Thursday, December 14, 2017

Spinster diaries

Jahine held her breath and felt the individual beads of sweat suddenly escaping from the pores in her back. She chuckled under her breath as the medical assistant squinted at the clipboard. That was her cue - she was up next. But she wanted to give the MA a chance to butcher her name and butcher she did.
"JAH-HI-NEH NNNN-FON" she said with that lilting pitch to her voice which conveyed she wasn't sure about the pronunciation.
"Jay is fine, yes that's me" Jahine said with a smile as she rose to her feet.
"Did I say it right?"
"It's pronounced Jane Nfon. My parents wanted a timeless name for me but with a special touch" she said as she again flashed a smile that masked her anxiety.
"Ah I see. My name's Britnay, with one t and an a instead of an e and nobody ever spells it right so I can understand that" she says as she walks Jahine back.

 In the hallway they stopped by one of those big scales with the sliding parts and the MA gestured for her to step on. She took off her coat, set her purse down and wondered why a practice this fancy didn't just purchase a high tech electronic bathroom scale instead of this loud device that looked like it was made for weighing cows. Eh who knew? Probably something or other about this one being more accurate [snort].

As she stepped on, she insinctively looked down to find a screen with digital numbers - oh wait yeah she couldn't because medieval scale. Britnay announces "130 pounds". Jahine is pleased - she had been the same weight since junior year of college. She worked hard for her svelte figure - 1 hour of cardio and 20 minutes of weights every other day. Eating fruits and vegetables every day, avoiding sugary drinks and fastfood, cooking her own meals and making a point of eating only half of every sweet treat when she did allow herself to indulge. So yes, she was proud of her work. Her blood pressure and heart rate were the picture of good health. She felt like a student eager to show off her thoroughly completed homework to the principal as they walked to the doctor's office. 

Dr. Cain was, if the Internet was to be believed, the best reproductive endocrinologist there was in that part of town. She'd happened upon him just a month ago when she'd seriously begun contemplating donor sperm IVF.
It was the night before her 35th birthday and she found herself deep in thought as she sipped on a mixed red wine that had been in her kitchen for way too long. Nights like these were not uncommon for her since she turned 30 - they were usually during milestone events such as a birthday but more often than not would occur out of the blue or after scrolling through her various social media.

She considered herself to be accomplished and fortunate in many ways - her parents, being both educators had been very supportive of her pursuits and with her smarts, school had been a breeeze. The connections she'd made while in law school and her vibrant personality earned her a job at the top law firm in town even before she graduated. She had started her own NGO which was rewarding work outside of work. She was satisfied with where things stood thus far.

All along the way, she'd had people say "Don't forget other aspects of life o, it is not always about book". She knew those comments came from a good place but they rubbed her wrong - did they expect her coax men to fancy/date/marry her? She had continued to date during college and law school. She'd met almost equal numbers of Fboys and "husband material" guys. But there was always something - they were too young/old, not ambitious enough, too far away, not progressive enough in their thinking. Or sometimes they were just right, but had eyes for someone else. She'd had her fair share of heartbreak even as she had herself broken hearts.

On her 27th birthday, a guy she'd been seeing for just over 6 months proposed to her - he had a very imposing nature and had seemed more interested in the idea of her (lawyer wife for a doctor) than in her as a person. On their first date he'd thrown a mini fit when she expressed her non-desire to take on a man's last name if she ever did marry. He'd spent more than half the time since then trying to guilt and force her into changing her mind. She'd said yes to his proposal because all of their friends and family were present. As soon as they got to his car she took the ring off and handed it back to him. He never spoke to her after that.

Friends and family were always looking to hook her up with someone "because a fine geh like you should not be going to waste". Initially she'd said no to all their attempts but when she did finally cave, she had little to no chemistry with the guys they chose - her people didn't know her taste in men it seemed. So she shut that down too.

On that day, the eve of her 35th birthday, she had been scrolling through Facebook. Another engagement. A trip to the motherland for a traditional wedding. A church wedding - ah, what pretty colors. A baby bump - wow, 3rd child! She clicked "like" for most of the pics; "love" for the ones that were particularly cute. As she set her phone down, she stared into her wine glass. She felt that overwhelming sense of fear + mild envy + anxiety + self-doubt with which she was all too familiar. She hated that feeling. She thought about her own accolades and all the things that made her feel good about herself. They all some how seemed small and irrelevant on nights like this. So when a co-worker shared her own IVF story with her, it was no surprise she'd considered it strongly enough to make this appointment.

"Jahine!", bellowed Dr Cain as he knocked and opened the door. "Hi, Dr Cain nice to meet you".
"Nice to meet you as well", he smiled and they shook hands. He was a middle-aged white male with a handsome face but quite some girth on him. She briefly wondered if and how he could sincerely counsel his patients on weight loss. He probably used the tired line "do as I say not as I do". She was careful not to let her eyes linger on his rotund belly lest he catch her judgemental look.

They talked about her woman parts and history. Yes she had regular monthly periods.
No she had no issues with cramping or painful sex.
No she wasn't on birth control.
Yes she had a regular gynecologist and a recent normal pap smear.
Yes she had been to the sperm bank's website and already chosen a potential donor, all was set.

He asked about her social history - he was impressed at her career success given her relatively young age. She did that thing where she downplayed her achievements but was quick to catch herself.
No she wasn't in a relationship right now. She sighed a sigh of relief when he didn't pursue this further.
Yes she was aware of the financial commitment and that won't be a problem.

He suddenly jumped to his feet and clapped his hands gleefully: "Let's get you started then! I'll step out so you can get undressed for an exam and an ultrasound and we'll come up with the plan".

The rest of the visit was uneventful - she had normal anatomy. Starting with her next cycle, she would take medications to help her produce many follicles which would subsequently be harvested, fertilized with the thawed sperm and any healthy blastocysts obtained would be placed in her uterus.

She picked up the prenatal vitamins and other medications he had prescribed for her and drove home. She was never too fond of the female pelvic exam - the sticky and cold gel from the ultrasound probe somehow made it to every nook and cranny. She took a shower and poured herself a glass of wine. She remembered having read something about fetal alcohol syndrome on the elevator and promptly emptied her glass down the sink. She opted for green tea instead.

As she settled in front of her computer she revisited the sperm bank page. She looked over her potential donor. He was a very handsome black man - white teeth, impressive jawline, tall, healthy, educated, no family history of anything scary. She imagined what their composite baby would look like. She wanted a girl - with pearly whites and a smile like his, maybe his height and her figure when she grew up. Her full lips and afro, his confident nose. She would be an adorable little girl who would grow up to be her best friend and confidant.

She thought about how her own life would change. Would this make her more or less eligible? Would it change her career path and potential? Would it make her ripe fodder for gossip? The same people who'd diligently reminded her of her ticking clock would surely be the ones to snicker behind her back for using frozen sperm from a man she didn't even know.
It be your own people, she swore.

She had never felt any particular urgency to have children . In her mind, having children was akin to randomly meeting Barack Obama or Oprah in Chicago. It would be cool if it happened but she never actively went out of her way to make it happen. It would also come in handy at one of those work functions where they asked you to introduce and say one fun fact about yourself.

She'd mulled over the various reasons people had given for wanting children:
Because the Bible said so (what about those who were not Christian? Also, was the "go forth and multiply" commandment still applicable nearly 8 billion humans later?)
Because it gives you the opportunity to nurture and care for another human being (sounded cute. Made them sound like real nice selfless beings. Did they feel similar when they drove past the homeless man on the corner?)
Because you can have a companion/caretaker when you get old (lol, they'd certainly never heard of kids turning out wrong. Also, maybe a bit selfish? Did the kid have a say in this?)
Because don't you want to pass on your genes?? (Err yeah she was dope but certainly the earth won't stop spinning on its axis if her genes were lost from the pool)

She pondered on the people who for one reason or another were incapable of having children. Were they doomed? Were their lives by definition empty and without meaning?

She abruptly stood up. She rummaged through her purse for the medictions from Dr. Cain. She walked to the bathroom, uncapped the bottles and flushed the pills down the toilet. She wasn't ready for this and probably never would be.

San Antonio, TX

Friday, July 17, 2015


Dear African girls, I come to you this morning with a heavy heart. It saddens me to repeatedly see you go about your business of abusing our culture on an everyday basis like no man’s business. We come from a land of greatness; rich in natural resources, beautiful child brides, skillful female circumcision experts and a sense of community that has thankfully not been invaded by the perversion of the Western world. So when I sit down to put these rules together for you, it is to help us all continue to sustain our beautiful culture. Let’s touch on these topics.

Imagine my shock the other day when I found out Ngeri’s daughter does not know how to cook fufu! The girl is almost done with high school and she walks around unashamedly with that kind of flaw?? How will she ever keep a man if she can’t feed him? Talk less of having a family!! I mean how can a woman be a woman if she can’t perform her basic domestic duties?? For shame. But you know what? I blame her mother. I have always said you must get these girls in the kitchen as soon as they learn how to hold a fufu stick steadily. But no, Ngeri would not listen and just brushed off my concerns. Now look what has happened to her daughter. It is sad really, girls. Do not let this be your story. Go in that kitchen and throw it down like every good African girl would. Make your mother proud, attract a man, keep him well fed and thank me later.

Another issue of concern for me dear girls is your manner of dressing. I see many of you good girls trying to copy that American fashion of walking around showing your valuable assets. Don’t you understand that by flashing off all your secrets, you leave nothing to the imagination? You have to stay covered so that when men go to imagine you, they can have the pleasure of un-covering you themselves. You must not take away from your future husband the excitement that is akin to unwrapping a favorite piece of candy.  Remember that a farmer will never buy a cow if he can get the milk for free. You know, despite all the bad things the white man has brought to our land, he has also brought some good. Think about how our female ancestors walked around naked for centuries, the whole time devaluing themselves until the Europeans came to their rescue. I feel sorry for some of those primitive tribes that insist on walking around naked or with their scanty raffia leaves. Thank God for progress my dear girls.

The other day, my dear friend Susan introduced me to this thing called Facebook. Dear girls, I have seen the gateway to hell! Susan was showing me pictures of her daughter who lives out in Florida and one of them caught my eye. She was standing with some boy and guess what? He had his hand around her waist!! This boy is not her husband and has made no declarations of any such intent, yet there he was, carelessly holding her around the waist! Girls, let me break this down for you. You know all your value is topically distributed and as such can be easily rubbed off. 40% is on your buttocks, 30% around your waist, 30% around your thighs and the rest of your body parts make up the remainder. So this dull girl was standing there, letting that man hold her waist and just like that - GBAM - she depreciated by 30%. The Good Book teaches us that our bodies are temples and it is our duty to keep them sacred and pure. You see, the sanctity of this temple is so fragile that something as seemingly trivial as a man’s arm around your waist can cause it to be lost. You must be careful girls, lest all your mornings of bible study, meditation and prayer go to waste because of a boy.

I learned about something that shook me to the core just two days ago and I am still hoping some one will come wake me out of this dream. I hear there are schools in America where children are taught about sex and on top of that, the students receive free condoms? It is no wonder that country continues to descend into the abyss. Why would a topic as sacred as this one be fodder for classroom discussion? And why, oh why, would people give young girls condoms? Don’t you see what that will cause? More and more of our young women would no longer be afraid of diseases and pregnancy and would have no problem spreading themselves around like cheap ashawos.  Girls, I am afraid you are being led down a dangerous path but you must be strong. These discussions are a no-go zone. As for the condoms, run far far away from the devil and do not give him that opening.

Now if you do these things and continue to succeed as an upright and decent African girl, you will catch the eye of one of our African sons and they will honor you by making you their wife. This reflects well on your family and superb upbringing so don’t let your family down dear girl. But I want you to understand that marriage is not a bed of roses. You see, men are wild beings and need gentle and patient women like yourself  to hold them down. Their egos are easily bruised so be careful not to push him to the wall or belittle him in his own house. Be sure to support his every endeavor and keep him satisfied gastric and otherwise, lest he be forced to succumb to outside temptations. Above all, do not buy into that western idea of divorce; we know not such things in our culture. A good wife is known for her patience and endurance and there never was a better time for this to be put to use than when things are going rough between you and your husband. So, for the sake of peace, family unity and to avoid disgracing yourself and your family, stay with him and help him navigate the treacherous path of fidelity.

Beri’s son heard me discussing these rules with his mother and he came up to me to ask about the rules for boys. I laughed hysterically; he is only 7 years old – aren’t they cute at that age? He doesn’t yet understand that there are no such rules for them. It is okay though; when he comes of age he will realize that his penis makes everything ok. Silly boy haha.

Friday, June 26, 2015

Marc Vivien Foe

June 26 2003. I was a student at Joseph Merrick Baptist College, Ndu and had just conquered my Ordinary Level (O' Level) GCE examinations. I felt great; the long days and nights of endless studying for this big-deal exam were over. I would no longer have to soak my feet in ice cold water or squirt orange peels into my eyes all in attempt to stay awake and study study study.
Also exciting, the Indomitable Lions were playing a Confederations cup game against Colombia that evening. It didn't matter that the game was inconsequential; a game is always big business for us so this was the perfect way to round out my stressful month.

Now for every Cameroonian, soccer is a religion. I mean, we would wife up soccer and take her home and have babies with her if we could. Every Cameroonian child rolls out of the womb with a little soccer ball tucked under their armpit I tell ya. So everyone was tuned in for the game as usual.
Occasionally at my boarding school, the administration would have mercy on us and pull out a TV so we could catch a game or a movie here and there. That night was tricky though because the majority of staff and students were already on summer break and so bringing out the TV was not really a priority. Luckily, my uncle was principal of the school and lived on campus so I invited myself to his home and chose a nice spot right in front of the chimney (Ndu is a hella cold place, let me tell you).
The truth is I do not remember much of that game. Don't get me wrong; it was an exciting and thrilling game (I mean, every soccer match with the Lions is). But every memory was quickly wiped out by what happened in the 2nd half to player #17, Marc Vivien Foe.
Now for my soccer-hating readers, here's how you watch a game: you look at the ball, you follow that muthaluvin' ball and nothing but the damn ball. You look at players' skill in passing that ball from one person to another, you look at their ability to steal that ball from their opponents and you look at their ability to get that ball in the netted box. Basically, if it's not the ball, touching the ball or pursuing the ball, you pay it no mind.
So when MVF dropped on the periphery of the field, few people were paying attention. I did notice, however, because at the time he was my favorite player on the team. His soccer was good but what I had always admired about him was his demeanor on the pitch. He played his heart out every single time and no matter how hard pressed he was, he always had this air of calm about him.

What made his fall curious was the fact that no one had pushed him. In fact, no players were close enough to have even tactfully tripped him as he walked by. Before long, the cameras panned in on him and every Cameroonian's voice got caught in their throat as we slowly became aware of the fact that his chest was not heaving up and down like it should. But we all thought "Oh it's just another fall, he's probably a little dehydrated. Someone give him a gatorade and send him along on his merry way". But he was not even stirring and writhing on the ground as he normally should if that was the case. 
When the paramedics ran onto the pitch and began to slap his cheeks, the knots in my stomach turned to wrought iron chains. I knew something was terribly wrong. Every one knew something was dreadfully wrong. The camera man knew something was wrong and found himself unable to pan out as well. 
A few minutes later, as the whole world watched Marc's pupils roll to the back of his head, we silently wished the camera tech would've have zoomed out and spared us the heartache.
The knots in my stomach quickly turned to a vast ache and to panic as his body flopped around listlessly on the stretcher as it was rushed off the pitch. I didn't know what was going on but I knew I could not watch the rest of the game.
By the end of the match, speculation was that MVF never awoke from his fall. When final confirmation did come in, the whole country was plunged into the deep and dark silence of shocking grief. The nation had just watched one of its favorite sons die while doing something we all lived for.
The sadness was palpable everywhere you went. It was all we could talk about for weeks on end.
I remember the state funeral. Broadcast on live TV. I awoke very early that day and completed all my chores because it wasn't something I wanted to miss. Seeing his young wife being ushered in and his children (6 years, 3 years and 2 months) sitting through the ceremony with little to no idea of what the heck was going on was just as painful as watching MVF fall. Those were very dark times indeed.
It has been 12 years to the day but I can feel everything I felt on that day even as I write this. Continue to rest in peace, Marc Vivien Foe and I hope the team and country continue to carry on your legacy of hardwork, dedication and outstanding character.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Passport to Hope

It must have been sometime past midnight when Fanwi heard him approaching their mud-thatch hut. She knew it was him because she heard the familiar “Thump-Shhh-Thump-Shhh” sounds his feet made as he walked; the thump from his over-compensating right leg and the shhh from his limp left leg as he dragged the foot along. Word around the village was that when he was a child, Pa Nkem had stolen mangoes from Ma Ngwe’s compound and as he descended the tree to run away with his loot, had stepped on the talisman she had made specifically for the children who stole her mangoes before she ever got to them. That night, he awoke with sharp, shooting pains in his left leg and even his mother’s special herb brew did not relieve the pain. He was in agony for three days until the village elders went to plead with Ma Ngwe to reverse her juju. She agreed, after the children promised to leave her tree alone. The next day, Nkem’s pain was gone but when he stood up to walk, his left leg was shriveled up and limp. He could barely lift it off the floor and walked with great effort.
            Fanwi quickly wrapped her loincloth tightly across her chest and tucked the excess material between her legs. She curled her legs up under her as she lay facing the wall and splayed her arms to mimic the reckless abandon of a deep sleep. She tried not to gasp when Pa Nkem opened the bamboo door and the cold dry harmattan winds rushed in. Almost instantly, the pungent cloud of palm wine that always hovered over Pa Nkem moved to envelop Fanwi as if to assure her that yes indeed, her husband was home.

He thump-shhhed his way towards their bed and tapped her on the back “Fanwi! Fanwi!” She stirred ever so slightly, murmured a tired “Hmm?” but showed no signs of getting up. He reached over her shoulder to find the knot where she tied her loincloth across her chest but she slowly rolled over, like a sleeping person would, and came to rest on her belly. He moved to the foot of the bed and tried tugging at the ends of her cloth she had tucked between her legs. Fanwi again did her slow and deliberate sleep-like roll back to her left side, crossed one leg over the other, then snorted and exhaled loudly for good measure. Pa Nkem heaved a heavy sigh, resignedly threw himself onto the other side of the bed and within five minutes was snoring like a bull.
Fanwi sighed a deep sigh relief, thankful to have dodged another one of his advances. It wasn’t that she did not like being intimate; she did. Just not with Pa Nkem. He smelled like stale palm wine and a thin red film of Kola nut juice always lined his teeth. When he attempted to kiss her, he slobbered all over her face and he never made any attempts to actually please her.
She thought back to the day when Pa Nkem and his entourage had shown up at her uncle’s hut with a 50-gallon container of palm oil, several bags of dried corn and beans, 5 plantain bunches, 3 chickens and a live goat. She knew what those gifts meant; someone from Pa Nkem’s family had come to “pluck a flower” as her people said. Being the only girl in that household, she knew they were there for her. She was excited; it was a big honor to have a man come to ask for her hand in marriage. She hoped it was Pa Nkem’s nephew, Jato. She had seen him around the market square and often swished her hips a little harder when walking past him. He would smile back at her, as if in appreciation for the gesture so she was hoping he had come to show quantitative gratitude and claim what was his.
Her uncle’s wife had called her into the small kitchen behind the main hut and sat her down. She did not like the long, drawn look of her face. Since her parents died a few years ago, her uncle had grudgingly taken her into his care but his wife had been nothing short of a second mother to her.
“Fanwi”, Aunty Bih said, reaching out to hold her hand, “I have begged your uncle for the past three days to leave you alone but he has been adamant. I want you to know that I did everything I could to dissuade him. But he insists you are a woman now, and he can no longer afford to feed one additional mouth. Our friend Nkem has been kind to us and now that he needs a wife, your uncle says we cannot turn our backs on him”.
Fanwi’s mouth dropped open; she could not believe her aunt was saying those words to her. She quickly pulled her hand out of her aunt’s, like it had suddenly sprouted thorns and spat “WHAT?!” She had run out of the kitchen in tears straight to her friend Nangah’s place, where she remained for one week. After much pleading, cajoling and a few mocking chants from every one in the village, Fanwi eventually decided to accept her fate and move in with her husband.

She tasted the bile in her mouth as she now thought of that word – husband. It had been two months and it still did not sit well with her. She hissed and looked over at the sleeping pile on the other side of the bed. Beads of sweat trickled down his face and his belly galloped and gurgled with every snore. This was certainly not the husband for her.
She quietly flipped first one leg, then the other over the edge of the bed, careful to keep it from squeaking as it so often did with any movement. She moved swiftly to grab the small bag she had packed the night before from under the bed. As she got dressed, she heard three very faint raps on her side of the hut – Jato’s signal.
She looked over once again at Pa Nkem passed out on the bed and for a split second she felt sorry for him. She thought, “Maybe if I stay long enough, I can learn to love him. Maybe if he freshens his mouth with those lemon-grass leaves I set out for him…RAP RAP RAP!” Her thoughts were interrupted by Jato’s signal again, this time louder and even more urgent.
The noise caused Pa Nkem to stir in his sleep and as he did, his loincloth came undone to reveal his ashen genitalia. Fanwi was immediately taken back to the three times he had forced himself on her. She had cried and begged him to be patient with her but he was intent on having his way. She remembered how he laughed like a hyena afterwards and called her a good wife. She thought about his crooked fingernails scratching her back in his pitiful attempt at romance and the anger began to rise from that dark place in her stomach. She had a mind to slice off his “precious parts” and let him bleed to death as she made her escape.
But the loud whisper of her name from just outside the hut reminded her of the opportunity she now had to escape this hellhole. She dabbed at the tears that had begun to well up in her eyes, cracked the door open and quietly slid out and around back.
There he was, waiting with his own little bag and a kerosene lamp needed to guide their trek in those wee hours of the morning. They would walk 10 kilometers to a nearby village where motorcycle taxis came by once a week. They would journey 50 kilometers on the bike over muddy roads carved into hillsides to a small town where they would catch a clando, the overloaded minibuses that would take them to the heart of the big city. Jato had a distant relative there who was willing to take them in until they got to their feet.

He smiled at her as he took her hand and ushered her onto the path in front of him. She was unsure of what lay beyond the green hills sprawled out in front of them, but was certain and hopeful that it would be better than what she was leaving behind.
   Bonglack, M.                             Cincinnati, OH                               January 2015

Sunday, August 3, 2014

New beginnings

Just another Sunday morning and I'm up early - earlier than I need to be as usual. Not that I'm an insomniac or anything but my body has just learned to survive on so little sleep without crashing. At least not yet.

It's nice to be up early because that means I have time to be with just my thoughts. Normally that's a scary thing for most people :) but I like my thoughts and I seldom have time to be with just them.

I'm thinking: Wow! Has it really been 3 years?? 3 years since my dad took his last breath?? 3 years since my family was walking around in that haze that accompanies the loss of someone so dear?? Sometimes it feels a lot more than 3 and more often than not it feels less than 3. Like my dad was just here; advising, coaching, coaxing, setting us straight, loving, And a breath gets caught in my chest as I marvel at the brevity of life and the suddenness of change.

I'm thinking: Yay. Medical school. And then Shoot. Medical school. The very one that seemed so far away at some point is now staring me straight in the eye. I wonder if I my drive is sufficient to get me through. I grimly anticipate the long days and nights of intense studying and sprawling concept maps. I get sweaty palms when I look at a USMLE step 1 question and have no idea what the hell it's talking about. I wonder if I'll make all the right connections with faculty and have access to all the research labs I want. I wonder if I'll make new friends ( lol, yes. It's like middle school all over again). I wonder if we'll all bond like everyone who's gone ahead of me has sworn.

I'm thinking: Dang that tiny Honda made it safe and sound over 700 plus miles?? Plus all my ground cargo that I chose to haul?? And even though my driving leg felt numb as ice it still worked when I tried walking on it?? I'll drive this car forever. I'll drive it to the ground. Then when my first child turns 18 guess what the big present will be :)

I'm thinking: Will my family be alright? Will I be alright being physically removed from them like so? How would things be different if my dad was here? Is there an African store nearby? No no I mean is there an African store nearby that sells calabar chalk??? Important! :) (Don't nobody come preaching to the choir 'bout how it's unhealthy and all that now).

But I'm sitting here watching the sun rays bathe my unfurnished new abode and something deep within me just knows I'll be aight :) Maybe I'll rename this blog Glorifications and Frustrations of an M1 so I can make y'all part of my pleasure and pain. We shall see.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Something like poetry

The idea of this poem came to me over the course of several years. As a maturing young woman who’d been thrust into the American society, it came slowly to me (mostly via the internet) that the black woman was not viewed as beautiful by a good number of people. Having grown up on an almost entirely black continent, I was initially quite surprised. Over time and after reading way too many comments than I should have under certain Yahoo! articles, I came away more baffled than surprised. I had always seen beauty in myself and the women around me, so how come it there were so many people out there who did not? And then it hit me that there are many black girls growing up in parts of the world where this message is all they’ve heard for as long as their young minds can remember. So I decided to put in words the beauty I see in myself and in other black women, to serve as a reminder for women/girls whose societies have labeled them undesirable and ugly. My message? Dear brown-skinned girl, you are so damn beautiful even if they don’t see it. (I don't like being too preachy so this one was a little bit of a reach for me but oh well)

So you braved the odds and came to the world a month early
And loved to roam the outdoors when you mastered using those little feet
But long before you knew it school days were here
Where you were told by fellow mates you weren’t all that

They said your hair was too nappy and puffy
That it did not ebb and flow and cascade like theirs
But how could they not see the beauty in its versatility
And the tiny ringlets that were a delight to play with?

They said your facial features were not what they liked
Your nose too wide and the lips too thick
But how could they not see how perfectly the nose framed your face
And the luscious kisses that your generous lips provided?

They said your body was too full, too non-svelte
Your bosom too voluptuous and your hips too wide
But how could they not see that these same things
Were the very essence of your womanhood in which you took pride?

They said your skin was too dark
Not white and pale like they would rather have
But how could they not see the beauty in your chocolate
And caramel skin so fervently maintained by daily moisturizer?

They took not the time to know you
Just went with the assumption that you were air-headed
But they didn’t even know about your extensive readership
Nor did they care to hear about your academic achievements and goals

They said you were cold and non-deserving
Since the talk was that you had room only to be angry and wild
Yet they failed to see how big your heart was
And the open arms you held out to everyone who was in need

And so whilst the world has drawn up its own picture
Of what you should and should not be
Hang tight to the core precepts of your being
Lest you become what they wish you were.

                                                Mildrede Bonglack

                                                Minnesota, January 2014

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Back at it! Blogging, that is.

Hello blog!
Well it's been a minute has it not. And by minute I mean nearly 2 years!
You see, I've been busy. Wait wait wait.  Now before you go rolling your eyes on me, I should have you know that I now have something to show for it!
What is it you may ask? Well I'll tell ya. It's an acceptance letter. Medical school acceptance letter yo! Ha ha yes indeed!
You see, I've been a pre-med for the last 5 years and boy has the struggle been real! One day you're on cloud 9, thinking how the admissions committees got nothing on you and the next day you're like oh crap I will never get in any where. But yesterday brought that whole drama to an end for me. (And handed me a whole new different kind of drama but that's talk for another day lol).
I'll tell you how it happened. So yesterday morning I had a neuroscience exam on the worst taught (in my opinion at least) topics: basal ganglia, cerebellar function,  upper and lower motor circuits, yeah that stuff. I felt uneducated walking into the exam and even while taking it I'd pause every 2 questions, gaze off into the distance and shake my head. Then I tolled through it and knew I had to get my ass out of there so I did.
I put the (I presume bombed) exam behind me and head out to the library to tie up loose ends with homework and papers seeing as this is the best time to do it cos nothing's getting done over Thanksgiving break yo.
Log in to email. See that UCincinatti has updated my status on their secondary page. Oh. Is that right. Heh. So I drop the mouse, cross my arms and start thinking about if I want to check that. Then it occurs to me that it wouldn't be a reject! They're surely not cruel enough to send me a reject the day before Thanksgiving right?! My whoa-this-must-be-correct-analysis gusto pumped me up enough to log in to that page.
I had to scan the page like 5 times before my nerves calmed down enough to see the "Congratulations you have been accepted! Choose Confirm or Deny". And I'm like "Or deny? For why in the hell?!" Lol. Now on the inside, my little African spirit was dancing and catapaulting through the air. But on the outside? I did a little victory fist pump and whispered a resounding Yes! And danced a little because I was (unfortunately) at the library. In retrospect, I should've whipped myself out of that chair and danced a little makossa yo. But it's all good. I surely shall in a little bit here.
Happy Thanksgiving folks!