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The Journey

I Surrender 

I believed so strongly in the idea of surrendering to the will of God that I had it branded on my body. My faith has always come first in my life and for that I am thankful, I asked that you journey with me through MMU but little did I know that is not where my path lies. God had bigger plans for me and I had to let go of the plans I had for myself.  I fight it with every breath in my body and the more I did the more it hurt. I looked for excuses as to why the decision is hard and I couldn’t move on with it. So now with the unyielding support of friends, family and loved ones I leave MMU and move to New York. 

Wow! Just seeing it in writing is daunting but I have to remind myself that God has a bigger plan. I will miss my MMU family and all the good friends I have made in Iowa but it is time for this bird to fly.

I am learning that there is a difference between surrending to his will and settling for what is not your path. I was made for great things and to fulfill a purpose bigger than I know, my entire life has been like that. Cedar Rapids for me means settling for what is safe and comfortable and not what I was meant for. I am a fighter who get what she wants and never settles for less than my best. I go where I’m needed to make this world a better place even if it seems crazy to others. Now it is time to put myself in the places to let those big dreams manifest. 

So as I take on this new chapter I have faith, I open myself to adventure, love, laughter, growth spiritually and materially. Above all I hope you continue to journey with me.  

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Dear You (To New Chapters) 

Your silence is deafening, speak to me, this dark is blinding enlighten me, defy gravity levitate with me. Be my heart, beat with me, be with me.

 I’ll be your punch line, rap about me, the ink in your pen, write about me. 

I’ll be your metaphor, the yin to your yang, cold to your hot, up to your down, Your simile, your synonym, be in sync with me.

See i just want you to be my Aesop and i your fable, 

the semantics to your poetry,

 the beauty to your beast,

 the Khadija to ur Muhammad,

 the Michelle to your Barack

 Jerry to your Tom, 

Robin to your Batman, 

thoughts to your mind, 

constant to your formula, 

feel to your skin, 

scent to your nose, 

sight to your eyes, 

taste to your tongue, 

sound to your ears, 

emotion to your soul, 

air to your lungs, 

person to your personality, 

greek to your philosophy,

Egypt to your hieroglyphics, 

moral to your story, 

caress to your ego, 

saddle to your high horse, 

raindrop to your sea,

I’ll be your fear factor, 

you’ll be my truth and i your dare, so i dare you 

i double dare you 

to just…. love me.

Getting in Formation 2

 

IMG_0236So since I apparently still need to apologize I’m finna get in formation and do it like a mother$$$$ing boss.
For being imperfect
For being too smart for your “intelligence”
For having an awesome set of Deoxyribonucleic acid.
For the god given unapologetic strength and sense of self I possess  
For being an empowered girl, a black African empowered female
For not letting you buy me on retail
For not being that mannequin tagged “for sale”
For only being “whole sale”
For having a mind of my own
For having showed you that I’m grown
For always rendering you mind blown
Sincerely, I am sorry.

I am sorry that I do not EXCEL in your SHEETS,
That I am always in POWER and on POINT
That the causes and effects of my words and actions  are neither MICRO nor SOFT
That I am civilized
That I do not swing on branches even though I reaaaally love bananas  no not the one you think i mean because i embrace my sexuality

I am sorry that I don’t seek to make you impressed, that I don’t bend over backwards for your attention or applause.
I am sorry I choose to wear a hoodie in memory of Trayvon
That my mind’s not weak, narrow or anorexic, that it is full, deep and voluptuous like my African curves because it is a foodie that lives off of a  balanced diet of the best foods for thought and it wears knowledge as make up just to show the world that beauty lies in the thoughts of the beholder
and that I won’t sell my thoughts for a penny.

I am sorry that i made up my mind to never be an object, never let my sexuality be the basis of a subject.
I am sorry that i don’t condone being called a bad bitch just because it is trendy. FYI  I am two legged.

I am really sorry
That when I fall, I gracefully rise and stand taller, stronger and wiser
That I give smiles as charity because it’s sunnah
I am sorry that I have faith in God cuz when I cry he fights for me like he did for my mother’s before me  
I am Sorry that I am not the feminist  you make me out to be
I am sorry but I must say Astagfurlah!  because in all honesty, I am not sorry for being who I am, what I do and what I believe in. This you must know;  With my MELANIN, with my VAGINA and with my HUMANITY, I was, I am and by GOD! I shall be!


Getting in Formation 1 of 2

I tried explaining to someone the other day what it is like to grow up a young black woman in America. As if growing up black in America was not hard enough right. Anyway, I believe I  did a pretty good job but tonight I came across a poem i loved as a young woman……it’s a poem by Sojourner Truth called “Ain’t I a Woman”, it she says

That man over there says that women need to be helped into carriages, and lifted over ditches, and to have the best place everywhere. Nobody ever helps me into carriages, or over mud-puddles, or gives me any best place! And ain’t I a woman? Look at me! Look at my arm! I have ploughed and planted, and gathered into barns, and no man could head me! And ain’t I a woman? I could work as much and eat as much as a man – when I could get it – and bear the lash as well! And ain’t I a woman? I have borne thirteen children, and seen most all sold off to slavery, and when I cried out with my mother’s grief, none but Jesus heard me! And ain’t I a woman?

Then they talk about this thing in the head; what’s this they call it? [member of audience whispers, “intellect”] That’s it, honey. What’s that got to do with women’s rights or negroes’ rights? If my cup won’t hold but a pint, and yours holds a quart, wouldn’t you be mean not to let me have my little half measure full?

Then that little man in black there, he says women can’t have as much rights as men, ’cause Christ wasn’t a woman! Where did your Christ come from? Where did your Christ come from? From God and a woman! Man had nothing to do with Him.

If the first woman God ever made was strong enough to turn the world upside down all alone, these women together ought to be able to turn it back , and get it right side up again! And now they is asking to do it, the men better let them.”
What I really wanted to say to this person was that I personally am sick and tired of waking up with an apology that I don’t owe a single soul. Sick of having to choose between black or woman or the simple fact that my race comes before my gender. As if I get to choose when to have vagina or not, and pissed the hell off that I am someones label before  I am a human. The sad reality is that i’m not the only black woman that does. And for some reason that is how our society has been for generations and we just can’t seem to catch a damn break. I realize that I stand with my “Brothers” but some of them fight for their rights and then mine, forgetting that they came from a black woman and without me they wouldn’t be. Oh but lately my personal favorite is when it comes to my feminism, I appreciate the feminist out there before me but I have to be honest. I just wanna slap the little white girl in my class that cuts me off when i’m talking about my struggle cuz when you fought for the right of women to vote you somehow forgot that I (the black one) was also a woman but you still saw me as less than you, and I voted after you. So please don’t “WE” me when I talk about my feminism and struggle. I happen to have my battle against yours and mine. Therefor I am loud and mad as hell cuz i gotta yell ten times louder for this society to hear me. 

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Giving Into Temptation

Today I want to talk to the ladies, although gentlemen you are more than welcome to read. Do you have a list? I know I do and every time I meet someone i start asking questions and start checking off my 15 items. No reason it’s 15 that’s just the most important things for me to know right now. I’ve always said i’d never have one but after heartbreak number 2 i decided it was time because ain’t nobody got time for that. Then i grew to realize that even with the list there is always trouble ….and it’s tall dark and handsome.

Yes! Him. We all know him, Mr nice guy and the bad boy all rolled up in one. When your in class and hear the lecturer say “Are you paying attention?” and you respond I am, but  we all know that you’re not. Well i know i’m not because  I’m paying attention to his name, yes. I’m paying attention to my heart calling out to him, yes. It says I miss him, it says I wanna be in his arms, it says I miss the way he looks at me. It says I miss this crazy feeling of a forbidden love between us.

Are you paying attention? I’m talking about the one that is so exciting that all I saw was ma and him, and him and me, and me and him, and I could not get enough of that. Ah, and in the beauty of us there were the moments. When words became a blur to a young writers tongue, when he made me feel like I’m the only one in his world.

The you realize that blurs come into focus and you have to see reality. We’ve been brainwashed for generations about what we want in a man; what he should look like, talk like, how he should provide, how he should be strong. We are stuck, there’s what society told you, what you dad did or didn’t show you and then there is the do i even have a choice or not depending on where in the world you are born.

Then the generational shift came where we are taught to be as strong and be able to provide yet hold him to the old standards of what a man should be.

When what we need to remember that we are all individuals, and in that same sense men are as well. So each of us need to look at what we want of of life and what we need and find that person to compliment that. That is where the challenge lies because then you are seen as having standards that are too high or that what you want for yourself is unrealistic. That it may be but at least in the end you get what YOU WANT and DESERVE and honey it’s always worth the wait.

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I Need to Write

I am taking an Introduction to Journalism class this semester. I remember there was a point in my life that being a journalist was my dream job, so you would think this would be so exciting for me! Yeah no! Don’t get me wrong I appreciate that this class is forcing me to write. I feel like there are so many rules to journalistic writing though. In a sense I feel like my creativity is being stunted because I like for my writing to come from my soul and the only way I enjoy writing is through my poetry, which I cannot do in this class. So even though I am writing I still feel as though:
I need to write
the words are there but I need them here
I need to write.
oh she’s wearing foundation thinking that will make up for her lacks and imperfections I need to write.
She got rid of it this time
She said it was like pouring lime in open wounds
She lets these men run in and out, in and out of her on her just like her daddy did hoping they would fix and mend the parts of her, daddy don’t care to mould
I need to write.
my jeans don’t fit anymore
I need to write
I laid down my emotions at a poetry reading last night with my ex in the audience, knowing that the hands that clapped for words will never hold my hand again, touch my face again, will never play well with the dimples on my waist again
I need to write.
someone stole my shoes
I need to write.
the words are there but i need them here I need to write
he hit her again but she won’t go
raining blows, thrown from stone to stone but he’s the only man she’s ever known
see she’s been down with him for so long she doesn’t know how to get up
I need to write
My breath won’t hold no more
My mind can race no more
The butterflies in my stomach are no more
My heart can love no more
I’ve seen inside the polygamous door
Ain’t gon be wife number four
I need to write
This is gonna sound extremely corny, but we all have different poets inside us, see we can never sound alike because your pieces reflect your woes,struggles, joys and pains plus personality
Poetry
One of those genuine forms of art, it can never be pretentious
Can’t be forced
Def jam
Space jam
Just allow it fam

Phew! Now this might not be counted towards my grade but that felt so good. But I still have a news story need to Write.  

Dance Break

We are at that time of year……FINALS!!!!!!! Yes, it is the time of year every college student loves to hate. It marks two things, marks the end of the year and a well deserved break, also marks the most stressful part of the year. The hope of christmas and being able to go home and spend time with family is how most of us make it through. This year like I said in my previous post is that it is a year of firsts for me. Given that my family is nowhere close to me and paying $3000 to go home for two weeks makes no sense in my life right now, I look forward to some me and alone time.

All the A4 Warriors will be home so i get some me time which is almost impossible to get when you live on campus and I am thankful and excited for that. Another blessing i can’t wait to indulge in is being able to dance. I did dance for seven years of my young adult life and it is my way to get out of touch with reality. I feel invincible when I dance and nothing else matters and i am elated that i get the time to dive back into that this break. I will be looking forward to my J-Term and the opportunity to make new memories and share new adventures with you. For now my brain is fried and i just need long baths, sleep and to dance. Until next year, a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from me to you and yours.

A Bitter Sweet 23rd

As I walked back to my room from my Tuesday morning 8 a.m. class, like a ton of bricks it hit me. On December 10th, 2015 I will have my first birthday without family. Not that I celebrate every single birthday with my family but I have always had at least one member of my nuclear family with me for the past 22 years of my life. See birthdays have always been a big deal in my life, I think mostly because my mom made it that way. I’m trying to tell myself that it will be okay and that I will have a wonderful day with so many wishes pouring in that I won’t know what to do with myself. Truth is though every time I look at think about it all I want is to spend the day at the beach with my best friends, and then I want to come home to my favorite Gambian meal and spend time with my Starfish girls. After which I want to go to Sea Shells (a five star restaurant in The Gambia) for dinner with my girls and proceed to the club and dance the night away.
I don’t remember what this blog was going to be about to be honest but I think I’m over my pity party. As I wrote this and honestly shed a few tears and it really took me days to get through that first paragraph. Today however, my mind started to drift like it usually does. I started to think about all the videos I’ve seen online of the Syrians being bombed out of their homes. One image that came to mind was a dad carrying his little girl to safety while bombs are still being dropped and the dad screaming “Allahu Akbar”. Raised in a Muslim family it really hit me because what is what my own mother says when she has nowhere to turn but to God.
See this reminded me of a place I was exactly last year about this time when I was crying for my Chibok sister’s (the girl’s in Nigeria kidnapped by Boko Haram). At 23, I want to believe in a better world where my Christian brothers and sisters can go to school in hopes of graduating soon like myself. A world where African girls like myself can be just another normal person going to school, and not a statistic. A friend of mine said a few days back, “I am living in a world where guns speak louder than words; pens are fragile, softer than fur. I’m living in a world where Islam is forgotten, because Muhammad is dead! The religion of peace is known for killing! So called religious education is preaching ‘show no mercy’! Religion is mostly silent and many so-called scholars misguide us.”
Now, I want to stand on my moral pedestal and tell him he’s wrong. But how can I, when I Google African girls in the news and all I see is Chibok “Girls Still Missing”. Then I remember, that less than two weeks to mark a year of their abduction, the terrorists wanted to remind us through the Garissa attacks in Kenya, then a year after that Paris is bombed and little girls in Syria can’t escape the horrors, how loudly guns are speaking! I’m stuck!
Until I remember that a year ago, I made a commitment to my Chibok sisters, that I will dedicate my studies and my work at Starfish International to them! I remember that so long as I am free, they will live a slice of freedom through me. I remember that as long as I help educate as many girls as possible, my sisters win. I smile, and I tell my friend: Look, just look at our work, as I dedicate my life to service to humanity and as we DO Girls’ Education at Starfish International! So this Better sweet 23rd is dedicated to my Chibok and Syrian Sisters!

The A4 Worriors

Moving thousands of miles away from home……Scary! Never having lived where you are going, even Scarier, and then the icing on the cake, you will be living with seven other girls. If you have ever been a new kid at a school or the traveled anywhere where you don’t know a soul, you know exactly how I’m feeling at this point. If you’ve never left home or never been out of Iowa and reading this, imagine if you were told that you would be put in a cage full of snakes for the next four years of your life with no escape, got the feeling? Yes, that’s exactly it. Don’t get me wrong I was hopeful though, it was seven girls and I figured at least one would like me. What I did not expect though was for all of them to react the way they did when I first arrived.

Ten minutes after I settled in I do what I do when I am in times of distress. I break out the prayer book and talk to Jesus. Well today he answered faster than usual. There was a knock on my door and three of my six new roommates entered. They had the brightest smiles on their faces and truly wanted to know who I was, where I’m from and what I am doing in Iowa? A question I get a lot. Then the next thing I was asked was if I had a car or not, I said no and all three proceeded to offer to take me grocery shopping of if I needed transportation anywhere. That night passed and I was thankful. I thanked god that atleast three were nice and I honestly felt a connection to them and think I would get along great with them. The Next day after a long and tiring day of classes, the last two girls I hadn’t met came in to my room and asked if I would like to join them on a nature walk and then go to dinner with them. The same process of questions, getting to know each other and building relationships happen.

What I didn’t realize was that this was the beginning of a sisterhood. My fear had turned into one of my greatest blessings and in a matter of two months I now have a support system I could have never imagined. We have become more than roommates, from eating meals together, celebrating Halloween, taking spiritual journeys (Antioch), putting up the Christmas tree and our own added silly traditions, including naming ourselves the A4 warriors, we have become a family, an unusual one, but a family non the less.

I came to MMU to get an education and be a part of something, and that is exactly what I am getting and more. I have a Briana to hold me through my tears, A Stephanie whose smile and joyous spirit lights up my days. A Katerina who keeps me on my toes; a Madelyn and an Emma whose strength and grace inspire me, and a very special Michaela that brightens my day. These six lovely ladies are my fellow A4 warriors ready to take on MMU and the world. Watch out world because we are about to do great things.

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