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I never did

I never did the whole

Pre-teen romance thing

The whole holding hands between classes and

Sitting together during lunch to mean it was official

I’ve officially skipped a lot of important steps in my life

The same way my mother used to skip steps when she relaxed my hair

She somehow didn’t think it was important to do the leave-in conditioner

Still, she left in conditioner every time she ran her fingers through my head

“Don’t mess around with boys” she said

I surely didn’t mess around with her warning

I was ready for the boys to come; I was ready to defend my “purity”

But the boys never came

Until one day one did

 

I never did the whole teen romance thing

The whole getting ready for your first date with your best friend

Sneaking in a goodnight kiss before your parent’s curfew

Instead I was in college, sneaking into the movies with a guy I met on Tinder

He spit while he spoke and pontificated everything

After the movie we sat for dinner in a Subway

On the subway ride home I tried profusely to wipe off the kiss he forced on my cheek

But one day, years later, a boy asked me if he could kiss me

And I told him it was weird if he asked

But it wouldn’t have been weird if I was used to it

 

I never did the whole relationship thing

The whole transition from liking someone from afar

To being up close and personal

Getting to know someone; getting to trust someone

I trusted that it would happen for me someday

As I wrote unrequited love poems in the pre-adolescent pages of my diary

But adolescence had produced no changes but my body

Changes that caused I eyes to wander and hands to misbehave

But no love notes, no courtship, no chains with his initials to wear around my neck

And changes chained me to insecurities of perceived impurities I could not shake

I shook my head no when I said “I don’t know”

But what I didn’t know could still hurt me

 

I never did the whole world-changing first time thing

The whole anticipation and waiting and falling in love

The whole, “I’m finally ready to take the next step”

I stepped into a situation, very adult and very direct

I don’t think it was butterflies I felt

Beer just doesn’t sit well in my stomach

And we didn’t sit on the bed for very long until he began to kiss me

I wanted to kiss goodbye diary-keeping adolescent me

The me who never gets the guy could finally get something

I thought I would be sure when the moment came

But I said “I don’t know” and he did anyway

 

I never did the whole, waiting by the phone the next day for him to call thing

I never did the whole crying when he didn’t thing

I never did the whole falling in love thing

I never  did anything but lay there.

I laid out in my head the events of the previous night but my memories needed more coercion than I had needed to change my mind

I changed my mind. I said, “I don’t know”, but I changed my mind.

I undressed myself before and I kissed him goodnight after

I went back the next day, because if my mind was made up now, it must’ve been then too

I went back to say what I didn’t say the first time

Because of all the “I never did”‘s that were going through my head

The most important thing I never did was say “yes”

-Chido

Body Count

One:

She carried the weight of the world

In her arms, stomach, and thighs,

Always alienated, but the size

Of her loneliness filled her

And words like daggers killed her.

Insults kept her company

Like the friends she never made,

All too afraid

That she might have buried

A heart under all the fat she carried.

The remedy they gave was simple;

Told her to just stop eating.

“Stop!” they kept repeating.

She took the pills so she could heal;

Satisfied them all with that final meal

 

Two:

The change of fifteen new years

Made a world of difference.

Took away her innocence;

Gave her body a woman style,

But she was really just a child.

The purity of her dreams played

In her head as she slept

And In her bed he crept

Waking her with an unholy proposition.

Forced the child into submission.

She could see the darkness of his deed

Appear all over her skin.

She let the darkness in.

Noosed her neck with the same sheets;

Too many years too soon deceased.

 

Three:

For years she was minstreled by the pronoun ‘he’;

Boys’ do’s and don’t’s; living life in shades of blue.

And boy, oh, boy, this girl knew

That no matter what, she could not hide

Who she was on the inside.

In youth, she waited impatiently until

The time came that she started her transition

To show the world who she’s always been

And met a boy and held his hand

And hoped that he would understand.

He fell in love prematurely

And found a puzzling childhood photo.

He beat her fatally, tears falling from his eyes, crying he wasn’t a “homo”.

Blood flowed from between her legs and she felt pain in her abdomen;

They always said that experience was what it meant to be a real woman

 

Four:

She would wear her heart on her sleeves

If her arms weren’t always bare.

She loved openly and freely, the way most girls wouldn’t dare.

Neck lines low, hem lines high, excess fabric would be cut.

They would call her a fashionista if they didn’t already call her a slut.

Her reputation preceded her

Everywhere she went,

Especially after he made viral, the pictures that she sent.

Then the whispers grew louder, so did the voices in her head,

Telling her that she was stained with sin and tainted.

She was never looked at with more disgust

Than by the men she just got done fucking;

And never hurt anyone else, by virtue, the way that she was hurting.

But the world was convinced that her christened name was “whore”;

In church she knelt, gun to her head, went forth and sinned no more.

 

Five:

The less she weighed, the more she gained

And she was on a roll.

The hunger was the only pain in her life she could control.

The world praised her emaciation as a victory.

Still, her weight loss methods remained a mystery.

Her mother always stressed to her

The importance of being thin.

Never had much in common but in self-loathing they were akin.

Though the love was conditional, she had to have it.

Vying for her approval triggered her bad habit.

She looked in the mirror enraged,

Used all her might to smash it to pieces,

Hospitalized when she collapsed from weakness.

“Black girls don’t have eating disorders” was her mother’s excuse for her diet.

If it weren’t for the fatal results, her mother would have tried it.

 

Six:

Girls “experiment” all the time, she thought,

But this was more than trial and error.

This girl was helplessly and hopelessly in love with her.

Best friends turned lovers, a teen movie cliché,

But rare were the hallmark movie endings for couples that were gay.

Closed doors raised no suspicion,

And what were shared sheets between friends?

Until their families discovered the young, curious lesbians.

Shunned, shamed, and left without a home,

They had no clue how to make it on their own.

In the park they slept,

Where they cuddled and kissed.

“’Til death do us part” they ironically promised.

One morning they found warm beds on gurneys;

Inhospitable conditions ended their love’s journey.

 

Seven:

Everyone always told her

That her father loved her best,

But she stiffened at the mere mention of daddy dearest.

From the tender age of four

He knocked like the devil at her door.

With her mother in the next room,

He was very discrete.

Swaddled her in secrets that he forced her to keep.

As an adult, she tried her best to forget,

But she cut her wrists and blood let,

She drank herself to sleep at night,

And got high every day,

But heroine didn’t take the pain away.

The day came that she overdosed

And at her wake, her father cried the most.

 

Eight:

It was the only true love that she had ever known,

Fairytale wedding fit for a Pinterest board.

He only had one flaw that was easily ignored.

She was always careful not to make him upset;

The love she had for him kept her emotions in check,

But sometimes she would make mistakes,

Sometimes she would slip,

She bore the bruises as reminders on her lips.

If she ever looked in the vicinity of another guy,

She wore the consequences, black and blue, around her eyes.

When she contemplated leaving, she was told by an elder

That a good wife stands by her man faithfully.

The rigor mortis around her ring made certain that she was buried with her fidelity.

She loved him more than air; his love replaced her oxygen.

His cell did not compare to the prison that she lived in.

 

Nine:

Seventeen minutes passed curfew;

Two seventeen year-olds.

Sirens blared in the darkness and they stood still as they were told.

They checked their eyes for drugs and searched them for guns.

They checked for affirmations of crime because of their complexions.

Police hands lingered too long

Over one girl’s body.

He went into the backseat of the car and said “Come with me”.

The other girl watched frightened,

Knowing that they were both underserving.

She wondered in that moment, just who they were protecting and serving.

Before she could think clearly about how to proceed,

She ran and banged the car window,

Demanding the pig let her friend go.

When the guns came out she knew the mercy that they lacked;

She ran for her life but lost it to seventeen bullets in her back.

 

Ten:

They preached that abstinence

Was the only option,

But they proceeded anyway, without caution.

He was her first love and she hoped he’d be her last,

So she paid no mind when they said they moved too fast.

She gave him everything she had

And he gave her something too.

The obstacles in their way narrowed their options down to two.

But neither choice solved the problem

Of her bible thumping parents finding out what they’d done.

She heard whispers through the grapevine

Of dark corners where she could hide from God.

She was laid on a wooden table and penetrated by a cold metal rod.

Now she was a cold body that they called a baby murderer.

As she lay dying they prayed that God would forgive her.

 

Everything is lighthearted and easy to make jokes about

When there are no names, no faces, no blood,

Or body counts.

To be a black girl like me

We’re all connected –

Black girls of my generation,

Like coiled hair in box braids,

Like the stars in a constellation,

Like we’re in on a secret

They’ve tried to bury,

But when we unearthed it

They started to worry.

Told us it doesn’t matter.

Told us it’s worthless.

Told us it was of no consequence

Because that secret was us.

And possessing this truth

Even though it’s no privilege,

It’s another obligation

We have to learn how to deal with;

To protect each other

Like the buried treasure we’ve always been,

To make sure the secret gets out,

To make sure we don’t fall back in.

We’re precious jewels,

We’re diamonds in the rough,

We’re under pressure to conform,

Because we’re more than enough.

We don’t fit the mold of

Eurocentricity;

Our jagged edges

Can cut through anything.

We’re not angry, we’re sharp

And being silenced cuts deep.

The kind of power black girls hold

Is not a secret anyone can keep.

We’ve got dirt in our lungs,

We’ve got bruises on our skin,

We’ve got blood in our teeth,

You see, there’s pain in melanin.

Bruises are our heritage,

We’re hurt and we’re scarred,

But the ugliness of the world

Does not reflect who we are.

We are stars,

Burning bright, unheard

And untouchable,

We’re precious stones

Never left unturned

And unbreakable.

Black girls struggle.

Black girls rock.

Black girls are magic,

But black girls are not.

Black girls laugh.

Black girls cry.

Black girls go missing

And no one asks why.

Black girls are suffocating,

In ways no one understands.

Did anyone try to #BringBackOurGirls?

And #WhatHappenedToSandraBland?

It’s a big deal

To be born in this skin.

It’s not a club

To let Rachel Dolezal in.

There’s no instruction manual,

Just a lot of terms and conditions.

Rebellion is the biggest risk;

Freedom is the mission.

Black girls are Amandla, Zendaya

Keke, Solange, and Nicki;

Black girls are Laverne, Lupita

Quvenzhané, Willow, and Gabourey.

And you might think

In all your outgroup bias

That we’re all jealous of Kylie,

But she’ll never ever know

How awful and wonderful it is

To be a black girl like me.

-Chido

 

Image Source

What is Beauty?

Beauty is an ideal sought after worldwide. People both live and die for beauty. For some beauty is tangible and for others it’s more abstract, but that doesn’t change the fact that it is regarded in one way or another by most living beings. In fact, to disregard beauty and its importance almost always has to be a conscious choice, whereas to praise the elements and characteristics that are deemed the most desirable to whomever it may concern is implicit; it’s just a way of life.

Why is beauty so important to us?

That’s a root I’m sure many of us would like to dig up, at least anyone who has spent as much time considering it as I have, but I feel that the answer, or answers, to that question lie in the definition(s) of beauty itself.

I’m attempting an eight part segment to attempt to explain all the definitions of beauty as I’ve pondered them in my poster-clad dorm room while eating French Fries and drinking Arizona. I’m neither an expert nor am I a sociologist or an anthropologist or anything of the sort, I’m just someone who’s been wondering things and wondering if people are wondering the same things I’m wondering.

Think of this series as more of a discussion than anything; interaction and feedback is more than welcome so long as it is constructive.

B.I.T.C.H. part 5

Because

Inevitably, bitterness

Took over and

Consumed me the way

Hypocrites consumed church offerings

 

Because

I urged

To rebel against everything

Created to

Hinder me from saying these things

 

Because

It’s all

Too taboo, too

Cliché and

Heresy

 

Because

Insincerity is

Truth and

Cluelessness is safety and the manifestation of both

Harbors a relentless thirst for transparency

 

Because

Injustice

Turns softness into

Coarseness and lewdness into

Holiness

 

Because

Ignorance is a survival

Tactic

Carrying away women’s words and killing us

Haphazardly

 

Because

Inside me

The

Cracks are still

Healing

 

Because

Independence

Takes

Continuous

Hurt and bravery

 

Because all

I’m doing is

Toughening myself up and

Climbing out of the

Hole you buried me in

 

Because

In every language

There’s a word for ‘bitch’, but too long have we

Confused the word ‘bitch’ with

Heroine

 

Because a bitch

Isn’t

The worst thing that you

Can call me,

Honestly

-Chido

 

Image Source

B.I.T.C.H. part 4

Because being African had many

Implications

That I had no

Clue

How to apply to my “Americanized” ass

 

Because

I don’t speak

The language and it feels weird to

Call it

Home

 

Because the motherland

Is a stranger

Too,

Conquered by strangers who now try to

Heal us from the very afflictions they gave us

 

Because

In America we

Think they still wear the traditional garb they scoff at us for, but on the

Contrary, they wear the assimilated attitudes they forced into our

Heads

 

Because

It’s not just a migration, it’s a

Tactic;

Colonization

Has more to do with our minds than our land

 

Because when

I say

That all was taken from us, don’t

Correct me. Who are you if your own mind

Hates who you are and loves those who slaughtered you?

 

Because my home

Is not home because it was

Taken from me and I was rescued from it. They

Created this

Hell-hole for us and then we come running into their arms

 

Because this

Isn’t home either.

This

Country

Harbors only bad intentions towards me

 

Because Euro-Americans taught me my

Identity was

Tough and undesirable, like the

Cuts of meat that gets shoved on your plate so you just

Have to eat it

 

Because

I don’t belong

To either world; I’ve been

Cut down the middle and I feel utterly

Homeless

 

Because

I’m estranged from my mother

Tongue, doomed to be

Characterized by a language that possesses only

Hostility towards me

 

Because

I was spoon fed blind loyalty

To

Capitalism, racism, sexism, and all other systems set up to erase my

Humanity

 

Because

I was

Tricked into submission

Cloaked in patriotism

Handled with kid gloves used for orphans like me

 

Because a bitch

Isn’t

The worst thing that you

Can call me,

Honestly

-Chido

 

Image Source

B.I.T.C.H. part 3

Because

In

The evening, restlessness and dissatisfaction

Came and

He drank himself to sleep

 

Because

In

The

Car

He drove home drunk too often

 

Because another day of his

Insufficient life was harder

To

Consider than being responsible for

Homicide

 

Because the way he

Imagined life

To be, wasn’t at all what it was, so he

Cured

His heartache with the bottle

 

Because

Imbibing alcohol like

Tylenol

Constituted

Healing for the time being

 

Because by morning time all

Inexcusable acts would be forgotten and

Tolerance granted pleasant amnesty, but my sobriety

Couldn’t allow me to forget all the words

He said to me

 

Because

Inexplicable sadness overcame me when he

Told me

Cruelly

How much he sees himself in me

 

Because

I knew he spoke

Truthfully whenever he

Cried he loved me

He did indeed

 

Because

Intoxication was

The only thing he

Clearly loved more than

He loved me

 

Because a bitch

Isn’t

The worst thing that you

Can call me,

Honestly

-Chido

 

Image Source

B.I.T.C.H. part 2

Because

In order

To be

Considered whole, I must only be

Half myself and find a way to dispose of the rest

 

Because

I prayed to be thinner more

Than I prayed to live longer despite the

Curse promised for those who do not

Honor thy father and mother

 

Because she

Insisted upon making me everything

That I

Could never be: waif-like, obedient, and

Happy to be nothing more than a wife to be

 

Because nothing

I could ever

Think or do

Could ever disappoint

Her more than the way I looked

 

Because

I regretted

The way my appearance

Caused so much pain and

Heartbreak in her

 

Because the

Internalization of self-loathing

Turned all the blood between us into

Callousness in the name of brutal

Honesty

 

Because the most

I can achieve with

The woman who gave me life is

Cordiality at best and

Heavy silence for the sake of self-preservation

 

Because

I learned from her, not only how

To obsess over

Calories, but also

How to kill someone with words

 

Because a bitch

Isn’t

The worst thing that you

Can call me,

Honestly

-Chido

 

Image Source

 

B.I.T.C.H. part 1

Because

I

Thought that

Circumstance

Hated me

 

Because

I had

Thick thighs, a round stomach,

Cellulite, brown skin, and locks that coil relentlessly and

Hate the fine tooth combs they used to straighten out girls like me

 

Because even on my best days

I could never be

The kind of pretty that

Could redeem me from my self-

Hatred

 

Because

If he doesn’t

Think you’re fuckable, you

Change yourself

However you need to

 

Because men know best, what

It means

To be a desirable woman:

Coy, quiet, and gentle, with

Heavenly smiles that caused men to sin

 

Because

I was

Taught I

Couldn’t be whole without

Him

 

Because

I

Thought I

Could use pretense as makeup and

Hide from the expectations

 

Because

I knew

The only life that would make a mother proud was

Circumscribed for me with

Hereditary lies

 

Because

Innocence was

Too easily revoked before I

Could even

Have 10 years of naïveté

 

Because, all of a sudden,

Impurity was

Tattooed all over my

Careful skin,

Highlighting my every move as potentially deviant

 

Because

I had never been

Touched with my

Consent nor

Have I ever been still

 

Because

I had

To learn that my body tells people things that

Could send me straight to

Hell

 

Because other women

I know also have bodies

That say things they’re unable to

Control, things that only men are able to

Hear

 

Because

I knew

Too many

Close to me who’ve been bruised and battered by forceful

Hands

 

Because

It’s always our fault, but we’re supposed

To welcome the unwarranted

Caress and calamity

He gives

 

Because what she called

Invasion, he called persuasion,

Till he

Clipped

Her wings and she showed me her scars

 

Because

It’s always her fault even if

The

Crime was

His

 

Because

It’s still not ok

To

Confess what

He did

 

Because

It’s never ok for girls

To be

Confused for

Helpless kids

 

Because a bitch

Isn’t

The worst thing that you

Can call me,

Honestly

-Chido

 

Image Source

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