One of the most important changes I’ve made this year is to stop answering “how are you?” with “I’m fine” when I’m not fine, when things aren’t OK. Why should I lie to myself, my family, my friends, even strangers? Besides, it comes off as disingenuous; people can tell that you’re lying, that something is bothering you. This constant dishonesty can also push away people who genuinely care about you.
I said this lie because I didn’t want to talk about what was bothering me at the time. I didn’t want people, especially associates and strangers, to pry into my life. I felt ashamed to be going through a tough time. I’m an adult; I’m supposed to have this life thing all figured out by now.
Wrong. Everyone goes through ups and downs; through rough patches that seem to stretch as far as the horizon. There’s nothing wrong with not being OK, to not have this life thing all figured out once you reach a certain age. You’re growing each day. You’re getting better with negotiating who you are and how you fit into this world.
It’s also OK not to want to discuss it or get into details with everybody who asks. People should respect your privacy.
When I’m not fine and people ask how I’m doing, I’ve begun answering with something like this: “I’m not doing well. It’s personal and I do not want to discuss it at the moment. But I will be fine.” That typically works for family, friends, even associates.
For strangers, I answer with the more vague, “I’m maintaining.” That’s what I do, even when it feels like my world is crumbling around me; I maintain the pieces together, no matter how loosely.
Ain't no love
In the heart of the city.
Ain't no love
When a job can't be found.
When the steel rib cage
That protected the people
Has been broken down.
Ain't no love
When you got that degree
But you get no love
From the company.
You got the schooling and skills
But you ain't got a job
And mounds of loan bills.
Greetings and salutations!
It's the end of 2016, and time for the "best of" lists to come flying. I'll participate by listing the best books I've read in 2016. This isn't a list of my favorite books that were published this year, but the best books I read in 2016, regardless of the date of original publication.
Without further ado, here's the list (in no particular order).
salt. by Nayyirah Waheed – Short, powerful and thought-provoking. The poems live within you.
Dictionary: 1. See Poems by Sharea Harris – Insightful pieces that analyze life & the world in a unique way.
Black Freak Mosh Heaven by Ron Kipling Williams – Poems that I relate to as an outcast/outsider who ended up finding where I fit.
The Book of Phoenix by Nnedi Okorafor – Magic and action wrapped in a sci-fi adventure that's pure bliss. Prequel to Who Fears Death, one of my all-time favorite books.
The Final Empire by Brandon Sanderson – Innovative magic system using metals that are ingested and a dynamic tragic hero makes brings this book alive. First book in the Mistborn Series.
The Ghosts That Surrounded Them by Timmy Reed – Creative stories that converge into one narrative that speak on the sadness in the characters’ lives.
The Isis Papers by Frances Cress Welsing – Brilliant essays on the root cause of racism.
Killing the Black Body by Dorothy Roberts – Eye-opening book on the structural racism that is embedded in the struggle for women’s reproductive rights.
The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander – Wonderfully written and put together investigation into mass incarceration as it is used to create an underclass and as slave labor.
Words = Life
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