Goodbyes

I’m not good at goodbyes,
but I’m not sure
how people do without them –

how they leave
without so much
as mentioning
that they are,
in fact,
leaving.

I think
they underestimate
the impact
they have on others.

I think
they think
they won’t be missed,

but they are.

They always are.

Messages Misunderstood

cranes

More messages. He calls me baby and I shake my head. He doesn’t know what the problem is. I say there isn’t one.

Things had tided over, sort of. I was trying not to think about it and move on, cuz it’s dumb really. I have a life I need to figure out. I don’t want to spend my time arguing over word choice that wasn’t bad or intentionally hurtful. I have mood swings. We both know this. No need to blow shit up.

“Sounds like you don’t want me to call you that.”

“Whatever you want. I’m window shopping cuz I have some time. I’m hungry though, but there isn’t anything I want to eat [the sad face emoji with the eyes squeezed shut]. ”

“Fine. So you actually have a problem with me and keep saying everything is OK?”

I don’t understand this association. I suppose it makes some sense, but that’s not what I meant.

“There’s no need for the ‘with me’. I just don’t like being called baby most of the time. The problem isn’t ‘with you’ it’s with what you said.”

He says he doesn’t get it.

More misunderstandings. More messages. I don’t get to tell him that going to grad school for sociology instead of social work is weighing on my mind. I’d prefer to talk about that instead.

According to him, he doesn’t mean anything to me and things are always fine until he opens up.

We misunderstand each other a few more times. I’ve grown used to this. I don’t get annoyed much anymore when he says something I can’t comprehend. I still get annoyed however, when he doesn’t understand me. Most times I just can’t be bothered. I can’t be bothered with a lot of things.

He says for this relationship to work he should lie to me, because that’s when I’m happy. I say “well that’s sad.”

old-forest

there is no fire.
the brutal winds of winter
have long massacred the flames
that once allowed their light
to dance against our bruised faces.

our central place,
always adept at holding us together,
restoring worn spirits and
reigniting passion within our bones,
returned to its place
in the earth
where it waits for us to follow.

we move slowly in the forest,
aided by the faint light of the moon
which knows no discretion,
revealing our figures to our prey.

we fight against them
and ourselves,
trying to become more skillful hunters,
more enlightened men.

we dance in the open patches
of our field
and moan in the private spaces
of our tents
longing for fulfillment
and an end.

we gather
with painted faces
and hidden scars,
loud voices
and barren wombs.
we stomp the soil
and beg for it to take us,
to remove us from our apathy.
we love ourselves
and each other
yet kill
when our purposes are no longer served.

it is the way of our kind,
as witnessed by the sun,
as seen in our destitute souls.

Love or Languish

I don’t consider myself a people person, but I think they think I love them. Maybe I do, maybe I don’t. Maybe it doesn’t really matter. Maybe I should stop being so vague. Maybe I should be direct and say when things rub me the wrong way. Maybe I really don’t need to kiss anyone’s ass, because asses are for sitting on and shitting out of and not for my lips to touch in any way.

Maybe I’m too lazy. Maybe I should keep my guard up and stop making myself vulnerable because I cannot be bothered to stand watch. Because the truth is, people are complex and whatever side of a person you are shown is not the entirety of who that person is. In efforts to protect myself, maybe I should not believe what I see to be all that is. Maybe I shouldn’t show as much of myself as I get the chance to. No one needs to know all the things I disclose about myself.

But how then do I satisfy the craving for human affection?

 

Immaturity: A Coping Method?

I’ve watched a lot of Korean dramas. Most of them have been romantic comedies. Over time, I have noticed several trends among plot lines and lead characters. One thing I have always disliked is that the male leads usually behave immaturely when they’ve been hurt and, in so doing, hurt the female leads. I always get upset with them, thinking that they should behave in a more mature manner since they are grown men. I always think they allow themselves to recede too much into childhood when they commit hurtful acts, or say hurtful things, because something didn’t go their way, or because they got their pride hurt a little.

Now that I’ve written all this out, I realise my situation isn’t really the same, but today I found I disliked myself a little because I was refraining from doing something because of my hurt feelings. I thought that I was behaving immaturely, and I didn’t like it. I’m trying to avoid someone because I’ve been hurt by that person. I was hurt by that person because that person was first hurt by me, though not intentionally. That person can’t be avoided entirely though, as people who are very important to me are connected to that person very strongly. It is not my intention to ignore or avoid those people.

In the end I guess it comes down to my ability to handle my hurt and heal myself. I don’t know how good I am at things like that. It looks like I’m going to get a lot of practice though. I think I’m going to get hurt a few more times. Life seems to be like that.

SorayaJan. Fighting!!!*

 

*A Korean expression meant to encourage the hearer.

I kind of am “too busy”.

A friend of mine wrote a post on Facebook today against the argument people make of being “too busy” as a reason, or an excuse, for not contacting others. To her defence, she said that she used to go to school and work two jobs at the same time, going off of 5-6 hours of sleep each night, yet she still kept in touch with people; she still called them and asked how they were doing. Since she was able to do this, she says, she does not accept when someone else says that he or she was “too busy” to call or check in. Apparently, if someone is interested in you, or is thinking about you, then the person will make the time to contact you and find out how you are. 

This affected me in a negative way because I am one of those who use the “too busy” excuse. Actually, I don’t say I’m busy. I say I’m tired. When I say I’m tired, I list the responsibilities I have to illustrate that I really am tired. Sometimes I get four hours of sleep at night. Sometimes three. Sometimes seven or eight. Regardless of this, I still have a lot trouble staying awake at school. I have trouble staying awake to finish homework. When school is in session I spend most of my time just trying to stay awake. I also live in my head most of the time so it doesn’t occur to me to reach out to other people. There’s also the part of me that has no liking for small talk. I cannot, for the life of me, see the meaning behind calling someone “just to say hi”. On several occasions my sister has asked if I can’t call her. She’s always the one calling she says. The thing is I haven’t had anything to say to her. I call when I have something to say. Even then, sometimes I forget. I don’t have a regular schedule and it’s usually really full, so I don’t remember a lot of the time that I actually want to tell someone something. When I do remember, it is usually at a time or place where I don’t have the opportunity to make contact. 

I feel bad sometimes, because the truth is sometimes I have someone on my mind for a long time. I have the intention of calling, but I get so caught up in work and school work and family duties that I really don’t have the time to call. When I do have free time, I use it to destress by watching a few episodes of a Korean drama. Sometimes the time disappears without me even noticing. 

I realise it may look bad that I don’t “stay in touch” with a lot of people, but, firstly, I don’t like awkward, and secondly, I really am “too busy”.

Tuesday Afternoon

I’m going to write. Because some guy just pissed me off

>>I keep getting interrupted.

Anyway. This guy in a blue shirt was by the door talking on the phone when I walked in today. I was still in my coat and everything so I didn’t say anything to him. He wouldn’t know that I was an employee here. I didn’t think I looked like one. I left him alone. I went to the bathroom. He was still there when I came back. I still didn’t say anything. I still wasn’t working yet. I still didn’t look like I worked here. By the time I had gone to the back, put my things down, and come back out, he was still there, but he was barely audible amidst the low rumble in the library, so I didn’t say anything to him. Plus I had already passed him twice without saying anything. I thought I would be ineffective if I said anything then. Therefore I didn’t.

After a while there was another patron by the gates talking on the phone. Her we could hear. I didn’t want to say anything just because I wasn’t in the mood, but then a student needed help with the copy machine. I thought it was a great and timely opportunity. I would help her with the copier and I would ask the lady to step outside with the phone call. She was, after all, right there.

I went to help the student, but before I did, I asked the lady to go through the door. I asked the same of the man in the blue shirt, who was still there. The lady apologised and stepped back. I didn’t watch her. The gentleman, in a not gentle manner, asked if I could hear his voice. He asked at least two times, maybe three. His voice was raised. My back was turned. I busied myself with helping the student with the copy machine and completely ignored the rude man yelling at me. When I was finished helping the student I turned around and saw that the lady was still inside on the phone. I thought she had gone out. That added to my anger.

I had just come in to work. I had had a low morning and a close to awful night. Why?

>>Oh look, this is good enough to put on my blog.

Oh I forgot one thing. It looks like I really do hold grudges.

There were four of us behind the desk and nothing for me to do, so I decided to take a walk around and push chairs in. The guy was sitting at one of the tables in front and while pushing chairs in I ended up at his table, on his side. He called to me. I asked if he needed help. He said yes. I asked with what. He said it was okay. It look like he finally realised that I work here, like he was trying to make amends for yelling at me. I was professional, but not warm or friendly. I was still upset with him. Whatever that was was not working to appease me.

>>

After my walk around the library I came back to the front and sat at a computer. The man had a phone call again. He went to the same area where he was before. This time I could hear him clearly. The library was quieter and so there was no noise to cover up his voice. I asked someone else to make sure he was outside with the phone. My coworker went and motioned to him that he needed to go outside. He raised his voice again and asked if it could be heard. My coworker told him yes. He then went outside. When he was finished he came back in and said sorry to the inside of the library before he quickly went into the bathroom.

Cut and dry
Has never been my style.

I’m not a
Never look back
Kind of person.

I can’t cut
People
Off just because
They messed up,
Just because
They hurt me.

I keep thinking
I might regret it later.
I might cut them off
And then need them.

Burning bridges
Isn’t always a good thing.

It’s great
That other people can do it.
Other people
Can do
A lot of things.

Not me.
Never me.
I never do anything.

Except look at others
Doing what I want to do
And wishing
I was as brave
As they were.

Should I Join the Bandwagon Too?

The thing is, I’m not from here. I know that’s a cop out, but that seems to be something I’m good at; copping out. Forget that my twenty-first birthday was just a few short weeks ago and that I’m legally an adult and whatnot, because in spite of that I’m still just a very scared little girl.

I come from a country where the majority of people look like me. There is a sprinkling of white people, a sprinkling of people from Asia, and a sprinkling of people from India. Besides that the rest of us are all black, different shades of black mind you, but black nonetheless. Now I am in a place where there are so few of us (blacks) that I sometimes count how many I see, that once I spent a whole day out and only saw one other than myself. A sea of white people is what I call it. I’m in a sea of white people.

In Jamaica, our motto is “Out of many, one people.” We are taught in school about the voyages of Christopher Columbus; the fighting that there was over the Caribbean Islands among the British, Spanish, French and Dutch; the extinction of the original people who inhabited the Islands; and the Atlantic Slave Trade and how it brought West Africans to the Caribbean and North America. We learn that it is the mixture of all these peoples and their intermingling with each other that accounts for the different shades of our skin and textures of our hair, and that it is a mixture of the languages of these peoples that account for the dialect we speak.

We know about slavery. It happened to our forefathers, in our land, but they fought, and they were freed. We were a colony of Britain, but we gained independence. That was a long time ago. There are no white people whipping us anymore. There were no white people stopping my mother from buying a house, or my sisters and I from going to school. They were all in America and Canada and England. They weren’t with us. Sure. Every February we got reminded of what they did to us and we got angry and we hated them, but they were all in America and Canada and England. We never saw them. I never saw them. As time went on some of us realised that it didn’t really make sense to keep hating these people because of something their forefathers did to ours such a very long time ago. We began to forgive a little. We considered them somewhat as friends.

I’m in America now, the land of the white people, or rather the land that the white people stole (I learned that once I got here), and, again, it doesn’t really make sense for me to hate any one of them because of what I learned growing up. Firstly, as far as I know, none of them have blacks as slaves right now. The white people who actually did that are all dead. Secondly, I work and go to school with white people and they’re really nice. I have no reason to hate them. But then things like Trayvon Martin and Mike Brown happen – and those are the only two names I know because I never followed these stories in the news. I stopped watching the news several years ago. You can take a guess as to why. Apparently killing black people is something that is done here. And it’s fine. As long as you’re white, you can get away with it.

How the heck is that fine though?

Since coming here I’ve heard the word “diversity” a lot. I’ve seen it. I’ve heard it talked about. Apparently it’s something good and it’s something to be celebrated. It’s people from different backgrounds coexisting with all their differences, appreciating those differences, and using them to work toward different, or the same, goals in harmony. Everyone is valued.

Except that’s a lie. I’ve come to realise that a lot of the things being taught to large populations are lies. Just from things I happen to hear or read, because that’s how I come by most of what I know: it is less likely for someone to get a job if that someone has a black sounding name; out of a black and white man of similar build and facial features applying for the same job, both having extremely similar resumes and behaviour, the white man having a criminal record, it’s more likely that the white man will get the job; young black men get followed around all the time by cops, young white men don’t. I don’t really care to list all the injustices or wrongs that have been done to people of African descent by the hands of this nation, but I’m scared, uncomfortable then, knowing that some system is in place that is trying to kill me and everyone else like me. Some system is in place that is feeding and take care of white people. This is despite all the talk that we’re living in a new age of diversity and whatever else is being said that makes it look like non whites and whites are equal all of a sudden.

The truth is, in Jamaica there are corrupt police officers too. They kill poor, innocent youths and plant evidence to make it look like the innocent are guilty. They work on behalf of politicians that are less than upright. It’s unfair and it’s something we have to live with. However, something like that being done on such a large scale, as it is being done in this country, with what has gone on in history between the white race and the black race, with what has gone on between the white race and all other races, looks very different. I don’t know what to call it or what adjective to use to describe it; I don’t want to, but it does look drastically different. And I’m scared being here knowing that even though there are a lot of nice white people, there are still some who are trying to kill me and everyone else that looks like me, who are trying to kill everyone who is not like them. How am I supposed to respond to sketches and cartoons portraying the fear that black American mothers have for their sons? I can’t even relate well to black people in this country because their history is not the same as mine though we have in common the enslavement of our people. I feel like I have to now take on a history that does not really belong to me and live with this problem that is so large and present and I have absolutely no idea how I am to do that because if it was up to me I’d just close my eyes and have it not be there.

I usually refrain from speaking about things like this because of how uncomfortable they are for me and also because I know I am largely uninformed. I don’t think I should open my mouth and speak about something I know nothing, or very little, about. I’m only saying something now because I’m scared. It’s sad that I’m writing this out of fear but, unlike most of my fears, this one seems to have some ground on which to stand. Being a woman doesn’t save me from certain things like one would think. We get hurt in all the fighting too. We also get beat up. We also get shot. We get raped. We get killed.

I Found A Person

I found a person,
Lying in the dust
Beneath everyone’s feet,
Beaten and bruised and dirtied.

And I loved her –
That person I found,
Messy and sad with dimmed eyes.

I loved her
Because she looked like me.
She looked almost exactly
Like me.

Among all the paper cut-outs
And empty, lifeless words,
I found a living, breathing person.

And I loved that person,
Because that person looked  like me.