Skin Hunger 2 

I think about it a lot. See Skin Hunger 1 here.

brandy kayzakian-rowe
Art by Brandy Kazakian-Rowe

What manner of touch can satisfy the hunger I have for touch that sees me,
Touch that feeds me and nurtures me,
Grows me and protects me?
Touch that gives to me and fills up the blank black spaces on my skin
With the intricacies of love and romance?

Skin hunger is a real thing. 
It can even manifest as rashes,  as stress pimples,  as flaky scalp,  as hair falling out for no reason other than that you’re horribly,  unbearably lonely, whether or not you realise that.

Skin hunger manifests as rolling out of strange beds at irregular intervals;
As strange bodies that in the morning look out of place in your home;
Deep voices that suddenly grate;
Calls that never come;
Budding romance at 9pm that blooms into full life at 1am
And dies a quiet demeaning death before noon the next day,
Leaving a ravening shadow even more desperate for touch,
Prowling the streets for another hit.

Talk to your therapist.  Drink your water. Fix your skin and your hair and the aches and pains of singledom. Do the work. It’s difficult but it’s doable, all it takes is love.  Every day,  as you pat your skin dry speak life into it. You are gorgeous and you are worth more than the one night stands you pretend serve your purposes. Stroke your own hair and speak lush life over it. It is your crowning glory,  testament to your ancestry and to the strength of those who came before you, like your skin. Strength you can and should harness to create the love and the life you desire.
Practise self care, consciously and deliberately.
Love yourself.
Love yourself hard.

Skin hunger doesn’t go away but when you stop thinking of it as a cross to bear and understand that it is evidence of fulfillment to come, you can walk tall knowing that being alone is not the same as being lonely;
Knowing that even if you are at times lonely
It is the loneliness that pushes you to do better
Be better;
To cross the valley of shadows and drink the sun.
It is the loneliness that reminds you of who,  when and why you are,
And to which you can defiantly shout: this is a now thing,  not a forever thing.

And then the hunger passes, that achy skin hunger, and you live to love another day.
You live.
To love.
Another day.

Skin hunger is real and the best way to resist the self-destructive behaviours it can inspire is to love yourself harder than you’ve ever loved before.
Love yourself fiercely,  honestly,  radically;
Give yourself the nourishment you need and one day  you’ll look back on your years in the desert and use the knowledge and experience you gained there to help others come through unscathed.

We struggle not just for ourselves but for those who come after us.  All of black womanhood is built on the collective experiences of each individual woman.  Love yourself, love others, learn, teach.

afro women.jpg
Art by Nicholle Kobi; @nikisgroove
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On Black Femininity 

Black women are not soft marshmallows but hot chocolate mousse: rich, decadent, luxurious; not for the faint of heart.

Source: Pinterest

 Black women are not cute kittens but lionesses, queens of their jungles, afraid of nothing and bowing to no-one except, by choice and desire, to their lion kings.

Source: Google

Black women are the embodiment of the  triple magic of melanin, sunshine and moonlight, harnessing elemental power and bringing forth a femininity that demands both to be conquered by and to ride the strength of black masculinity. 

Work on me. I’ll work on you. We’ll work on us. Source: Pinterest

On Decepticons Posing As Men

If you’re dating for marriage you need to learn how to recognise decoys or, as my friend Lyn and I like to call them – Decepticons. Decepticons come in various forms and learning how to identify them in the shortest possible time is vital. 

Type 1: YOU’RE JUST NOT INTO HIM
These are men who look good on paper but that you just don’t find attractive. If you have ‘a list’ -you shouldn’t, you should have non-negotiables and there should be no more than two or three- everything on that list checks out BUT the feeling just isn’t there; you can’t connect emotionally at all. You forget this man exists, you never miss him, you only tolerate him because you feel bad about not liking him since he’s ‘everything you want’ and you hang on to him in case nothing better comes along. You’re being unfair to this man and you’re short-changing yourself: it’s beneath you. You can do better than be motivated by fear. Let him go. And while you’re at, if you do have a list you might want to think about chucking it out because clearly, it’s not serving you well. 

Type 2: HE DOESN’T like YOU LIKE THAT

Marriage is incredibly difficult. Some people even claim that getting married is a sure-fire way to kill a relationship but here’s the thing: people who say that are usually men with commitment issues or women dating men they know are not worthy of the husband title. Sure these people might love their partners, but they know it’s a for-now situation and they want the option of an out, just in case their worst fears come true. Leaving a girlfriend/boyfriend is always going to be easier than leaving a spouse. Marriage is not for everyone nor should it be, but obviously I’m talking to people who understand and accept the value of marriage as an important building-block of society. If you’re anti-marriage, this isn’t for you. 

This Type 2 Decepticon wastes your time by saying all the right things but doing none of them. He says and does just enough to keep you hoping and believing and sexing, but falls just short of giving you the exclusive commitment and the security you really want. Hear this: if a man doesn’t want to lose you he’ll make sure he doesn’t, but if his life is not improved by your presence in it he’ll do the bare minimum: you’re Miss Good-enough till Miss Game-changer comes on by. If you’re not his game-changer – you’ll know if you are – keep it moving. 


Type 3: HE MAKES YOUR LADY-PARTS EXCEEDINGLY HAPPY, and DASSIT

Now, don’t get me wrong. If you know anything at all about marriage you know that sex is very important, but if you know a lot about marriage you’ll know that good sex won’t save a bad marriage. If all this man is good for is several screaming Os a day (please Lord), that alone is not enough to build a relationship on, certainly not a marriage. If he’s not your intellectual equal (NOT measured in degrees fyi); if he can’t give you emotional and spiritual support (a man has to be able to ‘stand in the gap’ for his wife and ‘cover’ her); if he can’t fulfill his God-given role to ‘provide and protect’ – that man is not husband-material. You would do well to RUN before all that oxytocin makes you make a bad decision. 

See that last ‘and’? It’s not an either/or situation.

Decepticons are called that because they deceive you into thinking they’re the real deal. Decoys, or Decepticons, come into your life to steal your time, energy and your resources; to keep you from finding the love God has for you; and to destroy your sense of worth/self-esteem by making you think you’re unloveable and convincing you you’ll die alone. You have to be self-aware to recognise a Type 1 Decepticon so do the work to figure out who you are, what kind of relationship makes you thrive, and then grow into the kind of woman your kind of man would value.

 You have to be paying attention to how a man treats you and to how he makes you feel to identify Types 2 and 3. If we (women) paid as much attention to our emotional health as we do to our looks and gassing each other up with lies, we’d be far better off because we’d recognise those threats to the pillars of our self-esteem long before they did any real damage.

 
What other kinds of Decepticons do you know? Tell me, please!

Happy New Year To Yours Truly

*pic heavy post

I wanted a pic of the cast of Living Single and instead I found the exact thing to inspire me to put into words what I want out of this year:

On food. Eat better. Chips&Russian is my comfort food when work stresses me, and pasta comforts me when life nje just does that thing where it falls apart. I have the jelly belly to prove the folly of relying on white carbs for comfort, and I am over it. This year, I’m eating better. Who knows, I might even start running and weight-training again.

On shelter. Love my home. It’s everything I need though perhaps not what I thought I wanted. I’m grateful for it and this year I want to be a homemaker of note and become the woman my mother raised me to be: the bestest hostess with the mostest.

On career. I’m a writer. It’s taken me a long while to get to the point where I can say that without feeling like a sham, like a fraudster with no shame. I have a job and I’m blessed to be pursuing my career as well. My goal is to eventually merge the two: do what I love (teach) and design and create the programs I teach (write). This is the year I do the work. All of the work. 

On sex. If you know me at all, I don’t need to explain the last. Unlike the first three, this isn’t up to me alone, but it’s still a goal because you know what? I have work to do before I can have the sex I really want: great sex with a man who loves me, wants me, chooses me, and with whom I can be my highly sexed and super loving self (TMI? JBS *just be strong). The best sex happens when the intimacy is real and deep and goes beyond just the physical. I know this. So I’m determined to not just hold out for exclusive commitment but to actively become the woman that the kind of man I want can commit to, exclusively. 

Today is the first day of my new year. I’m going to do brunch, I’m going to get ready for a new week and a new school term, I’m going to do all of the things I need to do, but I’m committing, today, to doing the REAL work, to not just saying I’m bawse, but to being bawse which gifs and memes aside, really is easier said then done. It’s gonna be hard I know, °but something tells me good things are coming and I ain’t gonna not believe…

I’m taking my person somewhere exoticall  for my 40th, and I know I won’t do that if I don’t ‘werk’. She’s my rock, my strength, my inspiration, my drive, my peace, my joy; like my children, she’s why I want to do better and be better. 

And so it begins. Happy new year sun goddess, make it count.

°Freedom, Anthony Hamilton and Elayna Boynton 

Inwele Zakhe. HerStory.

The best part of a natural hair journey is the knowledge you get about yourself. You examine your own perceptions of beauty. You find your own beauty inside, and while you enjoy compliments (who doesn’t?) your need and desire for external validation decrease dramatically. You are a black woman, and like your hair you reach outward and upward, embracing the world and your place in it. Natural hair perhaps more than anything else is the one thing that tells the world who you are and what you’re about, and thus loving your natural hair becomes a political statement about personal growth that the whole world can read.

 The woman who relaxes her hair is saying something about herself and her world. So too the woman with a brush cut. And the one with dreadlocks. Yes it’s just hair, yet every single black woman, regardless of how she wears it, has a story about and an emotional connection to her hair and to the story it tells about her. 

In 2014 Reuters reported that Africans spend US$7bn annually on wigs and weaves. Hair matters, it matters a great deal. Whether it’s horse hair, 100% synthetic hair, or 100% human hair; whether its yours because it grows out of your scalp or yours because you paid for it, hair matter, and it matters a lot. Whether you hate it or love it, the bottom line is that yes it’s just hair, and yes it matters. 

I met a beautiful woman last week. Gorgeous, drop-dead gorgeous. Her hair is cut very low, and she is so comfortable in her skin that her self-love is an aura around her, beautiful and authentic. Her story around hair and beauty is about how much she loves herself, because every woman has a story about hair and beauty whether or not they recognise it as such. We had a brief chat about hair, and I was so happy to meet a black woman who has accepted her natural beauty and fallen in love with it. Her skin is beautiful: clear, not a blemish or pimple in sight, and glowy with melanin and pure joy. Looking at her was such a pleasure; she may have caught me staring, gazing rather, when I sat down to lunch with her. I hope not. I may even have been gushy in her presence. My point is, hair is just hair but it’s also much, much more than that. You see, once you love and accept your hair as it is, and accept what it can and can’t do, you’re that much closer to true self-love and from there, mental emancipation follows naturally. You cannot love yourself and choose bondage, but perhaps that deserves its own post. The woman I’m talking about encapsulates black beauty so perfectly, her love for herself and how she expresses that in her self presentation is inspiring and a delight to witness. She’s winning all day, because she has set her own standard of beauty and is living up to it, regardless of what anybody else might say. 

There’s a reason why the coloniser and the slaver set standards of beauty that taught black people to hate our melanin and the coils and kinks in our hair. The reason is that once a black woman learns self-love, she becomes unstoppable. Worldwide black women are waking up, one melanated queen at a time, and the world was never ready. #staywoke

We’re coming, and we’re coming for everything. Every. Thing. 

#squadsalute #femrising