prayers for you.

lost one
found one
so that you might love/ fight/ see/ be

dope girls.

in streetwise terms, the word dope only means one thing: the illegal, illicit shit. usually coke or heroin. it’s the norm to be a dope girl nowadays. you have a kid or two. job corps really didn’t do for you what you thought it would. that welfare-to-work medical assistant training is fine but the pay caps out at $32K per year depending on where you live — and if you’ve done welfare-to-work, you probably have babies to feed. so what’s a girl to do?
you start pushing weight, or boosting & selling the hot shit on the street. or, you get two jobs — maybe three — so you can handle your business.
i’m not saying that this is what happened to gina hunt & andrea yarrell & their children, but damn if it doesn’t seem that way. i’m not okay w/ this shit. it bothers me to no end that they were targeted for robbery and killed over some weed & money. i’m fucked up about the comments ppl have made as to the whys of these murders. i’m not okay with pointing my finger at any woman who seems to have chosen to push weight (or strip or prostitute or do any of those “bad” things) so she can maintain a fucking roof over her fucking head. i’m not gonna knock anybody because i know for a fact that in the past 2 years i’ve been so desperately broke that i wondered if selling weed was a better idea than dayjobbing it. no lie. & heaven only knows if i’ll find myself there again. who knows if any of us will be in that position? over and over again, ppl are saying it’s all about what the mothers did before that point. my god, is it really like that? you mean to tell me that before the killer shot that he couldn’t have decided to do something else? he couldn’t just walk out? what the fuck? but i guess if their house had been mistaken for a different house, it’d be okay. these girls weren’t euologized as ph.ds or neurosurgeons — cuz rich motherfuckers get into drug shit too — so i’m under the impression that just maybe it wasn’t about the fun or glamor of selling dope. i’m pretty sure that these women knew that it’s not cute out here — it weapons were found in the home, they probably knew what the norm is. there’s no honor among thieves, obviously. shooting babies? for what?
my heart’s broken by shit like this. i understand that murder is par for the course, and i know that folks are transitioning at what seems like an alarming rate. but the way this shit went down really breaks my heart. sometimes i understand why so many folks say “some days it doesn’t pay to wake up black.” apparently, it doesn’t pay to wake up female, mothering, black in this country.

fuck. what is wrong with people? these cowards won’t even admit to who shot whom. pointing fingers and laying blame at others’ feet, like that shit’s gonna help shit. so damaged. so damning.

may these lives be lost not in vain, but to teach valuable lessons to those who hear of the events. may there be rightful, righteous justice visited upon the heads of the killers. may the families of the lost/ loved ones be comforted & edified by the outpouring of sincere support from wherever it comes. it’s not often that a mother or father has to bury a child or even a grandchild — but i pray that those left behind are able to heal.

i don’t even know what else to say. peace to the mothers & children.

okay, i get it:

i have to stay a little while longer. even though i don’t want to. even though every day i find myself thinking that i’m gonna have to run away to new york or pick up all my shit & hide out at my mom’s house for 8 weeks of intensive “i can’t really hack it as a grownup” therapy (better known as working the same fucked up 12 hour days no fewer than 4 days per week, not paying ANYone’s bills except my own, looking for a new job on craigslist & watching a lot of crappy tv w/ my sisters). it’s really obvious. it is. i complained rather audibly to one of my at-work play auntie type coworkers & then in the afternoon, what happened? my division manager announced that basically she wants to utilize the knowledge of myself & some other support staff to turn us into . . . wait for it . . . are you ready? paraprofessionals. i know! basically she wants to find a way, even within the civil service system (which, though it is not inherently racist but definitely antiquated & still fucked up), to pay us what we’re worth. make sure that our skills & awareness don’t go to waste & ooze out of our ears. that’s what her predecessor did. constantly. i can’t say i’m terribly excited, because this is not where i wanna be for the rest of my life. i don’t even wanna hit the five year mark (the very idea makes me nauseous as shit) at this place when i never intended to stay beyond two. at the same time, i’ve been itching for the opportunity to be smart for a living — to really know that i come to work & use the talents i already have.
i complained & got a very obvious response. i’m like . . . okay, but i don’t have forever. & i don’t care who’s a great coworker, who has my back, who really looks out . . . i hate complacency.
& i feel kinda complacent.
i don’t wanna give this place the rest of my life, so i won’t. i don’t want to fester & just sit & stagnate. so i won’t allow myself to.

& i’m having the hardest time understanding what might be on the horizon in regard to the work situation, but i’m gonna shut the hell up & say thank you. i just know what i really want deep down inside. i’m tryna learn patience so i don’t rush into it just so i can say “i quit my day job to do this!”
cuz let’s face it, i need to get the money up. there are folks i want to include in my plan who are currently doing other shit (hey karas!). there isn’t any way i’m gonna even feel okay doing this without a few crucial things having been taken care of first.
i don’t know wtf is going on
but i know the universe answered me before i even got to finish bitching.


someone asked me once

why i’m not a christian.
i had to politely explain to them that my primary motivation is that christ’s teachings, though valuable from what i’ve gleaned, are no justification for me to worship him. he was a man. i don’t believe he was god’s son any less or more than i am god’s daughter. period. it’s not a gender thing. i’ve never felt comfortable referring to jesus as my savior. i was the queen of gospel choir in undergrad & high school, but more because i love singing. i wasn’t blaspheming; my faith in god is simply unshakable. however, singing “jesus is real” always feels like a conflict for me; the clark sisters’ “you brought the sunshine” is one of my absolute favorite gospel songs but i harmonize along w/ twinkie & them because i love that song. it’s kind of difficult to explain, but most of my girlfriends who’re non christians feel the same way. especially those of us who grew up worshiping in what’s considered the black american tradition. it’s a given. you love god with all your might and the time to really demonstrate it is sunday at church. give god the glory, praise, and honor; your blessings are yours because he gives them to you. there’s another component to that which i call the hurry up & wait factor but i’ll get into that another time.

i learned to show my faith when i was a child. you must claim god, you must tell the whole world that you worship jesus. i don’t know if it’s an actual bible verse (i haven’t read the book in ages & would like to dedicate actual focus to doing so) but i was constantly told by various church folk that if i were ashamed of christ, he’d be ashamed of me before his father. okay. so that, to my 11-year-old mind, was the ultimate guilt trip. i was fat, didn’t have some extravagant relaxed hairdo like my classmates, had ridiculous acne & was NOT tryna have anyone else be embarrassed by me. so i learned all the dogma & put up the front like nobody’s business. i was just waiting to feel jesus working in my life. i didn’t know that everything is a blessing, even when it’s not what i want. i was told that praying and waiting were the way to go. but i was a child. you know i prayed that god would exact revenge for me against all those rotten ass kids in my class who did me dirty. and by the time i was in 7th grade i couldn’t believe that any of my schoolmates (or administrators for that matter) at blair christian academy were actual followers of christ by virtue of the fact that 3 girls were kicked out of the high school for being pregnant by the time i was ready to enter eighth grade. then, when went back to public school i had begun to realize that i was a christian at a christian school because i didn’t know what else to be.
i felt it was necessary because that was the tone of the school, that was the culture, etc. we were not outright graded on how faithful we were, but there were always comments on my report cards about how i was growing in christ.
why did i have to grow in christ?
why couldn’t i just grow?
it upset me. i loved anita baker’s music and could not believe for one minute that god was gonna send me to hell for listening to secular music. i tried to shake myself of it. but i couldn’t. tlc’s first album was my favorite. i couldn’t live without sneaking to listen to the chronic, the u.m.c’s, or whatever was on the radio. when atliens came out, i couldn’t get to my radio fast enough. i was making pause tapes until i graduated from high school. if listening to michael jackson’s off the wall was a sin, then screw it. i’d have to answer to the lord for that.
i attended a quaker high school. the quaker ideals were much more realistic to me: the inner light, service to others, quiet reflective meditation. this was something i could really get with. but quakers weren’t the right kind of christians, so i could learn about quakerism allllllll i wanted to. i’d just be out of my mind to attempt to practice it in that house. i was on gospel choir. that was the jesus showcase, you hear me? quakerism wasn’t as christ intensive as many black folk like. so it wasn’t goin down.

my grandmother died when i was 2 weeks shy of my 18th birthday. i think that, at that exact moment i stopped believing in jesus altogether. it wasn’t about him taking her away from me; she had copd & was really gonna go anyway. i believed in jesus (or claimed i did) for her. she had to know i was bullshitting, though; who doesn’t know a child that they’ve essentially raised? at any rate, her funeral felt crazy to me. i felt god all around me but couldn’t call on jesus while i sat there and wondered why there was such a thing as an open casket funeral for anyone who’d been very ill. her skin was green, for crying out loud. i’m supposed to call on jesus when i know i’m finna have nightmares for months on end? nope. i had to tell my grandmother directly, “please get some rest, momzie. get some peace.” she hasn’t been in my dreams since. it’s been 9 years.

as i entered my anti-organized religion twenties, i became everything that that embodied a sinner. i drank, smoked weed, picked up a cigarette habit, had all kinds of sex, cursed a lot, stole, & took the lord’s name in vain almost nonstop. i felt good about my life. i never thought “coming to jesus” was gonna fix any of my problems. i knew it was incumbent upon me to make things right, to balance myself.

so as i began to do that, i found ifa. i haven’t looked back since. i love my religion. i feel great about it & nobody’s gonna change that. every day i learn a little bit more about the goodness of the universe.

maybe i’ll edit this for clarity/ cusswords & make my mom read it. so she can understand that i’m not turning my back on god or worshiping the devil. maybe.


is odunde.

i need the prayer, the reflection.
i need to go to the river w/ some honey, cinnamon sticks, & an orange for my girl oyin.
it’s important that i talk to yeye & say thank you; asking for things is okay, but giving thanks is most important.

so that’s what i’m about to do. i wrote this prayer the other day, which i sent to atlanta, omi, & oyin:

may the money we get our hands on, be money we can KEEP our hands on;
may the love that we direct towards others be ever magnified & reflected
upon us tenfold;
may even the roughest days give us sweet moments to appreciate & cherish;
& most importantly, may we always revel in the fact that we are conduits
of the energy of the most high oludumare.
let it be so.

baba echu

por favor, bendiga a mi amiga atlanta.
she’s got a ways to go. let her have a safe trip & return.


i hate funerals

part #54890.

i don’t like the fact that i have to bury another loved one.
it’s really hard for me to sit through church services as it is — i’ve never been one to sit for hours on end while being preached to — & staring at a casket is just no shit i’m ever gonna be comfortable doing. i’m typically annoyed at funerals, because they never seem to be for or about the decedent. i can’t stand it. i don’t know what i’d prefer instead. i just . . . hate the viewings & parading past the corpse. i hate the whole process, really. i don’t know of an alternative. i only know that the ceremony of a funeral does nothing to ease my grief. & the more i think about it, the less i sense that it eases anyone’s grief at all. it’s not that i have a solution to the problem. grief can last you for the rest of your life.
i’m just sayin
i’d rather not get dressed up to have the last visual memory i have of someone be that someone in a casket, looking like a contorted, waxy version of themselves. i’d rather not watch ppl say their last goodbyes — i’ve always felt that was entirely too personal. i don’t need to see anyone kissing their parent goodbye. it’s not for me.

& i don’t know what i’ll do when it comes time to bury my mother or grandfather. i’ll have to cross that bridge when i get to it.

for now, i’ve got to get ready to say peace to monae.

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