How would you define family? Happiness? Difficulty? My old poetry classmate Zoey revealed to our class one day that she hasn’t had contact with her father in years. She ran away from home after years… More
I never really know what to do with this blog. Sometimes I’m feeling super creative and want to blow up the “Poetry” section, or even add a “Short Story” section. Other times I’ve got no creative juices flowing and would just rather write down some thoughts I’ve been having, which is how this whole thing started. And then come those really random days when I feel like posting a cupcake recipe that I tried out and loved. What on earth even is this website?
Anyone else have this issue? I’d love to organize my content more, but I’m interested in too many things. “Poems“, “Photography“, and “Book Reviews” are the latest sections I’ve added here. And with each of them it’s been a one and done sort of thing. I haven’t had any urges to write poetry since the last one, and it’s the exact same with the others. Besides taking a picture a day for 2017 (a little goal I’m working on-haven’t missed any days so far! High five me) the photography section of this blog is looking a little parched.
Will I add a “baking” section in the near future? Possible…very possible. But I’m starting to think that having too many passions or too many interests isn’t as valuable as having one or two things that you’re super into. It’s like the conversation that I had with a friend a while ago: would you rather master one subject, or know general information about multiple? Sure, knowing a bit of everything is great. But I don’t think it’s as great as pouring your soul into a main project at a time. It’s wonderful to be obsessed about a passion for so long that it almost consumes you, and then what comes out of that is something you’ll be proud of until the day you die. Maybe even after.
I’ve had split focus on different things for a while now. And I want to get back to really giving all of my attention to one thing at a time. Splitting your focus is definitely a mark of our generation. We always have to be doing five things at once. I can’t even watch an episode of Gilmore Girls without eating a snack because food is so heavily incorporated into that show. Or I can’t watch an episode of Friends without playing Tetris on my phone. That one has no reason, it’s just this thing that I do. But I really miss watching movies without getting bored. Or writing stories without stopping somewhere in the middle. I want to be inspired and consumed with a passion that isn’t going to stop until I’ve fulfilled some sort of goal within that. I think, on some level, that’s one of the main components of being a human being. To want to work, really work at something until it becomes a success.
Well…those are my thoughts for the day. What do you think?
These last few weeks I’ve had my final stretch of having to go through 28 prose pieces as an editor for a literary journal at my school. It’s been a quite the experience. I’ve read pieces about people who have HIV/AIDS, about young black men in constant races against police, about adventures in outer space, and a lot more.
I feel like I’ve taken a stroll down so many different streets throughout this experience. Reading about someone with suicidal thoughts because of a depression that stems from something we all feel. From being overworked; from being lonely; from not realizing our true worth.
I was there, figuratively, when that 14 year old girl realized that someone was following her home. I felt it when he grabbed her and she struggled against him to try and get free. I felt myself panting when she escaped and ran as far as she could, and felt the relief when she saw her house at the end of the street.
I felt grief and sorrow through the eyes of an older Latina woman sick in the hospital. I felt her sadness at her inability to move from the bed. I felt her heart ache at the fact that she overheard her own children arguing about who would have to watch her that night.
I followed an immigration story about someone who moved here from Mexico to make a better life for himself and his family.
A couple lovey dovey stories here and there.
A detailed trip through India.
It’s like I’ve just I traveled the world. I remember signing up for this just so that I could smack it on the old resume, but I feel now that I’ve gained something far more important. I call myself a writer, yet I frequently forget why I’m in love with it. I often think about publishing a book as opposed to writing it. I get distracted by dreams of seeing my name on the New York Best Sellers List.
“To write means more than putting pretty words on a page; the act of writing is to share a part of your soul with the world.”
Why is it that I see more of myself in my shadow than I do in my reflection?
A falling silhouette,
or a flying silhouette?
A giant and her conscience.
A smile in the dark is like a candle in a forest 🙂
Lost in the shadows.
We start out deprived of dirt
Innocent little introverts, we
Have souls lacking any sins or mistakes
Age without wisdom, let’s raise the stakes, we
Mold opinions, infuse ourselves in judgement
A strange accent, let’s cause them torment, we
Learn without knowledge like babies in college
Objet to power while over all else we tower, we
Lay in our beds one night, eyes glued to the ceiling
Wondering how the rest of the world must be feeling, we
Have collected mounds of dirt, grime, and filth darker than soil
From our zombie-state, from our apathetic nature we recoil, and
It’s because this time it was our son, our mother, our father, our woe
Our own family members getting buried in hate down below, and
Now it’s about time we look for a bucket of water and a bottle of soap
Step down from this ladder after we free our neck from the noose in this rope, and
Scrub the grunge from our psyche,
Wash the muck from our strife, and
Smile more to strangers as we make the best out of our labors
Defend each other’s honor like our pencils are lightsabers, I
Will make fools of myself as I attempt doing what’s right
Until I realize that the truth isn’t black or white, I
Will try to use more words like “us” and “we”, until I
Finally rest lighter than the dark around me.
Logistics first: Muslim Black woman, born and raised in America. Yup, that’s me. (That’s So Raven throwback, anyone?)
Great, now that that’s out of the way…do I love my country?
The way I see it, there’s a big part of America that is hypocritical. Judgmental. Racist. Unwelcoming. Targeting. I don’t love those people.
But the America that I do love is the America that is kind. Loving. Welcoming. Accepting. Truthful. Genuine. Diverse. Community-oriented. The America that I love being a part of isn’t just one color. It’s brown, it’s white, it’s black…it’s everything in between. It’s people who have brown hair, neon hair, blonde hair, or covered hair. It’s people who speak all languages of the world.
I think of the neighborhood that I grew up in. In one of the biggest cities in the country. My neighbors were Hispanic, Polish, African American, Syrian, Indian, Bosnian, Caucasian, Israeli, Japanese, Nigerian, Jordanian, Italian…..this is why I have always loved living here. Because to me, America has always meant being amongst people from all walks of life.
Americans are immigrants. Don’t pretend any different. We all walk together, we live together, and even though the situation is grim, I have seen over these last couple days that we really do support each other.
You can ban all you want, but you can never ban the truth.
For those of you that don’t know, Marvel Comics has unleashed a force to be reckoned with. Ms. Marvel is the new (well, not so new anymore – debuted February 2014) Muslim superhero of Pakistani-American descent.
If you are planning on reading this comic, here’s a fair warning that this may contain some spoilers.
There is an endless amount of symbolism in Ms. Marvel. In a class of mine, we divulged a little too deeply into what every.single.thing. on the page really meant. It was a little too much for me (blue doesn’t always have to represent a deeply hidden depression over an identity crisis, sometime’s it’s just blue!) But there are some things I found in the comic that are worth pointing out:
- Kamala (later known as Ms. Marvel) represents the struggle of many Muslims living in Western societies (US & Europe.) Her constant monologues resenting her home life (she wants to be “blond and popular”) definitely echo the thoughts of many of our sisters in high school and college today. This, for me, is a definite plus. As I’m sure many of us related to this growing up, although hopefully we are all comfortable in our own skin by now. That means you, gorgeous =]
- She doesn’t wear a scarf on her head. Gasp! And she calls herself a Muslim? This chick literally starts off the comic by sniffing at pork, wishing she could eat it. Okay, so I’m not saying she parties in clubs and inhales alcohol or anything–she doesn’t actually eat the “infidel meat”. The front cover (scroll back up) is intriguing. She does wear a scarf, but it’s around her neck. Not wanting to fully let go of her background? Afraid to fully integrate into western society?
- There was a part of my class that made me squirm in my seat. Most female superheroes are, shall we say, a tad immodest in their dress code. Bulging bosoms and whatnot. My professor asked us what we see in the center of the cover. And bam, it’s her chest. But it’s fully covered. Sort of like a giant ‘eff you’ to the female superheroes who have their chests exposed. I don’t know how I feel about this (or about the comic as a whole), but I’ve got to admit it has an interesting way of going about presenting Kamala as a new superhero to the world.
Of course there had to be a bit about her family, which surprise surprise is painted as a super strict and negative group of people who don’t understand the ‘real’ Kamala. Her brother, obsessively supplicating before they eat dinner, is dressed like the most stereotypical version of a Muslim man that you can possibly think of. Her best friend, Nakia, who does wear a scarf on her head, goes through an identity crisis of her own. But the fact that Kamala seems to find no solace in her home life didn’t sit well with me.
I realize this must have been a huge project that required a lot of research and thought, and it won’t please everyone, least of all the Muslims who can’t seem to help but criticize everything with the word Muslim/Islam attached to it (kidding.) Ms. Marvel as a comic definitely seems to justify a lot of stereotypes unfortunately, yet there is a relatable element to this new superhero that I know many of our youth feel on a daily basis (both female and male, Muslim and non-Muslim, and non-Caucasian races.) I’m glad I read it. It was pretty funny and quite entertaining. This is actually the first comic I’ve ever read fully. I’m pretty sure I’ll keep reading the series to see how Kamala grows as a person and as a superhero.
Perhaps I’d have done things a little differently, but my question to you is:
Which would you prefer? Flawed representation or no representation?
Photo of the week (above) goes to Mabry Campbell’s “Blue Infinity”
This picture shows what I love about horizons. The deepness of them, the never-ending quality..
On another note, or perhaps on the same note:
A topic of conversation in my family has recently been poetry. The irony in this is that, no, we weren’t analyzing Blake poems or giving Shakespeare a whirl. No…my family mocks poetry. They don’t see the purpose in it, any of it. At one point my nephew simply states “We are not a poetic family”.
Poetry was never a true love of mine, but it’s recently becoming one. As much novelist potential as I think I may have (conceited, yes?) I now think that my fiction will be nothing without an element of poetry embedded within it. The thing I like about poetry is how freeing it is. There is no shape, no color to it.
My sister would say that this is precisely why she can never understand poetry. To her, it’s just someone who’s randomly put their finger on a bunch of words in a dictionary and strung them together. My nephew exclaims “it doesn’t even rhyme anymore!” It has no uniform, no symmetry. I see that as a positive thing, though. Each poem is like it’s own unique language. A language that some people will take it upon themselves to grasp, and others won’t bother to, which is fine. I do think there’s something in it for everyone, though.
As a nation, maybe even as a world, we don’t lack poetry. That isn’t it. Rather, we lack the will or the desire or even the chance at understanding the balladry of the universe. We’re so distracted, and I’m thinking we like to be. Because accepting the poetry of the world forces us not only to take in the beautiful and pleasant things, but to also take in the bleak and painful things as well.
Are we strong enough to acknowledge both?
I could use some new poetic inspirations. Do you have any poems/poets you’d recommend?