I revile what I must reconcile
was a revolutionary epiphany
the awakening that never was
upon my waking from the dreams I have of late.
What is it that I dreamt? What is that was real?
Opening my eyes, fingers pulsing with string callouses,
arms weakened from arpeggios played
on a violin that’s still in the case?
Before I kick in the door
Feet, so weary from a long journey home
that my mind has made up just to wake
without the chance to make
my excuses to Grandma about why it’s been so long?
I rile before I’ve had the chance to reconcile
that Grandma, feeds me, holds me
can now live only
in the crevices of my visual cortex.
My feats, and endeavors never complete
before the grand river of cold electric sweat
where I drifted to my potential
carries me instead backto the waking world
in its caprice.
‘Sexting makes the heart grow fonder….and gives you a pretty big phoner”
This morning, after much painful tossing and turning in my magnolia blossom-scented bed, I rose and started straightening my room from the chaos that was wrought in the creative costume-building process of the past few days (Irony!). I stumbled upon (quite literally) an old journal. This pretty little pink and chocolate book detailed the year 2008, the second year I lived on my own in Richmond’s Oregon Hill in scripty penmanship. I thought I’d read a few pages, just out of curiosity for what the past Me had to say. Over a half hour, a few pages turned into an entire year flashing in my head like a well-directed movie with a tottery cinematographer. I shivered upon reading my own account of having to stuff the window cracks with bubble wrap to keep warm, and I swear I started sweating when I read about the first week in June of that year what was “hotter than the blood of Satan”. Past Me was so descriptive: my throat ached when I got to the date she had strep throat; she wrote about beautiful days, good food and beer, finding love, losing her mind. The year, for her, ended terribly, or that was how she perceived. I remember the details a lot less catastrophic that she recorded them. Then again, I want to think of myself as a little less devastated than she was, a little less tragic. I was in a perfect place when that year started, and in all-around peril when it ended, with hopes for a better next year. Past Me was more carefree, but she was also more careless. The breakdown had to happen. Though its been only two years, she seems like a totally different person, not as insightful or cautious; not like the me I’ve come to understand at all…but I like it that way.
I submitted this essay I wrote about my mother to a radio show contest.
My sister (left) with my mom (right), Summer ‘09
If all mothers are soldiers for their children, then my mom is definitely the General of the Army! Even though my sister and I are grown, my mom is still fighting in our corner.
My mother, Angela, is a Registered Nurse/Clinical Training Specialist with a top insurance company, and also a full-time student working to earn her Bachelor’s degree. Last year, after losing my job and subsequently my house to the Recession, my mom took both me and my boyfriend in without question. Shortly thereafter, my boyfriend also lost his job, and I became ill and was diagnosed with anxiety-induced clinical depression. She financially supported both of us for three months, and took time off of work and sacrificed her spare time to make sure I was able to make it to doctor visits and that my boyfriend would make it to his job interviews.
A few months later, my younger sister fell to her financial troubles and lost her apartment, so my mom leased a larger place to accommodate all of us, even though she was already under great financial strain. With both of us now back home, she urged us both to continue our college education so that we could have better job opportunities in the future, and even bought two brand new computers for us to use for college. Even with her full-time job as a trainer and her full-time student status, she somehow finds the energy to run a part-time legal services business out of our home to help make ends meet.
Unfortunately, the struggle only seems to get worse for my mom: in February of this year, my younger sister was diagnosed with triple-negative ductile breast cancer (a very aggressive rare form of breast cancer) at the age of 21. My sister has had to take medical leave of her job, and because of this, she is not able to pay her bills. My mom stepped in to try and help my sister with her car payments and car insurance at the risk of defaulting on her own car loan so that she could drive to doctor’s appointments and chemotherapy sessions. In the midst of all of this, we remain a praying family. Somehow, with all the negativity we endure, she remains faithful, positive and upbeat about life, and passes on her beautiful smile and infectious laughter to all those around her.
My mom has insisted that I not worry about trying to find a job so that I can finish school. It’s been very hard to find employment where I live, but I still try to find a job because she raised me with such a solid work ethic. I truly believe that my mother Angela was aptly named; she is an angel walking among us! I am so blessed to have her in my life, and if I cannot help to ease her stress and financial strain, then I at least would like the world to know what an amazing, sweet, strong and courageous woman we have in our lives!
With a billion dollar business that the promoters see virtually no profit from (barely 5%) I’m quite happy to be “Nappy”.
My hair is thicker, healthier, and (believe it or not) easier to style. Also gone are the days when I have to wake up an hour early to flat iron my hair and spend 20 minutes every night trying to get the “perfect wrap” before going to bed only to have to press it again the next morning because the scarf fell off. I can go swimming whenever I want and leave the house without wondering whether I should take an umbrella in case it’s going to rain. One of the best decisions I’ve ever made was to do the “big Chop-off” (which I’ve done twice in my life now) and let nature take its beautiful course. This is the happiest I’ve ever been with my hair and my appearance…so why aren’t my other beautiful Black women getting it?
Our hair is unique to us; no one else has this hair type. But instead of being individuals and getting creative with our beautiful kinks and curls, we’re steadily giving hundreds of billions of dollars to non-Blacks ( example: Koreans that sell the weaves and the Europeans that make them) each week so that we can make our hair look “non-Black”.
Comedian Chris Rock recently made a highly insightful film called “Good Hair”, challenging our community and showing us what the Asians and Whites we buy our hair products from really think about us (at some point, an Asian man said that he wouldn’t sell the Black human hair Chris was peddling because it might contaminate the purchaser with sickle cell anemia >_<).
For all the things the Rev. Al Sharpton says about trying to bring positivity to our community, I find myself not being able to listen to a word he says anymore; There are many reasons for this, but for the sake of my argument I’ll use this one: if he thinks Black is so beautiful, then why is he steadily rocking the conk?
And let’s not be fooled: there is NO SUCH THING as healthy relaxed hair. What a relaxer essentially does is use a base (sodium hydroxide; that’s why it burns so badly!) to break down the keratin bonds of curly hair. Breaking the bonds? The bonds that make up your hair? PURPOSELY DAMAGING YOUR HAIR and scalp!!!!!! Paying hundreds of dollars a year to achieve this! For what? So black women can be further plunged into a feeling of social worthlessness if their hair isn’t as straight as Jennifer Aniston’s?
Ladies ( and some gentlemen), stop breaking bank to conform to someone else’s notion of beauty. Our hair is exclusive to us. It’s our crown of glory! Any type of hair will look beautiful and sexy when it’s taken care of properly, and when your hair is in its natural state, it’s the easiest to take care of!
I’ve gotten more compliments with my Afro puffs than with stringy tufts is all I’m sayin’.
Be a first rate version of yourself, not a second rate version of someone else.
My name is Brittany Bull, and I’m a student for Associate of Arts in Health Care Administration – Medical Records at the University of Phoenix. I was hatched 22 years, 11 months and 23 days ago in Nassawadox, VA, currently live in Richmond, Virginia with my mom and sister. I graduated high school in the summer of 2005, and went to college the following fall. Not knowing what it was I wanted to do, I dropped out and got a corporate job instead. After losing my job and subsequently my car and house last year, I moved back in with my mom and decided to go back to school. When I’m not working on class work, I enjoy sewing costumes and knitting, cooking, playing my guitar or violin, and acting in Richmond’s “Rocky Horror Picture Show” cast. Also, I’m an advocate for natural hair care and practice yoga.