A Passing Friend

For Fourteen Years Nothing Had Changed.
Fourteen years, and it all stayed the same.
For fourteen years she had been my friend.
Through the good and the bad,
Through the tears and the laughs,
For fourteen years, I never thought it would end.

We Were Always Happy, Always joyful, Always Gay.
When I was lost and couldn’t find my way,
I knew there was no need to fray.
She’d let me know it was okay,
then she would always tell me,
“The world will go on whirling and twirling anyway. Just hold on ’til another day.”
…or something to that effect, for I didn’t listen anyway.

We Planned For The Future But Remembered The Past.
The years went by; they came then they left.
We were always happy,
Always joyful.
And the world kept on twirling.
But soon things would begin to change…

I Saw Her With That Look In Her Eyes.
I saw her look so distant.
I saw her so far gone.
Then she’d start to smile and she’d laugh at me when I’d ask her what was wrong.
Some days she was happy.
She’d be joyful, she’d be gay.
Other days she was so sad,
Depressed, seemed astray.
Sometimes she would cry.
I’d ask her why and she’d tell me a lie,
Say, “…Wasn’t important, besides, the world will go on anyway until the day I’ve died.”
…or something to that effect, for I wasn’t listening anyway.

So The Years Went By,
Some days good, some days bad.
She’d be happy, she’d be sad…but she was right.
The world kept spinning, kept whirling.
It kept on twirling.

Some More Years Went By And My Friend Was Not My Friend.
She would drown her days in sobs and cries.
I didn’t ask her why.
I didn’t listen to the cries.
She knew that I  would wonder but she knew I didn’t care.
All these years, all her crying!
How could I continue to care?
but then, one day…
she took her life.

it stopped going, stopped spinning…

slowed its whirling and its twirling.

Then My World Stopped.

I wrote this poem when I was 13 years old and it mostly came out of my ongoing struggle with major depression. It was meant to be a fictional scenario from the perspective of my best friend in the event of my suicide, which at the time seemed like an inevitable future. It’s interesting to look back and see how even at such a young age, I was already struggling so much. Life is simply unfair sometimes. Suicide and mental health issues once again became a hot topic with the recent deaths of Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain. Hot topics, especially those of such a sad nature, have a shelf life, and as I see the conversation begin to phase out again I ask only this…please cherish the important people in your life. Hold them close and always, ALWAYS care for them! We never know how long we may be together. I simply ask that we all challenge ourselves to Love Better.

-Risa

Cowardice

She was born with a mighty battle axe,
Divine power bestowed by omnipotent hands.
But like a moth to the flame, she abandons her claim,
Knowing that future is left behind her.

There is no way to mend this rift.
She’s fallen prey to the ball and chain of greed and lies.
As her footsteps begin to fail, her feet become anchored.
Her courage dies, and she releases painful sighs
at her loss of valor.

Yet still no sense of virtue or empathy will force her submission.
While the innocents suffer, she will turn a blind eye,
feigning their screams rest far beneath her.

-Risa

Yourself Last

If God descended from heaven on high and he offered me the world,
I would try to give it back and turn away,
unaccepting of what I don’t deserve.

If God appeared to me in my sorrows to grant my deepest desires,
I would say, “I cannot take so much from you,
not while desperate others plead, ‘…in Jesus’ name’.”

Trust, I am no angel nor a saint.
I’m not Mary so Full of Grace.
Yet, SELF at times is far less paramount
When those around you are in dire straits.

-Risa

Fav Song of the Week 7/3/2018

The voice of a generation has done it again. When I heard this single I was reminded of why Christina has always been my favorite artist. Although I’m not the biggest fan of the video itself, the words of this song are undeniably powerful and inspiring. It rang true to my soul the moment I heard it. I wasn’t made to #FallinLine either.

Only Black Girl 02/2018

I’m naturally a very quiet person, especially at work. Is this why people feel the need to come at me with their bull****? Is it because I’m shy? Is it because I’m the only Brown person here? A combination of both? Didn’t your mother ever teach you “If you have nothing nice to say, don’t say anything at all”? These are the questions I have after my White co-worker, who we’ll call “Bob” TRIED IT.

I woke up in one of those rare “happy for no reason” moods. I felt well rested and ready for the day. It was warm but not too hot out. The sun was shining through clouds, casting the most perfect light on my copper skin tones. I almost wanted to skip to work singing with the birds as the slightest breeze flowed through my curly fro. I looked fly, free, and was walking on sunshine. 😁

I get to work and start going about my business, laughing and chatting with some co-workers, procrastinating the morning away. I don’t even notice “Bob” in the corner watching my moves. He walks over and interrupts my pleasant conversation with someone else…

“hmm,”….. “I don’t think I really like your hair like that.” he says smiling…..

PAUSE!

Now, the problem with being the only Black woman in a majority White office is sometimes you have to tiptoe around people’s feelings rather than saying it like it is, which is your normal method of operation. You see, Bob/Becky can be as politically incorrect and downright inappropriate as they want but as a Black woman, if I want to keep my job, I have to hold back. Despite being the one insulted, I have to cater to his feelings. I can’t curse or yell at how angry it makes me that even in the 21st century my own natural hair is still seen as unattractive or unacceptable. I can’t even tear up at the fact that this man has the audacity to tell me to my face, in a place of work, that he doesn’t like my God-given hair. I have to craft a subtle response to his White privilege all to avoid being the stereotypical and universally dreaded “angry Black woman”. I wish I was braver. I wish I didn’t care. I really wish I didn’t allow people like this to ruin my day. I wish I could tell him everything wrong with what he said without risking my boss’s bad side. But, my boss already isn’t fond of the Only Black Girl and I have bills to pay. We have to choose our battles carefully…

So, lets become Becky. Like, “let me sound totally sweet while being totally rude when I should be totally minding my own damn business because, although natural Black hair gives me the uncontrollable urge to share my opinion,  you rocking a curly fro this morning has 0 impact on my life! *insert innocent giggle here*.” Sigh, 😒.

…Take a deep breath. One more. Don’t yell. Channel inner Becky….

GO!

Ending the long awkward silence and uncomfortable glaring, I smirk. “Oh really?” I shrug. “Well, it’s just my natural hair. That’s just how it grows out of my head. I mean…at least I have hair, right!?” I giggle innocently, looking up at Bob’s shiny balding crown of glory and walk back to my damn office. My job is safe….today anyway.

20 Lessons I’ve Learned Since Leaving the Church

makiah-isms

IMG_0196 My unapologetic, Black self. 2016.

I haven’t been to church in over a year now, and I’ve been pondering how I should address what I’ve discovered along the way. If you’ve been following my blog for a while, you probably could’ve never guessed that I would end up here. I never imagined that I could exist outside the Church I once held so dear. But due to the routine state-sanctioned violence that is being inflicted on my people, and the inadequate response from the church (among other things), I have decided to remove myself entirely from a system that claims to value my soul, but fails to show up for my Black body. I’ll probably end up writing a book about this one day, but in the meantime, here are 20 things I’ve learned since leaving the church:

  1. God is not a man.
  2. There is no pre-determined path called “God’s will”…

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And Isn’t It Wonderful?

Humans lost their connection to the world. Some fundamental link has all but totally disintegrated.

There was a time when man was no different from the creatures of the wood. We were exactly where we belonged, and we knew this to be true.

A tree or bush wasn’t just something to be chopped and carved to our liking, used to decorate our lawns in different patterns that all look the same.

There was a time when you could breathe deep…smell the wind. OXYGEN. The clear, God given air could fill your lungs without fumes from buildings, exhaust from pipes, or your cancer-loving neighbors secondhand smoke incessantly swirling in.

We could drink the water from the earth, and it was clean, reviving. It brought us life, not sewage and wastes. Not sugar. Not caffeine. No treatments necessary…

…it was clean. So were we.

And just to believe we created this thing called “progress”, we destroy all that is natural to replace it with something New. Because we humans are so smart, you see, we Adapt and become Advanced, more amazing day by day.

Now we dwell in roach infested apartments. Swim in chemically treated pools. Drive our air contaminating cars…what is progress, really?

We go to our toxic desk jobs that we describe as fulfilling careers to anyone who’ll listen, just so we can avoid what’s really meaningless work and scroll the twitter feed on our cell phones so we won’t notice as much, just how much, our lives are drained and sucked away. Day by endless boring day…But this is Happiness?

We all need xanax. A painkiller, or 3… 4?

This is the dream…even though we’re low key lost.

And when I sit and think of all this, How wonderful would life have been if we’d just stayed where we belonged?

-Risa