Ode

This is for all the ghetto girls who spent afternoons gazing out barred windows and who dreamed to be somewhere anywhere else. This is for all the kids who took sanctuary in their closet to escape the dysfunction of their habitat. This is for all the big foot, thick thigh mama’s who were made to feel ashamed of their bodies, to cover up, to wear oversized t-shirts, and who grieved their differences from the girls on t.v. This is for all the Cosby Kid Wanna-Be’s. (Aren’t we angry at the man but so grateful for his art, for it helped save our lives from the cycle of poverty.) For the latchkey kids who wanted their mom home instead of at work… until they discovered call waiting and three way. This is for every free spirited wild woman who wants to live without borders, except the ones she chooses. This is for every girl who refuses to say ‘yes’ because it’s cool for everybody else, and who says ‘no’ because someone has to ‘Goddamn it!’ This is for the “Too Much” women, the “Rainbow Is Enuf” women, and every woman who is part wolf as much as she is wind and water. This if for every black woman who has lost a brother to gun violence and continues to lose others to the prison industrial complex and other social injustices. This is for every woman who has ever loved another woman so much she learned to see the world contrary to her own self and with newer more compassionate eyes. This is for every woman who knows she deserves a furious love, and couldn’t find it, so she stopped looking and then ooops… found it. This is for every human who has reached the end of her limits and discovered a whole new self that was pretty fucking super hero-fantastic. 

Note 1

Don’t expect to find normal. Being different means realizing your true self. What makes your cells come alive and your toes curl specifically belongs to you. Let go of the expectation that other people SHOULD relate, and be grateful when someone does.

Note 2

Hold fast to old friends. Maintaining old relationships helps us honor our past, our commitments, our most sincerest selves. Old friends remember who you were, what trials you’ve lived through, and can help keep you grounded when we become too aloof. Our new friends aren’t equipped with the tools to rescue us from ourselves. 

Note 3

Let every step we take be to maximize opportunity. Since most of us can’t figure out what we want, we ought to make consistent choices that allow more room for opportunity.

Note 4

The older generations don’t get us! They are caught somewhere between envy and disgust with the whole lot of us. So stop telling them things. Just show them. 

Note 5

Rituals (Not to be confused with routine) bring inner stability. No need to be faux-Buddhist. My chant: “No toilet. 12. Toe!” (I’ll explain later.) Just make it something that empowers you to feel good, to help you find your happy place, to make you laugh. It’s okay. You can keep it a secret. Rituals = structure. And the brain loves structure.

Note 6

Practice makes perfect. When learning something new, everybody thinks they suck. And if you’re the unfortunate person who has to practice in front of others who are amazing at what you’re trying to do, just tell yourself that they are too absorbed with criticizing they’re own image; they can’t possibly notice how much you suck. Sucking is a rite of passage. (Keep it clean fokes.) Learn to love sucking. Smile at it. Laugh at it! And schedule a point in the not so near future to stop and reflect on how far you will have come.

Note 7

Challenging the self is its own reward. Try something new. Pick something. Anything. And challenge yourself to do it every day, just to nurture the spirit of success in the self. Success is an excellent addiction.

Note 8

Consume less! Make it a mantra. Make it sport you enjoy. Ask: Can I have one less…or, a little less…? For, if I’m not prepared to carry it on my back for a few hours or between travel destinations, I’m not buying it. Furthermore, a mentality committed to consuming less not only help save money, it can help you lose weight. I lost 15 pounds (slowly) just by fixating on consuming (with my mouth) less than what I would have before in my splurge by urge days.

Note 9

Consume positive media! Oh god! Music, pictures, videos, and tv. series alike have the power to influence your mood. If you choose the happier stuff, you’ll feel happier. Same goes for blood wrenching, corrupt, and violent stuff. Alls I’m saying is that Game of Thrones has certainly taken something away from my spirit that took dozens of TED Talks for me to get back.

Note 10

Free time should be free from self judgment. Doing whatever you want to do sometimes mean doing nothing at all, walking in circles, imagining, coloring, etc. Free time lets your own voice surface, unbridling your true desires and interests. It’s no surprise we in the US make no priority of vacation time. Heaven forbid we figure out that we don’t want to go shopping to make us feel better, and instead actually want to do something to BE better.

Note 11

No one else can define the experience of love in your body. That cliche romantic experience of a passionate love that renders you helpless, captivated by…–yeah that shit leads to self abuse for many of us. This is not reality, the norm, natural, nor necessary in order to have a fulfilling loving relationship. Your body and your mind determines the love experience for you. So don’t hold yourself or anyone else to the standards of French romantic propaganda.

Photo Credit : Vhdragoon Photography

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