NaNoWriMo #25 (Rambling to do)

Racing through my head are hundreds of disjointed thoughts. It’s like a to do list that needs prioritizing.

Remember, teach your young son how to handle authority ASAP:
Never run. Don’t make sudden movements. Show your hands, palms toward the officer, all fingers visible.
Don’t walk with your hands in pockets.
Don’t look menacing (even when it’s painful to falsely smile).
Don’t laugh – – presumed mocking is dangerous.
Avoid unfamiliar neighborhoods, and never linger in your own.
Obscuring your face for fashion could get you confused with another black boy. Flashy clothes, accessories could be seen as weapons’ metallic flashing.
Be careful.
Let’s face it, it’s safer to stay inside.

I think: Justice is not blind. It wears magnifying glasses that see color, but blur other factors of consideration – of common sense.

I pray: My black child won’t be seen as a threat to peace, to society, to the institution, to life. Thrive. Dream. Reach. Achieve. Become. It’s what every mother clasps hands together and asks of God.

I wish: Things weren’t always so hard. It doesn’t have to be easy, just not so seemingly impossible. Is this test ever going to end? Don’t I deserve a chance to see the results?

I wonder: When will I find the time to complete this project? Finish that book? Start that dream?

I want: to feel fulfilled. to be appreciated. to find affirmation…

“Learning my camera” – assignment complete

I cheated. I’ve skimmed my manual countless times in the five years (or so) that I’ve had cam, so I didn’t want to peruse again. I’ve not gotten any new equipment lately, so there was nothing to fiddle with. Did I mention I don’t like my studio system? Someone, “not me,” broke one of the lamp lights. Now I’m down to two lights with their attached umbrellas. I don’t like the shadows they cast, so I don’t use them unless absolutely necessary.

So here’s what I decided to do for my assignment: return to documenting life. Specifically, I decided to capture our gremlin (she’s advanced from imp). I shot pictures without my flash (as always), hoping the green wall wouldn’t cast too much color on her lively movie watching.

w Collage
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My 35 mm is great for indoors, especially smaller spaces. So I focused on little things: her new “ow-ow-ow,” her hands, her lashes. Her popcorn mess was an unexpected addition to the “shoot” when she got excited about an action sequence in “Tangled” – which she is, apparently, just at the age to really begin to enjoy.

Sunflower in the room of roses

I’m borrowing this phrase from my student’s grandfather. Perhaps he borrowed it from somewhere, too. Nevertheless, it hits home with me as a woman, as a daughter, and as a mother.

Dear Chi,

As you continue in this rough time and space known as “middle school,” as you juggle life in the “tween” years between child and teenager (and, ultimately, adult), please know that I am your biggest fan.

You said yesterday that ‘the worst part about middle school is the people.’

Sure, you’ve felt the sting of the taunts from mean girls. But trust, if they must scoff at you, baby girl, it’s because there’s something lacking in them. You are a sunflower – – bright, standing strong against the elements, and ever-reaching higher for your goals. Do not let these common roses – whose beauty entices but whose thorns cause hurt and harm – convince you that you are less than you are.

IMG0008You may sometimes have days when you stare into that looking glass and scrutinize what you see. Hair, complexion, temporary blemishes might not always be to your ideal. But never for a moment think you aren’t beautiful. Your soft mocha skin, your strong crimped hair, your high cheek bones, almond eyes, broad nose, and full lips are God’s gifts. And, lest I forget to mention, your height (quickly surpassing mine), your svelt athletic figure, your ever-evolving curves of womanhood. Damn, you are stunning.

Yes, I’m your mama. And, frankly, being the parent of the one “going through” is all new to me. But I’ve been where you are. I’ve doubted my worth because someone criticised me. And I learned after countless nights – no, more like years – of feeling less than worthy of praise – that my value is not determined by others. You cannot squelch the mean-spirited intentions of everyone, but you can persevere despite and INSPITE of them. It’s really easy to say in retrospect that you can’t please everyone, but I’m going to say it anyway. Some folk aren’t happy until you are miserable. They make it their goal to crush your momentum towards yours. Believe me when I say that success is something you determine for yourself. Your best is all I ask you to give and regardless of what others may say, you will be accomplished.

You’re mad at me as I write this. You’ve told me not to share with the world my pride. And though I get it, baby girl, you need to know that my success is you. I am in awe of how you’ve matured. I am inspired by your dreams. I am humbled by your achievements.

I know we’re at that point in this mother-daughter relationship where you shy away from my confidences and share your secrets with others. Your interests in boys – the few who, as you’ve said, are not absolute ‘douche bags’ – is guarded. But what you have confided in me makes me worry. You see, you’ve admitted to stepping aside for a friend to pursue her interests. You determined you were less worthy of something than was someone else. And I just cannot understand how you don’t see that you are a prize. You are special. You are rare. And you, my Chi, are coveted. I’ll say no more ‘in public’ about that, as I respect your growing need for privacy. Understand, however, that you cannot let yourself be overlooked to please a friend. No friend would ever want you to cast yourself aside – to dull your shine – so they can glow brighter.

I love you…

a place called home

If I were Dorothy, I’d click my heels and recite “there’s no place…”
But I’m Rachelle:
homeless, wandering, in search of something…
I miss knowing
who I am and what I aspired to become.
There’s no map for directions
(I probably couldn’t navigate it, anyway)
There are days when I feel like stopping,
just sitting on a plot of earth
and watching the grass grow in tufts around me.
But I’m reminded of responsibilities
created in my explorations.
I wish God spoke louder,
Decifering codes is not my talent.
Yet, I listen.
Sometimes I even close my eyes and will answers to come.
Is silence actually the reply?
I want to hold hands with wisdom.
Grasp tight to its finger and follow where it leads.
Like a child, I crave security.
A place for me to call home.


They say that who you’re attracted to is a matter of personal preference. .. at least I think that’s what they say. But then I don’t know this they, I only know us. And I’m worried that we don’t seem to love us enough to be attracted to our own.

Don’t misunderstand, here. I’m not talking about disliking “our people.” But my kids – one with a foot out the door, one just walking in, and several waiting inside at windows – don’t seem to believe that blacker berries have sweeter juice; that darker flesh has deeper roots. Tupac, where are you?

You see, my kids only know the versus to Everyday People, but somehow the concepts conveyed within the lyrics were lost. They’re not colorblind. And all people, I’m realizing, in their understanding,  are not created equal.

Last night, my son said happily, “I only like white girls.” And while I can dismiss his proclamation as innocent because his current elementary crush is a sweet Caucasian girl, I think it’s more. My  older son had, moments before, shrugged off observations of a girl’s obvious interest in him because hubs described her as the ‘pretty dark-skinned girl with the braids’ – he said nonchalantly,  “I didn’t notice. I don’t date dark girls.”  And a few weeks ago my daughter declared that she’d only marry a “light skinned guy.”

I have failed.

Among my favorite novels is The Blacker the Berry: A Novel of Negro Life by Wallace Thurman.  And in it, the family has adopted a mantra akin to ‘lighter and lighter with each generation,  the better we will be.’ I’m paraphrasing here, because I don’t have the book accessible. I read the book in high school initially,  and I remember my stomach knotting over the concept that black was not beautiful or desirable and it certainly wasn’t safe or privileged.  Being black was a hereditary curse forever staining the potential of a person.

And in the wake of media outrage over police shootings and mistreatment of people of color, following obvious slants of legal rulings and punishments heavily weighed against persons of color, I suspect that curse is real. Ignorance is not bliss and I’ve seen absurd over generalizations about blacks’ propensity for endangering the public that call for something quite like genocide.

My children are not immune to this sterotyping. They know they’re judged before they speak, before they act.

And so, they are drawn to people presumably less targeted.

I really don’t care the color of my childrens’ future partners. I only wish for them to find abundant love, companionship, and understanding in their chosen confidants. But I’m bothered, no, I’m appalled that each is voicing a desire to narrow their selections superficially. Dark, light, or somewhere in between – there’s good and bad in each shade. Character’s content isn’t worn on the skin.

linking up with “Losing it” by Mama Kat.

Her song

Hap bir to you,” she croons
Smiling with delight at her song.

It’s no one’s birthday today, yet
She happily shares her sweet serenade.
It’s one of the few things
We’ve come to expect from this
Our near-mute fifth little miniature fusion.
Comprehension has never been her problem,
But her philosophy, seemingly, is silence.
Perhaps, in her head, it’s golden.
I wonder what she’s left unsung.

Inspired by Six Word Fridays, “sing”.

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