Tag: love and relationships

NEW BOOK-Next Lifetime Things

Grab a copy on Amazon! The Kindle version is coming!

Thank you to Erykah Badu for Baduizm.

One of my favorite songs is, and may always be, Next Lifetime.

There is a honesty to this song, a wondering, and a realizing that while life is changing–so are you.

This collection of poetry was written about a year ago, and started with the work Reflections From A Back Porch Swing. This poetry collection tells of how my own body is aging and betraying me at points. I talk about the new relationship I accidentally fell into, and even the shifting nature of motherhood now.

Everything is happening, and I am in the everything! In this shifting levels of amazing, there is a peace I have found in these pieces. There is more of me in this work, as a realized, happy 41-year-old woman, than I ever had before.

This lifetime, this lifetime and next lifetime, is amazing!

What Does A Warrior Do On Valentine’s Day?

Today, Love Day, and I looking at the books that I have to submit to Amazon, and the happiness I have there, and have found in this new relationship. In writing Next Lifetime Things, this was a book which was totally unexpected! It’s not like that I gave up on love–but I wasn’t looking for it. Trust, no one is as shocked as me–no one!

So this Valentine’s Day, I am in the presence of a man that adores me. He opens doors for me, and remembers just how I like coffee, complete with cheek kisses.

Yet, as I sit her, happy, caffeinated, and with my legs in his lap as we watch television, I am reminded of Breonna Taylor and how she was with her love when her life ended. I am thinking of all the Black men who didn’t come home to their wives. I think about how tired I am of writing about grief, abuses, and trauma!

Then, as I let the anger settle, something else rumbles from that.

It is hot, and simmering, and comes through the deftness of my fingers.

What does a warrior do on Valentine’s Day? Warriors still fight, still war, because they believe in love, in justice and peace. We may just eat chocolate first.

The Underside Of Safe

Be safe he says

To me

Believing that

Love is all I will need.

However,

In this body

Grown, fed and

Shaped to be

Woman who

Drapes power in

Black skin—

Where can I be safe?

-JBHarris, April 2021

#BlackBlogsMatter Challenge—Week 12 (2021)

Black women are some of the most incredible human beings on the face of the planet. We are. We are the Dora Milaje!

That Sisterhood, both mythic and ancient, bought by blood and time—we are amazing. That word Sis is ours! It is that recognition of each other, the divinity in each other—it is activated by the word Sis. 

That power cannot be wielded by unbelievers! It cannot be transferred by those who cannot see Black as divine. White women cannot have this space, accessing our love and power because she feels she can. This is ours! This space is ours! This love, this security, this inevitable protection in this space.

A Black woman is more that what she appears to be! And will always be! It is up to the Black women of this Sisterhood to approve the worthy of access to that word, that space, to those whose melanin quotient doesn’t match our own!

We own this space. 

We will not apologize. 

Your whiteness is not a guarantee for approval, access, and acceptance! We own us now. We are of our own purchase. We are Queens again, your fury our thrones.

For The ‘POSE’!

I am already crying.

I NEED ALL THE THINGS TO HAPPEN ON THIS SHOW THIS SEASON!

I stopped my entire life to watch the Season 3 premiere of POSE on FX! I made sure my kids were in bed, that I had snacks, because I was prepared to have my emotions snatched from me.

It was then that I remembered that this was the last season. Then I remembered that there are transwomen being my murdered left and right—including my dear YouTube sister, Jahaira Balenciaga just this month!

I am looking forward to what Ryan Murphy and company do this season, because so far (we have now jumped from 1991 to 1995):

Blanca got a bae

Papi and Angel are still together

Ricky and Pray together still

Cubby died (Whew, Jesus!)

Pray back to drinking

Lulu got Angel back on that sh#t!

Blanca going to nursing school!

Electra is still shady as hell!

Whew! And that is just the first two episodes! What being a fan is this show has broadened my scope as it relates to empathy. To love and even what it means to be and ally, accomplice or an advocate. You cannot love POSE and not support Black transwomen.

I said what I said.

I know this is about to be so good, I know I am going to cry so hard, and I know I’ll be cussing at the television in two languages again—BUT! That is the power of great writing. That is the power of great story telling. That is the power of representation.

Let’s hope the Emmys get it RIGHT this time. Indiya Moore and Mj Rodriguez deserve EVERYTHING!

30 DAYS OF JAYE: Say The Quiet Out Loud

I want nights

That are quiet,

And still

Loud as thunder,

I want storms in

Oceans of sheets

And limbs pulling

Me further from

What I know into

All I want.

I want the quiet parts

Said out loud

And kisses made only

For me,

And all my inner light

Being bother magic

And woman lit

By you.

I want the now

and the present presence

Of what it means to be

Lost and still be found.

From sky above

And Earth beneath

I want to dream

Of setting future

Suns…

Again.

-JBHarris

A Year Ago This Month: Reflections From A Pandemic

This picture is one of the few taken before the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in the US in early 2020 (this was taken in October 2019). What an odd moratorium–but here we are.

One year ago this week, I was married. I was a mom. I was a healthcare worker in-between jobs, and I was a recent college graduate! I had planned on leaving healthcare and transitioning into education. I planned on pursuing my Masters in English (a possible MFA), and was even recommended by one of my mentors, Dr. Kimberly Welch, to pursue the Doctoral program.

I mean, Dr. Jennifer Harris, sounds formidable, doesn’t it?

And then COVID-19 abducted that future. The fight that would end my marriage completely was brewing, I felt it. There was no where to go, I hated being home, and ‘sheltering in place’ with someone that you have no desire to be with is a different type of Hell. While sheltering in place, I had to confirm my plan to leave the husband who claimed to love me, but had hurt me so badly that I would have rather slept outside than in his bed! I learned just what activities he was up to! All while trying to keep peace for the sake of my children.

What kicked it off? Me doing exactly what I’m doing right now: writing. I was at my computer, and he asked me why I wasn’t talking to him. I told him I wasn’t bothering him, and I was minding my business. Why did I say that?

And off it went. We argued. We screamed. And he asked me if I even wanted to be his wife anymore.

I, leaning against the wall, completely bereft said, “No.”

And the month of April was an exercise patience, being stealth, and having to do what you have to do with the world burning around you! I found a new job. I started a new job, full-time, with benefits. I found an apartment, looked at it and my mother got my deposit for it. I lied to the man that is now my ex constantly so he would leave me alone.

I still cooked. I still was gracious! I washed clothes and mopped floors. I still was a mom. I answered questions of children, I muddled my way through the beginnings of this quagmire of virtual learning. I mean, I even remember making Easter dinner last year, and all his favorites.

Kill ’em with kindness, right? WWJD, right?

And Saturday, April 25, 2020? He packed his things, and the last thing he asked me, “Can I have my keys?” And I haven’t seen him since. And I am relieved! Relieved! I was able to breathe for the first time in two years! In that relief, I had to mourn what was.

There would be no more 2-parent household. There would be no more grad school, no TA-ing for my mentor. My plans for my MFA were permanently on hold. I couldn’t leave healthcare–I needed the money to sustain myself and kids! I was back to being a single parent, after almost 7 years. I was no longer going to be a married woman. I had to do the dirty work of putting my life back together…while falling apart. Whatever ancestral faith imparted to me, and I forged, I tapped into. I tapped into. The days immediately following his leaving, I barely remember! I had a house to pack. I had to get to work! I had to get back from work!

After being employed for a month, I even remember the day–May 15, 2020–I called off work. A huge issue in health care anyway! I literally felt my body and mind say, “I cannot go on. I cannot do anymore! Whatever you are demanding me to do, I cannot do!” I called my best friend, Towanna, and told her what happened. She told me to take care of myself–and I did. I remember calling the Nursing Office, and robotically telling them–with proper 2-hour notice!–that I could not make it in. “I have an emergency with my children.” That was all I could muster. I thanked the woman that answered the phone, and I resumed laying down in the dark room with half of my possessions packed up in various rooms. I remember I laid in bed, tears breaking free from the prison of my own strength. I cried. Not loud, but I cried. I have been tired. I have even been exhausted! I have never been the level of tired where my entire being rebelled and shut down.

My children were with my mother and sister, so I could get back and forth to work (this was a lot of ride-sharing, and paying people gas money). A lot of groceries being delivered, and dealing with coming home to my lights being off (because he turned them off! They were in his name!), and him telling the landlord that we (myself and children) were gone! Imagine their surprise when I appeared out of the house after hearing noise in the backyard!

I had to pack a house, raise kids, and move my entire life to get back to where I had to get to. I decided that me was more important than the we! I had to mourn what was dead, and even what I helped to kill! With all that swirled around me, I didn’t die. I didn’t succumb! I didn’t quit! God truly kept me–He truly did!

From those early days of confusion, trying to get masks, and washing clothes every time I went outside–to being an a 2-bedroom apartment that catches the morning and evening light, where I see trees every morning. A pandemic didn’t kill me. A bad relationship couldn’t stop me. An abusive ex couldn’t, didn’t silence me. What this pandemic has taught me is I am stronger that what I thought, and had to become more resourceful that I ever thought.

Now, in this new ‘normal’, I pay my own rent. I am still employed, being an great mom–who keeps masks in her car. I am 2 months away from 40, and looking to buy a house. Is this a happily ever after? No. This is the next chapter being written. For that, I am grateful.