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Monday, January 18, 2021

5 truths and a lie

 

  1. I was kidnapped by my aunt and treated like a maid while I raised her children who have turned out to be the siblings I didn’t have growing up. I still take care of them. She is currently my favorite aunt.
  2. I was raped by the first boy I thought I was having sex with. I thought so because he was my boyfriend at the time. My cousin would later go on to date his sister. Our families are still close.
  3. I watched my mother beat a child and threaten to prick her with a needle if she tried to block the beating. I yelled at her to stop and told her to be ashamed of herself. She stopped, and proceeded not to talk to me for 2 months. My favorite (at the time) aunt’s arguing point for reconciliation was that my mother loves me and she never forgave my other aunt for kidnapping me and the only reason she didn’t come to get me or stop me from returning when I would come on holidays was because my grandmother told her that addressing the issue would break the family.
  4. On her deathbed, my favorite aunt confessed that she tried to use voodoo to trade my life for her’s.
  5. When I told my best friend our aunt had kidnapped me when I was younger and that I didn’t live with her by choice she said “are you sure?” and we never talked about it again.
  6. The first reason I didn’t kill myself when my father asked for a dna test, kicked me out and rendered me homeless in a city where I knew no one is because I wasn’t sure what would happen to my corpse. The second is because I posted a “slightly” suicidal song lyric and a follower dmed me “Hey, are you okay?” I lied to her... but she saved my life. 

Thursday, December 24, 2020

2020

 This year has given me as much as it has taken from me and it’s hard to balance the scales sometimes.

Due to safety/security/COVID-19 reasons, we got evacuated from Morocco on March 19. We were supposed to be on Admin Leave for 30-60 days but we got an email on March 20 saying Peace Corps was officially evacuating all volunteers worldwide and shutting down the program indefinitely. I was supposed to be in Morocco till late November, 2021. Yet here I was, in an America I did not recognize, I couldn’t enjoy being home because I had to quarantine for 2 weeks, my favorite restaurants and stores were closed and I was officially unemployed, homeless and car-less in Austin, TX.

Immediately after I saw the email, I called my old boss and asked for my job back. I emailed insurance companies to late them know I was no longer on Sabbatical and was available to start seeing clients. I applied to 3 jobs. Then I broke down in tears. I missed Morocco, my new family and friends, the life I was building,  the life I had just lost and wondered how I could manage to rebuild my life on with no notice in an unfamiliar world.

The County was on a hiring freeze but my boss moved mountains to get me back in - and I got a significant raise from what I had just 8 months prior. My insurance reimbursement rates as well as private-practice fees (honest mistake by the front desk that ended up working out) were higher than before and somehow my super part time private practice started thriving more than it had in the last 5 years. I ended up paying off my student loans and becoming debt-free in less than 6 months.

I lost bigoted people I had thought were my friends, gained allies, learned a lot about intersectionality and supporting as many oppressed groups as my emotional bandwidth could handle. My inner circle was even smaller but my relationships had more value than I could have hoped for - people came through for me in ways I never could have imagined and I was blessed with the opportunity to be there for them and others too. An old flame got rekindled and we moved in together but it ended in tears so... yeah, that happened too. I cut my hair and went natural.

This year was a microwaved dumpster fire! However, because of the extremities of COVID-19 and social justice awareness, the quality of my life has improved significantly and I would only trade it if it brought back the lives we’ve lost. I still wish I was in Morocco and cry about that occasionally. I still hurt when I think of the racist, sexist, bigoted things people I thought I knew have said/done to me and other oppressed groups. I’m still not free from the shackles of capitalism. I am however trying, learning, teaching and hoping that this momentum will be maintained in the years to come.

I hope you are well, I love you and wish you the absolute best, write to me if you’re lonely.

Happy Holidays.

P.S: my travel blog has shamefully been “in the works” for almost 2 years so I’m officially sharing it. Excuse the mess Drifting Dosh

Monday, March 2, 2020

Black Bird 5

I wanted freedom and for my sins, Peace Corps gave it to me. 

I have so much time on my hands that I’ve started tearing metaphors out of mint teas that aren’t quite deep enough to dive into, yet I do. 
With every stroke, I get a sugar high that convinces me I am right and everyone else is wrong.
How dare they not know better?! 
I hold my breath even when I come up for air because I know that if I breathe in, I’ll remember I’m just like them - trying to do the best I can with the tools I’ve been given. 
But when you are on a self-righteous springboard, empathy is the crippling angst you don’t need. 
There is a difference between humanizing your foe and justifying their actions therefore, it is entirely possible to have empathy for people you wholeheartedly disagree with. 
On my better days, I can see why an African, who doesn’t believe he is an African, would be so offended by my existence that he would call me the n-word and try to assault me. 
I can see why someone can be an LGBTQ+ or POC ally but not an ally for Black People. 
On those days, my tea is hot enough to warm me without burning my tongue, minty enough to refresh me without leaving a bitter after taste and sweet enough to comfort me without the threat of diabetes. 
On those days, I’m swimming freestyle, breathing, sharing, caring, taking care of myself and those around me. 
Remembering that hatred needs no branding, it is cheap and gets in the way more often than it makes a path. 
Anger is necessary to do the work but so is the patience to educate, the empathy to realize that some people just don’t know and if I want change I will occasionally have to painstakingly give to the very people taking from me. 
It is unfair but if we don’t tell our stories, share our pain and tell others how to treat us, how are they supposed to know if they’ve never been taught better? 
If they don’t know to seek information from the same resources that we do? 
I know what I know because I experienced it, was taught, was told I don’t know everything and encouraged to seek information from all sources, especially those not in my purview. 
How then can I be mad at someone for not knowing this, without trying to share my experience coupled with what little I’ve learnt? 
Sometimes, we need to be the fire that burns down evil but most times, we need to be the flame that lights the way and warms hearts. 
These are painful lessons I’m continuing to learn and I still don’t get it right all the time, but I’m making peace with that too. 

So maybe, the freedom to ponder isn’t such a bad thing because as much as I love being in water, I don’t even know how to swim!

Sunday, October 20, 2019

Tick Tock

You’ll be fine
I’ll be fine
What is it they say about time?

It always runs out.

Friday, September 20, 2019

Black Bird 4

I am legally American
Biologically Ugandan
And Culturally Nigerian
I fit no where and everywhere
Everywhere is diaspora
Yet everywhere is home
I miss home every second of everyday
Because home is multiple smiles
And hearts
And arms
And houses
And cities
And countries away
Separated by the ocean
So I’m never quite home
It’s incredibly sad
Yet titillating
Because I am constantly surrounded by my people
And home is now wherever I make of it
So
Here I am
An American Peace Corps Volunteer
In Morocco
I am home away from home
In every sense of the phrase
and it’s oddly comforting 

Tuesday, December 25, 2018

My life in the uncultured lane

I'm not one for small talk
And I'm usually well behaved
But I tend to prattle when I'm nervous
I talk about puppies and poetry...
People I know, and people I don't know
And how I wish I had longer hair
And how the color you get when you mix pink with purple should be called punk
And how pumpkin pie is better than pineapple upside down cake, but not by much
And how I generally love people, but I like some people the way I like my coffee... in small doses and far apart
And how I once grabbed a handful of what I thought was my ex's butt, but it was the butt of a priest
And how I was once chased out of church by a man with a stick
Because I wore shorts and he swore I was a sinner
And I am, but redeemed by grace
And while I'm not proud of most of my behavior
I promise I'm working on my poise
 

Thursday, November 22, 2018

Careless

My love is quiet
It will not grind on you in a dark club where the music is too loud and everyone is too touchy but will reach out for your hand at a poetry slam when it locks heart with a sonnet
My love will rarely drag you out of bed for company but kiss you on the shoulder at 6am then head to the living room to finish a book
My love hates small talk but wants to know your deepest thoughts
My love doesn't try to be the life of the party, it strives to be kind the loner sitting in a corner
My love is not loud
It used to try to be, because that's how the movies and music videos and mills and boon described it
But at the cusp of 32, my love has learnt to be itself
Quiet
Steady
Reassuring
My love is not loud
If loud is what you are looking for
It's okay to bang the door on your way out