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10 whole years

it has been ten whole years since i last sat in that chair in janice’s office. after five years of intense mental health counseling, we determined i was able to manage my life using all that i had learned and leaving behind all that i had let go of, made meaning of and that which was not going to be resolved/fixed/made better. since leaving janice’s amazing care and consideration for who i was, who was inside of me waiting to be free and becoming free i have done well. i have done well because i tell the truth. i don’t fuck with people who do not affirm me or simply put do not like me. i have boundaries for others and myself. i show people how treat me. how you treat me is a non-negotiable. in my early years of life people did whatever they felt like doing. a promise i make to myself everyday is that i will not abandon me. i am here for me however that looks. you should hear me throughout the day asking myself, “are you showing up for sharlimar?” or telling myself, “sharlimar needs you.”

janice helped me to know that nothing was wrong with me. i needed healing, forgiveness of self, and an increase in serotonin. what a difference all three made in my life. for nearly 15 years i have been taking what i call my “happy pills.” everyday i seek God’s forgiveness and forgiveness from myself for myself and others. i exercise, read, cook, bake and sleep for healing.

these past couple of weeks i have been weepy and not sure why. so i stop trying to figure out the reason or reasons why and i just let the tears flow. today it occurred to me that i am somewhat depressed. as i have shared before, depression can be gradual then sudden. today when the tears started flowing for no apparent reason, i let them flow again. i also for some reason thought, “girl it has been ten years since you sat in that chair in janice’s office.” good people here is what i know. i am woman who is in her right mind most days. i am what crazy/depressed/OCD looks like on an ordinary day. i am what brilliance, intelligence, assertive and serious look like on an ordinary day. i like and love myself. if it were not for janice, meds, genuine love, framily and God i would not know that there is nothing wrong me even when i shed tears and do not know why. i am well. this far by faith and two happy pills everyday. be good to yourself.

love yoursel“In this here place, we flesh; flesh that weeps, laughs; flesh that dances on bare feet in grass. Love it. Love it hard. Yonder they do not love your flesh. They despise it. They don’t love your eyes; they’d just as soon pick em out. No more do they love the skin on your back. Yonder they flay it. And O my people they do not love your hands. Those they only use, tie, bind, chop off and leave empty. Love your hands! Love them. Raise them up and kiss them. Touch others with them, pat them together, stroke them on your face ’cause they don’t love that either. You got to love it, you! And no, they ain’t in love with your mouth. Yonder, out there, they will see it broken and break it again. What you say out of it they will not heed. What you scream from it they do not hear. What you put into it to nourish your body they will snatch away and give you leavins instead. No, they don’t love your mouth. You got to love it. This is flesh I’m talking about here. Flesh that needs to be loved. Feet that need to rest and to dance; backs that need support; shoulders that need arms, strong arms I’m telling you. And O my people, out yonder, hear me, they do not love your neck unnoosed and straight. So love your neck; put a hand on it, grace it, stroke it and hold it up. and all your inside parts that they’d just as soon slop for hogs, you got to love them. The dark, dark liver–love it, love it and the beat and beating heart, love that too. More than eyes or feet. More than lungs that have yet to draw free air. More than your life-holding womb and your life-giving private parts, hear me now, love your heart. For this is the prize.”  Toni Morrison, Beloved

 

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being

though i am unhappy about my weight i still like me. fifteen, ten or maybe even five years ago this would not have been the case. i have a not so kind history with how i see my body and therefore have felt about my body therefore my whole self. for about a month now i have been focused on getting rid of this unwanted weight.

yesterday, i smiled at myself. i said, “girl i like you. i am not for this weight, but i am for you.” at that moment i did the victory dance.

 

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we set trends but we are not a trend

for more than two decades attention, conversation, money, advocacy efforts have focused on the plight of Black boys and men to the exclusion of Black girls and women. the entire time i have asked, “what about Black girls and women?” many a Black folk have shushed me and accused me of being hateful. that often repeated accusation and dismal of my valid question angered me and hurt me, but did not shut me up. matters concerning Black girls and women are my birthright and my inheritance. God purposed me to be a champion and advocate for Black girls and women. i was born with girl power and i inherited girl power that evolved into woman power. the spirit in which i speak for Black girls and women precedes formal learning, studying and trends. it is my belief that my birth story informs so much of my living.

i was born to this side of the living on April 14, 1972. i was born prematurely…before my time. my lungs were not fully developed; therefore, i required the support of a breathing machine. my mother was discharged from the hospital before me. my mother and father went home without me. i am not clear about how long i was in the hospital after my birth, just at some point my parents called to  see about me. at that time they were told that they could come to take me home. however, when they got there they were then told i was dead. my parents explained they received a phone call that they could come to take me home. turns out my chart was filed incorrectly. in 1972 the chances of premature baby with my condition were slim. apologies were made and my parents received their baby.

my synopsis is  1) i came before my time 2) my lungs were not fully developed therefore needed help to breathe/the struggle was real 3) it was assumed that i would likely not live;  my birth story resonates with many times in my life, but specifically i make the connection to my never ending attempts to have Black girls and women be considered and included. doing so is a struggle and often i feel like i cannot breathe… that forces are trying to suffocate me/ silence me so that i will be done already.  i figure technology was limited for premature babies in 1972. yet, i thrived. i lived. my soul knows about struggling, fighting and winning. thriving and winning is the part of my birth story that keeps me disrupting and interrupting bad habits and limited perspectives.

my undying commitment to the voices and experiences of Black girls and women was not and is not stimulated by trends in popular culture, public noise, what gets funding, air time etc. we indeed do set trends but we are not a trend to me. right now i am in my feelings about the number of people who are in just the past two years beginning to include the impact of violence in schools, families, and communities on  Black girls and now the looping of Black girls into all the conversation about the school to prison pipeline ( i do not like that choice of words to describe the injustices and harm done to Black and Brown children in America’s public schools. it assumes criminality of Black and Brown children and it does not call out blatant racist and classist mindsets.) so i had to get that out..back to my point. what has hurt and angered me the most is the refusal of too many Black women and men to tell the truth and be with the truth that exclusion of Black girls and  women too often begins in Black spaces. as i have said before Black people have done the most in attempting to silence, to dismiss and to marginalize my convictions regarding Black girls and women.  Y’ all i ain’t mad at you, but i am not fooling with you either. real talk.

know this when all the hashtags like #SayHerName, #BlackLivesMatter, #BlackGirlMagic, #BlackGirlsRock and such are no longer trending and some people are done with standing up for us, speaking up for us, dreaming for us, fighting for us, believing in us, loving on us i will continue the struggle that is my birthright and my inheritance. i will struggle to breathe. i will continue to be ahead of my time. i will beat the odds. i am here. we are here. i matter. we matter. #iloveBlackwomen

 

P.S. the hashtags i mention i have much respect for and i know for many of us they are not a trend but rather a community of sisterhood and pride. no disrespect or shade from me.

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