Love is our reality.
We do not have to hustle for it in this life.
No longer must we crave reciprocity
from those who are unable to love themselves.
Yearning for what we already hold in abundance,
while allowing that abundance to be depleted.
But, can anyone really “deplete” abundance?
Can love ever run out?
[I know from experience it can run cold.
Blood Ice in our veins
can make us do destructive thangs.]
But what happens when the warmth of
a new day, a new joy, a new will emerges?
|Emerges and re-minds and re-members and re-calls us back to love?|
Re-news our minds and re-minds us that we are loved?
Puts us back together by re-visiting the love
we were before and the love we are now?
What happens when
love makes that long distance call
to the core of our being?
We become re-aligned to the reality
and the possibilities of us.
And that Love, the Highest Love, is our reality.
Welcome to Native American Heritage Month honoring those who are contributing now, and have always contributed to society. I send special love to all Mvskoke (Muscogee/Creek) Peoples, as my family has both African and Mvskoke roots. Take a moment to learn more about the various Native Peoples who have honored the lands in the Americas for thousands of years.
In the spirit of examining the contributions of the past and the present, today’s newsletter is inspired by the prolific and profound works from the Poetic Powerhouses Nikki Giovanni and Tupac Shakur.
As I have written previously about creating a Love Space in order to help sustain us, I am practicing while trying not to sound too preachy. I have been actively surrounding myself with writings of Black Womxn authors. I am seeking advice as well as admonishment from their words. And as is the essence of Black Womxnhood, they are speaking life into me and into my work.
I was listening to a rendition of Nikki Giovanni’s piece honoring Tupac Shakur and the posthumous publication of his works in the book “A Rose that Grew from Concrete.” Tupac, never one to mince words or hide his personal development journey, drops this gem:
You see, you wouldn’t ask why the rose that grew from concrete had damaged petals. On the contrary, we would all celebrate its tenacity. We would all love its will to reach the sun. Well, we are all roses – this is the concrete – and these are my damaged petals. Don’t ask me why, thank God [expletive], ask me how!Tupac Shakur
Are you getting the feels, yet? No? Ok, wait for it…
Tupac’s words then mix with Nikki’s thoughts about embracing change:
“A lot of people resist transition and therefore never allow themselves to enjoy who they are. Embrace the change, no matter what it is; once you do, you can learn about the new world you’re in and take advantage of it.”
As I hear Tupac’s truth through his beautiful metaphor of the rose that grew from concrete, while taking in both Nikki’s associated poem and the quote about change; I am led to the only question I have for us: What are the stories of your petals? This question is aligned with the newsletter that asked: “Do you know how much power your story holds?” Understandably, not everyone is ready to scream their stories from the rooftops. What I am suggesting is that you scream your beautifully complicated stories to an audience of one: Yourself. Looking at the rose that you are/are becoming (Quick Reality Check: Roses have seasons when they bloom and rest), what marvels do your petals hold?
Ok, so technically that’s two questions, but it’s not 7!
Fam, I want to encourage you to sit with your petals and allow them to help you re-member “…your will to reach the sun” and enjoy all the parts of who you are, while learning about the new world we are in. Please know that I will be somewhere doing the same!
|She stay creating|
transforming destruction into art.
She stay owning what she does
and all that she is
and stay giving from her heart.
She stay doing dumb shit.
She stay learning from it.
She stay jumpin’ over haters
like they’re ‘gators in swamps
or snakes rattling in hidden pits.
She stay showing up
even when it’s hard.
She stay loving on her Folx
even when they try
to snatch her Card.
|She stay hustlin’.|
She stay grindin’.
She stay ridin’.
She stay providin’.
And when it gets to be too much
She is known to stay hidin’.
She stay writing.
She stay fighting.
She stay striving.
She stay trying.
Through it all
what keeps her going
is that she stays praying.
Because it is her relationship
with the Divine
that gives her the power
to keep staying.
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Hoping today’s thoughts are reaching you on a day where you and your loved ones are in good health and safe.
Speaking of the importance of safety, my message to you today comes from a place of examining safety and liberation. Let’s jump right into it…
You no doubt saw the title of this post and thought to yourself, “Kecia, are you one of those people out there screaming at the Costco (or Dollar Tree) employees talking about you’re ‘not going to wear no stinking mask?’ Because if so, Sis, your messages are now being B-L-O-C-K-E-D!”
Hold on! I’m not going there, I promise! Just let me share a quick story with you:
The Greatness of “Mother Maya”
Two weeks ago, I had the pleasure of being part of a panel focused on the writings of Black womxn. Each of us chose Black womxn authors that spoke to our respective personal development journeys. It was a powerful experience to say the least. I chose to focus my reflections on my self-appointed patron saint, Dr. Maya Angelou, or as I lovingly call her within my spirit conversations, “Mother Maya.”
Maya Angelou’s words found me when I was 15-years-old and have traveled life with me for more than three decades. I have long admired her brilliance with words. However, it was the way she was able to write herself back into her personhood (while living a very colorful and well textured life) that made me love her all the more.
All that to say, I think Maya Angelou was and is the dopeness!
One of the 500 writing projects I am working on is an experience I am calling “Mother Maya and Me.” It will be a compilation of her pieces and those I have written that were inspired by her work. The two pieces I was planning to offer to the attendees of the event were two love poems: Mother Maya’s “In and Out of Time” and my poem “The Poem I Will Never Write.” I often talk about for a Poet, Love is a bonafide job requirement. However, there was a little something that happened on the way to being all lovey-dovey…
Masked @ Birth
Prior to the event, I read in our campus communication that some of my colleagues had decided that they were no longer going to observe the COVID-19 mask mandate. I thought this was a curious stance for educators (Read: My Pandemic Pisstivity was activated). And then it fully settled into my spirit: So many of us have had to wear masks from the time we were born just to survive. How convenient it is that some people are inconvenienced by a simple piece of fabric.
Long story short, I was led to the powerful piece below by Mother Maya and my poem “The Mothers Have Come.” Trigger warning: If you are looking to keep your Sunday light, do not watch/listen to these pieces today. Save them for Monday or Tuesday afternoon.
Dr. Maya Angelou’s powerful piece, in her own voice.
All of this leads me right back to the original question I posed to you: Are you tired of wearing a mask? And to be ABUNDANTLY clear, I am referring to the mask that hides your authenticity, your character, your brilliance, your full self so that others around you will not feel threatened by your presence?
During my keynote address at a Womxn of Color Summit, I shared 7-Questions for the community to consider as they think about solidarity and liberation. I have tailored the questions for you/us here:
Unraveling the Other Mask
- How do you name and claim your accomplishments?
- Are you able to give another Person of Color their flowers or has the training of “Competition is Good” eroded your ability to partner and praise others?
- How (if at all) are you mentoring the next generation of Changemakers to own their accomplishments while still supporting others, as a way to deteriorate the foundations of Impostor Syndrome?
- How or in what ways does caring for yourself while supporting other Leaders of Color to do the same, show up in your leadership practice?
- What does setting boundaries, bossing up and sitting down mean for you as a leader?
- What does it mean to you to be a “Good Ancestor” (originally coined by Dr. Keisha McIntosh Allen and quoted by my friend and Sister-Scholar Dr. Yolanda Sealey Ruiz)?
- How will you continue to interrupt and dismantle “The Oppressor Within” in order to be culturally humble enough to keep learning, even when it is hard, inconvenient and/or is time consuming?
I hope that these questions and your honest, compassionate and courageous responses will help you lift the mask of oppression, shame and fear. You deserve to breathe freely and we are grateful for your every breath!
Have a wonderful week!
This poem was written for the 4th Annual Womxn of Color Summit at the University of San Diego.
We are not a problem to be solved. We are, and have always been the answer. We are both sun and moon. We are the Spirit Dancer. All life flows through us whether through womb, if we choose or through the words that we use. It is within our complexities and the righteous indignation that sits at the core of our connections that allows us to be All the Things. For we are the teacher, the test and the lesson. We are the music, the instruments and the jam session. We are the stand-in and the stand alone. We are the letters, the Word and the poem. We are the answer to the problems that others create especially when those problems were designed to determine our fate. We are the timekeeper and the time stamp. We are whatever we want to be. We are the x that goes beyond ‘ships we are the force that launches ships to sail and provide refuge to the refugee. We are the x. We are the x between Delores Huerta and the New York Rep. A.O.C. We are the x between Marsha P. Johnson Alicia Garza, Patrisse Cullors, and Opal Tometi. We are the x between Cierra Fields and Madonna Thunder Hawk. Maria Teresa Ruiz. Hayganush Mark. The Quintreman Sisters and the Williams Sisters. Dame Katerina Te Heikôkô Mataira and Haunani-Kay Trask. Malala Yousafzai and Henrietta Lacks. We are the x between Yuri Kochiyama and Junko Tabei. Zora Neale Hurston and Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. We are the x between Cecilia Chung and Al-Jen Poo. Velma R. Veloria and Fe Del Mundo. We are the x between Fannie Lou Hamer and Tamika Mallory. Anacaona and Silvia Lazarte. Melavika Kanaan and Kalpana Chawla. King Hatshepsut and Miriam Makeba. Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and Kenya’s Sitawa Wafula Who spoke these words: “Whatever you do, do not let what happened silence you.” It is the Intersection that is the solution. We are fully known. Our existence is not only the solution It is the only way home. We are what was and what is next. We are the vertex. Womxn of Color are the apex. We are twilight, that which intersects the night and the day. We are the mountaintop that reminded Martin Luther King Jr. of the justice pathway. We are the pinnacle, absolutely nothing can hold us down. We are the zenith and the apogee. We are Womxn at the Intersections of what is what was and what shall always be.
Poets. We are not difficult beings. In a world full of manufactured complexity, Poets are the least complicated. We vibe on a Love frequency. We are activated by Injustice. We are most alive in spaces where Liberation is felt. Words intermingle with air to sustain us. We stay hydrated and love to look directly into the sunlight because, well, our eyes are shielded by our rose tinted glasses. Our words are our world. And if you are fortunate enough, we will share our world with you.
I am becoming more and more clear on who I am becoming. This means I have to be patient with others as they shift their understanding of who I am. This time is not a journey back to me anymore. It is me being introduced to my new self. The Me of Now. The Me of Now is comfortable with the way she wears her brand of womxnhood. The Me of Now gets excited when she respects her own boundaries and demonstrates to others how to respect them as well. The Me of Now gets downright giddy each time we say “No” in all of the splendiferous ways we are learning to say it. The Me of Now takes responsibility for the hurt she has caused while simultaneously holding others accountable for their actions (versus self-blaming or shaming others). The Me of Now finally understands that while “Hurt people, hurt people,” that “Healing people are hurt people working towards a do-over,” so compassion for self and others is crucial. The Me of Now is still a bit clunky and shaky, like the legs of a baby colt. However, the Me of Now is becoming more steady. More focused. More ready. More available to Loving Guidance during the next part of this journey. I see you, Me of Now. Welcome Home.
I am more than my feelings. I am more than resentment and bitterness. My timeless smile and unreserved laughter reminds me of that fact. I am every “No” my Mother Ancestors were robbed of uttering. I am an electric spirit. I am love and courage. I am passion and joy. I am the force behind the waves of the deepest oceans. I am contradictions and compliments. I am impenetrable and porous. I am the creator of Daughters of the Moon and Sons of the Sun. I am distantly present and present in my aloofness. I am the bittersweetness that lies at the very moment of impact between Agony and Ecstasy. I am the quintessence of creating more with less. I Am More. Nothing less.
First, I would like to send love to all of the readers in the United States, India, Pakistan, Canada, Ecuador, Romania, Russia, Croatia, Sweden and Denmark, who read the poem moments after it was published!
I was inspired to write this poem after receiving my inspirational Bible verse of the day. I use these verses to right set my day and provide a positive word when everything else we hear is the direct antithesis of positive.
For those of you who do not read the Bible or are unfamiliar with the “Love Chapter” I Corinthians 13, please find verses 4-7 form the New Living Translation for your reference:
“Love is patient and kind, not jealous or rude. Love does not demand its own way. Love is not irritable, and it keeps no records of when it has been wronged. It is never glad about injustice, but rejoices whenever the truth wins out…Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.”
I Corinthians 13:4-7
It was these words that inspired me to write an interpretation of added attributes of Love. I hope you enjoy it:
Side Note: If it is vicious, vindictive or destructive, it is not, never was and never will be love.
Love has a swag all its own.
“I Am with you. You are not alone when I Am here.”
“Things may not be perfect, but when we’re together, what we have will always be enough.”
“Others will do everything they can to destroy us. And I will protect us at every turn.”
“I will show you how to trust again and again and again…”
“No matter what may come, only I can withstand time, space and circumstance. Come. Take a chance and walk these shores with me.”
TRIGGER WARNING: This poem was written May 25, 2020 after the heinous murder of George Floyd one year ago today. This poem depicts violent imagery, yet not nearly as violent as what the world witnessed on the day (now) 7-year old Gianna Floyd had her father ripped from her life.
The contents of this poem may be haunting and are not meant for young audiences, those who have witnessed or have directly experienced forms of violence. Please be advised.
The Mothers Have Come
Our Mother Ancestors are enraged.
The pillaging of Black bodies at the hands of
white supremacist tyrannical delusions,
acts of violence and psychological warfare
have resurrected the spirits.
The Mothers have come.
There is more to be atoned for than white delusions can understand.
Our Mother Ancestors have grown weary from
their lineage being hunted down as prey
and hearing their last breath calling for their mother (we heard you)
or for air (we heard you)
or for change (we heard you).
Tears of blood running down our Mother Ancestors’ cheeks
as they hold in their hands each precious Black pearl
that they have been so careful to surround with love, power and hope.
Only to have those pearls drowned and suffocated in their own blood.
The Mothers have come.
Vengeance belongs to the Lord
and the Patrons of Vengeance are en route.
Weapons cannot save you because
you can’t kill what you cannot see.
You can’t apprehend what you cannot touch
and you cannot terrorize what is beyond terror.
Even Mother Nature has reached a boiling point
where she too is stepping in
with fire, famine and fear.
Nothing in your training has prepared you
for what is next.
The Mothers have come.
The Mothers have come.
The Mothers have come.