Vaginas

First installment of Ménage à Trois on Minds Like Empty Rooms: For a belated International Women’s Day. A bit late, but forever relevant. And don’t forget, every day is Women’s Day.

 

Everything is everything.

Cheers!

 

***

 

Georgia-O-Keeffe-Black-Iris.jpg

Black Iris III, Georgia O’Keeffe

you plough into me with two fingers

and i am mostly shocked 

it feels like rubber against an open wound

as you begin going faster and faster

mostly i feel nothing

you search my face for a reaction

so i begin acting like the

naked women in those movies

i imitate their moans

hollow and hungry 

you ask if it feels good

i say yes so quickly it sounds rehearsed 

but mostly you do not notice 

-rupi kaur

Dear Mom,

I love you and you love me, but you fucked me up. I know you’re proud of who I’ve become but it’s been a long time coming. Getting here was walking on eggshells and shrapnel pieces. You did the best you could Mom, and I recognise that. You didn’t want me to protrude from the crowd, or be a different sheep, to be ostracised by a society that secretly wants me submissive and dead inside. You just wanted me sweet and docile like milk and honey, you wanted me lavender-scented and waxed to perfection so that I could be beautiful and not be a target, not get hurt.

Mom, I refuse to be beautiful.

No, let me rephrase that.

I refuse to be only beautiful.

I have a body that hasn’t been my own since the men would catcall me when I would bike to school in shorts under the 30 degrees heat. It hasn’t been mine since that family reunion where Grams had something to say about whether I should eat more or less carbs, and debated with you if letting me play “boy” sports might not “ruin such a pretty face”.

Mom, you put me in too tight dresses that never fit right. I wasn’t made to fit the dress, the dress was made to fit me, can’t bound the shape and size I come in, can’t command my soul to take up less space. Mom, you put me in heels so that I could walk with confidence from the height of the personality you grew to love in me. Mom, I don’t want to walk in heels, I want to run with passion and determination, and not run away from my problems but run into the arms of the ones that I love.

Mom, you did your best to teach me how to love myself and love others, I know you did. But I still count every bite I eat and do as many laps around the block later. I’m still afraid to love without getting hurt because I forget that you and Dad is not me and whoever I choose to love. I’m so afraid to love Mom. Loving is not a sign of weakness, or less important to being a strong believer of feminist ideals. I shouldn’t have to explain why some days I want to wear a bow-tie and some days I want to wear a fit-and-flare dress with a little bit of make-up. I shouldn’t have to fake my orgasms Mom, to please people who haven’t realised I’ve been faking all along. You did your best Mom, but I’m still afraid to love wholeheartedly, whether it be myself or someone else.

I no longer want to be afraid Mom. I no longer want to be ashamed of who I am or who I love.

Mom, I love you and you love me but you fucked me up. I probably fucked you up too, all those late nights I never made it home and forgot to call, the times I’d get called in at the principal’s office and ran out of the house screaming like it was on fire. The fire wasn’t in the house, it was in me and I didn’t know what to do with it, it burned so bad.

Now I do. I use it to slowly melt the fear and the shame after years of accumulated unintentional “good intentions” on my skin. I use it to write passionate poetry, and travel, and listen to sad music on rainy days, and draw doodles in the margin of my notebooks, and daydream about the good old days.

I use it to love her.

I use it to love him.

I use it to love all of them.

And most importantly, I use it to love myself.

Mom, thank you for teaching me fire the best way you could. For teaching me how to heal and sing while washing the dishes. For teaching me how to enjoy the breeze on a midnight run to the corner store. For teaching me how to love getting my hands dirty and my hair dirty and my whole body dirty when I spend the day exploring the woods. “It doesn’t matter anyways”, you’d say, “you can get cleaned up when you’re ready”.

Mom, thank you for teaching me how to jump anyways.

You fucked me up, Mom. You fucked me up real good.

But you love me.

And I love you.

Sincerely,

Your Daughter

This Be The Verse

BY PHILIP LARKIN

They fuck you up, your mum and dad.   

    They may not mean to, but they do.   

They fill you with the faults they had 

    And add some extra, just for you. 

But they were fucked up in their turn 

    By fools in old-style hats and coats,   

Who half the time were soppy-stern 

    And half at one another’s throats. 

Man hands on misery to man. 

    It deepens like a coastal shelf. 

Get out as early as you can, 

    And don’t have any kids yourself.

***

This edition of Ménage à Trois was created for Sciences Po, campus de Reims’ putting on the Vagina Monologues.

You can also find some related slam poetry by clicking here.

Noname

No Name – the type of food I can afford on a budget.

Noname – a gifted lyricist who’s energetic performance I  got to witness at The Phoenix Theatre last Sunday. It was a treat like no other. The show started with a DJ whose name I’m not sure whether I was suppose to remember. The music was decent and he was able to rile the crowd up to a proper level. Then came Ravyn Lenae, slim-framed and bird-like quality to her singing, by all accounts, and impressive artist with an even more impressive head voice. (I also thought it interesting that Lenae saw colours for her songs.)

 

When the woman of the hour finally made her entrance, the electricity was palpable and for the rest of the sold-out show, she would command attention with a childish giddiness in her step but brutal honesty in her words. After the show, my friend who had gotten me the ticket for free pointed out how she got a full audience to sing Bye Bye Baby, a song about abortion, as if it were a Top 40 pop track. She got the excitement to ebb so as to instill the seriousness needed for Casket Pretty, music speaking to the many Black deaths that plague her hometown of Chicago, but also the United States in general, and the world. While her encore, Shadow Man, was great, my favourite song from her latest EP Telefone, will always be Forever, which includes cheeky and truthful nuggets of wisdom such as:

I’m trying to re-imagine abracadabra for poverty/

Like poof I made it disappear/

Poof I’m made of happiness/

Everything is everything/

But I still haven’t paid my rent

 

And I particularly like this part of Joseph Chilliams verse:

We gon’ live forever like Aaliyah/

Look how they did Rekia/

Honestly I’m just happy I could be here

 

There’s just so much earnestness in the delivery that I’m planning on smiling all the way to 2018 thanks to this concert. At least I got to see her live before her tickets cost $500. A couple more remarks before I stop gushing over this artist.

1) I admire her honestly and willingness to learn for having dropped g****y from her artist name

2) She is influenced by some real heavyweights of words like Toni Morrison and James Baldwin and I respect that

3) I really like how she explains her expression “Everything is everything“: people often assume it’s an homage to Lauryn Hill, but she describes it as how she says that she’s ok with how things are, that not being rooted in any specific religion, it’s a way to acknowledge that we are all equal creature that are part of this planet (according to New York Times online performance, March 2, 2017).

To put it lightly, Noname is one to watch.

 

Everything is Everything!

 

Cheers!

 

 

 

First Post Thoughts

I’ve always wanted to think of myself as the kind of person with the courage to have a blog, but like many of my personal journals, they would begin with enthusiasm and wither soon after – from boredom, forgetfulness, fear of actually being read. Today, I take the first step to curing my fear of affirming things for real and offer these empty rooms to the people of the Internet. We’ll see how this works out.

“Minds Like Empty Rooms” comes from the following except from Harper Lee, author of To Kill a Mockingbird, writing to Oprah:

“Now, 75 years later in an abundant society where people have laptops, cell phones, iPods, and minds like empty rooms, I still plod along with books. Instant information is not for me. I prefer to search library stacks because when I work to learn something, I remember it. And, Oprah, can you imagine curling up in bed to read a computer? Weeping for Anna Karenina and being terrified by Hannibal Lecter, entering the heart of darkness with Mistah Kurtz, having Holden Caulfield ring you up — some things should happen on soft pages, not cold metal.”

Though I agree with Lee’s general sentiment, and have yet to see the beauty in a Kindle or successfully enjoy a document longer than two pages, let alone a novel, from the tiny blue screen of my Android, I don’t completely repudiate technology. It did take me 21 years to acquire a mobile phone, and I often leave my laptop out of the bedroom to avoid the time warp that is Steven Universe or Six Feet Under, but without technology and the terribly annihilating social media known as Facebook and Snapchat, I would not be able to stay in such close contact with friends from far and wide; I would never know what current events are plaguing the minds of almost yuppy “not-quite-sure-what-I’m-doing-with-my-life” leftists; I would also probably spend more time in books and outside.

The point of this blog is to fill up my empty rooms with trinkets and ribbons and knick-knacks of my choosing. Here’s the general layout of how I envision all of this if I don’t quit after post #5:

 

i) Minds Like Empty Rooms : collection of random thoughts, snippets of wandering poetry, midnight musings and other words that glide through these rooms of mine

ii) Narcotic Tunes: music that speaks to my soul, tickles my funny bone, has be thrashing my head and gyrating my hips or leaves me floored and begging for breath

iii) Ménage à 3: multifaceted project started in university that gathers words, images, sounds to form an amorphous experience that will hopefully make you feel something

 

Well, that’s about it folks. Hope you find something you like, and that you fill your rooms too.