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Showing posts from April, 2016

10:19

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10:19 PM
Since I've started writing you again, I may as well continue tonight. Billie been playing. Only a select few know that when I'm listening to Billie it means I'm over thinking and under loving. You're on my mind, with a whole bunch of other things. And today was a pretty unproductive day. I mean, I did get some new books from the thrift store but after that I didn't do anything but lay here. I probably needed the rest. Some weeks are filled with adventures and some weeks are slow paced and quiet. 

Social anxiety is creeping up on me again. And I don't think anyone I know really understands. Not even you. So there's no one to talk to about it. 
I miss you. I don't really understand how my heart keeps its ability to crave you and love you and want you around. It's an energy I wish I could place into other areas of my life. Maybe that should be my newest self-challenge, redirecting my energy to something else every time I find my mind fixated on y…

The Purge

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Cleaning out my big closet and giving away everything that I don't want: clothes, coats, shoes, hats, vinyl, etc. Yes, giving it away for free. Most of my clothes are vintage or bohemian.  DM for address.  NYC.  From 12-4PM Saturday 4/30/16
I give away my things instead of selling simply because I can. I remember when I lost everything. All my things were stolen from me and I had to borrow clothes for my first year of teaching from my best friends. Now, I have more than I will ever need and for that reason, I will always give things away. Consignment shops are cool but the feeling of seeing someone rock my stuff is far more rewarding than the few dollars I will get for selling them.
If you ain't never been down on your ass, you won't know how good this feels. To be able to just say, "take whatever you want. whatever you need." Religious folks call it blessed, I call it good. I am good.


I'm Not Writing an Essay About How they Locked 120 Men, Just Don't Have it in Me.

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Responding to My White Readers

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The post I wrote about Beyonce humanizing the Black man in Lemonade has gotten over 20 thousand views. With those views came a little hate mail from a few white people. 
But who cares about them? What I love are my white friends that know me personally, and other white readers whom I don't know, that are messaging me after seeing my response to the woman on Facebook and saying, they read all of my writing and it's for them too. So, let me be clear: YES, you're right, you are my people too. Never said I only write for Black people, I said, "I write for my people." For the crazies, the educators, the feminists, the abused, the confused, the abandoned, the neglected, the alchemists, those that appreciate the rain, those that chase the sun, the beautiful with the right lighting and angles for that selfie, the people who travel with me where ever I go, the people who are inspired by my journey because they too have been breaking chains in their own lives, and then some…

A Mourner's Curse

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10:48PM NP: Beyoncé - Pray You Catch Me 
Lemonade is an artistic gift but a mourner's curse. I can't watch the videos without seeing you. Seeing us. 
And I think of how you were right here. With me again. Like nothing. But when I was sleeping under an open ceiling and it stormed every night you weren't there. 
My homegirls know. They know I am being strong. They know I still love you but I am just being strong. They know my sanity is all I have and to have you is to lose all I have... and they know I hide behind my glasses so that when the tears drop they don't have to see them fall. I rather cry. Rather be. Boring. Life is dull without the episodes but at least I can sleep straight through the night. Least I don't have nightmares of you and nameless women with lost souls and good hair. 
And I tried to be present with this new one. Fully present as he and I laid on the grass at the park but I couldn't really enjoy the moment with him without thinking about you and t…

Beyoncé Humanizes the Black Man in Lemonade

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Sunday, April 24th, 2016
12:03 PM NP: Beyoncé - Forward
"Everybody want me to be calm! Do you know how them bullets hit my son?!"  One of the most powerful aspects of Lemonade: When that tear rolled down Mike Brown's mama's cheek as she sat in front of the camera, holding her late son's framed picture. It took us back to the night of verdict - her relentless display of agonizing pain, when she screamed in front of the crowd - a fist-pounding, jaw-clinching crowd of fighters who were tired of seeing their people, my people, gunned down like dogs. 
"Ain't nobody had to live through what I had to live through!" She went on, speaking directly from her soul and not one person watching that night, whether live in Ferguson or via CNN, could listen without feeling even an ounce of her wound. By the time she was done, the crowd went from screaming, "No justice. No peace." to "Burn This B'tch Down!" 
Beyoncé also included Trayvon Martin'…

Spring Break No. 2

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4.23.16
I am in an in-between phase.  Not sure who I am  or what I am doing.  What to do next.  What to work on.  What to show.  Who to give my energy to.  Who to ignore.  Who to love.  Who to run from.  Who is truly in support of me, me being my peace. Achieving peace of mind is the ultimate success.  Who is waiting for me.  Who is watching me.  Who is learning from me.  Who is taking from me.  Who is using me.  Who is fake. 
Why am I paranoid? Am I paranoid? Or am I prophetic? 
My moods are not lying to me. They are revealing the truth to me. I know who I am. Overall. But right now I am confused because I need to figure out what I want. I want peace but what else. 
Candles burn on my dresser. Trucks drive by my window. Fog smells like the spring in niagra but it's not as potent as it was last night when I woke up and realized I left the lights on. Sometimes I sleep with with lights on. Right now my body lays alone. And there is someone I can call but I am content because while I am in this state of…

Priorities

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I have 10 days off from school and I'm not going anywhere. Can't take any trips until I save enough money to buy my own home. This is why I haven't gone away with my friends this year (some of you may have noticed). Saving doesn't always mean you have to sacrifice but right now, it does. And I'm okay with it. Because having a home to call my own, for the first time in my life, is the most important thing to me. So I will enjoy my spring break right here in my birthplace. There's enough to do in NYC to keep me entertained. But honestly, I just want to read under the trees all day and catch up on my writing all night. Hang out with my friends and make up new inside jokes. Meditate and lay in the grass with the old people in the park. Take long walks with my granny and auntie. Post pictures of things that make me smile without thinking too much. Take long baths with the candles I like from anthropologie. Go thrifting but not buy anything but books. No new clothes.…

Harlem 7:57

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7:57AM 
"What is going on!?!!" were my exact thoughts when I caught my 8th grade boys outside of school, standing on the corner this morning. They were almost 30 minutes late, skipping homeroom, parlaying and shooting the foggy morning breeze with their arms around a couple high school girls. The girls were almond-eyed, bone-straight back length haired, fully built Dominicans. Everyone in the group was twice my size. 
"Good morning beautiful." I said one to of the girls. She politely responded, "Good morning." Nervous in her stance. "These are my boys, I have to take them inside with me." I kindly moved the tallest one's arm from around her and they all followed suit. They didn't even say goodbye. They just walked behind me, down the block, and into the building. I felt like a lame when I broke up the cute little huddle because I can remember those days. But I loved the fact that no one questioned me. 
"Sorry Ms. Clay" one of them…

soulmate

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I called you.  I'm legitimately afraid of being close to you again. I need you to understand: fear causes me to plummet.  I'm torn. Confused. Afraid. Crying.  I'm crazy. It's scary. Feels like I have no control.  You are my drug. And I thought I was ready.  I don't know if this is healthy or if it's not.  I don't know if this is normal. Or if it's not. Dark. Intense memories of myself screaming in black holes and then waking up to you two days ago like nothing ever happened.  I am afraid to be  Friends with  My soul mate.

I'm turning my phone off. I thrive in silence. The voices. They all tell me to hide from you but not to run from you and I don't even know what that means. You don't understand. How could you even begin to make sense of such I don't want to lose my control. How do you still have so much control over my emotions and my body without even touching me  But I can't even get you to come enjoy the rain with me  I spend ev…

protective.

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when you work as hard as I did to find peace, you work even harder to protect it. 
this work comes in the form of reading and feeding myself - mentally; keeping my discernment sharp by listening to my intuition and remaining silent when the whispers speak. 
talking to plants.  ignoring people.


Happy Birthday Ce

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chy! i am waiting for you to slayyyyy today. i just know you are about to give life, like always. but it's not just about the tangible with you. you have an affinity for beauty and the arts in ways that have inspired me so much over the years. your journey itself is art, nuanced in colors and shades that we who are close to you have been able to learn and grow from, as we watch you flourish and bloom, vulnerably before our own very eyes.  Embarking upon a new decade is exactly what you need right now. As your best friend, I can honestly say, your twenties have been more than anyone I know could handle. Behind your beautiful smile, you silently fought through some heavy turmoil, but the key word is through! You made it honey! But, I also want to acknowledge the word fought, with an extra emphasis on the past-tense, because the past is exactly what it is. Every tear you cried, every moment you lost sleep, every day you just wished for better ones were all worth it. You are here. It…

Dear Marika,

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I tried to write this earlier but you were sitting right across from me and I promised myself I wouldn't let you see me cry. Now, I'm watching you gracefully walk around and greet family and guests at this repass as if nothing ever happened. You just stopped to cover the rest of the cake, saving the piece with your mama's face in the middle, and even with all these people around - none of this feels real. 
Its because her spirit lives. Rameir sounds just like her with his quick-witted, snarky sense of humor. Nyaja walks with her same confidence and sass. And you, you possess her vitality, her soft-spoken zeal, and her smooth-jazz personality. Proudly, I listened as you delivered your poem. The only dry eye in the room was yours. Your ability to stand there without breaking down - Meekz honestly, that is a true testament to the woman that she raised you to be. My sister, my queen, you define strength. 
Just as a flower leans toward the sun for beauty and growth, you are her r…

Debriefing is a Must

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Debriefing at the end of every lesson is a must. Even if I don't get through my entire plan, I still close the lesson at least 5-7 minutes early, so that I can assess my students' current level of understanding, and begin thinking about my next steps.
I've learned that there are 3 key components to executing an effective debrief: 
1. Pre-Set the norms for whole-group sharing. 
For example:  - One person speaks at a time  - No side conversations  - Share the air, let other people speak - If you don't understand what someone is trying to say, use accountable-talk to ask them to re-explain. 
2. Create a few essential questions that directly correlate to the learning targets before the lesson.  Be sure to introduce those questions at the start of the lesson, in order to allow the students to keep them in mind when learning new information. 
For example:
Learning Target -  I can describe the relationship between southern whites and former slaves during the Reconstruction Era. 
Essentia…

Yes, You Can Draw in Your Notebook

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1. play a little Coltrane 2. pass out some pastels and news papers for smudging  3. let them draw for 20 minutes straight  4. share with partners, without talking or explaining the meaning behind the picture  5. partners create the caption for the other partner's drawing based on their own interpretation
*** tomorrow, they can use the pictures to write a narrative. there's so much you can do with writing notebooks, which i actually call "Life Books" in my class ❤️