Morning Walk Free

No sleep in my eyes
No pain
No tears
No lies
Crying isn’t for the weak but for the stagnant

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Insecurity and uncertainty
Built by the illusions of society
Committed to the lost pieces of my identity
I walk
Physiologically run
To the person I always thought I would be
And introduce her to everyone who stood by me

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And together we’ll bury the remnants of doubt
Today we’ll rewrite and rewire
Today we’ll fight for everything worth fighting for

By Shaun L.

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Who Gets Your Loyalty Card?

I love loyalty cards and rewards cards!!! I will purposely go out of my way to go to a store, gas station, or a restaurant that mails coupons or offers any specials for loyal customers. 

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According to Webster, loyalty is defined as “the state or quality of being faithful to commitments or obligations. ” I love that! It sounds like a job or appointed role. If you break it down, its not. The part of that definition that resonates with me is the word ‘quality’. In my opinion, quality will always be equivalent to positivity.  However, the qualities you possess and their effects on other people will always be relative to that person.  If you’re “strong” and someone else is “weak” than you’ll be transformed into “overbearing.” It may not be a title you feel you deserve but it was appointed by the perception of the recipient.  To be faithful is a decision.  It requires thought. You must be conscious and disciplined to be faithful whether in regards to lunch or a life partner!  If there was a loyalty card you could pass out to reward those who are faithful and committed and gleefully obligated to YOU, who would get one???

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Who would give a loyalty card to you?
If they could see into your heart and soul and find the motive for your dedication,  would they be pleased or surprised? 

In the book “A Woman’s Gotta Do What A Woman’s Gotta Do” by Michelle McKinney Hammond,  she says:

Though you may look for a return for all that you have done for others, don’t make the mistake of looking for fruit where you planted seed. Roots travel, my friend, and seldom come up where you expect.

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This could take on many meanings and apply to different areas of your life. In the past I would often feel underappreciated.  Whether at work or at home I felt like people didn’t understand the effort necessary for the results they saw. They were focused on the result and how it affected them. This is a human flaw, probably one that I am guilty of myself.  I dont think its malicious at all. Most people like to be acknowledged but does that mean they are “seeking fruit where they planted a seed?”  Is that self serving? 

Is reciprocity a form of loyalty?  If you wait for a loved one to come out of prison do you have expectations when they come home?  In one of my favorite memoirs “The Prisoners Wife”, the author discusses her sacrifice.  The incarceration of her husband caused her to reflect on painful memories from her childhood and caused nightmares featuring her husband’s victims. She was alone most of the time. Her dates were letters read by candlelight.  She committed to a man whos release was indefinite.  Wouldn’t you want fruit to bloom where you planted that seed? 

In conclusion,  try not to look for a reward from loyalty.  Be dedicated to whatever or whomever you think of first thing in the morning and the last thing you think of at night. The return will be extemporaneous and it may be direct or indirect.  No matter what it is, it’ll be from the heart.

By Shaun Nickens

It wasn’t all bullsh*t!

When I was a child my Nana Bea would call me princess. princess My chariot was her white mini van and my ball was a shopping spree at Syms Clothing, lunch at Old Country Buffet, and a Tweety chain I picked out at a discount jewelry store. In my neighborhood there were no gowns, just Reebok, Kani, Tommy Hilfiger, Nautica, Mecca, and Calvin Klein. If you had a Bear bubble jacket in the winter, you were “cool.” That’s what hood princesses wore . My maternal side would spoil me with name brands from QVC that I was too young to appreciate and I had a standing hair appointment every two weeks. I didn’t know what a luxury that was. There was a manicure specialist named Jackie who did my tiny 6-year- old nails while my hair would dry. My friends wanted to eat at my house.  They’d call home and ask for permission. I didn’t know what a  luxury that was. To have enough food to feed
your family and feed unexpected guests.

You’re never told your Prince isn’t going to fight dragons or “save” you from anything. Relationships require effort and gumption from both parties!
You’re going to win each other. You’re both royal in your own right. You have to be honest with yourself and be willing to admit your flaws so they don’t devour you. You’re as vulnerable to your demons as a ditz is to a poison apple.  My favorite Disney princess was Ariel. Long red hair. A body Jennifer Hudson would kill for so she can keep making money off her weight lossariel commercials. A mermaid with a talking Jamaican crab as an advisor. I didn’t understand how she could be late all the time when she swam so fast. Id always be on time. No car, no traffic, no stopping for gasoline? Perfect! I could relate to Ariel. She was a dreamer who just wanted something different from her norm. She’s never been on land. I’ve never seen blue or clear water. The only waters I know are long island beaches and chlorinated pools. She dreamt of love. I’ve always been fascinated with love.  The only emotion left inexplicable and undefined. I sought it out and have found it and claim it with raw passion and loyalty. She traded in her fins, her friends, and her father for it! She won a mans heart without speaking (I realize now that being mute worked tremendously in her favor.) Ariel bridged the gap for me. The gap between the fairy tales I watched over and over on VHS and real life in Jamaica Queens. Those stories and movies aren’t all bullsh*t.

The bottom line was sacrifice, not allowing fear to hold you at ransom, not allowing your enemies to underestimate you, respecting your parents but choosing to be emancipated from the mistakes they made that they are convinced you’ll repeat. Being a princess wasn’t about a diamond studded crown or my Yankee fitted. It’s about GUTS and the clarity of self to recognize your royal position no matter what your socio-economic status is. You’re royal even of your man has to let down his cornrows and YOU have to climb a tower to get to his heart. The throne is within. So dust off your old
FUBU sweat suit and tell the non believers ShutYaMouthAndCallMeUgly.fubu

-Shaun Nickens