Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Returning to Love

We need you like plants need the sun.

You give Us life.  Your rhythm calibrates Our equilibrium.

When I basking in your presence, We're better.

We have a history longer than the Nile.

Your spirit is what We need.

When the wind blows, We hear your struggles.

When it rains, We nurture each other.

We need you like plants need the sun.

When We left, were We forgotten?

During our separation, We both grew weak.

Searching for you was exhausting!

Finding you, vindicated us both!

As time matures, our bond grows more complete.

We need you like plants need the sun.

You give Us life. Your rhythm calibrates Our equilibrium.

Even in death We are never departed. Our Spirits are One! 

Now, our children will know just what to do.

Because now you are re-learning Us as We remember You. 

We are one in the same!

They are Us and We are You!

Loving each of other makes Us STRONG...

Return to Love - show this world what BLACK is all about! 

Sunday, March 11, 2018

Rising of the Sun: Mothering a Brown Daughter

Living in this country has afforded me the hard truths of enduring many things.  Personally being of a lighter complexion, I never personally had to face the struggles of colorism

I've always heard stories from my friends, how lighter skin girls are concerned prettier.  Even some of my male friends have publicly spoken these same sentiments. I've never really thought about it because my family ranges from light-bright, caramel to smooth deep chocolate brown and even midnight black. I've never had a particular preference for what hue of Black was the best or the most desired. 

The madness of this idiocy didn't truly resonate with me until I had children. When I had my second daughter, I realized just how the minds of my fellow African-Americans had been twisted and tainted. 

My first daughter is my look-a-like.  When my second daughter was born, she had the smooth, caramelized-brown sugar color of her father, my at-the-time husband. My second daughter's complexion has an incandescent glow, meticulously placed high underneath her cheekbones.  

As she smiles, you can see the sunrise in her cheeks! 

Unfortunately, some of my close friends and even family were rudely only concerned with her complexion and not the complexity of God's creation. 

"Oh, the first one looks just like you! The other one doesn't even look like she's yours!" 

Some of the comments hit like covert jabs laced with passive-aggressive sarcasm. Thankfully, at the age of 25, I was still engulfed in living a life of "turn the other cheek politeness."  So I just smiled and responded, "Yes, she favors her father."  The harsh reality was most of these comments came from people who, I know for sure,  personally experienced colorism, had children who endured same treatment or had siblings of a darker complexion.  UMPH!  So do they feel this way about themselves and their family members? 

The psychosis runs deep! 

So now, my two daughters would have to deal with superficial comparisons of their complexion.  My first born enjoying the compliments but feeling sorry for her sister when she was overlooked.  My second daughter, living in a world where her people, pour their senseless house slave vs. field slave mentally into her subconsciousness continuously.
Being forcibly indoctrinated this cultural curse, my daughter learned how to shield herself from self-hate at an early age. One day, in preschool, a lighter student persuaded the other students to not play with my daughter, just because she was darker. Subsequently, I had already prepared my four-year-old daughter for this.  

Even though she was visibility hurt while she told me about her day, I sensed my daughter's pride.  My intelligent, illuminant daughter, with the sun rising in her cheeks told the ill-informed juvenile, "You must have bad parents because you're stupid! You may be lighter, but you're not smarter!"  

So it began.

With every passing year, with every new friend or foe, my daughter has had to protect her self-confidence!  Children telling her, "Your mother looks like the sun, and you look like midnight.", " Are you adopted?", "That must be your Aunt, not your mother."

I never buy my children European dolls.  Why I go out of my way, to introduce them to books and movies with children mirroring their exact beauty. Why I've never permed their hair! Why on every occasion possible, I rename them Beautiful and Pretty! 
I want them to become comfortable with themselves instead of trying to be someone else. 

While living in this country, I know my children will have to endure many things. I have to prepare them for injustices from people who don't look like them while supplying them with the weapons to combat the misguided sentiments of people who share their ancestry.   
My lovely daughter

Maybe one-day colorism will quickly fade, interchangeably as the sun continues to rise in my daughter's cheeks. 

Friday, February 16, 2018

Africa Before the African American

February is Black History in the United States. The shortest month of the year is the time for Americans to celebrate and give tribute to the legacy and achievements of the African American.  Far too often, the memorial and recollection of historical facts of the African American start with the Transatlantic Slave Trade and slavery. Black History does not begin with slavery.  Black History commenced on the continent of origin for the African American - Africa!

Africa is an enormously large continent, not a single country. Before slavery, Africans had a rich and varied history and culture. Africa has and always had an immense municipality of political arrangements including kingdoms, city-states, each with specific and individualized languages and philosophies.

Harpoon Point
The arts, education, and technology flourished in Africa.  The skilled Africans were masters  of medicine, mathematics, and astronomy. They also made luxury items in bronze, ivory, gold, and terracotta (clay-based glazed or non-glazed ceramic). These items were used in daily life and were traded internationally.

Here are five historical facts of Africa and the African before for Transatlantic Slave trade:

1.      Africans were the first to organize fishing expeditions 90,000 years ago. At Katanda, a region in the Zaire (now Congo), historians discovered a finely built series of harpoon points, all elaborately polished and barbed. 

2.     West Africans built in stone by 1100 B.C. In the Tichitt-Walata region of Mauritania, archaeologists found “large stone masonry villages” that date back to 1100 B.C. The villages consisted of roughly circular compounds connected by “well- defined streets”.

Kanem Borno Court, circa 1700 A.D.
3.      Ngazargamu, the capital city of Kanem-Borno, became one of the largest cities in the seventeenth-century world. By 1658 A.D., the metropolis, according to an architectural scholar housed “about a quarter of a million people". It had 660 streets. Many were broad and unbending, reflective of city planning of today.

4.     Ruins of a 300 B.C. astronomical observatory were found at Namoratunga in Kenya. Africans were mapping the movements of stars such as Triangulum, Aldebaran, Bellatrix, Central Orion, as well as the moon, to create a 354-day lunar calendar.
Pillars are aligned with sevev star systems: Triangulum, Pleiades, Bellatrix, Aldebaran, Central Orion, Saiph, and Sirius

5.      Africans were the first to engage in mining 43,000 years ago. In 1964, a hematite mine was  found in Swaziland at Bonvu Ridge in the Ngwenya mountain range. Ultimately, 3,000 artifacts were recovered including thousands of stone-made mining tools. Adrian Boshier, one of the archaeologists on the site dated the mine to be a staggering 43,200 years old.
The history of the African American starts in Africa, not with slavery. The African continent was and still is a rising global economic oasis with endless possibilities.

When we begin to learn our history, no one can influence the importance or relevance of our existence. 

“History is a clock people use to tell their historical culture and political time of the day. It’s a compass that people use to find themselves on the map of human geography. The history tells them where they have been, where they are and what they are. But most importantly history tells a people where they still must go and what they still must be." 
– Dr. John Henrik Clarke

Please comment below and share your thoughts on Africa Before the African American

Research: Browder, Anthony Y. Nile Valley Contributions to Civilization Washington, DC: Institute of Karmic Guidance, 1992. Bennett, Lerone. Before the Mayflower: A History of Black America Harmondsworth: 1962 Jackson, John G. Introduction To African Civilizations Foreword by Runoko Rashidi. Introduction by John Henrik Clarke. New York: Citadel, 2001.

Thursday, February 8, 2018

Leaves in the Wind, Part II

My oldest daughter was celebrating her 16th year of life, while my youngest is trying to understand the significance of being 5 and entering kindergarten.  Please, I can't forget to mention, my 14-year-old is evolving in her incubation chamber (her room) watching old Michael Jackson videos. 

Each is growing a year older, yet all are experiencing very different phenomenons of life.  

In indigenous African culture, there are different initiation rites to lead individuals through the transformation processes of life.  These ceremonies or rituals are done to ensure each person understands their responsibilities and acquires all the knowledge needed to be successful while encountering new life experiences.  

There are five initiation rites in indigenous African culture:

1. Birth
2. Adulthood
3. Marriage
4. Eldership
5. Ancestorship

Birth - During this rite, the welcomed infant will complete a naming ceremony. Culturally Africans believe each person is born with a specific purpose and a message to share with the world. During the naming ceremony, the infant received his or her name, and it is now the responsibility if the infant's family and community to help the infant remember their purpose. 

Adulthood - Around the ages of puberty, pre-teens are taken through various rites and ceremonies to teach them how to become productive members of society. These lessons are often done away from their families and conducted by respected elders.  During these rites, society rules and restrictions are reinforced, while participants receive a deeper appreciation of their life's missions.  

Marriage - This rite is an essential component of all successful  culture. This ceremony not only joins two families, but also joins two life missions. Marriage in indigenous African societies was communal and not based on external lusts of the flesh and fleeting emotions of attraction. Marriages were respected institutions to assist the young man and women on the journey of completion of their life's missions. Spousal unions were key factors of building thriving communities; the emphasis was the community, not the individuals. When a marriage was successful, the community thrived.

EldershipThere is a significant discrepancy between being an older person and being an elder. An older person has just lived longer, but an elder is a man or women who has earned admiration and respect in their families and communities.  Elders are the keepers of traditional and providers of cherished wisdom. Becoming an elder in an African population is the highest compliment. Elders and infants are a prized possession of all African communities. These two groups, elders and infants, are said to be the to God
and the spiritual world.  Infants have just left the spiritual world and elders are closer to returning. 

Ancestorship -  When a respected elder passes, then the final rite of Ancestorship is initiated. Ancestors are the respected deceased of the community. The esteemed ancestors are called on behalf of their families and communities to solidify certain matters in the physical world. Indigenous African traditions believe staying in continuous communication with their respected ancestors after they have passed, is a source of increased power, balance and divine reciprocity.

Like leaves blowing in the wind, many of us are still mentally between birth and adulthood.  

We have no direction and indeed no clue of our life's purposes and missions. We're tumbling continuously in hopes of finally landing in a safe place. Letting the life and traditions of others toss us beyond all comprehensible control.  It's time we learn who we are and stop allowing other people determine our velocity and bearings.  

By traditional African standards, we're all behind and living outside of our life's purposes. We could learn something for the rites if of indigenous African cultures. When we know better, we can do better!  No more leaves blowing in the wind, but immortal spirits motivated by ancestral excellence, rooted in divine purpose. 

I'm here to be a mother, so welcome to my motherly advice or as I like to call it Motherly Love! 

Thursday, January 25, 2018

Leaves in the Wind, Part I

Looking through the window of my bedroom, I watch a pile of leaves as they took flight with the assistance of Autumn's wind.  Once racked neatly in a heap, now all of a sudden each leaf was on its own. Nothing or no one to guide them and tell them how to maneuver.  They were alone with no predetermined destination.  Some didn't fly for long! Some would land and just lay dormant.  Then there were the leaves, with the lucky disposition to fall for any a quick minute of rest, to be abruptly swept up again by the mighty winds of nature.  Never having rest, but creating whirlwinds of entertainment for lurkers.  

In life we start in one place, then the breeze of life happens, and we're spinning from one place to the other.  Like the leaves, we have no control of where we will land, and we're just hoping for the best. 

Then others have learned how to ride the breeze and glide through life with a specific destination en-route, never letting the wind control their destination, yet an internal navigation system, DIVINE PURPOSE. 

My oldest daughter is turning 16 this weekend.  She enjoys many things and is still trying to understand herself and her talents, so I asked her last night, "Why do you think you're here?"  In normal teenage fashion, she just shrugged her shoulders and answered, "I don't know." 

Many of us are now in our 30's and 40's and when asked this question would give the same answer.  We're struggling, just trying to figure things out as we go.  Haphazardly, blowing along through life.  Being picked up and tossed by our jobs, and every little traumatic event we indulge in; as we watch way too much television.  Our lives are purposeless!
In the Dagara indigenous tradition, of the Burkina Faso,  when a mother is pregnant she must go through a Hearing Ritual.  Sonbonfu Some explained this ritual in a 2009 article for Cultural Survival Quarterly Magazine, "The purpose of a hearing ritual is to listen to the incoming baby; to find out who it is; why it’s coming at this time; what it’s purpose is; what it likes or dislikes; and what the living can do to prepare space for this person."  

Each child is born with a purpose, and it's the task of the village or community to help them remember and fulfill their destiny. 

Living in a system where material gain determines self-worth, it's hard to live on purpose.  Our primary objective is to make money and if we're lucky - make a lot of it! Therefore, we're still blowing in the wind, shrugging our shoulders not knowing who we are, why we came here and what we're meant to do. 

I'll share a secret with you; I had a hearing ritual (so to say) at the age of 38. I was I shocked and honestly a little disappointed to learn; I volunteered to come back and be a mother to my children.  As time went by, I began to reminisce about my life.  With each crisis and push of the wind, it started to make sense.  If I came here to be a mother to my children, then who are my children?  I didn't return to amend a wrong, or to be the next multi-millionaire; I volunteered to be a mother.  So who are my children?  And what must I guide them to do?

We don't know, but this mother ain't raising no leaves! 

To be Continued...

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Welcome the Plot Twists

When the story takes unexpected turns, and the antagonists seem to have the upper hand; how does your character survive?

Enjoy the Plot Twists of life! As the pages of life's story turn, the Plot Twists are life's signals of a forthcoming Climax

Right after graduating high school, I was all set (so I thought) to start my new life story as a college freshman at an all-girls college outside of Atlanta.  Shortly after arriving at the campus, an open-handed, five finger slap landed furiously across my face! 
Plot Twist!  
I had an outstanding balance of over a several thousand dollars.  My scholarship and financial aid left me a lovely, expensive gift!


So my college journey didn't start it that fall.  I went back home and started at the local university.  Nevertheless, it was still a magical experience. I got my first real job, met some life-long friends, and made more mistakes (plot twist) while creating unforgettable memories.  

Now in hindsight, I wasn't mature enough to attend college just thirty minutes away from a major metropolitan city.  Instead, I would journey off to college, approximately a year and a half later.  

My cup may not have runneth over with wisdom, but attending school while living at home for a year gave me a better perspective of my intellectual talents, while I learned the rules and regulations of tackling college courses with successful ease.  With all this new knowledge, I was able to attend college, away from home, making the President's List several times, without having a nervous breakdown or over indulging in destructive vices.

My Plot Twist of returning home was only preparing me for a more significant learning experience. It may not have been notably smoother (plot twist, after plot twist), yet my resilience flourished. 

Life's unexpected circumstances or Plot Twists develops critical thinking skills.  With each twist, new roads are created, bringing a magnitude of lessons and welcomed companions to share them! 

Welcome the Plot Twist, then create your best life's story! Turn with the twist and await for the Climax!

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

To Love a Natural Woman, A Modern Fairytale

Once upon a time... 

There lived a Natural Woman.  She had a lovely spirit and was immensely attractive.  Men waited for her to pass in the market, just so to see her smile and interact with the shop keepers.   The town admired her beauty, yet  feared her murderous wrath. This Natural Woman was also an assassin.  

This Natural Woman, killed with her tongue. Her words could be sweet like the honey, then if angered she would spit venom.  This woman loved humanity, yet she was equipped to kill at a moments notice if her sensibilities were threatened.  Many men took chances in loving her. The Natural Woman welcomed some of their advances, yet they all failed. 

Then the Natural Man come to town. His complexion was like the starless night and smoother than the richest dark chocolate. This Natural man walked into town with the power to love any woman he pleased.  He came from a land where he was always accepted and never had to fight or legitimize his existence. 

The calm and wise Natural Man was intrigued by the Natural Woman's beauty, yet after witnessing her venomous destruction, he was dumbfounded. He was astonished. Why did a Natural Woman, blessed with such beauty, annihilate with such venomous words and a piercing glances. 

The Natural Man was not afraid of the Natural Woman.  He was fascinated by the immensity of her contrasting personality mannerisms.  The Natural Man decided to learn the Natural Woman's ways.  Even though she had the power to destroy him, he loved her.

The Natural Man began to court the enchanting Natural Woman.  Now, the Natural Woman was attracted to the Natural Man.  Nonetheless,  she held her abilities close.  She was ready to kill, if this Natural Man ever became a threat to her perceived happiness. 

Time went on...the Natural Woman would spit her venom at The Natural Man when she felt threaten, but the Natural Man was never injured.  He would catch her venom in his month, and quietly walk into the fields. After some time, he would come back and smile at his Natural Woman and whisper, "My love for you is unyielding."

Each time the Natural Woman would hear these words, she would feel regret for trying to offend her Natural Man. 

She began to think why this Natural Man could take so much of her venom and never perish.  So likewise, she began to watch him.  

He would react to every life experience with a smile and a kind response.  Her Natural Man was strong and kind. If someone wronged him, the Natural Man would stand tall and would make his opponent hide their face in shame. The Natural Woman held these lessons close. 

One day the Natural Man forgot to bring the Natural Woman his regular gift of purple roses.  The Natural Man was ready
to take the venom which awaited him.   The Natural Woman slowly turned to the Natural Man. She opened her mouth and sweet words of gratitude poured into the Natural Man's ears.  She did not have venom for him.  Her words brushed the Natural Man's ears like satin clouds.

The Natural Man began to cry. The Natural Woman wiped his tears and said, " You have shown me true love.  Your love has finally helped me control my powers.  I'm eternally grateful to you. I hated how the towns people feared me.  That's why I was so charming and nice to them.  Some would take advantage of my kindness and abuse me.  Their insolence triggered my venom. I had no control over it. Now because the love of a Natural Man, I now come into a better understanding of myself."

The Natural man responded, "Yes my love. I learned it was how you guarded your heart. I had to learn to penetrate your cognizance, then your heart would be free." 

The Natural Woman covered her face and tears leaked behind her hands. "But I could have killed you. How did you survive my venom?"

Her beloved Natural Man replied , "My Princess, I held the venom in my mouth, then sprayed it over the soil to eradicate the vermin around your purple rose garden.  Your venom protects your roses and let's them grow without molestation.  When used suitably, venom protects the beautiful things of this life."

The Natural Woman began to use her venom to protect the town people from invaders and external assaults.  Her community loved her and all fear dissipated. 

The Natural Man continued to love and learn his Natural Woman.  Together, they continued to protect and cultivate the beautiful things of  this life. 

It's Never The End, Just another Beginning...