I decided to believe in myself, and this series enough to make this a book of essays. Look for this book of the same name in May 2022. -JBH
I am a lover and a fighter. I am a silk hand in an iron glove. I am the same woman that can house love and fury, which do sometimes intersect in my linguistic acrobatics.
For that reason, I won’t give up on love. That emotion is too powerful to abandon, and love to great a reward to forsake. Yet, there are still so many things in the world that need to be changed, realized, and can be, will only be changed through love.
I am learning that love is three fold: power, acknowledgement and resolve. Love is never something weak, to be looked at as if it were something weak. Yet, even as it relates to writing, this is still a work of love. A record that someone in the world saw, lived, and left a record of someone whom strived to do better. To love a little better, a little wider, and to protect a little more. But, by heart–and I feel much like the Apostle Paul this way! The desire in me to change the world is so great, and also there are days where I want to leave the world to burn by the timber and fuel of its on ignorance! But I am reminded of my own heart, that ability to love, right?
In that own inner wisdom, I have said, “We fight, because we cannot afford to die.” This, too, is love.
For those of you whom are following me on TikTok (especially @whatjayesaid/jayesaidwhat) will know that I was been toying with the idea of starting a Patreon again. This time, I am creating a Patreon solely for anti-racism essays and think pieces. Oh, yes, this is … Continue reading So….I Am Doing A Thing. Again.
I remember the first time where I realized I was tall. Like, when I knew I was tall. Oddly, I was never thee tallest girl in my class! The most uncomfortable thing about being tall was that people were always looking at me. Being soft spoken on top that? I was a magnet for bullying when I got to middle school and high school.
I was more awkward than the Awkward Black Girl the brilliant Issa Rae says she was! I mean I stuck out everywhere! Being a tall girl, with unmanagable hair and glasses didn’t make me forgettable from 6th through 8th grade. I had bigger things to worry about (back then) than fashion and hair! The fact is, I was over or about 5 feet tall in 5th grade. By the time I graduated high school, I was 5’10”.
The other thing that made me so much more self-conscious was the fact I had excema. This means I have sensitive skin, and it is prone to rashes. What I learned later in my teenage years was the condition is aggravated by heat and stress. I had rashes on my body in some form or another on my body from the time I was 5 or 6.
I never felt totally comfortable in my skin. I never felt good enough to truly only my body as it was–flaws and all. And when I began to? I was told the good and better thing to do would be to cover up. I was told that showing off my body (at the time mid-drift shirts had come back into fashion), was not the thing to do. Ergo, ‘only fast girls where things like that.’ Even when I began to go out clubbing and dating, I didn’t wear a lot of revealing clothes! Not that I was a prude with no fashion sense, I wasn’t comfortable–in my own skin, or showing it another.
In being a mother now, I have had to subdue that fear. I had to be able to be confident in myself in order to give the same confidence to my children–namely daughters. I had to realize the mean comments told to me by meaner children, and uglier boys was had to be uprooted. I had to remember that children are children, and children are mean in certain contexts or situations. I remember there was a boy named, Jarron, during my Junior year of high school that called me ugly in the hallway. I remembered this other boy named Tony that called the ‘fashion police’ on me because of an outfit I wore and followed me up the breezeway, pretending to be a siren behind me.
Looking back at this through the vantage point of over 20 years, I can see how dumb these little dusty boys were! I can see how people whom have nothing else to do or which will await them in life, will try to hurt everyone else around them. As they do so, they will think nothing of it. Yet, these are the same people whom will try and friend you on Facebook, or see you at the high school reunion and think nothing of speaking to you. Why? They will claim “That was so long ago! I don’t even think about it!”
Must be nice, I suppose. What you did to someone being ‘funny’ causes someone to kill themselves or withdraw, and then you think nothing about it? It is those experiences also which allowed to keep my friendship circle small, and enjoy my own company.
What being tall, being a target and being awkward taught me radical empathy. It taught me to be patient, and value real friendship. It taught me to stop slouching, especially when it came to my Senior year. It allowed me to think beyond the ‘4 best years of my life.’ This situation, in this body, allowed me to stand up for myself as well–and making my space hard to get into.