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Black Girl Unicorn

Publicly Black Since 1983

Running As Resistance: Get Back Up Again

Spring’s been playing this game of hide & seek lately. It seems to be sunny on Saturday mornings so I’ve returned to running.

Last year I ran 2 5Ks, got to a 15-ish minute mile and was looking FIT! Then winter came, I joined a gym I hated and everything fell apart.

I hate working out in gyms. The lighting is horrible, and when I run on a treadmill I don’t go anywhere. It’s frustrating and makes my knees hurt.

But in the few peaks of springtime this year I’ve made my way back to outdoor running. And surprisingly, I can still run. I’m not as fast as I was, but I can do it.

Today I went for a 2 mile run and let’s just say that walkers were passing me. When the 3rd walker passed, me I thought of my Pinterest board of motivational tank tops that says “I run. I’m slower than molasses, but I run.”

I may have fallen off over the winter but dammit if it don’t feel good to get back up again.

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Canaries Die First

I sat in the dark in my apartment as Baltimore burned wondering how is it that there are any people anywhere that think it is ok for the police, as an extension of the state, to treat citizens with such aggression. Why isn’t everyone devastated when a Black or Brown person is murdered at the hands of the state without due process? Why is there such a lack of compassion?

I remember praying for the Black babies in my life. The absolutely awe inspiring melanated darlings who are all smiles and curiosity growing up to be considered threats. How that false perception puts us all in danger every single day. How I live knowing that. Having an 8 year old dealing with the murder of Eric Garner, knowing that the police think he’s “bad” because he’s Black. An 8 year old that I still affectionately call my Chunkn Munkn even though we are almost the same height and he’s no longer 8.

And remembering Oprah and Barack calling out the only people bold enough to stand up for the lives and legacy of Black and Brown folks as misguided. But they have so much kindness in the reserves for the Parkland students.

I am struggling to have compassion for the Parkland students. I am struggling with the overwhelming kindness they’ve been shown. I’m struggling with the care taken to uplift them, because that wasn’t there for the Black and Brown youth who stood up, who continue to stand up as our worlds are being torn apart by a nation intent on eradicating our existence.

The watoto, the youth of my community, are the canaries. All the ills of the country hurt them first. And the country doesn’t care. Because the canaries die first, and you all think it won’t hurt you too. But it will. And part of me is glad. If we have to live in this reality so should you.

Part of me knows that you won’t solve it, because you didn’t notice the canaries then, and you can’t see us now.

BYP, Movement for Black Lives, Black Lives Matter, Dreamers: I see you, I love you, I stand with you today and always.

Progressive Christianity? Ashé to That!

I’ve been to many galas, fancy fundraisers for all sorts of events. If someone told me that the most progressively radical and inclusive gala I would attend would be raising money for a Christian seminary I would’ve laughed with great force. But that just happened.

It’s taken me many years to grow comfortable with attending galas, but now I really enjoy them. I’ve mastered polite cocktail conversation, and know enough about current events to engage in a topical way on most issues. But tonight I was moved.

All of the honorees were women of color. The vast majority of the speakers were people of color. And everyone spoke passionately about their faith in the context of equity and justice for all. Yes even for women and gay folks!

One of the honorees quoted Alice Walker on womanism!

Man if I had my checkbook they woulda had all my coins!

It’s not that I don’t know that progressive Christians exist, I have a friend who is super progressive and way Christian. It’s that I thought there were only 4 more of her. I mean I don’t know, on the tv Christians are always tryna tell me what I can do with my body but tonight I felt the spirit of Black Jesus!

Anyhoo, with all the madness going on in the world I am way glad to have spent an evening with people of faith who honor the humanity in us all, no matter who we are.

Let the Church Say Ashé!

Featured Image by Miko Stavrev.

This is not an Ad: Cults the Podcast

OMG I just binged the most fascinating podcast: Cults.

As someone who was raised in a cult, my fascination with them is sorta weird. I think it’s mostly because I’m still working out what it means to have survived cult life, while also having grown into an anti-authoritarian, trust no one ever bad arse. Whatever it is, Cults the Podcast is filling the void.

Yes they have the standard cults, Waco and Jonestown, but they also have mad random ish that I never heard of. The best part is I can identify with the mind control/ life control manipulative ish that the cult dudes do, cuz I’ve been there.

Like I couldn’t eat anything for most of my life! The first time I had cow’s milk I was 20 years old. As a kid my dream was to live in “the real world” where I could have freedom of movement and thoughts. To this day I’ve never had Koolaid. Although that may be a good thing considering. #DontDrinkTheKoolaid

Sometimes the hosts miss the mark on their analysis, like when trying to analyze social movements they don’t understand. For the most part they analyze cults with a very critical eye, a dose of pop psychology, and compassion for those who are abused by charlatans.

Just go listen. Don’t listen when there are young children around. And make sure you encourage your family and friends to trust their own instincts and not look to external sources for validation.

Be safe.

*Featured Image by John Frum.

Don’t Talk About My Friend Like That!

I’m a misanthrope with as many self esteem issues as the next person, and yet it still really grinds my gears when my friends negatively talk about themselves.

Like I get it, we’re women and we were raised to not be too confident so as not to raise the ire of the mediocre men we are guaranteed to meet, date, and possibly marry. I get it, but also, fuck those mediocre men.

I have the most amazing group of friends (I’m serious my friends are WAY better than yours), and every now and again they will say some damned lie about how they aren’t as amazing and fantabulous as they truly are. I just wanna yell at them: STOP TALKING ABOUT MY FRIEND LIKE THAT!

It bothers me cuz I can see them, and they are the greatest! So I’ve resolved to start making them say a positive thing about themselves after they tell some negative lie about themselves. And I welcome them to be as kind and gentle with me.

I know that no one is perfect, but a healthy dose of reality helps when looking inward.

Go forth and be MAGNIFICENT!

Issa Mood: Not Today Colonizer

Something came over me. It was like the spirit of Rosa Parks & Fannie Lou Hamer came over me. Their spirits wouldn’t allow me to listen to the lies of the colonizer on the conference call. Yes I snapped on a conference call.

For the most part, I enjoy my work. I’ve never worked anywhere where I respect the leadership as much as I do. I’ve learned a lot and been entrusted with greater responsibility. Sometimes though I run into bullshite and that’s always interesting.

My background is in the law, so let’s just say I may be prone to have more information about the projects I work on than the average bear. That means I know all the business, so when I ask you a question, I generally already know the answer.

And that’s what happened. I was asking super basic questions, like WAY BASIC, and the colonizer was just lying. No one else on the conference call was holding the colonizer accountable, and seeing as how I had work to do I figured I would move this along, so I kept going. At a certain point the colonizer got scurred and HUNG UP THE PHONE!

I mean I was just asking questions, that’s all. Well I was also physically putting together the evidence that the colonizer was lying into a memo, but the colonizer didn’t know that.

So that was Monday. I’m just glad I didn’t start barking on the phone like I was from Jabariland 😜.

#WakandaForever🙅🏾

Featured Image by Steven Depolo

SHE’S BLACK!: Magic At The Movies

There is nothing like sitting in a darkened theater on the opening weekend of a major motion picture and seeing someone magical on the screen who looks like you. When you are an 8 year old Black girl, the feeling must be incredible.

I took my 8 year old niece to see Wrinkle In Time today and as soon as Mrs. Which, played by Oprah Winfrey, came on screen she shouted out “SHE’S BLACK!” and squeezed my hand. I got misty eyed because I know that feeling.

I was a little Black girl in the late 80s and early 90s, and I wish I had it as good as these 21st century Black girls with their Black First Lady and Doc McStuffins. Shit they even have a Black Disney Princess! I could only dream of looking around the world and seeing myself reflected back like this.

Wrinkle in Time is stunning. There is something about how Ava shoots a scene that really grabs my attention. She truly understands how to make the imagery part of the story. It was gripping and given space to shine apart from the dialogue. She did a great job.

And even if she hadn’t, little Yayaa seeing herself in Mrs. Which made the entire experience worth it.

I was Raised in a Cult So I know Anyone & Everyone is Capable of Despicable Acts

So true story, I was raised in a Black nationalist polygamist cult. But that’s not the point of this post.

This post is about how people are trash. Men in particular are trash. Women are also trash, especially those women who use their trashness to get chose by trash men. Anyone regardless of gender identity can be trash. That was my grand takeaway from being raised in a cult.*

And yes even your favorite celebrity. Exhibit A:

A fifth woman, who spoke on condition of anonymity to protect her family’s privacy because she has not been publicly linked to the incident with Louis C.K., also has disturbing memories about an incident with the comedian. In the late ’90s, she was working in production at “The Chris Rock Show” when Louis C.K., a writer and producer there, repeatedly asked her to watch him masturbate, she said. She was in her early 20s and went along with his request, but later questioned his behavior.”

This takedown isn’t just of CK, but everyone in his circle, like Chris Rock who had a show on HBO where one of his staff members masturbated in front of a young woman!

But on One Mississippi, Tig Notaro’s wonderful show on Amazon Prime, she wrote a storyline into the show to shame CK and HE EXECUTIVE PRODUCED HER SHOW!

In the new season of Tig Notaro’s Amazon series, “One Mississippi,” a progressive radio station programmer dogged by rumors of sexual misconduct invites a female employee to his office for a meeting, where he masturbates behind the desk while she talks.

If this scene evokes internet rumors about Louis C.K. — an executive producer of “One Mississippi” — it’s because a recent interview with Ms. Notaro encourages that reading. She said that he now has nothing to do with the series and that he “should handle” the accusations, which had been reported by Gawker and singled out by Roseanne Barr.

Tig is my shero (Side note: I saw her a few weeks ago and I audibly gasped. I kept it together though cuz I was with fancy people who don’t fangirl out at the sight of their sheroes). She acted remarkably and we should all take her lead.

This isn’t about celebrity though. I started this by saying I know people are trash because I experienced their trashness being raised in a cult. We all reproduce similar power dynamics in our own circles that leave some vulnerable. And as I live my life, intentionally seeking to unlearn behaviors that were rewarded from my cult life, I pay close attention to power structures that sacrifice vulnerable people to the whims of those with power. And hopefully each day I get better at being safe for those I encounter who are being victimized. And i get more and more like Tig, calling muthafuckas OUT!

*The other takeaway is that if you are anywhere and diversity of thought is not encouraged RUN FOR YOUR LIFE!

Everything May Not Be Fine

Every once in a while a stress filled mom-post will find its way to my Facebook feed. You know the ones that are trying to vent but the mom posting will spin it so the frustration is secondary to how much she “loves motherhood.” Every time I see those mom-posts my heart breaks because I wish we lived in a world where moms could just say ‘this sucks right now.’

8 years ago my first friend had a baby. In the beginning every time I talked to her I was inspired by her bare honesty. I would call to check in on her and she would say something like “I’m exhausted and this baby won’t let me sleep.” I waited for her to add “but I love being a mother,” or some other way to spin her stress. It never came.

As a child free woman I appreciated that my friend didn’t spin her struggles with a new baby. The stress of motherhood is one of the reasons I choose not to have kids. It’s one of the reasons I take my friends’ kids for adventures, cuz mothering is hella hard and mothers need breaks.

And mothers should be allowed the space to be honest.

I was glad to give my friend the space to vent her frustrations and stresses. Everything wasn’t fine, and instead of pretending, my homie just kept it real. She continued to keep it real as her baby grew into perchance one of the coolest 8 year olds ever in life.*

I will never know what it’s like to push a baby outta my butt then have it ruin my sleep cycle. And I don’t need to know in order to keep a judgment free space for my friends who are mothers to deal with it how they need to til they get to fine.

*I am biased, I’m his godmama. He is amazing though.

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