Don’t Hoard Your Hope

What if you could get back all of the minutes you spent afraid?  

What if you were gifted all of the hours you spent hesitating because you believed that the unknown was somehow scarier than the torment of regret? 

Close your eyes and imagine that first time your soul retreated in fear; that your mind eclipsed your gut in the name of safety. 

Remember when you fed yourself poison and called it security? 

Can you recall when you caught yourself showing your children or loved ones, with impressive detail and hysteric confidence, that quiet, calculated, static movements are the better choice; that the shit we swallow is somewhow worth the stomache ache that follows?

When you feel the weight of your weakness (as I often do), consider that the sheer gift of your presence is proof that your stonger than any regret you have, or any mistake that you made.  You are still here and very simply put that means you ain’t through. Look inward and do not forget to marvel at your endurance.

Cornel West says, “I cannot be an optimist, but I am a prisoner of hope.” Isn’t that great?  It’s an acknowledgement of the overwhelming evidence that there’s no reason to look forward, but the accptance of a persistent faith that good, right, love, joy will prevail. 

  
Hope, my lovelies, is my jam.

Hope is how we help each other reboot aftere we disappoint ourselves, or tear ourselves to shreds chasing lies. Hope is the salve that overpowers the deepest pain of past and present. But we must be willing to offer it, share it, manifest it for each other.  Sometimes we want to hoard hope for our own personal goals, dreams, and agendas; as if there isn’t enough to go around. We worry that if we deposit our hope into others there’s nothing left for us. But I believe with everything in me that hope loves, thrives and multiplies when it is passed from one bruised soul to another. It grows wings, arms, eyes, and hands when it is exchanged. If we exchanged words and demonstrations of hope as much as we traded lamentations, we just might make a few inroads out of the nagging, gnawing scars that keep us from taking the risks that would bring us true happiness. To be surrounded by a solidarity of hope? Now that could move mountains.

I am woefully aware that this is no simple request.  Transforming thought and behavior requires a focus that I myself don’t always possess.  But how about we try it anyway?  Try it once today, twice tomorrow, three time on Monday and so forth. A word or action that breeds hope just might help heal us from the inside out.

And healing brings the peace we need to offer up bigger, better, truer love. Yep, I’m on one today.  This is me choosing hope and offering it to you. Pass it on, hear?

BB

How We Fall into Free


​No doubt you was born free,
that your spirit came 
to the universe free. 
Cuz you recognize and crave
the promise of freedom 
in the universe,
but quickly recognize 
the constant flurry of indicators
that you are not free. 

Your living is conditional,
a contract you never signed
to shave yourself small,
vet your life through
a sieve that protects
the ugly nature of things. 

The feared don’t get to be free. 

And they are so scared of you
because they know 
they have it coming. 

So you are told 
your life is theirs
for display and dissection
and one day you forget
it was a fairy tale
held dear by twisted scripture
and rotten hearts. 

And then one day
you decide to call bullshit
on the whole blasted racket
after spending 
a long, wistful afternoon 
in the mirror. 

A Rant: The Weight of Hate Ain’t Mine to Bear

Although I know that white people’s ignorance ain’t my problem, it invariably grows heavy on me. And I am beyond sick of it. I’m angry today. Just outdone.

Stop hating on folks from marginalized, colonized and oppressed populations who choose to express self love by simply being. By simply being who they are. By gathering without you to heal and revitalize, to be safe from observation, evaluation and fetishization. By standing out and not holding back.

How the fuck do you think we have survived this long?

image

Big hair, big hearts, language coded cool, souls so stunning we always remain connected to the Creator. Always.

When you resent virtual strangers for loving who they are, the problem lies with you, not them. You are literally put off by someone not diminishing themselves so you can remain comfortable. Really?

Fuck right off.

Dear Mama(s): Random Thoughts on the Most Complex Relationship Ever

Perhaps the most fascinating phenomenon of black mothering is the ability to impart an entire system of cultural norms, cruel realities, theology, and language with minimal communication and interaction.  I learned so much from my mother by observation: what she did not say, what was not done, where she did not engage. Black mothering is a riveting example of crisp, minimal response with maximum impact. Our history required that and now it is just how we roll.  While we are expressive, sometimes loud and other times just extra, the critical shit was straight to the point. Straight no chaser. Not subject to interpretation.

Just wanted to offer a note of thanks to those that mother (by birth, by commitment, or by destiny):

weemsmotherdaughter

Carrie Mae Weems, Kitchen Table Series, 1990.

Dear Mama(s),

I don’t care what you think you did wrong, you did right. Your life was complex and painful, and some stuff you just don’t want to discuss.  And I don’t need you to pick at your scabs to prove you love me, or explain why you are the way you are.

No one inspires fantastic fear and boundless joy like you.

No one is invited to compare your mothering to anyone else’s.

You do what you have to do when tears are stinging your eyes and you’re sick to your stomach with fear or regret.

Your body. I learned about holding power in my hips. Sometimes I was reckless with that.  You cussed me out, set me straight.  Every inch of you is texture and longing.  Thank you.

weems3

Carrie Mae Weems, Kitchen Table Series, 1990.

Let that go because you grew a life; you built a human. And that is its own special brand of Black Power.

You are never ashy or musty.  So I am never ashy or musty. You’ve mastered code switching in the workplace.  You don’t muddle your mind thinking that assholes will suddenly transform into angels.  You are the ultimate creator of Club Unbothered.

The opportunities you created for me have spoiled me in some ways.  Sometimes I forget that reasoning with my children is not only ineffective but unnecessary.  I forget I am the law and require no rationale for my requests.  You remind me that my wrath is worthy to be unleashed.  Ass whoopins, sucking teeth, or a raised right eyebrow says more than any battery of well-intended questions aimed at “healthy” parenting. Thank you.

Weems_Kitchen_LB-WR

Carrie Mae Weems, Kitchen Table Series, 1990.

Discipline is not about breaking spirits but sometimes that happened.  And when I woke up from my humiliation, my mind was right sized and the seeds of home training took root.  Thank you.

I have an internal compass, a gut truth that is unshakable. Even though I don’t always listen to it, thank you.

Forgive yourself decisions made out of desperation or fear. You had your reasons. I love you still.  Thank you.

Love,

BB

The Body

The Body

I arrived at myself
through a series of routines,
exercises really.

Mother.
Grandmother.
God.
White Man.
White Woman.
Black Man.
Baby.
Denial.
Death.
Body.

Not in that order.

The body persists in its lessons,
demands its demands
of me and the world,
to be more
than function and fantasy;

to be deeper
and cherished ,
canonized.

The world don’t love me right,
won’t do right by the body.
It made me forget the body was mine.

But while I wait
I worship myself
in the mirror,

Set an altar
every morning.

Write a promise of return
across my chest,
tag my toe with a strand of
my grandmother’s hair,
walk along an invisible jagged line
from my sister’s heart to mine.