous life like my Grandmother’s dandelions.  I don’t want to be uprooted by self-hate, washed in doubt, chopped up by my own fear, and consumed by regret.   I want to flower to my full potential.  I want to accept every part of me and learn to work on them, so when that chapter of my life does dry up, the seeds won’t be premature anymore.  Instead, they’ll be packed with wisdom and planted elsewhere where better things will grow.

For days, months even, I would exist in crippling fear.  Fear of what people thought of me, fear of my future, and fear of failure.  Fear is often rooted in unfamiliarity, and one thing I still don’t completely know yet is myself.  The only way to find out was for me to face that fear.  That is why the second half of 2016 was a very memorable time for me.  Not just because of the many milestones I had (graduating, going away to college, being open with new people), but because I started to break the soil to begin digging deeper into myself.  I faced my fears and ventured back into places where I never wanted to go again, I opened old journals sealed with poisoned memories and regrets, I explored my darkest thoughts and I wouldn’t let them subside until I figured out where they really came from.  Those are things that have molded me into who I am right now, so I can’t ignore them anymore.  Ever since I decided to reflect, I found peace and forgiveness.  I forgave myself and that made it so much easier for me to forgive people who unintentionally hurt me.  Even though it’s something I’m still working on and am not the best at, I’ve made tremendous progress.

My resolution for this year and the many years to come is to continuously reflect upon myself.  I will focus on feeling by letting my emotions and experiences have their way and stop pretending that the “ugly” parts of me and other people don’t exist.  I will stop placing everyone I meet on a pedestal, because none of us are perfect.  I will bask in my discomfort until I can resolve the problems I have constantly ignored.  I will shut my mouth and listen more.  In the last few months I tried doing some of this.  Once I began accepting the parts of me I wanted no one else to see, I saw myself as human, beautiful and complex in many ways.  I loved myself, and I wanted to live.  And because I now know what that feels like, I don’t want to try starting on a “clean slate” again.  I don’t want to keep closing wounds without cleaning them first.  Instead, I want to continue right where I left off, soak up the past like fresh rainwater, and grow from it.