Wednesday, September 29, 2010
This past May I completed my second year of service with Hands on Atlanta AmeriCorps program.
I started out in 2008, looking for a job, a way into the school system, a program to help me learn more about giving back, helping students, and learning new ways to advertise myself. It was all of that and more. While struggling to maintain a personal life through a car accident and numerous doctor visits... I found comfort in my job of serving.
I decided to continue my service over the summer as a summer VISTA worker with Fugees Family. We held an academic camp at Agnes Scott where the boys biked from Clarkston, attended classes, worked on group projects and were rewarded with adventurous trips to places around the city. This experience opened not just my mind to learning about different cultures, but my heart to appreciating a diversity of experiences.
And so I was back with Hands on Atlanta for the 2009 starting year. Now in a place of leadership with my own team of tutors, I was able to utilize the skills I learned in the prior terms of service. To sum it all up : I am a DOER! Things got done! There was never a dull moment while serving!
Now I am at a different place in my life. A new job. A different type of student. A different type of schooling. And yet I am still serving. Most importantly...the irony is Hands on Atlanta will be helping to beautify my school this coming Saturday on Hands on Atlanta Day.
Everything has come full circle.
##### Hands on Atlanta Day is a day of service. Throughout the city of Atlanta projects will take place at various sites, which include an array of things from cleaning to painting. Typically known for planting trees, beautifying neighborhoods, or adding murals to schools and communities, Hands on Atlanta day for me has always been a day to enjoy. #####
So please sign up for a project!
Show up at a project!
Give back your time and energy to YOUR community!
It will come full circle but only with YOUR help!
If you would like to come help at my school we are located in the East Atlanta Village area... and just shoot me an email!
Hands on Atlanta day
Tuesday, September 28, 2010
Imagine feeling you are reliving whips and chains
Imagine thinking everything in life pays
Imagine miSsing birthdays and your own parties for arraignment
Imagine never touching your newborn twins hands
Imagine loving three sons you never planned
Imagine not knowing when you will see a real bed again
Worrying about sentencing,reality,business, and family
Imagine traveling the states in a way you never envisioned
Transferring from facility to facility
Networking from the inside like your making moves out
Imagine still being on top even when everyone says otherwise
People wearing shirts saying free you
Missing you, like they mourning you
Imagine being smarter than your wise mentors
Knowledge prior to trial and tribulations
Read all those books before you made this bed you're laying in
48 laws of powerful reminders
Imagine still being a parent
Checking in on meals, activities and engagements
First days of school
Hearing "I wuv you" for the first time
Silly laughs, giggles and miss you's from children you never seen
Imagine adapting to everything foreign yet familiar
Since this isn't your first time
Imagine reliving your denials, replaying your moves
consciously playing chess
Risking pawns for the king
Everyday is a game of strategy
Imagine sleeping on the top bunk for years
Straight climbing over dudes
Physically and metaphorically
Grinding in baby steps, learning to walk through
Imagine living among strangers
Who now become your family of goons
At any moment it could all be over for someone
Humanity is temporary
The end always comes soon.
Imagine your only way of communicating is with words
Spoken truths of your reality that soon should have been over a while ago
What happens when you don't feel like writing?
Who will know your joys and pains?
Imagine you've lived off quality cuisine for years
Now you're shifted like cattle
Meals are never cooked fully
And your body rejects everything.
How would you survive?
Imagine bathing in a common area
All eyes on you pretty boy
Who is tough now?
But what happens when you are homesick?
Imagine you haven't seen a familiar face in months
Or what it feels like to hug a loved one
What is familiarity when everything is temporary?
Imagine your freedom is all just a state of being
Powered by your mind
The art of war then becomes internal
Balancing yourself within yourself
Are you ready to face the mirror?
Imagine this is you.
Your loved one.
Imagine this is the story of one.
But the life of many.
Reality is real.
Please check out her blog : http://ainhd.blogspot.com/
I'm blessed. In spite of the stress from family, school and scrounging up moments for my creative process - I eat. I know that I'll never go hungry. I know that I'll always have a place to lay my head. Sometimes, I sleep well having these comforts, but I'm also tormented by that fact that so many people lack what many of us consider 'simple pleasures'. Food, clothing and shelter is not a given - it should be. Unfortunately, in our hypocritical, dream-selling, capitalistic 'democracy', we have an alarming number of disenfranchised people who have no idea where their next meal is coming from. This is where FTP comes in.
While many large nonprofit businesses hoard money and boast colorless directors, FTP is of and for the people. I've enjoyed being around the positive energy of these mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, artists, revolutionaries and agents of change. It's such a incredible feeling to hit the streets with a grassroots organization that truly turns thought into action.
With that, I challenge Metro Atlanta - and I leave you with a piece from my collection [If] Life's Rotten, Write to the Core.
To My Skin Deep Revolutionaries
My lyrics send intangible postcards
To pseudo intellects and skin-deep revolutionaries
“I wish you were here”
Because I refuse to spit sacrificial rhymes in ya ear
Which I release into space in the form of art
And abandon when I get them off my heart
I’m trying to reach beyond being a well-versed revolutionary
And transform into a rehearsed revolutionary
I’d rather turn my black back against the system
Than floss a koufe yellin’ “Black is back son!”
In the form of a souped-up poem
Having rhyme but no reason
Other than the fact that the notion of bucking the system is in season
Like cats who like to wear their poems
You know the type who find a cause and try it on
Like those really earthy kids who think being socially conscious
Is synonymous with wearing a multitude of buttons
Transforming themselves into walking slogans
So at best I can slap a skin-deep revolutionary on my bumper
One who, like me, knows the system is still a virgin
But don’t realize to get by we’ve got to do more than hump her with words
We’ve gotta love her with verbs
Love her until she bleeds justice and breeds equality
And accepts the responsibility of taking care of our black babies
I’ve gotta be more than a skin-deep revolutionary
A pseudo intellect or a watered-down activist
Taking advantage of words and neglecting action
Like those who sub their bling with beads to prepare
For their poems on Sierra Leone
Because their revolution is only skin deep
But I want my revolution to scream like me
So this is my lyrical postcard, and “I wish you were here”
Monday, September 27, 2010
The impurity of it all.
The mixture of everything
Unknown yet familiar.
The " this aint right" feeling.
"Wish it was" feeling.
This feels nice.
Making you think twice feeling.
Second guessing yourself repeatedly.
The feeling, the knowing.
Questioning internal motives.
Attempting to balance external realities.
How does my mind process all of this?
Searching for loopholes.
Trying not to like this feeling.
Trying to find a reason to enjoy this feeling.
Wondering "why is this happening to me" That feeling...
Nervous yet calm
Relaxed but uptight
Even though I can feel confirmation.
A reflection of the other side.
A desire of the other side.
A trip to the other side.
You are the other side.
Something to add to my list.
Out of reach
But so close.
In every sense of Now.
I overstand you.
Sunday, September 26, 2010
They tell me I think too much, over-analyze, and that I am too complicated.
Their simplicity compliments me.
But they don't see this.
I am a natural learner. I love to read about new things, digest material, store it for later, and regurgitated it for others. I was never been good at spitting out random dates or the chronological order of events, but if you need concepts, theories, and how to's, then I have plenty.
I have always had a fascination with words. From the simplicity of creating metaphors for emotions, memories and explanations, to the complex thought that every letter is predestined to be placed next to another letter, in order to create what I wish/need. If everything happens for a reason, then everything that is said, written, and visualized is for a reason as well. The birth of my creations are valuable moments alone. And should be celebrated as such.
I have always been opinionated. And yes, some things should be left unsaid, but sometimes you feel better remaining true to your language, which happens to be the only way you express yourself.
I don't consider myself smart or even educated because of my degrees; but from my outside readings, understandings, and overall thought process that allows me to question everything. This has caused others to label me as being,
I believe . . .
Everything has a reason, despite the simple things in life. I would rather know the context, reason, justification, or supportive thoughts/concepts on something.
Why not dig deeper than the surface?
A question is just a question when asked without context. When context and reason is added, the question now becomes a supported statement of thought. This thought can either lead to conversation, investigation, or simply an informative finding.
If you are asking me my views on something, I would like to know your intent. I don't believe that we just ask questions for the sake of asking. Everything is relative, but not everyone wants to disclose their relativity. It would be, "Too Open." And of course there are situations where relativity should not be known, because the answer to a question will alter/change your response, placement, focus, and objective. But with some instances, relativity is equally as important in forming the question as it is in answering it.
We generally seek out answers in hopes of direction, confirmation, counsel, or context.
I was talking to someone, and he tried to guess my age. I asked him why is that relevant to the first thing you say to someone, as if to place me in a box based on your assumptions from knowing my age. So he then made a smart comment,
"Oh, you're a THINKER! I never would have thought from looking at you. Let me leave and come back with my "Thinking" cap on! "
Now as he attempted to put on an imaginary "Thinking Cap" this confirmed my thoughts on men being intimidated by my "Thoughtfulness" because its an extra task for them. Most males do not INTEND to do work when it comes to a lady, but yet they speak about how something that is easy is not wanted.
A women who thinks is a threat!
A women who asks questions is considered nosey, snooping, or overly curious.
A woman who is always inquisitive is looking for something.
A woman asking questions shouldn't be trusted, and most likely doesn't trust the man.
A woman who would rather know than not has a trick up her sleeve.
A woman who poses her responses in complex phrases, is not easy to read.
A woman who thinks is not to be trusted, because she can use her mind to get in and out of everything.
A mind is more powerful than an elite system, any monetary amount, any blackmail rumor, any level of trust, because neither would exist without creation from thought.
We forget out existence alone is a beautiful, but our ability to think, act, speak, and do for ourselves pays worship to that beauty.
Why not use the great thing you will ever own?
Why not read?
Why not educate yourself on all levels of truth, hypocrisy, history, philosophy, theories, and the concrete?
Why not speak in question, and look a little inside yourself for something more than the visible?
Thursday, September 23, 2010
They tell me I need to be submissive.
They tell me I'm too dominant, too strong, too forward.
Their actions show me they assumed that I'm something I'm not.
The idea of gender roles is not just held by sex, but the social and behavioral norms that are influenced or composed through attire, gender, profession, culture, and style linked to that specific gender. We have used gender roles to create an image of idealistic, socially created traits making our expectations/judgments of individuals and relationships change.
It's proven, that many of the traditional, feminine gender roles have become less relevant especially in terms of woman in politics, professional environments, business, medicine, and other areas that would normally seem unorthodox. Most people assume that gender roles have become irrelevant when it comes to interactions, friendships, and especially relationships. I think otherwise. Or simply, gender roles have fluctuated but society fails to publicly acknowledge it. Individualism has become more and more apparent at all levels of society. However, even with this, we subconsciously continue to entertain stereotypical gender roles.
The typical gender role for a male highlights their masculinity, dominance, and simplicity. These three areas describe every aspect of an individual. In society, we think men should be strong, handy, able, willing to fix things, and simply come to a woman's rescue. We expect a man to be stable, mentally, financially and physically, taking control and establishing some type of order over things. We desire strength in silence, compassion through presence, and joy in their existence. Yet all that we expect, desire, and want sometimes becomes dreams, when we fail to accept reality.
The Magic Wish List:
A rough around the edges kind of man,
A street smart, but not in the street kind of man,
A been there and done that kind of man,
The intellectually stimulating man,
The I'm not afraid to protect you kind of man,
By any means necessary man,
Quiet, shy, low key eyes on the prize kind of man,
Keep a job no matter what man,
Just wants a hot meal kind of man,
Always meeting me half way man,
Keeps me smiling at the oddest times kind of man,
Young yet wise,
Mature yet playful,
A easy mystery,
A difficult to keep away kind of man,
Reminds me of my brothers man,
Honest for every reason kind of man,
In tune with himself man,
Knowing the meaning of compromise, complacent, and contentment,
More important understanding the difference man . . .
While the typical woman is expected to be a silent thunder, strong at all times but only visible when necessary. The mother, the protector, the matriarch, the glue behind the seams of everything. She is domesticated, able to whip up a full course meal from random items in the house, having super powers to heal any wound, and comfort any sad moment. She keeps daddy happy and the kids content. She knows how to take orders, and politely give them, often seen as docile, yet overly misunderstood. A bundle of emotions, bottled by curves, hips, and hugs. She is desired by many. A silent blanket of hope, passion, and determination yet molded with spunk, and modified by moods.
The Magic Wish List:
She is the fantasy in your reality kind of woman,
Your little secret type woman,
Cooks like grandma and cleans like a maid
She knows she is a queen,
Yet, she's not conceited
Would be a great mother,
But for now she is the best lover,
Keeps you balanced kind of woman,
Knows how to curse you out with style type of woman,
A gem, diamond, pearl, and sometimes a unpolished kind of woman,
A female MacGyver,
Manipulating the impossible,
Flying fairy dust of miracles,
Her love is solid as a rock,
There's no distance in between her love,
Your image is enough.
That has it all
Something like this kind of woman.
And what does this have to do with playing house?
I don’t have a great memory of my childhood, but one thing I do remember is playing house in first grade with my peers. The young ladies would pretend to cook at the stove while the little boys were either hard at work or heading home. We would simulate roles of typical scenarios based off the images we saw at home, on TV, in society, or were being taught. Even before I realized it, I placed everyone in magic boxes of constraints based on society's desires and unwritten rules. These constraints were glamorized with words such as individualism, freedoms, and self identity. The concept of personality desires were molded into character needs for those around us. And the observations of others slowly turn into judgments and critical analysis. All of this is from a continued cycle of playing house, perpetuating gender roles, and allowing these concepts to control our relationship with those around us creates a path of searching for that perfect scenario.
Far too long have we allowed (whether subconsciously or purposely) gender roles to perpetuate different ideas, alter our perceptions and dictate what we expect from others. Most woman are taught at an early age to be submissive, domesticated, and supportive. Most males are taught to be strong, fearless, dominant and a provider. This is what we are bred to desire in people.
My personality traits of being independent, dominant, a “go-getter”, forward, and simply not stuck in the typically ideals of what a lady, woman, or female should do is considered unattractive by most males (whether they admit it or not). There is an innate imaginary superiority complex between male dominance and female submissiveness that I do not always adhere to. In other words, I can often hold my own when compared to a man, which is against popular expectations and desires.
Ultimately, it is okay to have a concept of qualities, characteristics, goals, and preferences you want to see in those around you. However, these ideas shouldn't be a make or break deal on whether or not you interact with an individual or be based of what is considered the “norm” within our society. We must be realistic with what people come to the table with, your expectations of them, and whether or not the two balance with your own standards and goals of yourself. Before you hold others to such a high standard and rule book, make sure you are holding yourself to that same light.
Tuesday, September 21, 2010
They tell me my success is intimidating. Their pride and ego hits the shredder in my presence. They contemplate what they can do for me if I already appear to not "need" anything.
Resume: I am 24 years old, only daughter of a Southern mother and Puerto Rican father. Both my brothers are currently incarcerated with children. I have none. I am the first and only person in my immediate family to graduate with Bachelor's Degree in History/Educational Studies from Emory University. I completed two years with AmeriCorps Service Programs, living on a low income while giving back to my community through volunteering, teaching/tutoring students in math, and running an after school program. I have been writing poetry and prose for almost ten years. I love to read, and learn new things; my nickname is Wikipedia. I currently teach English, Math and Social Studies to a great group of middle schoolers (check the blog: www.wtnxt.blogspot.com). I can cook; very well if I may say so myself. I'm organized, have my own space, car, income, etc.
Now, on the outside (for a man who may have/or doesn't have) this may seem like I'm set. As if I'm too independent and there is no "Need" for a man to fit into all of this. This is because our ideals of what a man is for has been simplified to financial status, sex, and in general some type of "Support" instead a mutual exchange of checks/balances, substance, existence, and compromise.
The concept of any union between individuals, whether from friendship, intimate partners, or companionship, must be rooted from a place where both are giving something.
And so we often hear men complain about how woman are too needy, that they always have their hands out or there are so many "Gold Diggers" in Atlanta. But isn't it much easier when a woman has "Her Own" whether this means in terms of finances, education, motivational drive, or self worth. Essentially, her wants will not subtract from your needs as a man because she already has her own. The energy may just need to be shifted to other aspects.
So I wonder if this is intimidating for those who need the ego feeder of being "Needed" as a man because we have confused ourselves to misinterpret what "Need" means or requires. Too long have we played into the stereotypical gender roles society has created and we continue to perpetuate them.this point will continue in part #3: Lets Play House.
And then you have the man who confuses his reality for an image that he thinks will acquire women. Living a "Pretend/Fake lifestyle and still stuck on impressing a woman through the wrong means will only acquire the "Wrong" type of individual. Pretending to be something you are not insinuates that you are either not comfortable with your reality or afraid to let others see your truths. In terms of men, this is a possibility when one doesn't feel like they are meeting the woman at her level. In terms of woman, we usually question ourselves when another female is involved.
Nonetheless, the desire is still present, whether met with presence or presents. I have yet to meet anyone who doesn't desire human contact, interaction, or companionship at some point in their life. So to assume that because everything seems right isn't always correct. Even more so, with respect to a woman "Having" this places her in the proper position to "Give" whether through conversation, cooking, having appropriate living quarters to entertain company, a stable income or a car for outings.
In terms of initial interactions, these things may/shouldn't come up. But in the conversations following there should be a discussion of ones profession, personal hobbies/likes, and goals in hope of understanding each other better. The reaction/result after these conversation can/will determine the intent of both individuals.
Monday, September 20, 2010
They tell me I don’t smile enough. I have that NY Mean Mug (sometimes). They tell me I am not Southern enough; whatever that means. And all of this may be true . . . but my smiles are earned. My resting face is different from others, if that is a “Straight Face” compared to a smile, then one should accept that. Does one actually realize how many muscles it takes to smile, and yes it may take less to smile than to frown . . . but who really walks around frowning all day! And if I walked around with a huge smile on my face all the time then people will wonder why the hell I am smiling, especially those who may not have anything to smile about and those who know this is not me/my style. I refuse to fake to attract a man who is not willing to work to put a smile on my face. A cute remark, a smart comment, a comeback, a wink, a hug, a beautiful scent gliding across my nose, pretty teeth, eye contact, intelligence, poise . . . those are the small things that birth grins, smiles, smirks, and cute laughs. Not for attention, but simply based on genuine emotions/desires.
Since when has it been possible to be a afraid of thrills, temptation, and the misunderstood? We find ourselves chasing the unknown in other areas of our lives, yet expect things to be much easier/simpler when it comes to human interactions.
We all know that when one doesn't fully earn the things they receive/have, they do not always appreciate them in the same light. This theory applies to everything . . . it is so easy to take existence for granted, smiles for granted, getting to know someone for granted:
Why not earn it all?
Or are we just to lazy as humans to conceptualize or process the thought of earning “Life” and not expecting too much of the same things from everyone?
They say I'm unapproachable.
They say I need to smile more.
They tell me my success is intimidating.
They say I need to learn how to submit.
They remind me that I am a NY chick not a Southern Belle.
They say I'm too intellectual.
They tell me I should get out more.
They are offended by my loyalty to the truth.
They tell me I'm unapproachable. Such an unsettling comment to make to a woman, as if to imply that I intend to be seen this way. I've been told this since I could remember. For the longest, it never bothered me. My “Innocence” and my “I Don’t Give A Fuck” attitude towards other people's perception, never allowed me to fully process the statement. However, as I fully begin to digest my abilities as a woman, my responsibilities and priorities, when it comes to being successful for myself, and simply questioning the questions, I start to wonder whether or not this notion of being “Unapproachable” is valid, and if so then what. So let's dip into few reasons I've explored with several men in my life on this topic, as well as my truths.
The basis of this conversation is not on whether or not a woman (or me) can keep a man around, I'm not even worried about that part. It simply is the issue of the initial reaction, interaction, conversation that is the deciding factor for something to turn into “Lets Talk Later, Call Me, or Can We Go Out . . . etc.” However, these factors still play a role after the initial meeting as well. They can either dictate the movement, pace, or connection between two individuals especially if one allows such to occur.
#1: Men want to be welcomed/invited (will be posted later today!)
#2: What can you do for me syndrome
#3: Let's play house
#5: You can't handle the truth
Sunday, September 19, 2010
This is my place. I have mastered the definition of self every time I look around. Its apparent. Even with my eyes closed. Small pieces of my personality, character references within colors, the random alignment of spines. Calmly, I embrace your nothing with my everything. Capturing the time with seconds of me. And I humbly place my being in front of you for studying. I open my temple as a welcome for you to worship as well.
My place. This is me.
Thursday, September 16, 2010
Every day my students have 30 minutes to answer a question i pose to the class. We formed a blog posting the best journal entries... and I hope you enjoy..
my class blog is up check it out
Wednesday, September 15, 2010
While traveling (via greyhound) in college from GA to FL, I peered out of my window and suddenly connected to nature in a way that has yet to escape me.
I saw my ancestors among the forest. I felt their spirits within the simplicity of the trees, the movement of the branches, and their sway from side to side.
It was almost so effortlessly. As if they were being guided from some divine hand. I could smell their sweet scent, feel the warmth of them watching me. All my bitter brokenness became whole.
It (the aura) cuffed my ego, and stimulated my curiosity, while increasing my pride. I was reborn. New.
All through mother nature. And since have been giving her all respect. Reaching to pose as a reflection of such, a lifestyle as inspiration, to calm my complexities. Watching their stillness, even among the most turbulent storms, they stand. Withstand the test. Forest. Trees. Branches. Leaves. Roots. Trunk. Souls.
I am learning. Observing.
And so what of this? How is this important to our existence? When he tells me of a story where the forest is overseen for the trees. And yet here I am worshiping each branch. What now? I guess I am beyond living.
Tuesday, September 14, 2010
"Words are means of expressing the depth of the ocean, the height of the sky, and the simplicity of observation."
Everything in question is under the scrutiny of truth, the validity of circumstance, and toying the line of integrity.
If you must over think love, then are you really loving? If you must worry about consequences, then how do you justify your actions?
Just remember time does not stop when death pays a visit.
My words will be timeless. Worth every second.
This is our first time ever going to London, we will be tattooing and filming from Sept.27-Oct.8....after we finish tattooing we plan to going to Paris & Amsterdam (and a few more spots on the train) we need ALL our supporters, clients, customers, fans, friends, and family to help us promote this trip..we are trying to tattoo as many people over there as we can... We want to REALLY leave our mark in the UK....but that can only happen with your simple help...
I would like everyone to SAVE this flyer, and post it on your blogs, facebook, Twitter, twitpics, websites, email blast, forums, etc.. And post this flyer everywhere.... Let's spread this moment....and inspire each city at a time.. One person at a time.... All promotion help is welcomed.. Just save and post the flyer... Many blessings and much love
Monday, September 13, 2010
Sunday, September 12, 2010
I wonder if the monks crave for companionship? Is the purpose of their existence to simply appreciate the present....and if they do crave or have desire: then what? Is it an internal signal for prayer, meditation, reflection, re evaluation, or simply a human characteristic that should not be fought. Can we fight our urges?
Is the emotion of desire the downfall of us as a people? Are we craving too many of the wrong things? What are the wrong things? Do we reach for external more than internal....how do we cure ourselves of this itch! Or do we except it as is? Is it even curable or merely "negative" at all?
Some people interchange need with please, chasing greed, off that burning fire. But what is life like without desire? Does it exist at all? Even in the simplest forms want is human nature.. Or have we just told ourselves such so many times?
I cannot have favorites without cravings, picking out an outfit for context and emotion, or doing something to get attention.
What if we all just went with the flow of things. But what is the flow of things? What does it really mean? Would I just wear the first thing I see, eat the first piece of meat, or just do according to what happens next?
What happens to those misunderstood and special by default. Those with abilities that didn't come from desire. The people who's profound abilities still survived the realm of individualism. Being alone has never cost an artist his work, for simply it has increased their craft. Sometimes we have remarkable abilities we never asked for or desired,yet everyone expects us to utilize. What of the moments we don't ask for....how do they equate to those we make on mental wish lists to gods?
How can all our daily actions change at the same time? What will the world become? What is change without desire, where does the spark of motivation come from? When we nurture our crafts and let things flow naturally. What happens then? Will art be forever seen in a different light without desire for selfish perception. All things would then be beautiful then, correct?
Where do you find balance....if the scale is yourself? Weighing your mental process on the options of today being a forever than never stops. If we all just went with the wind... Everyday would be a new experience. Are we simply to afraid to let go? And fly? Or has desire and lust reeled us in....
My homie Cory...aka @Coreman2200 responded to these questions with a blog post of his own... please read and embrace the concept of thought...