I spoke on stage for the first time & I didn’t die 


I spoke at an open mic for the first time in a long time at Busboys. It was a poem that I’d written for my Dad’s birthday in March but been too nervous to share. 

I was given a voice & I can’t let fear be the thing to halt me & keep me from moving forward. 

Fear has been a driving force in my life and has informed too many of my behavioral choices to the point that it’s ingrained in me. Fearful thoughts are the first thing I hear. With that fact echoing in my head, I still have to step forward. I won’t grow if I don’t. 

And my biggest fear is being stuck. Never growing. I have to hush these voices if I want to step into the light, out of my comfort zone towards true authenticity. 
There is no other option. My parents cannot speak, so I speak for them. I won’t let fear blind the path of potential any longer. Sure, I’ll always be afraid, but I won’t let that be a reason for me not to speak. I will feel that fear & go. Feel the fear & go. Go.

|Chasing Recollection|

Chasing Recollection
I had a mother. Sometimes I can’t remember her looks

To spark my brain, I look thru her bins of Polaroids and unfinished photo-books

Her smile presents flashes of times, distorted, but shared

Slender hands, big laugh and coiled dark hair

Time passes, my eyes close, and her face leaves again

In darkness, I see her nose, more distinct now than it was then.

Large, to the point of cartoonish, I know it’s only in my mind’s eye.

It’s shiny, sharp, and Latin and death-defyingly high.

My brain forgets a face, but remembers a nose that stands tall.

 I’d rather have this piece of her than nothing at all.

Now, hope clings tight for memories to come.

What’s next to find? An eyebrow? A thumb?

Any reminder of her presence will satisfy me now.

Until the ache of loss is overcome by all the joy the universe will allow.

I have a mother and she has me too.

Time steals memories, but Angels can make them new.

Hitam Manis

“Hitam manis” (Indonesian for sweet black) is not a compliment. When you first hear it, it may feel like one, but after the 100th reminder that you are the “black” exception to a long-held standard ideal of beauty, it is a slap to the face. And the sting resonates long after the words are spoken.
It’s the same as hearing “oh you’re pretty for a dark skinned girl”. Sometimes it’s said like the words are a gift of light I’ve been searching for in a dark room of insecurity and uncertainty. Quite the opposite. It is not a confirmation of beauty; it feels like words urging me to hold tighter to the foundation of what I consider beautiful: An all encompassing, infinite beauty. An all-color, all-shape beauty. I am not “Hitam manis”. I will not claim something that negates someone else, my history and the history of others.
I am beautiful. Plain and simple.

IMG_4534.JPG