They saved me

Published March 8, 2017 by hrhdana

There was a time when I was so lost

I didn’t know who I was.

I played at princess

gave myself to peons.

Wearing a tiara

sitting in the dirt.

Filthy.

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I thought a man was the answer to everything.

If I could just get one man to

see me

love me

validate me

then I would be complete.

And I tried

guy,

after guy

after guy.

I hurled my love like a weapon

consuming them.

I wrapped my legs around

bodies with no soul inside

gave all I had to lie after lie.

I cried

a lot.

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And each rejection

was confirmation

that who I was wasn’t working

broken, undeserving.

More lies.

More cries.

But my sisters.

Baby, my sisters

saw through my foolishness.

Shared life lessons I could not resist.

“Sis no one can love you

until you do.

Forgive yourself. Start new.

I see you.

I’ve been there too.”

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I sucked my teeth.

They didn’t understand my love.

Couldn’t understand that if I would just shut the fuck up

He wouldn’t have to…

They called bullshit.

Refused to quietly sit

while I ran towards my destruction.

My sisters showed up with garbage bags

packed all my shit and took my hand.

We out!

YOU are out!

Threatened the man

If he laid one more hand

on me

they would find his body

floating.

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And I wondered

How can they love me more than I love me?

Want a better for me that I can’t even see?

How can they deem me worthy?

But they did.

In thought

word and deed.

My sisters,

they saved me.

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Imperfect me!

Published April 7, 2016 by hrhdana

I never thought I’d be a Mom.

I desperately wanted to be one.

I knew when I was a kid that I wanted to be a wife and a Mom.

Real talk.

But when you make it to 30 plus and it hasn’t happened for you, you start to believe that it won’t.

Then it did.

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I think I floated for 3 years. I marveled in every milestone and accomplishment. I woke up and went to sleep with prayers of thanksgiving dancing off of my lips. I researched parenting like it was a master’s class. I subscribed to every blog, purchased at least 40 books and lived on parenting websites. I knew what kind of Mom I was going to be. I was going to be patient and fun and creative and loving. I was going to be kind and calm and supportive. I was going to be perfect.

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That is always my goal. To be perfect. No matter how many times I tell my therapist that I know I cannot be perfect. No matter how many times I said that I know perfection is impossible, unattainable and just a way that I self-sabotage, I still believed I could do THIS thing, this Mommy thing as close to perfect as possible. I mean I had never done anything THIS important before. I had never had a blessing THIS big before. Surely I could do THIS thing perfectly. Surely I could.

I tried. Mommying consumed me. I don’t know how my friends put up with me. I had nothing to contribute to conversations unless it was about my Little Bit. I lost me. And I lost me so well that it took me at least two years to even notice that I was lost. The most depressing part was that even in throwing my all in to my parenting I wasn’t perfect. I still lost my temper with my little blessing. I still struggled with playing on the floor with her. I still couldn’t make Pinterest creations translate in to real life. I still burned dinner sometimes. I never did make it to Michael’s or get my Christmas cards out this year. I still couldn’t get her to eat avocado and she didn’t care that it was a “perfect” food. Sighs

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And it stopped being fun for me. I love my kid with everything in me. She is amazing. She is smart and kind and funny and gorgeous and patient and stubborn and she makes me proud every single day. But I? I was falling short in so many ways. She was watching hours of TV when I know that the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that kids 2 and older have no more than one to two hours daily. She was drinking juice. And not only juice, but the kind I brought from a store and not the juice I told myself that I was going to make for her with organic produce in my juicer at home. She was off of vegetables almost completely. She was eating candy for Christ’s sake! What kinda perfect Mom lets her kid have candy?!?!?! I was failing. And it wasn’t fun for me anymore because instead of seeing a happy, well-adjusted kid all I was seeing was MY failure at the most important blessing God had ever given me.

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I failed. Again.

Parenting will reveal every single patched over wound that you possess. Your children will strip you bare of all the makeup you wear for the world AND for yourself. My kid is like a magnification mirror that shows me all of the places inside of me that are decidedly UN-perfect. And it is hard. Because if I want to be the best Mom that I can be it starts with being the best Dana I can be. That means owning my crap. That means removing the foundation I slather on my face and addressing the problem that caused the dark spots under my eyes. It means getting the actual sleep I need so I don’t look like a raccoon. It means accepting my imperfections and doing what I can to address the problems that I am hiding under makeup.

 

And it’s hard.

Did I say that already?

So, here I am. I am standing here naked faced admitting what everyone else knows. I am not a perfect Mom. I’m not a perfect anything. And if I keep trying to be what I cannot be it will squeeze all of the joy out of my life. This is a lesson I have been trying to learn for decades now. I tell my therapist at least once a month that I’ve accepted my imperfections. But I haven’t. I still want desperately to be the perfect Mom. But I can’t and it isn’t any deficit in me. It is an unattainable goal. It is not possible.

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I am the best Mom that I can be to my Little Bit. She loves me for who I am to her. She tells me almost every single day that I am, “the best Mommy she ever had.” Lol I realize there isn’t much competition in that arena but I’ll take it. I love her perfectly. No one can take that from me or from her.

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Time to write

Published March 29, 2016 by hrhdana

I’ve been dying to find time to write. This new job is a huge adjustment. I have so much to learn and if you know me you know that I want to know it all yesterday. I don’t have time to do anything personal at work because I am trying to learn all of the things and because we have a real deal IT department here and I’m scared of their tracking software. LOL I have yet to manage being able to carve out time to write at home and parent. I sit at the computer at home and she has a million things she has to tell me and about 3 million questions about what I am doing.

Today, my supervisors are in meetings, the office is quiet and I finally have time to write. I sit down excited and open my word doc.

Nothing.

Isn’t it funny how that happens? And by funny I mean infuriating. Hmph

So I guess I’ll tell you all about the new gig. I’m working for an established nonprofit organization. It started out as an orphanage in the 1800s and has grown in to a huge company that provides services to kids, families and people with developmental disabilities. I am proud to work here. Amazing work is being done here daily. The emphasis is always on the people we are serving. Training is continuous and thorough. Ethics run through every single policy. This work matters and although I’m not working directly with the people we serve I am so proud to be a part of the process.

The department that I work in is all about quality improvement. We help all of our programs to stay in compliance with local, state and federal regulations. We conduct all internal and external investigations. We write manuals. We make recommendations for places where programs can improve. Yup, everyone hates us. LOL It’s like working in internal affairs. All of my coworkers have been super welcoming and it’s always so funny to watch their reactions when I tell them what department I work in.

I walk around the campus at least twice a day. I make small talk with the kids who live on campus and those who attend school here. I’m grateful to be here. I’m excited about this new adventure and I wake up excited to come to work each day. But it’s early yet. Giggles Check back with me in a few months. J

This is not the dream!

Published January 18, 2016 by hrhdana

This is not the dream.
And I can no longer be content
to clap for scraps
thrown to people who look like me.
We are deserving.
Not 3/5ths!
Whole people.
Still auditioning
For our humanity
to be recognized.
Citizens of this nation.
This is not the dream!

When people in Flint are being systematically murdered
by unclean water
laying generational curses
while politicians tell outright lies.
Convince them not to believe their own eyes.
People die.
Their babies will reap the impact
of poison
ingested
bathed in
breathed.
Purposefully poisoned
This is NOT the dream!

When griots and record keepers can’t even keep all the names straight
of innocents murdered in police “mistakes”
When the system investigates
and finds itself not guilty
time after time after time after time after time.
This is NOT fine.
This is NOT the dream!
Not why he died.

When the leading candidate for the Republican Party is unapologetically anti.
Anti me, Anti you,
Anti truth.
And he fills stadiums
with hate.
This is NOT the dream.

And I weep
for the man, the reverend
who sacrificed his life
believing we would make it to the mountain top.
But they just keep moving the fucking mountain.
And we?
We clap for scraps.
Indictments
with no teeth.
Not living on the street.
Having enough to eat.
This is NOT the dream!

This is not the dream!
Oscars so white
Trending
People of color raging
Begging
To be acknowledged and seen.
Conforming
only to realize
you lost the best parts of you
and gained
nothing.
This is NOT the dream!

And some will read this
comment with words like progress.
And I’ll shrug.
I guess.
But in my heart I know they have acquiesced.
Believing the party line.
Look how good some of you have it
You’ll be fine.
Exceptions dangled to make you blind.
This is NOT the dream!

When Black parents are still educating their children
on how to NOT get killed by the wrong officer
Sons AND daughters.

I ask you,
How could THIS be the dream?
When shoes are worn out from marching,
calluses from letter writing,
fatigue from voter line waiting,
new Poll tests passing legislatures.
How could THIS be the dream?

This is NOT the dream!
I won’t pretend it is.
Keep your celebrations.
I have
letters to write,
marches to attend.
trials to protest.
I’m dreaming new dreams
based in reality.

Dreams of
Safety.

Because this?
This is NOT the dream!!!!

 

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My Confession

Published December 29, 2015 by hrhdana

When I heard about Tamir getting murdered my first thought was,
“What Black parent lets their little boy play with a toy gun outside?”
I am ashamed of that thought.
I have held it inside for over a year now.
Afraid to admit it out loud.

I am well trained in the ways of my birthplace.
America.
There are places inside of me that are well colonized.
Black children can’t be children
if we want them to live.

Black parents can’t let them play outside with toy guns
these babies are already wrapped in that scary melanin.
I blamed his parents.
It didn’t last long.

The facts were clear even BEFORE the video was released.
He was a boy, playing with a toy.
And even if he wasn’t
Ohio is an open carry state.
He was breaking no laws.

American boys have played with guns since there were guns.
Playing grown up games with a childhood spin…
pretending…
to shoot the bad guys
or be the bad guys.
It’s as American as apple pie
to see a little one pretending to shoot.

We play along.
We clutch our chests.
You.got.me.
We pretend to die
dramatically.
Neglecting
to tell them
that this play
is not for them.

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Not for Americans
with melanin.
One more American experience denied
You can not play like your friends.
You can not be rude.
You can not talk back.
You can not stand up.
You can not be 12 years old
in a public park
playing with a toy
found in most homes in America.

And if you do.
If you dare to be
an American boy
playing with a common toy
you will be murdered.
Your family will be denied justice.

You will bleed and scream and cry alone
for FOUR agonizing minutes.
Your big sister 2 years older than you
will be tackled to the ground,
handcuffed and placed in a police car
for trying to hold you
for fighting to get to you
for responding to your pain.

Tamir, little brother.
We failed you.
And I blamed you.
I blamed your parents.
I am ashamed.
Well trained.
Complicit in my own inequality.
Participating.
Acknowledging.
Supporting
that OUR children
should be denied parts of the American dream
because we want them to live.

And sorry
is bullshit!
Doesn’t begin to cover it.

I want MY little girl
to be free
but even more
I want her to be
alive.

So I sit
sick
complicit
indicting myself
serving time
reading books
searching for answers.

I wipe tears I didn’t know were falling.
Tamir, Mother Samaria I have no words.
I offer
my heart,
my confession,
sincere blessings.
And I promise
I will never stop speaking his name.
And I will honor his memory all of my days.

He was murdered.
His murderer is free.
No indictment from the grand jury.
Hard to speak.

Black lives matter
in more than theory.

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I’m sorry Sandy

Published December 22, 2015 by hrhdana

Her name was Sandra Bland.

Those who knew and loved her called her Sandy.

And I can tell you honestly

She is me and I am she.

Outspoken about the injustices happening to our people

Sandy couldn’t sit quietly

nothing meek about she.

She spoke

loudly,

intelligently,

passionately.

Sandy speaks

she still speaks to me.

 

Her life mattered.

And I won’t recap the details

all of the things absolutely wrong

with her traffic stop and arrest.

But I will say this

Her life absolutely mattered.

Black women’s lives matter.

And

I won’t

I can’t

force you to care.

We were born here.

As much claim to this land as my unmelinated neighbors

but the point can’t be belabored

justice is not equal here.

Black citizens live in fear

of flashing red lights

of cops whose minds ain’t right.

And no, not all cops.

Not by a long shot.

But it only takes one to take all I’ve got.

 

And me

Being a woman.

There will be no universality

Among those who fight against the injustices done to those who look like me.

No national Trayvon level galvanizing.

So I will continue to scream

Black women’s lives matter.

And I will speak their names

Again and again and again and again.

 

Sandra Bland, 28 in Texas

Kendra James, 21 in Oregon

Shereese Francis, 29 in New York City

Tanisha Anderson, 37 in Cleveland

Yvette Smith 47 in Texas

Natasha McKenna , 37 in Virginia

Rekia Boyd, 22 in Chicago

Shelly Frey 27-in Houston.

Darnisha Harris was only a teenager in Louisiana

Malissa Williams, 30 in Cleveland

Alesia Thomas 35 in Los Angeles

Shantel Davis 23  in  New York City

Aiyana Stanley-Jones  only 7 years old in Detroit

Tarika Wilson, 26 in Ohio

Kathryn Johnson  92 in Atlanta

Alberta Spruill 57 in New York City

I could keep going but I feel sick.

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Black women’s lives matter.

I will tell their stories

I will nurture the light of their memories

all the days of my life.

Black

LIFE

matters.

New fairy tales

Published November 24, 2015 by hrhdana

When I was a little girl my Mommy read me fairy tales.
Princes on horses who would come and save me.
Brave men who traveled great distances
to save princesses.
The princesses were always blond
blue eyes
thin thighs.
Nothing like me.
But I believed.
And I wanted desperately
to be saved.
No decisions to make
no battles to face
a brave prince
that would cover me
ride me in to my happily
ever after on his brave and reliable steed.
I kissed frog after frog after frog after frog
waiting
believing
He was coming
to absolve me
of decision making.
I put the responsibility
of me
in the wrong hands
time after time after time after time after time.

And do you know who saved me?
Sisters.
Blood and by choice.
Helped me find my voice
cleaned my wounds
pointed me at the mirror
YOU ARE CAPABLE!
BEAUTIFUL!
POWERFUL!
YOU ARE ABLE!
And I didn’t believe them.
Kept looking on the horizon
for the prince I just knew was coming.
But my sisters
they were there.
Showing up. Reflecting care.
Loving me more than I did.
Cleaning tears
biting back the “I told you sos.”
Nothing but helpful.
They understood.

I’m writing new books for my daughter.
Princes are amazing.
But your sisters?
Babygirl your sisters
are EVERYTHING!
Choose them wisely.
Listen earnestly.
They give selflessly.
And they never leave.
My fairy tales for my princess girl
are about sisters who stand by her side
eyes open brimming with pride.
Brave and true.
Slaying dragons AND looking fly.
Scared but brave
not afraid to cry.
Look to your sisters babygirl
leave the frogs for the other girls who do not know.

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