Category Archives: self-development

What I love about being a black woman

So…

Yesterday a man I am acquainted with sent me video. I have to say it was one I was somewhat surprised by as it was a vitriolic critique of the ‘Black Woman’.

The man who created the video, didn’t for one minute mince his words and proceeded to slate us for ‘bitchin,’ bringing up ‘thugs,’ being emotionally immature and demanding and for being the cause of the degeneration of the black family. He claimed we were always bragging about being ‘Queens’ and that everyone want us; but the reality is the black man is turning to the white woman, ANY woman but us because we’re driving them off with our ‘pissedosity’ and pouting.

He then went on to say that we’re all single because we are ‘egotistical children’ who do not take responsibility accept ‘thugs’ as partners and then have a slew of unwanted babies, choosing deliberate ‘single-motherhood’ in an attempt to get these men to stay with us. ..

As a result we abuse and neglect our children as they were not wanted in the first place and who are now a persistent reminder of the error we made in laying down, trying to get attention from the ‘good for nuthin’ thug’ in the first place!

Ay ay aaaaay!

‘Aaaaay caramba!’ and whole lotta words and phrases I tried to replace expletives for ran through my mind.

You can imagine my…well, all I can say is incredulity at the bile that spewed forth from this man, who’s ‘bass’ told me he was a black American male.

I came to the conclusion that…

‘Some sista, mussa do him Baaaad!’

It got me to thinking though it’s easy to get caught up in the negatives because yes it’s true… the Black experience is often one of struggle and persecution; of pain and racial discrimination and slurs even in 2019 (see: http://bit.ly/2Z0WPvX).

  • Yes, more often than not, our stories are made up of events, which serve to humiliate and denigrate us.
  • Yes, our narratives often articulate the challenge of rising despite massive social and institutionalised racism and injustice.
  • Yes, there are social and emotional challenges that we need to address.
  • Yes, our pain is acute and real. None of it is fabricated and it’s hard to live with and through.
  • And yes, in our attempts to get some relief from the pressure of our lives, from the ‘Just over broke,’ or downright ‘indebted and broke’ scenarios and the relationship drama, we (me included), can focus, disproportionately on the negatives of the black experience.

However, there are just as many wonderful things about my experience of being a black woman and it is these that keep me going despite it all… rising… forever finding ingenious ways around, up, over and around the pressures I encounter every day.

What I love about being a black woman

I love my (our) resilience: Despite times when I honestly feel I will simply break apart or break open. Somehow me and my sisters and mothers and aunts, and sistren and cousins and friends just keep bouncing back. Many of us without vitriol and somehow manage to find hope.

We will fall asleep broken and rise to the light of the sun and know that because it’s shining there must be a God and that there’s the possibility that things will change.

  • I love our spirituality: Even though many of us have rejected formal religious practices, there’s somehow a spiritual, gossamer thread, albeit in some of us, vague and barely discernable that reminds us that our ancestors DNA courses through us. Reminds us that we are connected. To the pouring of libation for the ‘homies in the big house’ to letting the ‘elders’ feed first at christenings and parties.
  • I love that we recognise our connection to one another – the irresistible magnetic pull to proffer a ‘nod’ of acknowledgement; the ‘I recognise the spirit in you and we are the same’ nod whenever you catch the eye of another black person for longer than a nanosecond.
Me: in all my Melanin-Cocoa Glory!
  • I love that my skin is coffee-choco-smooth. It’s ‘why haven’t you got any wrinkles?’ taut and when nourished by the sun and replenished by oils it shines bronze-reflecting, hailing the glory of the melanin that gives it it’s hue.
  • I love that I can flip my language from Standard English to broad Yorkshire and Jamaican Patois and now some Nigerian pidgin as easily as butter slides off a hot knife and that the myriad of phonetic and linguistic mélanges create a uniqueness of expression that cannot be matched or mimicked and all this despite having our languages taken from us.
  • I love that my people are linguistic governors! Non can compete with the numerous words and phrases our varying cultures ‘drop’ like social diamonds into the fabric of popular and musical culture. We’re constantly inventing… ‘fo’shizzle’ we are!
  • I love the richness of our history. That despite it being stolen, hidden and reconstituted in a blanket of lies we are reclaiming it; Pharonic brick by brick, Songhaian stone, by stone.
  • I love that when I come together with my ‘sistren’ there is a stripping away of the miasma of oppression and instead, (if there’s true sisterhood and not the ‘Jealousy’ I previously talked about); what you’ll find is us releasing the ‘bass’ in our voices, (as well as sometimes the bra straps!) and liberating the guttural, deep, raucous laughter that emanates from our bellies… as we ‘talk fi we talk’ and let go the tension of tip-toeing through a world which insists we hide parts of ourselves; in case we be deemed too ‘loud,’ or ‘aggressive,’ ‘too threatening!’

What I love about being a black woman is that I have an infinite number of options when it comes to what to do with my hair, which is both liberating and confining at the same time.

  • What I Love about being a black woman is that when I sashay out of a room I KNOW you can’t help but recognise that the place is a little duller because of it.
  • What I love about being a black woman is that I KNOW and recognise that the power and strength of my ancestors, the wisdom from their trials and suffering live within me and that I proudly carry their genetic code!

And I could go on…

The man who created the video denounced us as ‘Queens’ and said all the black woman has is ‘attitude’

What I told the man who shared the video with me was:

“If a man cannot tell the difference between a woman with standards and boundaries and one with ‘attitude,’ then he certainly ‘AINT’ no KING!

Blissings and much love

Pauline Tomlin

(Insightful Angel)

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Monkeys & Mules

Well, I had a peach of a day today!

Luscious and tasty! – Definitely NOT the kind of day I had

I gotta type fast, as I’m exhausted. It’s 10pm in a blisteringly cold ‘Blighty’ and I’ve challenged myself to get this written and posted in half an hour (unlikely). So, you’ll be getting a rehashed picture and probably typo-city!

Those of you that know me well, know I’m an educator. I know I’m a damned fine educator (I’m just beginning to OWN that) and so do the 1000s of children I have taught, not just about the subject of English, but about how to be authentically themselves, to love themselves and to honour who they are.

I was called a ‘MONKEY’ today…

Yup… a delightful young charge, a boy of about 14 years old decided that although I am

  • An elder
  • His teacher
  • A stranger
  • That it’s perfectly Okay to lob racial slurs in my direction.
  • That its okay to define me according to the features afforded me at birth that identify me as belonging to a specific cultural group and possessing a heritage different to his own.
  • To be ignorant of the fact that I have no control over (though I love) those features and they in no way indicate my generosity, how kind I may be, my intellect, size of my wallet any other quality I may possess.

In fifteen years as an educator I am aware that many a pupil, when faced with my firm behaviour management have had a few choice word to say. I can’t pretend to be a blushing wallflower and swear (pardon the pun) that I haven’t heard the odd expletive levelled at me, but I can categorically say, that NEVER has a child been brazen enough to directly and with venom, throw a racially charged insult my way.

Walking home in the bitter and I mean bitter cold It struck me and I have to say incensed me that I am 54years born, raised and seasoned in Leeds, Yorkshire, England, UK. Contributed some 35 of those years to paying taxes and positively contributing to society. my family alone are 5 generations into our contribution to this society and this little pipsqueak has been, in 2019 socialised into thinking racism is okay.

I was raised in the agitation and dread of racist 1970s Britain and the ‘There ‘aint no black in the union Jack’ sentiments

I felt the same horror, the same lurch in my stomach; the same acetic retch today as I did when called a ‘Nigger bitch’ and told to go home, by a car-full of young men, whilst I walked close to my home as a young girl.

Regardless of our 5 generations of slog and contribution by my family, he is taught nothing of legacy nor is he guided to understand the respect due to an elder. Ironically, his own ancestors probably arrived here two generations ago.

Our current political and social fabric condones his sentiments; legitimises them and creates and environment for them to survive. He feels that by denigrating me it makes him ‘cock of the walk…’ insulting an elder, a woman, a queen, a guide.

It’s a climate that has seen our leaders insidiously allow the creeping poison of racism to seep back into the veins of our society: *Windrush, Brexit… and after all what America does do we not follow? So, we now have the dastardly, despicable and jingoistic duo that is Trump and Johnson legitimising inflammatory and racist sentiment.

In the US there was a post Civil War promise made to allot family units, including newly freed slaves, a plot of land no larger than ‘40 acres and a mule.‘ It was a promise made by Union General William Tecumseh Sherman on January 16, 1865 after the war ended.

Trump wants to build a wall, Anti-immigrant and racist sentiment has been on the increase for the last few years (see above*) and I for one am ready to claim my Forty Acres.’

Why on this earth would I, after all this time want to stay where microaggressions and downright overt rejection are still the norm?

After 30+ years of travel I still KNOW that that seat next to me will not be taken by anyone unless they reeeeeeally are forced to, that the department store guard will at some point follow me around the store, that my change will be dropped into my hand as though I’m a leper and most establishments will shove my fellow melanated workers into the non-public facing roles wherever possible.

Well people…

I had my doubts about re-entering the ‘system’ that is Education on my return to the UK. I need to eat & I need to live. Education is what I know…

This… galvanises my resolve

Mi dun!

If anyone knows Nana Akufo-Addo, tell him 2020 should be the UK’s year of return!

I am only too willing to go search of the sweet, smell of a warm nubian breeze and when reparations are forthcoming I will be first in line to claim my ’40 acres’ and I definitely won’t be forgetting my goddamned mule either!

Happy Wednesday all!

Insightful Angel

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‘Black sheep’ and ‘crabs,’

Examining the ugly truth about Jealousy in the black family.

I went out last night…Whilst I was ‘shacking out’ and truly loving myself and the feeling of freedom I get from dancing, a woman came past me, invading my personal space (like literally inches away!) and shoved her miserable face into mine; threateningly. She then looked me up and down as if she’d stood in a dog turd and passed by looking over her shoulder as she went.

No words were exchanged, I didn’t even know her… the threat was obvious but why?

JEALOUSY!

She is an insidious and malicious mistress…

Two night’s before I was in the delightful company of four other black women. We chatted and discussed and all noted how wonderful it was to be amongst sisters and not have the tension and pique of resentment or petty insecurities peppering our commentary and tainting the energy.

Sad, though it is to admit, this is not often the case when ‘black folks’ get together and ‘two or more are gathered.’ The reality is, that oftentimes there is a thinly veiled covetousness and resentment amongst us. It’s a highly destructive and pervasive social malady.

Why does this happen? For if we are to change how we operate as a community on an equal footing with other groups in society creating opportunities for those that follow us, we need to undo the limitations and shackles we are still placing on ourselves.

Our great Leader and ancestor Marcus Garvey once said:

‘Do not remove the kinks from your hair, remove them from your brain.’

In my view one of the greatest and most insidious kinks prevalent within Black Culture, society and families is this Jealousy. Jealousy causes a huge wound ensuring we never come together as a collective to stem the tide of our collective destruction.

One reason jealousy manifests is the ‘Black Sheep’ scenario. This is when one member of the family is singled out for different (usually negative) treatment from the family’s caregivers. how they then treat the ‘Black Sheep,’ is noted subconsciously and can be replicated amongst the other siblings.

The emotional damage of this for the ‘odd one out,’ is incredibly painful to bear, but also, in my view, crippling too for the ‘jealous’ sibling, who spends their life focused on either the resenting their ‘black sheep’ siblings qualities, achievements or lifestyle or else trying to destroy their possessions, or reputation or both, when they should be focused on developing their own unique gifts to their fullest.

A Black Sheep is often created for the following reasons:

The Black Sheep

  • The have a particular gift or talent and without training ‘comes naturally and is executed to a high standard. This gift may bring external attention and validation to them.
  • Their personality is unusual and obviously different to that of the mother or father and they find it a challenge to relate to and parent them. Sometimes this is because the nature of the child triggers their insecurities. e.g. a particularly gifted child academically whose parent(s) struggled with school and harbour resentment or fear of the system; a child who is personable and friendly, yet has been born to parents or a parent who is insecure and nervous in social situations
  • The child could be very like the mother or father and the other parent resents them and the characteristics that remind them of the ex-partner.
  • Perhaps there is some secret or shame surrounding the child’s conception and the are a reminder to the parent of that poor decision or traumatic event.

Whatever the reason the persecuted child, the ‘Black sheep’ struggles for years with their decision-making & self worth and may reject the very ‘gifts’ they were born with.

  • They spend a lifetime wondering what is so horrid about who they are and insecurity a lack of self-trust and self-loathing follow them into adulthood.
  • If not that, then they make life decisions based on either pleasing others or in some cases in direct opposition to the advice of friends now around them in adulthood, as they find it impossible to believe these people have their best interests at heart .
  • An inability to trust follows and it becomes a self-fulfilling prophesy*

Invariably they blame themselves or become a people pleaser; wearing themselves out to make everything alright for everyone else, swallowing their own voices and shrinking in a vain attempt to gain approval.

The reality is that approval is never coming…

The worst of situations like this is that nothing is stated or discussed yet it permeates every interaction and every family decision.

It’s tough for an adult to recognise their parents are not perfect and are perhaps not as learned, emotional literate or experienced as they are, let alone a child who is dependent on these people for their view of the world and their care.

Crabs in a Barrel’

When one of us starts to ‘rise’ out of the constraining situation and circumstances of our birth or community, others members, become resentful.

They do several things to try and bring you down:

  • Other siblings, cousins or even the parents or caregivers take (usually without permission) use and destroy your property then negate your feelings of hurt, your protestations or upset, blaming you for overreacting or being ’emotional,’ disrespectful or miserable
  • Your physical attributes are often criticised
  • Family members cannot be pleased for you when you achieve triumphs and successes.
  • Family don’t pay attention to what you’re doing and show no interest
  • You’re not congratulated you on our achievements, or it is done with restraint and tension…the obligation being evident
  • Your school, college, work events & ceremonies are not attended, or they have excuses.
  • They separate others from you with whisper campaigns (or downright lies) or try and get them on their ‘side’ in situations. btw – their ‘side’ is always in opposition to whatever you think or feel.
  • They may go as far as trying to ‘live’ your life and cheat with your partner OR
  • Try stealing you own children’s affections and the affections of the wider family network in an attempt to isolate you. This isolation somehow ‘justifies’ their behaviour in their eyes. After all everyone else thinks you’re (insert your own negative label here)…’bossy,’ ‘too loud,’ ‘a know-it-all,’ ‘sneaky’ (if you’re shy) whatever it is they can find a way to persecute you for it
  • The wider community fail to support your attempts at entrepreneurship or comment on how you think you’re above them if your life decisions are different to theirs or you appear to be prospering materially.

Solutions

to move forward as individuals and communities we need to stem the ‘miseducation’ and warped socialisation that goes on within our lives.

Its imperative that we understand that the family is the fertiliser in which the ‘seed’ of the child is planted. For the seed to be properly nourished and grow into full potential that soil has to have the correct nutrients.

One of the most vital minerals in that soil is ‘support.’

I have taught many children for different cultural backgrounds and one thing they always tell me that we as a people do not do well, is support one another. They can be in the midst of a family feud, but if it comes to business or moving forward in society they will always support their own first…fraternise the shop within their own community and owned by a community member before running off to give their money, services to other social groups. Regardless!

Once we begin to support one another’s achievements we will see an exponential rise in our communities social, cultural and financial gains.

Family is the the foundation of society that community, if our communities are to move forward, but with proper understanding, we can come together and move and speak as one, create unity.

The family is the first place we learn to socialise and so it is here that that unity, the appreciation of and support for others and their gifts will first be taught.

It was through unity that our our ancestors fought tirelessly and secured their freedoms. It’s through unity that our countries gained independence and it was through unity that civil rights were won.

It’s not too late…

Come together within our communities and teach our children who they are and where they come from, teach them, their history and that they are unique; teach them that their gifts and those of the people around them are valuable. Teach them to respect themselves, their property and the community’s property as well as others.

Ensure they have collective and individual pride.

There’s no longer a place in the farmyard for a barrel full of crabs or black sheep!

Start the process of ‘de-kinking’ our minds!

Blissings and much love

Insightful Angel

*self-fulfiling prophesy: https://positivepsychology.com/self-fulfilling-prophecy/

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Sick of the Hurt! – Sayeth the man

Sick of the Hurt!

You may remember last week’s blog? The one in which I dared to tell the world that black women have feelings too! You know, the post which exposed the fact that we’re not made of stone (shocker!) And the limited narratives society (and indeed our own communities) offer us as a means to articulate our experiences are not about anger or a martyred single-dom, but are about our collective and individual PAIN?

Well…

That very same theme has carried into this week for me. I was intrigued by a comment made whilst in discussion with a friend. She recalled a conversation with her partner as she attempted to have a heartfelt discussion with him.

For some time she had noticed that she was not getting the best of him and was feeling ignored and dismayed by this. His attention was perpetually divided and when he seemingly was ‘listening’ it was with an ear towards the next message; skipping between ‘other’ (in her heart and eyes) more important contact’s messages; business calls that needed responding to (even at night) and other ‘stuff’ that meant she was perpetually side-lined, ignored, dismissed and her feelings needs and desires negated.

Expressing self

He’d been unaware of her week’s movements, challenges and triumphs, due to either not hearing her… truly being present and listening or because they hadn’t properly conversed in quite some time. Yet she, was acutely aware of his successes and challenges, had been there to support him in a particularly challenging issue he needed advice on and his response ad been, shall we say, less than grateful.

She felt it reasonable to express her disappointment to him, he is after all her life partner and she was acutely aware that if the situation continued they would be in big trouble in their relationship. She confessed to me it was only after her abandonment was so acute that she summoned up the daring to broach the subject with him. Fearing the often-felt dismissal when the black woman’s ‘feelings’ are brought up and the immense wounding she may swallow yet again, if she couldn’t get through to him.

The expectation would be for her to stifle the aching, yet again, find some emotional balm from deep within and place the salve on the knawing gape of her woman’s desires herself and just ‘get on with it!’

‘Getting on with it’ is what has been the lot of the Black woman since we were kidnapped from the Motherland.

Superwoman
  1. The dark hued woman was designated the back-breaking field work, bred like donkeys, raped and tortured, saw their children sold of at intervals or die: The first trauma – *Vilomahed (see below)
  2. Or else the children they produced who were ‘closer to massa’ in looks were brought into the house and discouraged from fraternising with the woman who bore them; the first heart-breaking rejection: The second trauma – Rejection
  3. If their men loved them, protected them, admired and appreciated them or their family unit was becoming just ‘too tight’ He was sold off: The third trauma – Unprotected
  4. If their son’s were protective and loving towards their mothers, if they dared defend them they lived in the fear of them being tortured or killed and so she had to teach her darling boy to ‘bow his head’ just a ‘likkle’ so massa wasn’t too offended by his emerging manhood and she felt shame. Shame that in trying to save him she was forced to become complicit in the emasculation of her own men: The fourth trauma – Psychosis inducing Guilt

And all of this, she had to stuff down. Even though it was vomit-inducing and choking she went back into the fields day after day, pregnant and in mortal fear instead of able to embrace the joy of bringing new life,

Into the ‘big house,’ and wet-nursed the massa’s baby, her life-giving, rich, original-mother-of-the-Earth-mineral-rich-mother’s milk suckled by another woman’s children, whilst hers went hungry…

Imagine…

Where did all that pain go?

And so… the narrative of the black woman being able to bear anything and get up and get on with it is ‘hot-metal branded’ into our collective psyches. No other woman in any other cultural grouping be-it a Racial, Social or even Professional context is or has been exposed to such isolation, rejection abandonment and emotional molestation.

Where did all the pain go?

Another friend and I have sat up night after night examining the shared experiences in our lives and the uncanny synchronicities within them.

Even we, seemingly intelligent, well-educated, sophisticated, modern Black women have had to recognise, painful as it is, that the trauma has been passed on. Passed on in utero. Passed on as our fragile lives take shape, as we exit the birth canal; the trauma has already been tattooed into our psyches!**

And it is so that we enter the world to then layer the traumas experienced in our own lives on top of the of the ones we’ve been bequeathed at birth.

Traumas and hurts from abuse, abandonment by lovers, husbands, children; for some of us, emotionally flat, unfeeling, sometimes cruel mothers, mothers unhappy at their own life choices and without the emotional maturity to deal with their feelings or ‘babies’ as mothers who like deer in headlights, were nursing their own traumas with no damned idea how to soothe and support themselves let anyone anyone else!

The trauma is perpetuated and so the narrative embeds deeper and deeper within our psyche, our experiences and our society. We can deal with ANYTHING, we have no need of comfort or protection or consideration or care; we are fearless and strong.

We are impenetrable.

Impenetrable like rock

In order to survive, that is exactly what many of us have had to become…

impenetrable, stone: pushing it all down, calcifying our pain for fear that if we acknowledge it, shine the light of realisation on it and dare to heal, that we might, instead lacerate and annihilate our very souls!

My brave friend persevered. She KNOWs she deserves like any other woman a chance to experience the love and protection and companionship of a life partner. She longs to be an example to her children and especially her girl children of what they can and should expect from themselves and their partners.

His response was to negate her hurt, it was to outline how fed up he was of hearing of her needs and that if this is what being  ‘strong black woman’ meant then he was ‘tired’ of hearing it.

Strong?

What is the strong black woman?

Her response was that ‘being a strong black woman’ means:

Recovering from another instance of someone:

  • Happily sharing your gifts, being uplifted and promising equanimity, yet in reality being incapable of admitting that they do not want to fulfil that promise or equanimity when it comes to you.
  • That it’s giving and loving and caring and supporting and getting little or nothing like the same in return…
  • It’s having your needs and feelings dismissed and instead being blamed
  • It’s somehow after being crushed, abandoned or neglected (after all you’re a strong woman and so can do EVERYTHING alone, so get on with it and shut up!) finding the courage and the hope and the compassion for self and others and swallowing the massive FEAR that you might get it wrong again…

It’s after society and your own men shove you to the bottom of the pile every day…

  • It’s after THAT… you dare to try again, to believe things can be different and not become cynical, cruel, ugly, vicious, mean or hurtful.

It’s getting up though you’re bruised and terrified and giving it another go, believing in the spirit of humanity, believing in romance, believing in true partnership and love and believing, despite exhaustion that you too deserve all life has to offer and you’ll give it one last go; just ‘ONE MORE TIME”

That…

She said is what being a strong black woman is!

Blissings and much love

Insightful Angel

*Vilomah means “against a natural order.” As in, the grey-haired should not bury those with black hair. As in our children should not precede us in death. If they do, we are vilomahed. … A parent whose child has died is a vilomah:https://today.duke.edu/2009/05/holloway_oped.html

**The Telegraph, Sunday 27th October 21019The Genetic Scientists are now beginning to confirm that phobias can be inherited: https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/science/science-news/10486479/Phobias-may-be-memories-passed-down-in-genes-from-ancestors.html

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Potential

I have been told many times that I have ‘Potential.’

The Stars… Potential

You can imagine how frustrating it is then to feel that I’ve never quite achieved that so often noted potential. Life seems so have been one, never-ending merry-go-round ride of resistance, under achievement and frustration. Despite working consistently hard, diligently and at times as if I was the great god Hercules himself, I somehow find myself back scrabbling around in life and patently aware that…

  • I am not living my best life,
  • I’m not realising my potential,
  • I’m not living and working ‘on purpose’ and definitely
  • I’m not seeing that purpose translate itself into Abundance: material, financial, spiritual or emotional.
  • I’m not serving in as great a way as I know I am able  

So, what the hell is going on? From what I read in blogs and various news feeds it would appear I’m not alone in experiencing these feelings. BUT…

How do we break the cycle?

How do we show up and step into the version of ourselves we know we can be?

Because girl, I sure as hell ’aint got it down yet!

It’s in this space that I find myself. I’m sure some of you can relate?

As a black woman in a white world you’re not expected to have potential. In fact, your potential is more often than not a threat or a problem. At times, even others within your own cultural context see your ambition and striving as you getting ‘above yourself,’ your ambition appears too persistent, too lofty.

On the other hand, when you are consistently speaking your vision into being and yet somehow you’re still incapable of getting within touching distance of your vision, even you can be forgiven for dismissing that oft quoted ‘Potential’.

It’s excruciatingly painful not being able to fully feel your power, to inhale the fullest expression and your truth.

Black Woman, Potential, confident.
Black Woman… confident, Expressing truth

Much of the black woman’s experience is one of containment. Well, in my experience and those of my friends, this is what I observe. I’m talking mostly of those black women of my generation ( those of us who are somewhere between mid 40s and our late 50s) who were almost exclusively fertilised in the soil of a White Western Cultural Context. It’s been a socialisation that mostly denies who we are and what we’re capable of achieving.

  • Denies the inherent Goddess nature of our spirit
  • Denies the wisdom and power of our ancestry
  • Denies our connectedness to Mother Earth.
  • Denies that we are Original Woman, from whence All huemankind originated.

As such, those of us who have reached the lofty heights of a fulfilled life often do so against insurmountable odds and doesn’t society just love that narrative? It’s one of the limited roles we’re allowed to wholly inhabit.

The strong black woman rising against adversity, beating the odds is one of those tropes that make for great tearjerker movies and reinforces the stereotype that we do not need emotional support. Instead we inhabit a world where we are stoic and resolute, we have no need of sisterly support, we have no need of our men and their protection, we have no need for fair and equal consideration because we can get there anyway, despite the challenges, despite the trials… all on our own!

This and other nefarious tropes we are allowed. I’m talking about ones such as; the single black woman or the angry black woman. These are the limited templates we are allocated and they’re socially ingrained. As a result, society and its systems deliberately limit our opportunities and access on all fronts so that we have no option but to fit one or other of them.

If we don’t then we’re simply dismissed.

Quite frankly “Mi tyad a dem!”

They say to write well, you should write what you know and what I know is being black, female, a mother, a grandmother teacher and proud descendant of my ancestral lineage, yet at the same time displaced, not fitting and not even in possession of my original name.

I am a humanitarian and proudly descendent of the continent called Afrika; a seeker a peacemaker, a teacher and idealist. As such @Notes on a Lazy Sunday will lean in a slightly different direction.

At times it may be controversial and provocative, at others cuddly and warm either way you are at liberty to comment, discuss, argue or agree and at the very least share with someone who may be similarly illuminated or enraged by the content. Isn’t that the great thing about social media, anyone can comment?

Well, back to the limiting templates I mentioned earlier: Let’s examine them shall we?

Now there’s nothing wrong with being single you understand, but when I notice it seems disproportionate to other groups in society, It gets me a-thinking and a-musing.

The Black woman and her features are coveted, but only deemed acceptable or beautiful when attributed to women of other races. The full lips and hips, the almond eyes, the small waist and high, tight, full bosom, the copper, coffee, cinnamon, vanilla-choco-latte complexions (god forbid not the cocoa or ebony hues though…lawd Jesus NO!) are all deliciously coveted.

The wrinkleless, smooth skin, muscular definition lustily sougth after and acquired via artificial enhancements by many are rarely (if ever) deemed to be ‘acceptable’ if your skintone veers towards the cocoa/ebony/onyx end of the pantone chart.

And so, society slowly and consistently, with a drip, drip, drip programmes men, women, girls and boys into the notion that beauty is defined by a white/creamy/Latte colour chart. Result: Black men and boys disproportionately (at least in my experience of the UK) and increasingly marrying white/creamy/latte coloured women.

White men marry white/creamy and Latte coloured women. There is always the ODD exception who will step over into the territory inhabited by the duskier hued beauty and the men of other races and cultures invariably marry within their own cultural and religious groupings.

Another result of this programming is that some of our white/creamy/latte coloured girls and women subconsciously see themselves as superior. (I know…that old chestnut! – well, guess what it’s still happening) – It’s not overt, but subtle; in ways that they communicate, or assume they go first or that they should be the one’s approached if men are around.   

And so, you have the creation, on masse of the ‘Single Black Woman:’

  • The strong independent black woman – Single
  • The single parent black woman – Single
  • The ambitious, educated black woman (Corporate) – Single
  • The adventurous entrepreneur black female – Single

Some of us lament the situation. Others of us are saddened by it. There are those of us who have given up and become sexually and emotionally anorexic. With no meaningful relationships in which to test or sharpen our emotional selves and not being taught by our mothers and grandmothers that it’s okay to feel, we deny our sisterhood, suffer in silence and alone. We ignore each other’s plight, choosing instead to perpetuate the dysfunctional cycle.

The Angry Black woman

What our men and society fail to realise is most of us have had so many hurtful experiences in both life and love that: we’re not angry…

We’re F*@%ing hurt!

Beyond imagining. And it’s not just our hurt we carry. But the epigenetic traumas passed through our DNA from the kidnap, rape and torture of slavery to the humiliation and denial of our being today.

We’re not allowed to be vulnerable, needy or sensitive. Instead we’re expected to be strong, disregard or refuse to admit we have needs, and are encouraged instead to be the eternal, stoic mother caring for the needs of everyone but ourselves. I mean we’re all so familiar with the powerful, strong ‘she who is to be obeyed,’ wise old matriarch aren’t we? After all Tyler Perry has made multimillions from his depictions of her.

From girlhood we are taught to be strong, to negate our feelings and just ‘get on with things.’ Invariably because there is no-one to lean on we have no alternative. If we do not comply, we are considered soft or weak and god forbid we decide to impose our own boundaries, then we are considered ‘bougie,’ ‘stuck up,’ or ‘cold’ and so the nefarious pattern continues its destructive cycle.

Where do we go from here?

Black Woman, Goddess
Black Woman, mysterious, wise, the original Goddess

I’m sure we have all noticed that the earth is seriously in trouble. We have entered the Age of Aquarius and most New Age philosophers are advocating for greater balance on the planet, namely embracing the feminine essence as a counter to the predominantly masculine energies we have been living with for a millenia, in the hope the earth may begin to rebalance and heal.

In my view, Society’s first consideration should be to remember to honour the primary feminine essence that is the ‘Black Mother’…

The Black woman as Ancestor/Daughter/Granddaughter/Sister… and bring her energies, her nurturing spirit and the wisdom she possesses back into the fabric of our lives. 

If we are to fulfil our potential as ‘huemans,’ and have any hope of reversing the damage we’ve created or of saving the planet for future generations then the ‘Mother,’ the Black Woman, the original life giver & energyforce needs be restored to her rightful place as the SOURCE, the wise one from whence we all came.

Just Sayin!

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Blissings & Love

Insightful Angel

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Panning – Sifting Sand & Salt

Panning

There are times in life when, despite not wanting to and despite having done this several times before we are forced to go ‘panning.’ What I mean by ‘panning’ is that we are forced to do some separating, some sifting of sand and salt to find the gold.

When there is a need to go ‘panning ‘it’s because there’s some form of irritation in your life, something gritty, rubs incessantly; just like that bit of sand between your flip-flop or in your food that you know is there due to its persistent chafing, but you just cant seem to get it out. It’s persists, causing minuscule scratches and eventually we find we have a raw and painful sore.

Or else ‘salt’ is present. That flavour, that taste in your relationship or friendship that gets a bit too much at times (there’s a reason we only use ‘a pinch’ of salt) and when it does it makes you wince. You jolt at the bitter piquancy and your mouth and eyes pucker at the brackish, acrid tang that is left.

Prospecting

Prospecting, or the process of panning – shifting sand and salt from your life takes time. It’s an age-old technique that doesn’t need any fancy equipment, but it does require focus and patience.

To pan, to sift the sand and salt successfully so they’re discarded and instead discover nuggets of gold, is a task requiring concentration. You have to sit, and sift and sift and sift again. You may not discover a gold nugget each time you sift, but each time you sift you DO eliminated more sand and more salt. What’s in your pan becomes finer, less rugged and against this finer, softer, less abrasive background it is far easier to see the gleaming gold when it finally lands in your pan as you sift just ‘one last time.’ And it WILL land.

In the right place…just the right dose…at just the right time

You see just the right amount of salt the ‘pinch’ I mentioned earlier, enhances the flavour of your food, just as a bit of ‘salt’ from that well-meaning, but perhaps rather terse or abrasive friend can provide just the right amount of pique, to spur you into taking action on your Sh*%t. The stuff you know you need to deal with but are avoiding. Similarly, that grain of sand; the minor irritation that gets under your skin, is a sign you have an issue you perhaps need to look at.

BUT…

When that friend or relative is persistently and excessively ‘salty’ you’ll get sick, if that grain of sand, that irritation rubs and chafes for too long, you’ll end up nursing an open wound.

But…I have aching arms

Oftentimes, we feel we have done all the sifting we need to do. We mistakenly believe that we have ‘finished’ with the need to discern and eliminate in our lives. Though these instances become less so, over time, my life experiences have made caused me to realise that sifting sand and salt doesn’t really end.

When it becomes clear that, yet again we need to do yet another round of filtering we are surprised and disappointed in ourselves.

‘But what to do when your arms are tired?

When your arms are tired, simply lay the pan down. But NOT you understand in the flowing river otherwise you’ll lose your pan altogether.

Lay it to rest on the bank…

Those salty tongues will still be wagging, those sandy irritants will still be chafing, but from the vantage point of ‘distance’ from your pan, you can often sort the more subtly, deeply hidden granules that you didn’t realise were an irritation in the first place!

When your energy is replenished, pick up your pan and continue the task of refining the content of your life so it is smooth and uniform and soft. Free of salty critiques and sandy irritants.

Hitting pay dirt

To hit pay dirt means:

  1. to discover something of value. (Alludes to discovering valuable ore.)
  2. Fig.to get great riches

ref: http://idioms.thefreedictionary.com/hit+pay+dirt

It seems I have been panning – sifting sand and salt for some months. Many times my arms got tired and I had to lay my pan down. Each time I picked it up again I had a better perspective and could see more clearly the nuggets rising to the surface. But the true ‘gold’ came the moment I ‘hit pay dirt.’

All that sifting and filtering, laying down of my pan and picking it up again meant I had moments to see beyond the pan, moments when in my mind’s eye I would just catch something gleaming, I could see beyond the proverbial ‘trees’ and could see the wood.                     Continue reading Panning – Sifting Sand & Salt

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Everyday Spirit

Happy Sunday all

Well, hello all. It’s been some time hasn’t it since I posted an insight? I’ve been pretty challenged over the last two months or so, as well as extremely busy. In that time many of my thoughts have been on spirit and the nature of spirit’s guidance in my life at this time. I realise, not for the first time that Spirit, does what spirit is want to do, regardless of what WE think it should be doing.

I have to admit to being a little nervous at the moment.

After so many weeks of not posting I have the self-limiting expectation that every word I write has to be some great illuminating ‘KAPOW’ moment for everyone and that’s been paralysing hence such a long break.

But hey, in life one has to bite the bullet…

This probably isn’t a great ‘KAPOW,’ for most, but who knows maybe it’s a gentle nudge for some?

Update

cropped-manuscript-203465_1280.jpgLife has recently changed beyond all imagining and taken me to a completely different continent. I’m sure you can imagine the logistical operation it has been to uproot one’s life and pad down in a completely different spot.

It’s a change that involves a new home and way of living. There are; new customs, foods, traditions and ways of being, systems and infrastructure. It’s at once thrilling and fearful, exhilarating and frustrating, exciting & tiring.

There have been so many insights popping up that it’s been hard to decide which one to share with you today, but I think I’ll go with what I’ve been learning about Spirit & manifestation.

Now, many of you will have inwardly groaned and gone ‘Urrrgh’ she’s gone all weird and ‘hippyfied’ on us (again) but hear me out…

Everyday Spirit

Whether we acknowledge it or not ‘spirit’ or ‘energy’ or ‘god’ or ‘universe’ or ‘guides’ or ‘ancestors’ are working day and night to support us in our lives here in this physical plane. The evidence is all around us we simply need to choose to see the signs we’re given every day.

2014-07-05 05.59.11We can use this spirit to help us in our lives from finding the energy to get through everyday tasks to asking for spirit’s support when we have more challenging things to deal with. The thing to remember about spirit though, is that you need be precise, get specific bearing  in mind it will bring you what want in a form that you need, not necessarily what you think you want, in the way you think you need it.

Say you’ve been single for a while and (for the purposes of the illustration you’re heterosexual) you wish for a partner of the opposite sex. But let’s say you also have an unresolved issue with self-esteem. Spirit may well send you the partner you want, but perhaps this partner is one who is critical of you…

Why?

So you have another opportunity to practise standing up for yourself and finding your self-love and esteem

You may ask for a tall, dark handsome man (if you’re male or female) and you get just that, but he’s superior and arrogant challenging you to face and deal with your ideas about hierarchy, status and the value you place on others.

Stepping up to life can be fearful...What's next?
Stepping up to life can be fearful…What’s next?

Perhaps you’re having thoughts of I hate this job or I need to ‘get out of here’ and lo and behold you’re made redundant, or fired from your current role with no alternative means of employment organised.

Now I know you meant that you wanted to find another job and step into that or create a business and get it up and running before giving up your current occupation, but did you specifically think about that? No…

Your thoughts were ‘I’ve got to get out of here.’ And guess what? You get your wish you’re fired and now you’re, as you wanted –  ‘out of there!’

‘You gotta get specific!’

yes-238374_150You see Spirit will send you what you ask for, but you’ve got to get specific. It will also add a dash of what you need.

So when you ask, create thoughts that have you stepping into the role you want…see the people around you and the type of interactions you want to have with them, feel how it feels in that meeting with them or discussing new projects; OR imagine your ‘tall, dark handsome man’ being generous and kind, imagine his responses to being around you, your family and friends and the conversations you have together. See his kind acts and generosity being demonstrated in different situations and with different types of people… in this way spirit KNOWS what you want, in precise and exact detail and can get on with the job of bringing it to you.

Blissings and much love

Insightful Angel

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Musing: Love in all it’s forms

Happy Monday all

Last week, I was musing on love all it’s forms and the following words spewed out.

It was a week when I was shown love in all it’s many wonderful and not so wonderful forms:

Sibling love, romantic love, parental love… the love of friends, children neighbours and pets. I saw it all. The expressions were sometimes beautiful, other times they were less so…

Sadly, I noticed too that sometimes, just sometimes when we say we love what we do is allow love to be expressed as long as it fits what WE decide is an acceptable expression of that love.

Sadly, sometimes we impose conditions…

Sometimes we threaten and it got me thinking…

What IS Love?

love-1153972_1280And though for me it was just a momentary thought, a whole stream of words spewed forth.

I shared my thoughts on my personal FB page. It wasn’t a big deal, but it seems to have gotten a powerful and positive response with one or two people mentioning that I should share it more widely, so I am here for you today.

I hope it inspires you at the start of your week’s journey:

Contemplating love…In all its forms

Love is open
Love is giving
Love does not deny…
the friend…child…parent…lover, those parted or the living
 
Love is never demanded!
 
Love is kind
Love is inclusive
Love is free from guilt
Love should never be denied
used as weapon its withdrawal a threat
 
Love-in-such-a-wayFor love should be…
Uncensored
Unconditional
Unlicensed
And fall where it may
 
Love is trust(ing)…NOT
insecure or blind subject to rules, conditions & moral confines.
 
Love respects the separate…the union & the whole
For Love is…All
Love is…

the seat of the Soul!

Blissings & Much Love

Insightful Angel

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The Joy of Oven Cleaning

Happy Sunday All,

So there I was… my head in the cavernous, dark recess, whilst my knees chafed against the cold of the vinyl flooring. I was oven cleaning.

Oven cleaning is one of those jobs that we all detest.

As I jiggled and shuffled and ‘humphed’ and ‘hawed’ with tremendous effort, it occurred to me that oven cleaning could easily be used as and analogy for the emotional clearing that we all need to do from time to time.

A good M.O.T

oldtimer-146524_1280Every so often it’s a good idea to look at your emotional state and give it a good old overhaul. By doing so, you open yourself up to deeper self- development and access greater creativity and understanding. In addition you’re ‘clearing out the trash’ of your inner world, so you’re lighter and freer. You see others’ actions and situations more clearly and with deeper insight and you also take a step or two (or several) towards understanding your purpose, the people in your life and the lessons they’re here to teach you.

Emotion=Action=State=Reality

Our emotional state dictates the type of action(s) we take and they in turn have consequences that form the reality we create.

So doing a bit of oven cleaning and peeling back the dank, sticky layers can only serve you.

However…

Oven cleaning is a messy, messy job!

cooker-295135_1280

  1. Your stomach churns as you encounter the globules of hard to reach grease and grime, you know you should really have gotten to earlier. In my analogy, this represents the ‘stuff’ you get stuck in. It’s the stuff in the dark recesses that you can’t see, the patterns lodged in the subconscious and created in our formative years that you repeat.

This is the stuff mirrored in the people you meet who have the same or similar qualities, the situations that have you thinking  ‘I’ve been here before.’ The key here isn’t to figure out why they keep showing up, or why you are dealing with similar situations or personality types – the key learning is:

“How will I choose to react this time?”

Once the (re)action changes, so does the result and so then the reality you find yourself in.fantasy-1275253_1280

  1. Is the stuff that is molten and drips down the walls…Urrrgh! This stuff is more visible and closer to the surface. It’s the stuff that though visible is perhaps ‘ickier’ as it’s sticky and keeps dripping. You have to use lots of soapy water time and time again to get rid of it to reveal the shining vitreous enamel beneath.

This sticky stuff feels as though you can’t get away from it. There’s lots of dry heaving as this stuff makes you sick to your stomach. This particular aspect of oven cleaning needs lots of ‘elbow grease’ to get rid of it!

Maybe it’s the treatment you receive from a family member or work colleague. Someone you’re tied to in some way and have to live, work or communicate with.

Out of fear or duty you put up with their challenging or rude; jealous or insecure behaviours, and don’t defend your right to your own thoughts actions or deeds. You do what they NEED you to do and keep the peace.

but…

you also feel that twinge inside that lets you know you betrayed who you really are by doing so…

The other person is appeased, triumphant even,

but…

You feel coated in the slime, uncomfortable and sticky – YOU were inauthentic! You failed to defend who you truly are and as a result another (perhaps only tiny) piece of you died…

but…

At least you didn’t rock the boat eh?

wooden-boat-258953_150

  1. Then there’s the really hard-baked, albeit smaller burnt on bits that cling to the undersides of the wire racks. They’re really caked on, bits of stuff that have dripped off and baked on the underside.Though baked and seemingly a challenge to shift they’re relatively easy to remove, the trick with this aspect of oven cleaning is to be quick and sharp in your movements.

These are perhaps the more everyday emotional slights we receive. They’re there, but surface only really. We do have to be mindful we’re not too sharp with the chipping off though, as we could slip and cut ourselves damaging relationships that we need to maintain in the present.

(No doubt you now think I’m a rather disgusting householder if my oven needs this much attention? I assure you I DID exaggerate somewhat!)

Gratitude, Gratitude & Pure love

Love-in-such-a-wayBy examining what a specific person’s role or behaviour has provided for you to learn, you can uncover the meaning of these relationships. When you discover the meaning you learn to understand their importance in your spiritual & emotional evolution.

Once you’re able to recognise the part they have played in your emotional development, you can get on with the job of being grateful for the service they have performed, shifting the emotional debris that can coat our psyches and emotions and stop us from evolving.

Being grateful for the lessons we’ve learned and acknowledging that they gave you a gift is a wonderful clue to the fact that we have shifted any emotional ties. Once in gratitude we open our hearts up to pure love.

Evolution & Change

There is no evolution without change, so if you’re wanting to understand your emotional and spiritual evolution, then be sure to undertake regular oven cleaning…

The kitchen smells fresher, your bread bakes better and

boy does it taste delicious!

Blissings & Much Love

Insightful Angel

 

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I am an alien

Happy Friday All

The day the Earth stood still is a film about an alien who lands on earth. It that captivated me as a girl. For over 50 years it has been one of my favourites. When I was younger I didn’t really get why, but  now, I get it!

Day-The-Earth-Stood-Still

The film’s message is one of love. Yes, L.O.V.E. Love. Unconditional acceptance and the freedom to be the way you were made to be.

The Plot: Basically An alien lands and tells the people of Earth that they must live peacefully in love or be destroyed as a danger to other planets. The ship is a Metal Giant, in it a ‘man’ like extra terrestrial delivers the warning insisting that they ‘come in peace’

Now these two beings do nothing wrong. They do not instigate anything; the man goes around interacting and being a wonderful example of how humans should behave. It illustrates how base and barbaric our way of being is.

BUT

Because we do not understand it…we decide to attack it and that’s when the trouble starts.

I don’t know about you but I’m fed up of being attacked because others fail to understand my actions as I express love. I am Mad, yes, Fuming at how often I have to bear witness (and received) the basest, most hurtful comments and despicable actions of others because they insist on judging others by their own insecure, base, greedy or evil standards.

We’re seeing it all around us…

Look at the world we’re living in!

So I’m getting it off my chest and declaring to the world ‘I am an alien!’

ufo-1448947_1280

There, I said it.

What I mean by this is that I believe that love is… that’s it.

Love is all; It’s all we have ever or will ever need. It would seem that thinking and being this way makes me an alien.

I am, it would appear an ‘other worldly’ being others sometimes assume has an ulterior motive or else they believe I am dealing in something unsavoury; that I and others like me are acting in a way that is strange. When all we aliens are doing is expressing what we feel is right and good showing love for our fellow citizens, our families, our friends and our neighbours

We say we believe in love and it’s a CROC!

Hypocrisy.

  • We cry and weep and wail for Paris and Turkey…. as we should.
  • In our millions, we share posts for ‘Black lives matter’ as we should
  • We get incensed when we hear of the genocide being committed and rightly so
  • We march to show how much we care and rightly so
  • We insist time and time again that we believe in love AND
  • Share profound videos on social media that remind us that L.O.V.E. is all the world needs and you know what

It’s a ‘Croc’ 

You see if we believed in LOVE, truly believed, we’d practise it – every day, in every situation, in every way, unconditionally.

But…

apple-570965_1280All too often love I see love showing up with conditions.

  • You can love me but not him/her/them/that
  • If you love me you won’t speak to…
  • I love MY people, but THEY are different
  • If you love me then you won’t be/do/say X, Y, Z
  • If you won’t do this and my way, you won’t see your children/family/mother/father/grandparents
  • Love is demanded
  • Love is withheld
  • Love is used to manipulate

Love has many forms.

The Greeks had at least four words for their interpretation of the different ways love can be expressed

  • Éros:means “love, mostly of the sexual passion.” Although éros is initially felt for a person, it becomes an appreciation of the beauty within that person, or an appreciation of beauty itself. Physical attraction as not necessarily a part of love, hence the use of the word platonic to mean, “without physical attraction.”
  • Agápe: means “love: esp. charity; the love of God for man and of man for God.” Agape is used in ancient texts to denote feelings for one’s children and the feelings for a spouseeros-352030_1280
  • Philia: “affectionate regard, friendship,” usually “between equals.” It is a dispassionate virtuous love, a concept developed by Aristotle In his best-known work on ethics. Philia is expressed as loyalty to friends; (specifically, “brotherly love”), family, and community and requires virtue, equality, and familiarity.
  • Storge : means “love, affection” and “especially of parents and children” It’s the common or natural empathy, like that felt by parents for offspring. It is almost always used to refer to relationships within the family. It is also known to express acceptance or putting up with situations, as in “loving” the tyrant. Storge is also used when referring to the love for one’s country or a favourite sports team.

On Being Alien

  • Being an alien means I know that love shows up as familial, as friendship, as care, as companionship.
  • It shows up deeply and casually, it shows up as sex and affection, it shows up in making a cup of tea or coffee
  • It shows up as staying up late to mark those last 10 papers
  • It shows up as telling someone they look lovely even if you don’t know them and will never see them again
  • It shows up as laughing at a friends joke, speaking kindly to a customer, rubbing your dog’s whiskers and every day…

It shows up perhaps 50-100 times a day

But, how many opportunities do YOU take to live in the Love you say you believe in?

Mantra

home-1132278_1280I am an alien

I make no apology for being an alien,

I will not stand down nor accept criticism & condemnation when I choose to love as compassion or affection.

I will not allow your sullied mind to make my expression of any connection to another seem seedy and unsavoury because you judge from within the dank walls of your own insecurity, hatred and fear

I will not abandon my sister or brother because their experience is not that of my own

I will not give up on LOVE whatever form it needs to take

So, why not join this alien?

Create a tribe of aliens who come to the world in love, who come in peace and take every opportunity, every moment of every day, to express it in all its wonder, its beauty and yes it’s LOVE.

Blissings and much love

Insightful Angel

 

 

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