My need for inspiration and obsession with a group of poets called The Strivers Row led me this poem by Joshua Bennet: The spoken wordsmith.
The way I see it, this poem talks about Titles. As in the titles we wear, the invisible pieces of paper sticking to our foreheads identifying us as Nerd. Hottie. Smartass. Big mouth. Girl with the arm. The brain. The friend. Best friend. Girl friend. Daughter. Pride and Joy. Token black guy. Black. White. Indian. Coloured. Fat. Thin. Dark. Light. Slow. Clever. Walk over. Loud. Shy. Popular.
But what really got me thinking is a line in the poem, when he says: “we are so much more than the desk jobs and childhood fears we chain ourselves to” because that’s what these titles are. Pieces of insecurities that we carry around and project or let the world project on us for the sake of comfortably identifying with each other as human beings.
Titles are toxic. They’re heavy and obtrusive. They clip the wings of possibility and weigh down the energy in optimism. They limit and constrain and the minute you take your title of you start to mingle with all that is amazing.
Before you click play, unstrap your title and for a moment just exist as a mass of carbon atoms unlimited to the worlds potential.
I’ve spent just over two decades searching for a type of pretty that I could snuggle into comfortably. I used to think that pretty was my 65-year grandmother bravely climbing mango trees bare breasted. But in the leafy suburbs where I grew up bare breasts are a thing to be spoken about in hush tones behind closed doors among decent people.
Then I thought that pretty was the women who belonged to tribes in gabon and the omo valley, who knew nothing of the restrictions imposed by mainstream imagery and of unspoken rules of society. I used to think that pretty was my 5year old niece parading her peppercorned hair as if it were a gem for the world to discover.
And then someday I stumbled across my own pretty like mischievous kid holding one leg out ready to laugh at my fall, it knocked the arrogance into my stride.
My pretty presented itself in a form that only a two decade year old me would be enough mature to understand. In this impromptu meeting, my pretty whispered to me: honey, it’s in the way you artfully tie your hair up into a bun perfectly resembling the leaning tower of Pisa, In the asymmetrical eyeshadow you skillfully apply and in the lopsided posture your clothes choose to take.
My dear, your pretty is in the scars you’ve tried to rub away with squinted eyes like you were wishing to a magic genie. I used to think that pretty was something I would grow into. But what if that leaning tower was inspired by my disproportionate beauty? And what if my “stunning” was long written many light years ago in encrypted codes to be embedded into my skin. What if, my scars are a reminder that my “gorgeous” is not an already defined concept that I need to fit into… It is what I define with my divine beauty.
The Phases of my Pretty
Here’s an audio version :)
I also drew inspiration for this post from these poets, maybe they’ll inspire you too ;)
I’ve always thought that beauty was something I would eventually grow into. Yet here I am 21 and a bit years old standing in front of a mirror admiring only the potential in my reflection. Photoshopping the bits and pieces that aren’t ‘picturesque’, that apparently dull my magnificence and mute my stunning… and still missing the ‘I’ in my beautiful.
So I asked other 21 and a bit year old women a question that I found myself blushing over:
When did you realize that you are beautiful?
Facebook: Genny xGenocidex
I have this theory about small talk: I think that small talk is a prelude to awkward moments. Actually, there is no such thing as small talk. There is a little sheep living inside all of us and when faced with an awkward silence we’re at risk of going baaaaaa, so instead we opt for something like ‘mmmm the weather is lovely today’. And sometimes that works… other times we just baaaaaa.
I’m at the printer happily scanning in and emailing adverts (la la la la la). Then. A red light goes on out of nowhere. Followed by a loud beeeeeeping sound and the words paper jam flash across the screen. I will never understand why printers need to cause such a scene just for a little paper. All that’s missing is for a large sign reading “incompetent” to hover over my head. I’ve heard horror stories about how a simple paper jam could give well educated people emotional melt downs. So I ignore my urge to be the office hero and decide rather to turn to the room full of faces behind me and ask for help. The longest five seconds pass by until a guy halfheartedly volunteers to help. The way the light is reflecting off of his head tells me that his hair is in the middle of an exit strategy, shame. He starts fiddling with the printer in silence. A silence I’m happy to settle into. But he isn’t and decides to fill the air between us with a question: “Did you hurt your arm?” Oh boy. “No.” I say. “It’s paralysed.” I reply anticipating an awkward moment to pass. “Oh. Sorry Man!” he says smoothly not even flinching at the bombshell I’ve just dropped. I smile, relieved. He fiddles with the printer a little longer until he manages to get the crinkled paper out. I thank him and as he walks away, still seemingly cool and composed, he yells: “Shout if you need a hand, sorry I mean help! Shout if you need any help!”…translation: “baaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa aaaaaa aaaaaaaa”.
So, here’s how to beat the baaaaaa: 10things you shouldn’t say/do in an awkward situation.
1. Hahahahaha you’re lying man. (yes. Because people walk around lying about personal stuff all the time)
2. Swallow air. Stop. Stare. (Sheep also stare, coincidence?)
3. Can I see it?? (oh yes seeing it will definitely make things less awkward)
4. Ask incredibly personal questions. (Would you like a live demonstration with that answer?)
5. I’m so so so sorry. (Does repetition of the word ‘so’ make the apology more substantial? Or is that wool under your collar?)
6. Blatantly ignore the awkward comment just made but throw an occasional look at the person who made it. (If you do not react this person will continue to mess with your psyche.)
7. Politely smile and walk away. (No don’t do that, now it’s awkward and I have to stand here alone.)
8. Start to speak incredibly slowly. (You know, it’s not awkward because you were going too fast…)
9. Try and relate a situation you once had to the awkward comment/ situation. (Fun fact: Awkward moments are not a competition.)
10. Start saying cheesy quotes. (Who can top a cheesy quote? Conversation over.)
“Here’s to magic in discomfort.” *clink*
I write in stories, not in blog posts.
In grade 8 my technology teacher used to call me “the girl with the broken arm”. For the entire duration of that year that’s all she knew about me, well that’s all she chose to know about me. She had a single story about me and for her to insist on defining me by that one story “flattened my experiences and overlooked the many other stories that form me”.
That is the danger of a single story.
“Many stories matter… Stories have been used to disposes and to malign. But stories can also be used to empower and to humanise. Stories can break the dignity of a people but stories can also repair that dignity. ” – Chimamanda Adichie
I’ve never aspired to meet a tall dark anything really. I can’t understand where this glorious impression of tall dark somebody’s comes from. So, I simply refuse to succumb to it.
I’ve only met one person with brachial plexus injury, me. In a world with a population of 7 billion this is quite sad.
I don’t welcome this thought, it just creeps in with its entourage of loneliness to remind me that I couldn’t casually equate my seven operations to the taste of chicken, like a person would do when explaining their culinary adventures with frog’s legs. This is all happening in my mind while I’m staring at the red robot in front of me. I shrug the figure that’s appeared at the side of my window away, it comes so naturally it’s almost rehearsed. But while I’m trying to console my self with make-believe scenarios, the figure beside my window relentlessly waits as if to witness my internal frustration. Forcing me into a three-way tug of war for attention. I turn to look at this figure, hoping to muster up stare that screams ‘Hey man! I’m trying to have a conversation with myself here. Can’t you see?!” But his torn shirt raises an imaginary index finger to my comment. It fully exposes his arm, which tells the story of his infant body being crushed at the shoulders. And of a raging fire that’s left the skin around his arm looking like melted wax. He was like something out of Madame Tussaud’s Museum. He looked curiously down at my lap where my arm lay and then at me like he was seeing his own reflection in the mirror for the first time. Our worlds, which had up to two seconds ago been separated by an electric window, came crashing into each other. We were symmetrical his left and my right.
It seems I had met a tall… dark… scruffy… dirty… stranger and we shared a silent conversation. Not the ideal but I’m glad, cause that makes two of us now.
A masterpiece for your eyes to fiest
The Magic In Discomfort