Found this on Tumblr, thought it was appropriate:
— From your Problematic Fave 😘
A few months ago at the start of yoga class, our teacher offered a quote intended to inspire our meditation. I don’t remember the quote, and when I asked her last night she didn’t either, so I will do my best to paraphrase: “The most joyful meditation is the contemplation of one’s own existence.” In other words, the mere thought that you exist brings the most joy during meditation. In reflecting on that, I was like if that is true, then perhaps the most distressing thing must be to feel like you do not exist. That you cannot be seen, heard, or felt – that you have no impact. It feels abstract, but as I’ve observed my own process through therapy and through sustained observation of human behavior, I’ve noted that we all desire to be seen. Especially through infancy and childhood, we need to know that we are heard, that we can be felt, that our existence is consequential.
And I wondered, is this why we hate getting cut off on the freeway? I know this seems like a silly image to use in illustration of a serious concept, but bear with me. I don’t know about you, but I’ve noticed in myself that when I get cut off on the freeway, rage swells in me unlike any other experience. All of a sudden I feel hot— my heart is pounding the righteous drums of indignation. And since I don’t believe in “overreactions”, and in the grand scheme of life being cut off on the freeway seems such a miniscule event, I ask myself, what am I reacting to? What basic plea is being violated? My best guess is that being cut off is infuriating because it is another person operating as though I do not take up space. I’ll often hear myself go HELLOOOOO?! I’M RIGHT FUCKING HERE!!! Is that what we’re all screaming? At parents who abandoned us, literally or figuratively; who carelessly played favorites among siblings? At romantic interests who keep looking us over for someone else— Hello, I’m right here! Why can’t you see me?
This drive to be acknowledged is universal. We intuitively recognize its presence in archetypes and old stories that cross cultures, religions, socioeconomic backgrounds, races, gender… We all know about the younger sister who always felt like she lived in her older sister’s shadow (remember when Ashlee Simpson actually released a song called “Shadow”? Perhaps a better question might be: does anyone remember Ashlee Simpson? Anyway, we can move on.) We all know about the poor kid’s disappointment when he scores a point at his basketball game and he looks over to see his dad on the phone with his back turned, completely disengaged. How many of us have heard a toddler go “Watch me! Watch me!” when he/she is no doubt about to do something utterly mediocre but is seeking acknowledgement and recognition from an audience? I mean, hell, if we want to get biblical about it, Cain killed his goddamn brother because he felt like he wasn’t getting as much attention from God as he deserved. #Drama. We have a desperate need to be seen. I think this is also why the cry of the marginalized is so great, and why representation in media is so important. We need to see ourselves reflected to know that we exist to our society.
I’ve believed for a long time that the thing that keeps us running is love. It motivates all growth, inspiration, benevolence, trust, goodness, life, compassion, honesty, faith, kindness, you get it. Obviously food, water, and shelter are necessary as well but if we are to connect with our humanity, to feel ourselves and to be ourselves—even to properly inhabit our physical bodies— we need to be loved in some capacity by someone. I believed that love was the most fundamental thing, but you can’t be loved until you are seen. You can’t be loved until you are acknowledged, received, and experienced, hence being seen usurps—or perhaps joins—love in being the most fundamental thing. We have to be seen before we can be anything else. And not just by others, though that is clearly imperative. But I’d argue that as seeing another comes before loving another, seeing yourself comes before loving yourself.
A vote for Donald Trump was a vote against women.
A vote for Donald Trump was a vote against Muslim Americans.
A vote for Donald Trump was a vote against immigrants.
A vote for Donald Trump was a vote against black people.
A vote for Donald Trump was a vote against the entire LGBTQ community.
A vote for Donald Trump was a vote against racial reconciliation.
And a vote for a third party candidate was a vote for Donald Trump.
Maybe I shouldn’t be surprised but I am. I’m completely shaken and floored that blatant fear mongering heaped on empty promises can work to win the presidency in the most powerful country in the world. I didn’t think we’d fall for it, but I gravely overestimated. I feel like I can’t recognize my country anymore. There’s no eloquence or inspiration to be found here right now, only very raw emotion and sadness. I hope you all are faring better.
Alright sooooo this year I decided to be a witch for Halloween. Technically I decided last year, but how far in advance I come up with my costume ideas is a separate issue.
I wanted to be a witch because I feel like the traditional idea of a Witch as we know her was born out of a patriarchal society’s basic fear of women. **steps up onto soapbox, clears throat** Fear of their power and sexuality, primarily. I think a “witch” is actually just the image of a woman who has a strong sense of her Self, owns and inhabits her own body/sexuality, is maybe unbound by familial ties, is definitely unconcerned with being palatable to men, and is deeply/spiritually connected with the earth and nature. She has nothing to prove to you or anyone else, you know? Witches are the antithesis to a puritanical, male-dominated culture, so obviously I was like, YUP. Found my costume.
I also liked the idea of taking a basic concept for a costume and giving it more interesting execution, so in wanting to keep away from the archetypal representation of a witch (hook nose, green skin, pointy hat), I decided to go with a look that was informed more by pagan European and Yoruba tribal traditions. Kind offfff nodding towards the duality of and tension between my Nigerian and American identities, but it’s like whatever. I wanted my witch to be earthy and dreamy; alluring but also like she might kill you without laying a hand on you or saying a word, you know? Normal witch shit.
My beautiful friends Madi and Steph were kind enough to take pictures of me as I traipsed and at times stumbled (#SixInchHeels) across Kate Sessions Park. You can see my favorite ones below, and at the end I’ll detail where I got different elements of my outfit. Hope you love it!
“…To reclaim the word ‘Witch’ is to reclaim our right, as women, to be powerful; as men, to know the feminine within as divine.” – Starhawk
Dress: NastyGal | Shoes: Zappos | Crown: Michael’s/My Friend Kara’s Genius | Temporary Henna: Etsy | Nails: Hello Birdie Nail Salon
It’s justttttttt about that time again kiddies!! Halloween is upon us! a.k.a. The Best Holiday a.k.a. My Other Birthday. Today, my message is simple:
Okay? Great, now that we cleared that up, happy celebrating everybody! Stay safe! Get drunk! Hook up! But only if that’s a safe place for you emotionally, physically, and spiritually. Take care of yourselves!
Oh and if you want to see my costume, stay up on my Instagram and/or come back here next week— imma do a full spread and talk about the meaning behind the costume choice. Stay tuned! #Suspense #ImsogoodatHalloween
I wanted to take a break today but I also wanted to give you something nice to look at, so here’s a picture of the sky over my neighborhood at dusk yesterday. Facebook also told me there’s going to be a meteor shower tonight, so thus far the sky is 2 for 2 on doing cool shit. Don’t forget to look up to catch it 🙂
I’ve been locked in a titanic struggle with God for the past few weeks— maybe months, I don’t know I’ve lost count. In reading Emotionally Healthy Spirituality, I learned that God brings us to walls – that is, to dark nights of the soul, or painful circumstances/situations – to rid us of our false perceptions of Him as well as false perceptions of ourselves. So after the bitch of a wall I went through this year, I found myself looking for another God. I thought perhaps the god I thought was God was actually like, God-lite: happy, safe, loving, nice. And whatever asshole who sent me through this hellish year was the real God. So I had thoughts like, is God actually good? Is He supportive of me? Does He love me? Is He indifferent? Is He personal? Can I trust Him? And I went through this really crazy upside down period where I felt like I had absolutely NO grasp on who God is; it was a little scary, and very unnerving for someone who has spent her whole life in the Church. But after some searching and meditation, I was like… I think they might be the same guy? Which honestly felt scarier. My “God-lite”, who I felt so connected to two years ago— who felt safe and supportive and loving and cool— might be the same God who allowed and perhaps even nudged me to walk into a position to have my heart broken. And that feels scarier because I’m like, now what do I do? How do I fit this new information into what I had previously understood to be the character of God? How does God allowing me to be leveled— to be “sifted like wheat” as we discussed a few weeks ago—align with the characterization of being a “Good Father”? Why the fuck would He break me like this? That’s what I’ve found myself asking God the most in the few times I’ve tried talking to Him recently: “What the fuck did you do?!”
For a while I was reading Searching for God Knows What by Donald Miller and in it, he talked about how Christianity is relational, as opposed to formulaic. And how that throws us all for a loop because it makes it so that we cannot even begin to predict how God will move. We’re all looking for an A + B = C type situation and God’s like “Hey but do you want to sit down and talk?” I mean sure we all, like God, have core character traits that make our behaviors more or less consistent, but if you’ve ever been in any sort of a relationship with any other living being, you know the last thing we are is predictable. We have free minds and free wills, the way God does. And sometimes He does something where we’re like WHOA HOLD ON GOD THAT WASN’T IN THE SCRIPT, and it’s like, right, yeah, because God isn’t a robot. Which is like fine I guess (read: super annoying), but it makes it veryyyyy difficult when you feel like God has hung you out to dry. If there are things about Him that are true and unchanging, for example that He is fundamentally good, how do we hold that in the moments when it feels like He has opened the floodgates of hell on us? How does God breaking my heart reflect the actions of someone who loves me?
And I mean, okay, I guess that is answered in the idea that God uses walls to free us of falsehoods. It’s true that there are a myriad of lessons and traits about myself that I would not have learned had I not been through the specific events of this year. But like what happens when you’re still mad about it? I feel like that’s my problem. I’m like yeah I learned some cool new shit about my latent trauma thanks God but also I’M STILL REALLY FUCKING PISSED YOU BROUGHT ME HERE. Yikes. And it’s worrying because I’m like, honestly I don’t know how I will make it back to Him. I have been mad for what feels like a longgggggg time. God and I have been on the rocks for what feels like a very long time. And I truly don’t know how to return to a place where He feels safe. I will also say that I understand and accept that my perspective is wildly limited and that that could change, but I want to be honest about where I am in the present moment. I mean truthfully, I think this might be part of being a Christian. We go through periods where we feel like we’ve lost God, and we don’t know how or if we’ll find Him again. So fun.
On the other side of it, one of the things that gets me about this process is the last half of that verse in Luke, where Jesus, after implying that He’s allowing the devil to wreck him, tells Simon Peter “I pray that your faith would not fail.” Sooo God allows us to be absolutely shattered, brought to the gaping doors of hell in some cases, but at the same time He cheers for us to pull through? It seems to be a very big risk to take on His part. If it’s true that He loves us, and that He desires to hold us and have us close to Him, what a chance to take, throwing us to the wolves and hoping that we’ll return to Him afterwards. You got some nerve, God. You got someeeeee nerve. But also maybe that speaks to what we are worth. That God is willing to risk losing us because He believes our growth is that important.
I feel like I don’t know what to do with that. I don’t know what to do with any of this, really. This is just where I am, and these are the truths I’m wrestling with. God will break your heart but He loves you and He’s trying to grow you so it’s supposed to be good. And you’ll probably get really mad about it and you won’t know when you’ll stop being mad about it and it’ll put a huge strain on your relationship with Him. And that’s….. I mean that’s really all of it.
…I feel like I need a drink, anybody else feel like they need a drink? Let’s all go get a drink. Cheers.
Months ago when I started EMDR, I read a few articles about it to get some background on what I was getting into. One of the articles talked about when EMDR becomes necessary and noted that ordinarily, if left to … Continue reading
Hey guys I’m back! And I literally had a million ideas for blog posts over the last 2 weeks but today I feel like I need to address what happened in El Cajon a couple nights ago. First of all to be honest with you, I don’t want to address it. I would much rather write about my best friend’s wedding and how I believe life tends towards healing, or the intrinsic white privilege baked into touching someone’s hair without their permission or asking “Can I touch your hair?” as you’re already reaching. But another black man was unnecessarily killed by the police and this time it happened in my city, so yeah I have to fucking talk about it.
The fun part is that I’m not sure what to say. Like what do you even say at this point? It’s all the same shit. This time the police used unnecessary force to handle a man whose behavior was “erratic” due to mental illness. Honestly, can you imagine calling 911 for help for your brother and then the help that comes shows up and shoots him? Do you still wonder why black people don’t trust the police? Do you understand the history of policing in black communities, how the police force evolved from slave patrols, and do you still wonder why black people don’t trust the police?
I’m not saying police are bad. In fact, at this point if you still think that’s what I’m saying, with how much I’ve written about the necessity and bravery of police men and women, I don’t think you’re smart enough to read this blog. Straight up. Maybe find something else with a lower reading comprehension level. But for those of you who can understand, you know that this isn’t JUST about the police. This isn’t Us vs. Them. This is “WE need to address some of the root problems affecting the portion of ‘Us’ we’ve assigned to be our defenders.” We need discussion; we need problem solving and action steps. As my beautiful friend Kara put it way better than I can, we need more de-escalation training, we need mental health sensitivity training, we need to reiterate that the use of lethal force is a LAST RESORT, we need to DISCUSS THE HISTORY OF THE POLICE FORCE AS IT RELATES TO LONGSTANDING RACIST PRACTICES. This isn’t Us vs. Them – everyone wants to make it that because that’s easier. It’s easy to pick an enemy and say “That’s it, you’re my enemy, I don’t have to listen to you anymore because you’re the Other.” But we’re more evolved than this, aren’t we? We’ve developed higher levels of cognition for this very thing. To be able to talk to each other. To discuss. To listen. To empathize. To build and to be better.
But part of that, is admitting that we have a problem. That our police departments have been over militarized, that our brave men and women on the police force are not immune to implicit biases. That the way we’ve portrayed black people in the media and historically has affected them as it has all of us. Kara made a great point in her blog, she asked if anyone knew the statistics on how many movies with a predominantly black cast had violence, drugs, or “the ghetto” as a major plot point. I don’t know the stats obviously but I would bet a significant amount of money that they’re high. What messages have we disseminated about who black people are and where they come from? How many ways have we told audiences that black men are to be feared or controlled and black women are to be fucked or discarded? Sit with the discomfort in honesty. And then try to tell me that we don’t have work to do.
Sooooooooo instead of writing a blog this week, I wrote my speech for my best friend’s wedding. Oops! So I have nothing for you today; also I will have nothing for you next week seeing as I’ll be out of town for the aforementioned best friend’s wedding 🙂
I dunno, go read a book or something. I’ll be back soon ♥