erykah badu

You, Yourself and You

“Life’s all about progression and transformation” I said as I passed the beer bottle over to a friend, wondering whether in this very moment, I was progressing.   Which led me to wonder if one has to be progressing all the time, and if you weren’t, were you falling back?

 

If Life’s taught me anything, it’s that it goes hand in hand with Loss.  Sometimes you push things out of your Life, and other times, they just go.  Friends come and go, dreams come and go, thoughts come and go.  I always marvel at how, despite the fact that we know change is the only constant in Life, we can’t seem to embrace it and go with it.  We’re always looking for some sort of stability.  We keep clothes that will never fit us, buy brands we’re used to, regardless of whether or not they do what they’re supposed to, and keep relationships that no longer do anything for us.

 

Eliminate things that no longer evolve you. — Erykah badu

 

I’ve been observing my relationships with people in my Life and wondering whether I truly need them there, trying to figure out if I need what they bring to the table. Birds of a feather flock together and as I observe some of them I realize, they simply don’t know how to Live, how to take responsibility for their lives, how to stand alone. How to exist as a lone being, and for me, that’s a necessity.

I believe in the importance of individuality, independence. You need to know how to be alone, how to think for yourself, how to grow on your own, what to take in and put out to keep growing.  Stagnancy is a trap, it’s a cage you don’t even know you’re in sometimes.  I know.

I’ve spent close to a year, maybe slightly more, at home, terrified of growing up. Of making any decisions, of living, because I was afraid I’d mess up.  As each day passed, I seemed to find more and more reasons as to why I should simply wait to die.  The possible shame of making a “wrong” life decision [which in this case, was about my academic life] weighed on me before I even bothered to CONSIDER what I’d do.

To many, that was a year wasted. I could’ve done so much in that time, right?

Gotten an online diploma maybe.  Found a job. Hell, gotten married.

But no, none of that.

I cried, I read, I thought, and I repeated all of this. And to quote Anais Nin “And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.”

I got sick of seeing my face in the morning with the same uncertain look. I spent hours upon hours arguing with myself about what We want to do, who we want to be, and eventually, I put myself together.  Now, I appreciate all the uncertainty, all the time I felt I was wasting. I grew.

 

For many of us, it takes a lot before we can let go.  We don’t know when to, nor how to. We don’t know when a situation has run it’s course and even when it begins to hurt, we tell ourselves it’s a test to see whether we’re truly committed. Sometimes, that’s simply Life showing you that it’s done now. Some things, I dare say, most things, aren’t worth fighting for, especially if you aren’t even sure you want them.

In Setswana, there’s a saying that goes “Se nkganang se nthola morwalo”, which basically means, whatever repels me only relieves me of a burden.  Words to live by, don’t you think?

 

Most people will never be too ashamed to pass their burdens on to you.  Nor to bring, or keep, you down. A lot of people wouldn’t care if your mental maturity never goes past this point.  But you know, that’s them. It’s up to you to see to it that you become More.  And that will be your responsibility to yourself for as long as you’re here.

 

Who are you? What do you want? Do the people in your Life want the same for you? Will they help you become who you want to be? Are they people you’d like to be like?

You need to ask yourself.

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Other Side Of The Game

I had a friend who loved Miss Badu. She was the quintessential Nubian Queen.  Long print skirts, short natural hair, big brown eyes and a smile that you won’t often see. A smile untainted by the Evils of the Concrete Jungle. A smile you’d find on one of those little kids that live in some remote forest far from our organised chaos.

Her perfect man was a tall, dark man, with dreads, a poet, someone you’d find in an India Arie music video. Beads on his wrists, bags by his side and poetry on his Lips. That was the beauty she held out for.  While I complained about being unable to find an honest, trustworthy man who’s good in bed, she complained about not being able to find a man who was honest to his craft, good in that respect, respectful, who oozed Soul.

She had a Badu song ready for every type of situation that might arise and rings for days.

We differed greatly. I’d quote Nicki Minaj, have casual sex, swear, smoke and be the exact opposite of the calm aura she exuded. She was never able to understand how I could feel her, understand her completely, and still not be like her. Our friendships ended when I found Lust in a place where she had almost discovered Fake Love. But I’d honestly rather have had him use me than her. 

 

She was beautiful and hopeful. I have been beautiful and jaded for years. 

She loved artists. I am one and have loved others such as myself. I no longer see their appeal.

She felt natural was the way to be to discover real Beauty. I preferred to find Beauty in the chaos. 

She was a virgin. I am fairly skilled in the Art of Seduction and Satisfaction.

And she felt I could not be these things because I am, to a certain degree, wise. 

See, I wonder how she feels about Q.U.E.E.N. 

Will it take a Neo-Soul song stating that Women can in fact be as they please, to make her realize that no, I wasn’t just sleazy and  somehow by some miracle blessed with intelligence?

Will it take a song to remind the Konscious folk that I can twerk and study? And it is not shameful. That by exploring my femininity, I am not renouncing my Queendom?

Because how is it that even the Women who claim to be all about Women being “beautiful” and “free” believe we should only be so through being chaste, silently powerful and unaffected by the World we live in?

They will love you until you straighten your hair.

They will love you until you have sex with someone you don’t see as your King.

They will love you until they realize you’re only trying to teach those who want to learn because time’s too limited to be wasting it on those who don’t want to learn.

They will love you until you switch up your sandals and head wrap for stilettos and weaves in a club setting.

 

I sometimes wonder if people don’t listen. If they don’t learn.

When you say no one should tell a Woman how to be then turn around and attempt to do so, do you not choke a bit on your hypocrisy?

Because when Miss Badu dyes her hair blonde, she’s discovering new things. When I do it, I’m trying to be a White Woman. 

When I fall in Love with a European man named Mark, I’m a sell out because he doesn’t have in-depth knowledge of African tribes and doesn’t sell beads from his bag as he travels across Africa helping refugees. 

“Black Love” is always depicted as couples with dreads or afros. Bald ladies in intimate poses with dreadlocked men. I have seen women with straightened hair a handful of times in such images, I dare say 3. And the only women with weaves I’ve seen depicting Black Love are usually in BDSM shoots. So it leads me to wonder, is our Black Love only pure if we’re natural?

I mean, let’s be honest, a lot of us are only uplifting and acknowledging the parts of Black society and culture they want to.

How does exploring my body make me less of a Queen? Please, tell me. 

How does make-up mean I’m spitting in the faces of all the Goddesses associated with feminine beauty?

How does adapting, adjusting to the modern World make me less Aware?

Before I reach Zion, will I need to recite every line in Lauryn’s “Doo Wap”?

Will I need to twist locs in order to enter Black Koscious Heaven?

Am I a bad person because I smoke weed to get high and you smoke it to “reach a higher plane and open your third eye”? [Which in my eyes, honey, IS getting high..But what do I know?]

Am I automatically like them [the ignorant],because I’m not like you?

Is our Love not real because I think of him when I hear Beyonce’s 1+1 and not India Aries’ The Truth?

Am I still a Queen when I question the views of your third eye, with my tattoos that read in English and my natural, yet dyed hair?

Do I qualify? Am I worthy?

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