Posted in Poetry

Lost Your Mind

You call me angry

When I am actually inconsolable

Broken, inside my heart is crying,

Crying out for love.

You call me aggressive,

When I am actually desperate,

Begging to be heard.

You call me loud,

But you don’t hear my cries of pain,

The agony of my mind breaking into two.

You call me unpredictable,

While others have the luxury

Of bad days and good.

How can I possibly predict

What each day will bring?

You call me fine

And capable of life without support.

Yet, inside I’m already dead,

Because what is living

When you have lost your mind?

© Cece Noel, 2018
Posted in Poetry

Lanes & Races

 

You say that you expect more from me,

Implicitly saying

That black women like me are expected to work

10 times harder.

Normal status quo standards do not suffice

When it’s my efforts as the subject line –

The progress bar slows to a crawl.

You expect me to pedal faster

To gain the same distance as my peers on the same track,

Because it’s the same track but a different race –

Same ground covered but different lanes;

Lanes with potholes,

Continuous uphill terrain,

Unrelenting, steadfast obstacles,

And character assassinations.

My eyes are now open.

My skin is now raw to the touch.

My joints and limbs ache

With age beyond my years,

Yet I won’t stop running. I refuse to stop running.

My open eyes can look around

But I also keep looking forward,

To prove that your head would be spinning

If you were to run in my lane.

So I keep looking forward,

Because that is what I expect from myself.

 

© Cece Noel, 2018
Posted in Blog, Mental Health

Like A Phoenix

On 1st September 2018, I got my fifth tattoo.

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Like a phoenix, I rise from the ashes.

2018 has been an incredible year of ups, downs, struggles, celebrations, births and deaths.

Like owls, phoenixes have been a symbolic bird to me because of their ability to rebirth; they burst into flames after living for centuries and then from the ashes, they rebirth into renewed youth, to live for another cycle of life.

I feel like in 2017, I finally succumbed to  everything that had aged me and died a metaphorical death. Then in 2018, I used those ashes to recreate a new me, more youthful, wiser and with renewed energy, to begin life anew.

I’m laughing more, I’m dancing more, I’m flying and soaring. And when things have weighed me down such as family, relationship problems, falling under the pressures of academia and battling with the DWP, I’ve carried on fighting. Hence the tattoo.

Each time I look at it, I feel like a mother gazing down at her new baby (LOL); I forget all of the pain I’ve gone through, because now all I see whenever I look at this tattoo is beauty and love.

2018 has also been a symbolic year for me, because I’ve been published (again)!! This time in an anthology raising awareness for Black and minority mental health in the UK. The anthology is called “The Colour of Madness” featuring artwork, poetry and short stories, including mine called “Matriarchal Dreams“, a story birthed from my mental breakdown last year and recurring nightmares about my mother and the member of staff who tormented me during my teacher training year. It’s now available to buy on Amazon so make sure you grab a copy ASAP!!!

Peace and love.

XOXO

XOXO

 

Posted in Blog, Mental Health

Focus

It’s been a minute since I’ve been able to update you! As I mentioned in Friday’s post, I was intending for this to be my first post since my hiatus, but of course shit happened which I had to talk about! Anyhoo, many apologies for my lack of writing! I’ve been caught up with assignments and trying to get healthy around that.

So where do I start??

I’ve had a hair cut!

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And I fuckin’ LOVE IT! I’ve wanted to do it for years, but I’ve always been too scared. This is when I realised that I attached waaaay too much of my beauty and confidence to my hair, so I finally decided to have it cut before my birthday in July.

 

My yoga classes took a break over summer, so in the interim I’ve been going to the gym; I’ve found a great one local to me, part of the Energie Fitness chain. Membership is really cheap and you’re not bound to a contract either so you can cancel any time. I’ve always been a little bit petrified of gyms; full of super fit people, I often felt like as soon as I walked in, people would be staring in shock at how unfit I am (not caring that I haven’t always been like this), especially when I get on the crosstrainer LOL. But of course it’s not like that; everybody’’s in the zone, doing their own thaaang and I’ve actually become quite addicted to it! It’s not only great for physiology, it’s also great for mental well-being. Plus it gets me out of the house so I’m winning on all fronts.

 

My body is also getting to used to my new AEDs (anti-epileptic drugs), Lacosamide. So I’m only on 100mg twice a day at the moment, finally off Keppra (wooooooo). But, when I first started on Lacosaminde, I developed a strange side-effect of urinary incontinence. Imagine my horror at the age of 32, suddenly leaking and having to purchase incontinence pads! I’m not ashamed to admit that I did cry a little and the only advice my Epilepsy Nurse could give was go to the internet, while my GP advised me to go to the toilet more. The latter only helped with the fact that as well as leaking, I was always bursting to go. It didn’t help with the leaking in between go’s. However, it seems to have finally settled down… until my next dose increase I guess….

Other than that, my epilepsy seems to be responding to the medication. I’ve had four seizures in almost two months which is INCREDIBLE!

 

Don’t get stressed

Another piece of advice my GP gave me was “to not get stressed” in order to reduce the seizures; people do not seem to realise who fucking annoying it is to hear that, as if we look for stress. For fuck sake.

 

However the GP did give me some good advice in terms of what I focus my energy on. At first what she actually said was that I didn’t have a focus and when I challenged her on that considering it was only the first time we’d ever met, she then rephrased: be careful what you focus your energy on. With this in mind, on Tuesday I saw my therapist and she said something very similar. She noticed that I tend to focus a lot of my energy on what other people are thinking about me and what they’re doing, very futile things. Instead of doing this, what I should be doing is focusing on myself: my journey of self-discovery, and what I’m doing now, in the present (Gestalt therapy is great for this, focusing on the present, being in the present).

Guilt and shame

I also don’t give myself enough credit for what I’m doing or who I’ve become: I’m a highly intelligent and incredibly creative woman. When I put my mind to something, I do whatever it takes to get there and I think that sometimes I give the people around me more credit for that than myself. My therapist told me that she’s observed that I carry a lot of guilt and shame, which is why I don’t like admitting the positive things that I’ve accomplished. And I think she’s bang in with that observation considering the psychological abuse I was subjected to all of my life. As a child and adolescent, although I was ambitious I was also very submissive and scared to rock the boat because I would be second-guessed and put down, so I would bend and sway to the music of others. A lot of this was also in seeking approval and validation from the people around me, whether they be on social media or real life, be they white, black and my family in particular.

 

Furthermore, guilt and shame is generational: many Black women before me have been prohibited from speaking out, speaking up and drawing attention to themselves, for fear of being shamed or bringing shame to the people around them. They’ve been forced to retreat into themselves which is a behaviour they’ve passed onto us, their daughters and granddaughters.

 

Now I’m going out on my own, drawing a lot of attention to myself and although at times I’m soaring high, I also doubt myself and look down at the ground beneath me, looking for reassurance but also scaring myself shitless. When what I should be doing is focusing on what I am doing, not what is happening around me.

 

I felt like I needed to share this epiphany with you all, because I’ve been trialling this new mindset since my therapy session and although at times it’s incredibly difficult, it is also incredibly liberating. In a way, I had already started the process when I stopped making YouTube videos a few months ago; I was responding to every single negative comment especially and with all the negative I get on Twitter sometimes, I was really taking the opinions to heart, allowing them to beat myself up. When I first decided to stop, it was to protect my mental health, but now I realise it’s about me focusing on what’s important: me and what I’m doing. My videos were not only a critique on the institution and society; they were a celebration of the person that I’ve finally learnt to embrace. I’ve also learnt not to respond to everything on Twitter, because it’s not only taking the focus away from what I do on social media, it’s also taking my focus away from myself.

XOXO

Posted in Poetry

When You Look Like Them

Reflections of headlines in the dull eyes of the right

“It is un-British to mourn so publicly and for so long!”

But there’s no need to fear

When you look like them

 

There’s no need to fear that you will burn inside your home

That the state will taunt you for the colour of your skin

 

There is no need to cry

When you look like them

Everyday brings a fresh beginning.

 

Like peacocks they walk with swagger past the ashes

The tragedy plays no part in their lives

Holds no impact on their existence,

When you look like them.

 

Forgotten are the screams, the inferno, the betrayal,

Forgotten are the broken promises

The cries that came long before the tragedy.

Dull eyes filled with forgotten lives.

 

The conveyor belt continues, carrying essentials,

Essentials rationed to certain citizens

The rest of us thrown off the merry-go-round

Life goes too fast when we look like us

 

There’s no need to wonder how long the roof

Over your alien head

Will exist, until the carpet is tugged from beneath your feet

 

When you look like them

There is no need to lie

To the babies relying on you

Innocent of their birthright poverty

 

Like peacocks the neighbours in their castle

Swagger, clothed in privilege and entitlement

Race holds no impact on their existence

When you look like them.

© Cece Alex 2018

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(Image source)

Posted in Poetry

Black Skin

No means on when you have black skin

Slimy hands like tentacles slide up my leg

As tears like rain slide down my face

Black women like me should know our place

Our place of submission and regression

One step forward and two steps back

Our bodies were never meant to be our own

With white kings and queens on the throne

On the streets they watch with hawk-like eyes

They stare, licking hungry lips like predators

Watching their prey, waiting, ready to attack me

Black women like me are never let be

They move, quickly across the street

Like a “Great White Shark” in water

The chase is on, I run fast, fast, fast,

But he loves the chase and wills it to last

“I just want to say hi”, he cries from behind

“I love your black skin” he froths from the mouth

He begins to slow, the hard rock between his legs

Weighs him, betrays him, so he stops and begs

“I just want to talk” he cries once more

But what’s the point in me saying no?

Because no means on when you have black skin

In this game, a woman like me doesn’t win

 

© Cece Alex 2018

 

Posted in Blog

Roxanne Pallett (Celebrity Big Brother) Accusing Ryan Thomas of Domestic Violence

I had planned to come out of my short-hiatus with a different post, however I had something that I urgently needed to get off my chest.

 

I stopped watching Big Brother quite a while ago, before it even moved channels in fact. Yet, I did try to watch one episode of Celebrity Big Brother earlier this week because I’m suffering from withdrawal symptoms following the end of Love Island last month LOL. It didn’t hit the spot.

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(Image source)

But on social media this week, I noticed a lot of tweets about Roxanne Pallett and Ryan Thomas. For anybody unfamiliar with them, both are soap opera stars (on rival programmes actually!) Roxanne is apparently known for being a bit of a drama queen off-screen (who would’ve thought of a soap actress??), as well as on-screen while being on Celebrity Big Brother and last week, Roxanne clearly didn’t think that she had enough attention, so decided to accuse Ryan of violently attacking her. I had to watch. 

 

So, it was another case of Love Island, where the audience watching saw what really happened, while everybody else in the house for a while only had the words of Roxanne and Ryan. In case you haven’t watched it, this is what happened: they were both in the kitchen and Ryan playfully did some jabs near her side, but his hands never touched her. Roxanne, after laughing, then screamed

“ow that hurt! Woman-beater”.

She then went into the bedroom and asked Big Brother if she could be called to the “Diary Room”, where she told Big Brother that Ryan had just violently attacked her and she was in pain. Following this, she asked to be sent to another bedroom for the night, because she couldn’t be in the same room as “her attacker”, while Ryan was given a formal warning from Big Brother. I’m guessing this action was taken by the Big Brother production team to appease Roxanne

 

Unbeknownst to Ryan, over the next subsequent days or so, Roxanne had begun to tell some of the other guys what had happened to her, which included an over-exaggerated demonstration on her friend Ben and lots of shaking and sobbing while having to “relive the ordeal”. It was noticed that she never approached the other women in the house, because she knew that they wouldn’t have believed her. Ryan soon became ostracised from the majority of the group of men (the older men stood by Ryan, but the younger guys sided with Roxanne), until Big Brother finally stepped in, when one of the guys – Dan – who had initially been on Roxanne’s side, went into the Diary Room to bitch about Ryan, only for Big Brother to ask Dan if Ryan had really done anything, would he even still be in the house? Dan then saw the light and informed the rest of the house that Roxanne had been lying.

 

I have seen many white women using their fragility when it comes to spinning stories. I am furious with Jermaine in particular – the only Black man in the house – because even after he was told the truth, he was the only one still swayed by Roxanne’s white tears; he took A LOT of convincing and I feel like this is a common occurrence with Black men who like to jump to the rescue of white women.

I am also sick and tired of women like Roxanne using their privilege of fragility to make false accusations about violence, tarnishing the authenticity of real victims and survivors of violence inflicted by men, while simultaneous damaging the reputation of the men they accuse. Can you imagine if this hadn’t have happened on camera? Ryan’s career would have been ruined.

 

I used to have two girl-friends who would often accuse a guy of being physically violent towards them and throw around the term “woman-beater”, when they had just been play fighting and barely touched (we all saw). They then admitted that they had been joking, but this was only after a few days or WEEKS of punishing the guy they had accused! It is sick, just because you are so desperate for attention, to use accusations of violence to gain that attention. Watching Ryan destroyed by the accusation was not only heartbreaking but incredibly uncomfortable and infuriating to watch. I rarely jump to the defence of a man, but in this case, I was on Ryan’s side 100%. 

 

I’ve also seen women accuse their partners of verbal abuse because of jokes and bants (banter) from the man’s side. The woman will happily give bants to the man, but as soon as the man gives it back, they’re accused of abuse. I’m not saying that insulting somebody isn’t abuse – fair from it, as I’ve been a victim of both physical and verbal abuse – but bants IS NOT THE SAME because bants is a two-way street! Bants is affectionate in fact; affectionate teasing, while verbal and emotional abuse is one-sided means to dominate, undermine, threaten and control. Of course there is a very thin line here, but for clarification, if the joke hurts then fair enough, but on its own, a joke cannot count as abuse.

 

Going back to Big Brother, something Roxanne said after she realised that the tide was turning against her in the house, really riled me up. In the Diary Room she made a comment about the reaction she was now receiving after everybody in the house had found out that she was lying:

“this is why women don’t speak out about things like this, because nobody believes them”.

FUCK OFF. Women don’t speak out about this stuff because they live in fear, not only that they won’t be believed, but also that there will be consequences from their abuser. Wanting to be believed is on the list, but a low priority when your life is in danger.

 

Roxanne has now walked out of the house and her career is rightfully in tatters. Furthermore, stories have come out from ex-partners who have said that she has done the same to them (accused them of abuse which has ruined their reputations), while colleagues of her’s have said that she is a compulsive liar and constantly seeking attention. Emma Willis, the host of Big Brother, also gave her a brutal grilling in her exit interview. Roxanne now insists that after watching the footage back, Ryan didn’t actually punch her, but it felt like it hurt at the time. It’s ironic that the show has taken its name from George Orwell’s Nighteen-Eighty Four really. 

 

I’ll leave it at that.

XOXO