Tag Archives: love

A Letter To My Favorite Human Being

Dear Kenny,

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My beautiful Kenny.

As mama and I prayed for you this morning she made mention of a little boy in primary school who told her he was upset that your teacher spoke to you about laughing in class. He said, “Mrs M, I don’t like what the teacher said because if Kie-Kie’s not in class there’s no light, nobody laughs and we don’t have any fun.” It made me cry because I realized I wasn’t the only one counting on you for a reason to smile. I’ve been sharing you with the world and yet for 28 years we’ve been holding hands. You’ve been holding me.

You know how obsessed I am with R&B music? The kind you can’t stand. The sweet melodies and ballads of broken hearts. The unapologetic expressions of sexuality and public declarations of undying love. The songs for mama. Allow me this one time to quote one of my favourites (may her soul rest in peace): “If tomorrow is judgment day, and I’m standing on the front line and the Lord asks me what I did with my life, I will say, I spent it with you”. I have very few memories without you, not because we haven’t had to live continents apart for many years, but because there’s very little I care to remember in your absence. Thank you for being my left ventricle, my spleen, my big toe, my right nostril. My whole heart.

Sparks-Brigols, a lifetime with you will never be enough but a day was more than I deserved, so 28 years—well that’s just God. HAPPY BIRTHDAY. I pray you live a life coveted by the stars and celebrated by the skies. I selfishly pray your reality is your dream and your dreams are your heart because your heart is my bond. It’s all I have to share with this world.

And I wittingly do so because your love…it’s the bestest most funnest love out there.

Nakupenda more than I will ever know how,

Pie

 

P.S.

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Thanks for teaching me so much!

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Thanks for always watching my back.

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Thanks for being my best friend.

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I love you.

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When someone you love, loves.

Long distance love is hard. It’s caring for people in ways you can’t ask to be thanked for and making peace with how much their absence will affect your joy. It’s finding the familiar in all the stages you’ve missed—a constant that makes it so that there is, hopefully, always space for you, even when their lives are so different and their behaviors so unrecognizable. It’s meeting their new loves, learning their new habits and accepting the new order of priorities they have chosen to acknowledge.

I have known and loved my friend Jay for over 15 years and going to India for her wedding was the first time we have seen each other in 12. She continues to laugh like she invented funny and the sincerity of her affections is still so precious. Most notably different? Her joy is abounding and it shows in how confident she is when music compels her to move. If ever she was stunned by the magnificence of the rainbow, I am almost certain it too has been arrested by the splendor of her worth.

I figure the pictures might do a better job summarizing the experience:

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At the end of Hindu weddings, the bride and groom are escorted out by their friends and family. It is at this point that the bride has to say goodbye to her immediate family and close relatives as she now belongs with her in-laws. I am told it is emotional for everyone; spectators and those close enough to feel the change in dynamic. Indeed as I stopped, camera-in-hand and surrounded by strangers brushing tears from their cheeks, I witnessed Jay weep as her arms found the warmth that raised her, holding tightly for the last time. It was a beautiful moment and one I feel fortunate enough to have been present for. I watched as her father took off his glasses to subtly wipe tears from his eyes and as her sister savored her embrace to steal as much time as she could manage. I watched as her mother smiled bravely, and wondered where she sourced her comfort and strength. It scared me to think that I have loved her so long and not once in the entire wedding did I need to fight back tears or summon the strength to keep it together. I say ‘scared’ because it made me question whether we are still as close as I’d imagined. I thought perhaps the distance did in fact have an adverse effect. Why wasn’t I as emotional as everyone else?

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Alas, as I packed my clothes in preparation for my flight, it dawned on me that in truth our teenagehood had been bought out by her new reality. We probably won’t ever have another sleepover where we laugh at nothing on the living room floor of her parents’ house in the dark. I won’t get to play pranks on her with the help of my sister when she’s spending the night at mine. Even those things that for so long have been impossible with continents between us—even those we will no longer be able to do should our continents meet. That sense of loss her family and some of her friends felt, the one I struggled to connect with during the wedding, well it finally hit home. She belongs to something I am in no way entitled to. The dynamic of our friendship will change yet again and hopefully that familiarity that has bonded us all these years, will survive the changes.

So in the wake of my realisation and subsequent heartache, I will celebrate her joy and wish her and the truest love of her life a partnership that finds its rhythm in the chaos of every beat they are yet to encounter. May the songs of his soul keep her dancing and the light of her warmth be his home.

 

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Isn’t she radiant!

I don’t love this world at all but there are aspects of it that just sing melodies of love and light. Pictures on the walls of an unsettling monotony with smiling faces that become the very stars from which I source my comfort. Vika, my beautiful friend has been through the a lot this year and yet she still radiates a hope and greatness many of us will never own. She is still such a source of comfort even in her wear. I am so proud of her independence and all that she has accomplished thus far on this earth. Here’s to the love, friendship and support we share— the happiest of birthday’s to my gorgeous one!

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Music + Food + Him

Sometimes the soundtrack is just scoring the spinach, fish and mango- not life. Not an entire existence. Just healthy food on a plate accompanied by Gallant in all his soulful glory. Easy. Monday. x

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A Tribute to Ali

“He is giving up on fame… He is giving up on millions of dollars in order to stand up for what his conscience tells him is right… There is a very dangerous development in the nation now to equate dissent with disloyalty.” – Death of a King by Tavis Smiley with David Ritz

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Ali (Image Credit lylejk)

I didn’t grow up in a house where my parents viewed a regulated fight between men as an honourable test of mortality, substantiated only by the contenders adopted strain of humanity. Therefore, with neither of my parents being boxing fans, there were never any pay-per-view invoices stacked on the table, no sounds of bells every few minutes travelling down the hallway of our home and leaking into my bedroom to announce the end of another round. Not even a taped cassette, commentary from a celebrated night in Zaire or the Philippines. However, though Ali retired before I was born, it is but an impossible feat to escape references to the giant; his name embedded on the tongue of every hopeful, replicating his motion and reimagining themselves in his place, earning his glory. Ali bomaye! Ali bomaye!

The quote aforementioned allegedly recites Dr Martin Luther King Jr’s support and admiration for Muhammad Ali’s controversial refusal to fight in the Vietnam war. I remember as a child that this historical event was one of the first encounters I’d ever had with the work of the man said to be The Greatest of All Time. So irrespective of how ignorant I was of his boxing career, this man, this Muhammad Ali still managed to find a seat at our table. It was through his contribution to the Civil Rights Movement that he found a way to pervade our hearts. Reports of his strength outside of the ring, where his power though seemingly incalculable, surely laboured to match the strength of his convictions. The man he chose to be, undeterred by the villain people sought to make him in his anti-war stance, revealed in such measure the worth of his heart.

A civil rights leader. An asset to the black community. A champion in his right. May the God you know welcome you home and may the hearts that break at your passing, find comfort in the light of your story.

What a life you have lived.
What a man we have loved.

 

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“I don’t like you because you’re black.” He said to my niece.

Yesterday was the day I have been dreading since my niece’s birth. The day she became the target of overt racial discrimination for the first time. Our vivacious, sweet and innocent babe- only 5-years-old, attended a birthday party, where the white birthday boy said:

“I don’t like you because you’re black.”

My sister (her mother) pulled her aside and asked her to repeat what the little boy said.

“He wants to be my friend?” My niece responded confused, proceeding to play with her other friends from day care.

My sister and niece were the only two people of colour present at the party. Friends of the parents of the birthday boy laughed the statement off, trying to make light of the situation, while the mother employed damage control devices like trying to divert my sister’s attention to the food and drinks. The father of the boy did not say anything, choosing to avoid my sister and my niece for the rest of the day. Noticing my niece did not seem to have understood what had actually happened, my sister decided not to leave the birthday party, as she did not want to have to explain to my niece what had been said to her, and why she could not play with the rest of her actual friends for the rest of the afternoon. Why they had been invited to a party at all by racists is well and truly beyond all of us.

I have experienced racism countless times in Australia, having lived on both the east and west coast. It is something I have accepted will always be part of human existence. As long as history cannot be altered, there will always be those who substantiate the transgressions of the wicked and still preach human rights and civility with blood dripping from their hands. All while simultaneously condemning the ostensible weaknesses of oppressed marginalized groups denied the right to repercussions of slavery, colonization, apartheid, genocide or segregation. Even still, I have maintained that neither white, nor black or anything in between, are inherently good or evil. We choose who we become. Sometimes we are a product of experience, or live our lives around fears or preconceived notions. We hate what has hurt us and we love only that which gives us a dose of euphoria. This is more apparent as we grow and form our own opinions or subscribe to other peoples.

However, ultimately, when we are adults, we make conscious decisions to live our lives in a manner that is indicative of our beliefs and values. We are expected in the eyes of the law to be accountable for our actions and words, because we are old enough and presumably wise enough to discern what is right from what is wrong. Children do not have the luxury of accountability. They repeat what they hear from those who influence them most. What tragedy is this that a child has to learn hate from one they love? Is it not children that have the capacity to love without caution? Is it not through the eyes of a child that one sees angels at the sight of ogres? They will hold the hand of a beast and not know the danger of its jaws, only the warmth of its fur.

“Kisses and Cuddles” by Kagendo Limiri (My sister and my niece)

So my gorgeous, baby niece:

I am so sorry, that all the knowledge I have of race relations, all the rants I have written on the subject, all the times I have cried over a valuation of the black community in our societies eyes, could not render you exempt from such an abhorrent incident. You will have many more, baby, and sadly none of us will be able to shield you from all of them. But know this, I promise to educate you on your constitutional rights, your equal worth as a human being, and remind you that your skin is only ever beautiful. I will do my best to teach you how to love diversity, and celebrate difference, because it makes the world exciting and gives you a bigger canvas to paint on. When your hair is tangled and knotted and you lament the pain and hassle of taming it, I will tell you of the many black women that have struggled with the same problems and much worse, yet still they rise. You will be a black woman in an Australian society that will likely place you on the lowest rung of the ladder, but you are born of a resilient people and your steps upward will not be easy… but they will be- I promise.

Baby, I could never love a world that refuses to learn what it is to love you; to hear the sincerity of your laugh; to know the innocence of your curiosity; to celebrate the splendour of your skin. You are exactly what God intended, and no man with organs that work as yours do, mortal as you are, will ever determine the weight of your worth. Shine, little lady. You are the star we hope will live higher than the skies, the winged beacon we pray a brighter future.

I love you and your mother and I will absolutely, never, ever stop.

Auntie Gendo

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Does anyone know which way Jesus went?

I have so many questions for God. The past few years of my life, I have struggled to trust the weight of His promise to never leave us nor forsake us, as so often I have not been able to feel his presence or recognise the work of His hands. I find myself drowning in thoughts that we are not all tantamount to His plan; that He has abandoned some us in favour of others. I have wrestled with the temptation to renounce my belief that He lives and that He is. How desperate I am to realize His grace, to know again his unending love, to feel once more the comfort of His promise. Jesus, I miss you.

“Help me, Lord my God; save me according to your unfailing love.”- Psalm 109:26

“La soledad es de piedra/ Sorrow” by Isaí Moreno

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“Would you like me to sit with you?”

A little Turkish girl that lives close by had rushed home, having refused to wait for her mother to collect her from a friend’s house, a short distance from where they live. She wailed, knowing this to inspire the approach of her most loved person. Commitment to tears turned her cheeks red and the despair in her eyes unearthed an unrelenting desperation for her mother’s arms; a showering of kisses and cuddles from the Creator’s catalyst. Her efforts bore no fruit. Normally, I ignore outside noises. Anything that cannot be annexed to an action I have performed or word I have spoken, I will likely dismiss as being outside my area of concern. This time, however, hearing the loud cries, I stepped out to make sure she was okay. Although she did not speak, the locked grill door and her attempt to force it open with her little hands revealed the reason for her distress. Her mother was out and the house was impenetrable.

‘Sitting in Silence’ Sketch by Kanyiha Mbogori

“Would you like me to sit with you?” I asked.

She nodded her head, wiping her tears with her right sleeve and sitting on a step with her backpack still strapped to her shoulders. I moved to occupy a space next to her. In a world that tells us not to love without caution, a world that endorses a fear of what is different, we were breaking all the rules. Muslim and a Jesus lover, curly, soft hair and dreadlocks, child and young adult, Turkish and black African; irrespective of our differences we found comfort in each other’s presence. So the heart of a child will conquer the weight of any villain, with no more than the innocence that drives them to see the sparkle in an ogre’s eye. We just sat… on a step… quiet.

Sometimes our differences cause us to abandon a higher standard of humanity. But when we get it right, my God, is it spectacular.

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What if… we bled?

The poetry our hearts can speak is often imprisoned by our reservations. Overflowing cells guarded by the fear that we won’t be heard, won’t be loved, won’t be wanted. What bravery it takes to bleed so openly as to sing against the score of our prescribed existence. To feel something in a world that asks us to be numb. Feel something. For someone. A refugee. A friend. A parent. A lover. Someone.

“I see the changes in your eyes
The spark that’s in your smile
Just ain’t the same no more
The way you hold me close
The heaven in your hello
Just ain’t the same no more
What if I gave you everything
Would we be okay 
If I gave my love to you
Would we be okay
If I gave you everything 
Would we be okay
If I gave my love to you
Would we be okay” – Jacob Banks

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“Infatuation Station!”- Mind your step.

When I was about fourteen, I developed the biggest crush of my life. I became infatuated with this boy- every time I was close enough to hear him speak, laugh, sigh or even cough, it was permanently etched in my mind and stored for a rainy day. And did I see many rainy days. I was a very unhappy teenager. I felt oppressed in high school and emotionally and creatively crippled, for reasons better saved to discuss another hour. So he, this boy, became my escape. He was the safe haven I would retreat to in effort to keep me from self-destructing. I would make him the hero in every scenario I’d created in my mind because even though I knew he was just a teenage boy, somehow he was also so much more than I’m sure his actual persona would have been able to lend any truth to. I would orchestrate romantic lines in a rendition of how I’d heard him speak. When I was inconsolable he would share my pain and every sigh I let out would be an echo of his own disappointment in his failure to protect me from all the ills of the world. What I would do with a cough, I don’t know.

Photo Credit: Gerry Balding

Photo Credit: Gerry Balding

Over the years, I’d forgotten him. As the walls that guard me have thickened and my ambition taken priority, curiosity about the man he might have actually become hasn’t preyed on my mind- until about a year ago. He has begun to enter the odd dream, but even so, this apparition hasn’t grown, and I haven’t grown, and so I know it’s a retreat into my safe haven- a way to shallowly heal septic wounds. My brokenness is finding a way to blame him for everything I have failed to become, as I ponder why he rejected me. My mind is finding a way to mark him as the inception of my low-self esteem and bitterness. He is the knife that has penetrated my back, though I only intended it to scratch a surface level itch. My escape, the alternate reality I needed, has become a way for me to derogate my progress because, once again, he has become an impossible goal. So why has he returned to me? I have a tough few weeks ahead; a lot of hard work I fear may be beyond the scope of my capabilities. I’m not in love, dating, or interested in dating, because at this stage of my life, my career goals take precedence over my personal desires. But life is scary, and I’m beginning to doubt myself and in so doing, regressing to old habits. Indeed he is an old habit. Only now, retreating to my safe haven doesn’t make me feel safe anymore. Just stupid. It makes me feel like a coward and it validates my feelings of inadequacy. All those years, I burdened a stranger who was unaware of the weight he was carrying. I don’t think it’s necessarily that I don’t want to burden him anymore, I think it’s that I want him to become aware of the weight and to be okay with its inconvenience. Of this I am ashamed. How can I still be running? Furthermore, how can I still be running to him?

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