Posts Tagged ‘life’

Body Lovin’

October 19, 2011

A couple days ago, I did this physiological word puzzle below (click to enlarge) seen floating around online. I got “beautiful, broken, fat.” Then I took a moment to scribble the words in my notebook and sit quietly the finding.


Today is Love your Body Day. It’s the only one we’ve got — might as well, right? And if it wasn’t for the blogosphere and facebook, I’d probably never  have remembered. One year the FSA (Feminist Student Alliance) had this wonderful event where we celebrated various body types and made stickers and posters to share all around the campus. I was certainly smaller in size back then and in retrospect, it was easier (slightly) to be happy with who I was then. As for how I feel about my body currently, overall? Could be better for sure. And I frequently think about Stephanie  Quilao’s examination of culture and body image where she talks about family members making impertinent observations on her body size and weight. I told a good white American girl-friend of mine, that reading Stephanie’s blog post was so much like my experiences within my own West Indian cultural background. My friend was so appalled.

“But you’re not fat,” she told me. “And people have no right trying to make you feel that way.” I don’t know that it’s a goal necessarily, but I get what she is saying — I think people just don’t always think about the impact of their words. I had a close relative say to me this year, “What happened? You used to be so nice and skinny!” One of my aunts, who I haven’t seen in a while, between her new found bible beating (and directing me towards specific soul-saving scriptures *insert eye-roll*) found time to exclaim about how big and fat I was. And I just had no words to reply. None. Because it feels like I’m in the twilight zone and I still wear a single digit size in shorts and pants. I don’t feel exceedingly large. (I also don’t think anything is inherently wrong with being fat or claiming fatness as a body-positive self identifier for yourself  and/or being okay with it used by others in a myriad of ways that are not degrading or insulting, but I do have issues with people declaring how they read and categorically define my body changes just because I haven’t seen them in a while. And I especially have problems when it’s counter to how I see myself). It makes me uncomfortable and I don’t appreciate it — being made to feel uncomfortable in my own self when it’s been such a damn hard painful journey as it is.

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On some of life’s ironies

September 13, 2011

Sometimes you meet someone in life and logistically, it’s all wrong:

  • They just had a baby (literally — like less than twelve months ago) with an ex
  • They are yet to be able to procure a visa from the US embassy in POS; you, for the most part, at present, live large chunks of your life in any given year outside of Trinidad
  • They’re direct, you’re sometimes convoluted
  • They’re “traditional” about many issues,  you’re a feminist
  • They have dabbled in illegal activities; you — well, (mainly) don’t, (at least not anything that will get one featured on Crime Watch)

But yet, but yet, something happens whenever you converge because it feels like a meeting of two spirits who already know each other and you’re not certain how that’s possible. You sometimes feel as though you speak different languages but you get each other completely.

There are many times I feel like a dragon, scrambling to unfurl my own wings and foraging for love — all clumsy on land, ridge-backed and speckled and horned and not pretty enough, getting burnt by other people’s fire in the process. This will be a loving friendship in the end, I think, and all I know is that this person makes me feel acutely aware of mental and emotional nerve-endings, as though my mind is this dripping, sensual space (which it is, apparently); and I get gobsmacked because all I might be hearing is simply how it’s raining on The Island on this cool evening and the poetry I hear is clunky, like I am sometimes, yet invigorating — on phonecard calls that inevitably run out from outside a bar in St. James, between the back-fire of a souped up Super Saloon or in the hush of a darkened front porch.

It is filled with hustling stories, sharpened edges, quiet reflection, surprising humour and fierce loyalty. It is poetry that fills me with a reminder that we are alive, upright ticking time-bombs and people are always struggling and loving and fighting to survive in this life. It is most beautiful at just pledging this quiet devotion to me, my happiness — wherever I might find it and with whomever.  It is an open, chafed hand saying, what do you need in this instant? I would do anything for you. Anything.

Once I was a sorority girl

September 7, 2011

 OK — so, maybe, I still am. This week, I simultaneously discovered a bloggers network for members of my sorority (technically, a women’s fraternity, but anyway yay!) and I also happened  to go to an event for my sorority’s local alumnae chapter this week and while it was fun because it was at a place that I love to go; I still get antsy about contextualizing my Greek girl experience on occasion. Look, I’ve read The Twisted Sisterhood and I’ve seen some of those movies — I know some of the stuff that supposedly goes on out there, which is enough to make you want to reckon with your own experiences, even if it was nothing like that.

I really enjoyed the gathering, wore a letter shirt but hated the part where we have to talk about what you do and your awesome career (plus I don’t have one, unless MFA wielding creative-person-trying-to-get-by counts).  No one wants to be the Debbie Downer while everyone else is perky, not in the midst of all these women who I don’t know all that well, spanning a variety of schools and walks of life. Precisely because of the unfamiliarity in alumnae chapters where people may move in and out of a lot,  you’re not sure what we’re all presenting sometimes. We’re cautious. Polite. We rep  alma maters and our respective chapters while building lives and selves, still. I am reminded of the fragility of human connection. We’re connected — and how. Yet disparate. Plus, I sometimes hate the ubiquitous stereotypes of sorority girls and it’s all I think of whenever I happen to don Greek letters. You know, viral stuff like this:

 

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How not to write a love poem

July 17, 2011

“Only the shallow know themselves.” Oscar Wilde.

First, you need an absence of love—or anything close to it. Second, you need to resist the fact that this is in fact, your reality.

I tried to write a love poem about someone, this week and failed. Also, I’m not even sure that I’m all that good at love poetry. There really wasn’t any love to speak of. There were postulations, fictive projections of what I wanted to see taking place. And more than enough stretches of credibility: well, what really happened then was this and this is what it means. Denying and or reinscribing one’s reality is a hard habit to break. I am working on paring down my penchant for over-analysis and taking what people say as the gospel—making them Christ and Allah (or whomsoever) of their own self spaces.

If people say they are simple, I’ll let them be. How dare I doubt that and give myself the extra work of deciphering what they really mean or what their true intentions are because I suspect there are other things underneath the surface. (There usually always is though and people are rarely as simple as they make themselves out to be, aren’t they?) and this leaves one in a semi-constant state of looking over one’s shoulder (or theirs), constantly on the look-out for an abyss, some darkness, some cruel consternation that you know is hiding just behind their irises.

Some Semblance of Self

March 31, 2011

At the end of an older post about perceptions of blackness, race & internalised racism, I sort of made this declaration in my comment response to Alexis, about being brave and a commitment to calling people out on problematic (& racist) bull-crap. Between then and now, I’ve been realising more and more, that it takes hard work. More than that, you have to really want to work at it. To put the theories into action—to live them (to use a women’s-studies-in-academia notion, if you will)—to embody what you say, by living and breathing the words, opinions and view-points that you write, takes extra hard work.

You have to want to work at it. More often than not, recently, I reckon this is easier for me to put into practice in writing, where I can blast back in words underneath effed-up facebook links and statuses, or blog comments and posts, trying to wrestle with some folks’ problematic world-views and deeply rooted racist ideas. More so, than in real life. I sometimes like to imagine myself in kinship with those folks tirelessly championing paradigm shifts and whatnot inside the blogosphere, some of whom have been doing it too, for an incredibly long time. All those people writing posts and calling people out on shit, in bylines, or even comments—there inside that post pertaining to race & racism over here, or that thread dealing with white female privilege over there, or the problems with mainstream feminism et al.—making folks unapologetically uncomfortable in the process. This too, takes work and a commitment to doing so.

Meantime, out in the world, my resolve oftentimes falls flat—where I imagine others don’t (or don’t as badly). My spine—or where there was one—wavers, cracks, then crumbles. Between the casual chuckle and the absence of self-consciousness around some kaka hole espousing some problematic, racist toots, carefully avoiding my [black person’s]eye, I shirk away. Because I feel invisible to him—both there and not there—it is easier for me to slip away. I quietly dig into my rice and beans. I wonder why my friend, who is also here, isn’t seemingly bothered. I go to some place inside of my head. I don’t say anything. 

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The Girl I was: or Me, Revisited

March 10, 2010
Diary

My dusty old diary and its rusty key!

Yesterday, late last night and just into the early morn, I went looking for, unearthed, deep in my closet— then perused an old diary of mine. I recall that I didn’t leave it in Trinidad for fear of it falling into the wrong hands—whoever that may be! Hey, you never know. To be safe, I packed it with me as I set off for university. It covers my thoughts and life, during the years, ages 13-15. I haven’t peeped in it in many, many years but I knew it was here somewhere. It is this rainbow-and-neon hued Lisa Frank diary.

It was as though I sat down to catch an inner glimpse into my teenaged self from my older self’s vantage point. I eventually christen the diary “Lisa-Anne” after Anne Frank and Lisa Frank, the namesake of the Stuart Hall Co.’s then uber-popular stationery line. My entries start as “Dear Lisa” then morph into “Dear Lisa-Anne.” I had read the Diary of Anne Frank and enjoyed and loved it tremendously as a girl. Admittedly, without any sense of irony at all, this—my diary—without a doubt, is one of the most compelling things—out of anything—that I have read in a long time. What a strange, brooding, angsty teen I was. Good Lord.

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criteria: or why one should not become emotionally/romantically/sexually involved with particular individuals

December 14, 2008

1. shredded slivers of past lover’s heart are clearly embedded in spaces between teeth but person claims that this is chicken

2. you each have competing versions of what constitutes reality

3. people who know them look past you with hollow eyes when it is announced that you are indeed involved with this particular individual

4. people who know them are in fact excruciatingly and overwhelming nice, sweet and welcoming of you into the fold after having just met you only once, as though trying to make you steelier for some impending tragedy

5. person squirms a lot

 6. person just has way too many friends, whether of the opposite sex or not and is not reclusive enough

7. when things implode into the proverbial shit storm, you marvel at that irony that you can at long last place what that stench was

8. person has a long track record of exes that are never to be seen again, shrouded in a cloud of mystery and offers little or no details upon inquiry

9. person is never reciprocal—ever

10. person’s family members always strike you as being embroiled in some kind of vicious inner turmoil, as though they really long to tell you something but just, can’t