Posted in Blog

My Anger (which is not “Black Aggression”)

White people just really don’t get it.

The sense of displacement, the feeling of isolation and anger, to know that my ancestors, my grandparents, my parents and then my sister and I were lied to and white people continue to lie to us. The constant lies and abuse on social media that white people throw at me is unreal, because white supremacy is so insidious that white people in 2017 believe that they are intellectually superior to all Black people, regardless of levels of education.

I’ve also become passionate about the idea of segregation, because the education system, in particular is so psychologically damaging to people of colour.

For example, as a Learning Support Assistant, I learnt and taught students that the slave trade was abolished by Britain. Not true. It was the slaves rioting and striking, which forced the Government into a corner. So don’t you EVER tell a Black person that we owe you our freedom, because it’s not true. 

And Freedom! What Freedom? During the Windrush, you “invited” my grandparents over to Britain as migrants, promising milk, honey and glory after the War – you gave them shit. They couldn’t even afford to return home, so they died here in this country that doesn’t even accept their granddaughter as a British citizen, let alone them.

Why do you even keep calling them migrants? To make you feel less guilty?

In school, I learnt that Africans were complicit in capturing and selling Black people in exchange for gold, guns, tobacco and superiority. Not true. European Traders psychologically manipulated Africans for their own gain, to force them into inferiority and to help the Slave Traders chase and beat their own people into slavery. They even physically mutilated Africans “because it made them smarter”. The Europeans saw tribes of people who were intellectually superior, with their own cultures, religion, languages, education and manipulated them into passivity. African people didn’t need guns and gold. Those are lies that have been written into history books to make them look like greedy savages and feed the narrative that we’ve been trying to shake off ever since.

I was born here and I don’t want to be here, because the “hunters’ continue to glorify themselves. All through my teacher training career, I was never allowed to take credit for my work because privileged white people would take credit or constantly insult me by accusing me of plagarising my work, because a black person couldn’t possibly be so intellectual. I still suffer from the nightmares now – those privileged ghouls just keep popping up in my dreams.

People have no idea of the damage that racism does. Slavery didn’t end in the 19th century. Black people are still subjected to slavery mentally in Britain.  Native Americans have their own education system because America acknowledges the damage they’ve done psychologically. Why can’t we have that?

In my studies in Cultural Psychology, I came across this article: Psychology in the English-speaking Caribbean, which I would definitely recommend for further reading.

What breaks my heart the most, is the disdain that white British people feel – not for the system, but for the feeling of betrayal Black people feel and for us speaking up: “How dare you?” they say. “We freed you, you’re so ungrateful!” they cry. “Oh stop using the race card”, “Stop talking about race”, “I don’t see race / colour, so why do you?” Do you realise these are racial microaggressions? And cannot be dismissed. 

So I went to this “exhibition” this afternoon, in Poplar, for Black History Month marketed as an exhibition for the stories of migrants during the Windrush. This was it:

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I’m not going to give too much away, as I want to speak to the photographer first, but I was upset. So much so, that I had to sit down to compose myself.

I’ve spoken to my nan about the Windrush and I was looking forward to this, because her story really touched me and I was intrigued to see how others’ compared. I was pissed off that this was it for Black Caribbeans, with a piece of A4 about the photographer and in fact, there was more about the photographer than my people on that piece of paper. But “just some photos on a board” – which is actually how the librarian described it herself when I asked for directions, does not tell a story, nor does it do justice for my grandmother…. But anyway, let me not get into it, until I’ve spoken to her about her intentions.

XOXO

Posted in Blog

Bitch, I Ain’t Fat!

If you remember on Thursday, the reason why I decided to treat myself to some new make up was because I had such an awful day. It began with the trolls on Twitter, followed by a New Patient Healthcheck with the Practice Nurse at my new GP Surgery.

I hate these appointments; I hate throwing shade at Practice Nurses because I’ve worked at GP Surgeries and I’ve worked, with some highly qualified and educated Nurses. However, the ones who work in the surgeries I’m always registered, at always seem to be dumb and prejudiced towards Epilepsy and people of colour.

My appointment was at 11am – I stupidly rolled out of bed and straight into the Surgery, without having anything to eat even though the week before, my partner had told me that he had had to wait over half an hour for his own appointment because the same nurse was running late. I ended up waiting over half an hour. The receptionist apologetically informed me that the nurse had struggled with some baby immunisations earlier in the morning.

The nurse finally called me almost forty minutes after my appointment time, offering no apology for running late. Then she saw a patient she knew and left me in her room to take this other patient to another room. I could hear them chatting, she was offering him a newspaper to make him more comfortable while he waited. I even heard her offering to make him a cup of tea! All while I was standing in her doorway, waiting for her. By this point I was furious and close to passing out.

The Nurse finally returned, still didn’t apologise but came in and sat straight down. I informed her that I she was running late, she had offered no apology, that I had Epilepsy, had not eaten and was extremely upset. Instead of apologising, she replied: “oh were you told to fast? You didn’t need to”. I then informed her that my medication makes it did difficult to wake in the mornings and that it also makes me sick, however that doesn’t excuse her lateness. She then told me that I could cancel (!) At this point, I’m ready to smack her, just apologise! And get on with the appointment. I had to explain to her that this was my second attempt to see her, as the last time I booked an appointment, I had a seizure and was rudely told by the receptionist that if I miss another New Patient Healthcheck I won’t be registered with the Surgery.

She then apologised.

Now, the reason why I keep making a big deal about her failure to apologise straightaway, is because when I told my partner (who is white, and so is the Nurse) what happened , he told me that the Nurse apologised straightaway and couldn’t apologise enough.

Yet I had to beg for mine. Because I’m Black, right?

She then took my height, weight and blood pressure.

She didn’t say anything about my weight, but I knew a lecture was coming…..

She told me that my blood pressure was high – no shit. We’ve just been arguing! However, she tried to convince me that I had high blood pressure because “people like you do”. And there we go, health professionals making assumptions. Instead of taking into account the fact that she had kept me waiting for over 30 minutes for an appointment, without any food and then provoked me into an argument, she instead diagnosed me as having a high blood pressure problem. She ordered me to come back and see her in two weeks time. I immediately refused and ordered her to read through my medical file, to which she will find that I have never had a high blood pressure issue.

Lion

(Image source)

Which of course was confirmed in my records.

As for my Epilepsy, she told me that she has a patient who also has Epilepsy and can talk themselves out of their seizures. I told her that was a lie, and I am under the care of a great team. She disregarded that, and recommended that I try Tai Chi for my seizures, “just like her patient who can talk herself out of her seizures”. 

As people of colour, we need to educate ourselves. This same dumb woman who is telling me this shit about my epilepsy, was also trying to diagnose me with a blood pressure condition I know for a fact that I don’t have and also told me that I have a weight problem.

I’m not skinny, but I’m not fucking obese either. Since I had to stop working and my seizures became worse, I’m not as active as I was and I’ve noticed a little weight gain around my middle, however I’m nowhere near as heavy as I was 2 years ago.

Last year I went to see a Psychiatrist, and when I told him I was a UK size 12-14, he looked at my like I was lying, and in the clinical letter, he actually wrote that I was “clearly lying.” This was actually one of the reasons why he also believed that I was lying about having Epilepsy and therefore diagnosed me as having Borderline Personality Disorder.

Anyway, the point I’m making is  *breath* as women of colour, especially in the U.K. we need to challenge Primary Care clinicians more, because they have no idea what the fuck they are talking about, especially when it comes to our health. The BMI calculator in particularly, was not created for us! I’ve weighed my boobs and each one weighs 1.5kg! Our body fat is distributed differently in comparison to White women, which the BMI calculator doesn’t take into account. We have booty and also a higher bone density: physiologically we are completely different to the White European “ideals” that the BMI calculator was created from. When you go on the NHS Choice website to check your BMI, all you see are White women telling you how to be like them. Eurocentric standards healthcare are one of the reasons why so many women of colour have eating disorders. It was one of the reasons why I spent most of adolescent years with an undiagnosed eating disorder.

I found this great article by Linda Lowen about Black BMI, which is a great starting point. I’m definitely going to stay healthy, but I’m also going to be doing my own research.

XOXO

 

Posted in Blog

Inspirational U – Natural Care: Hair, Mind and Body

Hey! 

My second beauty blog post of the week! Well, it’s also a natural health post too.

Yesterday I went to a Natural Hair Talk, run by Inspirational U:

The panel was made of all beautiful black ladies (and one man) with natural hair, including the Editor from Natural Hair Weekly

I was so inspired (haha see what I did there) that I went out and bought some stuff online straight away. The main message was what you put into your hair should be as natural and healthy as what you put into your body. 

I’ve been really bad at looking after myself lately, but particularly with looking after my hair. I once was into healthy eating and healthy living, but only because I thought that it would help my seizures and when it didn’t I just gave up. It never occurred to me that 

(a) healthy eating can do wonders for my hair! And 

(b) I am more than my Epilepsy. Why does everything have to be about Epilepsy? Why can’t I just eat healthily because I enjoy it? 

I used to drink tonnes of water, so much so that I would dry up like a raisin if I didn’t get any and one of the women on the panel actually said that yesterday and I thought, why don’t I do that anymore? I just couldn’t be bothered to look after myself. It just became a chore.

I did used to straighten my hair obsessively when I was younger. As Black women we are told that have to look a certain way to conform, otherwise we won’t get a man, get a job. This is especially so when you grow up around white people. White boys didn’t like me with plaits, so I had to straighten my hair every day. Then at the beginning of the year I started going to the hair salon to have Keratin treatment which has done wonders to my hair’s health, however I very rarely use products in my hair. 

Another message I took away from yesterday’s talk was what you put in your hair affects your mind. What chemicals are we putting in our hair? 

Most of the products with the most harmful chemicals are directed towards the black community.

 The ladies on the panel advised us to buy things for our hair that we would either eat or use on our skin. Therefore, I bought avocado butter, castor oil and a blend of plant oils (almond, argan, macadamia, sesame, lavender, rose and ylang-ylang). All of these products I bought on Amazon 🤘🏾 

I applied the avocado butter immediately to my hair and my hands! 

My hair and hands feel lush already! (I have eczema so anything natural that I can apply to my skin too is a bonus.)

As for my body and mind, I’ll be hydrating myself too. I’m not shallow, but my looks are important to me, therefore keeping healthy and losing weight is important. Not being able to be as active as I used to be, is having an extremely negative impact upon my mental health, which is why things like looking after my hair, mind and body in little ways that I can are empowering. 

Posted in Blog

Black Cab Racist Trolls

I’m sure you’ve heard that Uber’s license has been denied renewal by TfL (Transport for London), therefore from 30th September 2017, Uber may be no more. I’m disappointed, because as a person with a hidden disability as well as having been on a low-income for a year and now being on benefits, I had come to rely on Uber for its low fare – and yes before you criticise, I understand why it’s so much cheaper, I’m not stupid remember.

However, I was also using Uber out of personal principle. I used to date a Black Cab driver and he used to relay some of the racist comments that the drivers would make about the Uber drivers; To me, this wasn’t a campaign about class, this was about immigration, race and colour. Their propaganda campaign on social media grew, with videos of confused Uber drivers going down the wrong streets with abusive and provocative captions. My ex would spend hours watching these videos and reading these tweets about the drivers, however the cabbies weren’t actually saying anything about the company itself.

Then, after sharing my story back in May about one of the last times I used a Black Cab on the night I took an overdose, when the cab driver dumped us outside of the closed entrance of the Whittington Hospital in North London and drove off, on Wednesday night, almost three months later a bunch of Black Cab drivers trolled me on Twitter. The reason why I had shared the story in the first place, was in defense of Uber because I’ve been in countless situations were I’ve been travelling alone and Uber drivers have made sure that I’m safely inside the building before driving off. When I went to my cousin’s boat birthday party last year, the Uber driver made me text my Uncle to make sure that we had the right boat before driving off! And when I went to see Radiohead in Manchester, the Uber driver waited while I rang the bell and was safely inside the hotel before driving off.

Black Cabbies have never done that. All I ever get from Black Cab drivers is whining. Sometimes to get to work if I was feeling particularly run down, if the Uber app was busy I would have to use Gett for a Black Cab: they might accept the job, make you wait 10 minutes and then cancel, then when one eventually comes, the driver would whine through the entire journey that it’s because it’s:

“soooooooooooooooooooooooo faaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaarrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr oooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooootttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttt of Zone 1”

which is why all of the other cabbies ignored my job request.

They used to even moan when I lived in Kent! We lived a 5 minute drive from the train station, however as a young black woman, it just wasn’t safe to walk alone at night.

They moan when a fare is too short and they moan when a fare is too far. That’s not working class. That’s LAZY.

Anyway, back to the trolling, these guys were relentless, and when I shared my story on social media, it became apparent that I wasn’t their only victim. They search for your profile, they read through your tweets and use whatever they can as a against you: the colour of your skin, your job title, your sexuality, your political persuasions – for example, this is how I knew that they had read through my tweets, because my Twitter profile description says I’m a Socialist, yet some Cabbie trolls were tweeting me about being a Labour traitor. I stopped following Corbyn about a month ago and haven’t tweeted about Labour for even longer. This is how psychotic these guys are.

It’s also evident that they mainly target women. These men are extremely sexist. And it’s hilarious, because the majority of the people who defend the trolls and their behaviour are white men. Typical really.

Finally, when they attack, they do it extremely haphazardly as if you’ve just stumbled into a conversation. So for example a group of them were tweeting me pictures a newspaper article of this guy who’s apparently friends with “Dodgy Dave” (David Cameron) – what on earth that has to do with Uber I have no idea, and then tweeted the picture to me with the caption: “call yourself a Mental health student eh?”

What does that even mean??????????????? My partner did notice that a lot of their tweets contain the hashtag Dodgy Dave, as if they’ve forgotten we have a new PM…..? Or they’re all in on this private joke and expect us all to get it?

Oprah Puzzled

Also, my profile says that I’m a campaigner for Epilepsy Awareness, however one troll didn’t see the Epilepsy (or perhaps didn’t know what it was and therefore ignored it), and tweeted: “your profile says you have awareness, but using Uber doesn’t show awareness does it?”

So these guys are clearly not very intelligent either.

So after all of this, I became distressed, called some people some names (as you do) and had my account restricted for 12 hours. I was bullied relentlessly by a gang of white men online, and I get punished.

These men didn’t give a shit that I had a disability:

“oh don’t play the disability card”

 

“fuck off you liar. That’s no excuse for having no morals”

If this really is the end of Uber, these men will not be getting a penny out of me.

And Sadiq Khan, a useless piece of shit. London is open my fucking arse. He’s just bowed down to a racist establishment, because that’s what the London Taxi Drivers Association is; This campaign was never about morals, or Robin Hood saving the working class. I’m not agreeing with the ethics of Uber as a company, however their drivers are hard working men who have been taken advantage of, and are unfortunately caught in the middle of this.

Maybe Uber can get their shit together, so that their drivers won’t be out of a job. Most of the drivers I spoke to were doing the work on the side because they desperately needed the extra money.

XOXO

Posted in Blog

Fenty

I don’t usually do beauty posts however yesterday, I had such an awful day mentally, that I decided to finally treat myself to Rihanna’s Fenty make up range.

At £25 for foundation that actually matches your complexion, that’s not asking for much!

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I did queue outside Harvey Nicol’s in Knightsbridge for almost 2 hours in the rain though….. but do you know what? It was totes worth it.

I was telling my partner about buying make up as a teenager from Afro-Caribbean hairshops in Peckham, South-East London and how you dare not touch your face because that stuff would transfer onto your hands and then onto your exercise book. Plus my complexion is an in-betweeny colour – I’m neither light-light-skinned, nor dark-skinned, therefore I could never get the right shade to match my skin. And forget about buying anything in Superdrug or Boots, because the high street only sell make up for Lady Casper and her friends.

So I’d never had the whole make up experience before either, until yesterday.

The girl sat me on the stool and tried three different shades and the third one was the hit, and it was like rubbing chocolate onto my skin…. beautiful.

They didn’t have the shade in stock, so I just took down the shade number and bought it online when I got home. But before I left, my eye caught the concealer. So, I’ve never tried concealer either, because again, I’ve never found concealer in a shade darker than a milky bar LOL. Until yesterday. The girl took this stick, rubbed it under my eye and it was like magic. As you can see from the picture below, the coverage is immaculate:

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So I bought that and some lip gloss. And when I got home, I also bought some highlighter (blusher).

Over the last year I’ve barely worn make up and I know some girls of colour who like me, have just kind of given up on make up. However, when we knew Fenty was coming out we just had to get behind it because this is the first time anybody has done anything for us. There was a girl in the queue in front of me who said to me: “it’s weird how she’s done so many shades right?” My reply: “that’s because it’s needed!” Desperately needed! The girl was white Columbian so she didn’t get it. In the queue with us were so many young girls! I can’t imagine what it must feel like to be valued like that in your teens. I cannot tell you how shitty it felt to have to make up your own colour of foundation for so many years, because there just wasn’t any thing on the market for you. Boots No7 came close – that’s the last foundation I bought 2 years ago, however even that was too dark for my complexion.

Yesterday was glorious, to look in the mirror, and finally see my melanin face made up how it should be.

Rihanna has created a brand for us and shown us that we are valued and appreciated, because black is fucking beautiful baby. Finally.

Thank you.

XOXO

Posted in Blog

My Wonderland: Finally Waking Up

I’ve always been an incredibly vivid dreamer.

Since I stopped talking to my sister, I’ve dreamt about her every single night. During the day (until recently) she is barely on my mind, however at night she is the most noticeable person in my consciousness. She doesn’t talk to me; If I try to, she’ll walk away from me. She doesn’t look at me either me. She just doesn’t acknowledge me.

I think we stopped talking in 2015.

Then last week, one night she looked at me. We were in a large house and I was trying to get out but I couldn’t find a way out, so I took the chance to ask her, expecting her not answer. She didn’t speak, but she did look at me.

Then the following night, I dreamt that I went out with her and her boyfriend and a friend of his, and although she wasn’t speaking directly to me, she was speaking to me within the group. We were looking at each other, laughing etc.

The following night I dreamt that she was heavily pregnant, and it was like no time had passed. I was holding her hand and touching her stomach. I could feel her baby kicking inside her stomach and we were excitedly talking about her due date which was rapidly approaching.

Each time I awake from these dreams, I wake up breathless and disoriented. However, this final one was the worse because I could feel it. The following day, I threw myself into my work to try to forget about, but then the evening came and I was too tired to escape it anymore. I lay in the bed in the dark, and sobbed for almost an hour. My heart was breaking and I very nearly picked up my phone, and called their house to see if she would pick up. However, I was frightened that my mother would pick up so I didn’t.

A couple of weeks ago, I told my partner that I would’ve died for my sister, and I repeated the statement again to a family friend over the weekend, when I told her about the dream. I also told her that I probably still would, however I’m now starting to reconsider that belief.

I hate referring to myself as a victim, but I am. And although I was abandoned my father, although it was my choice to cut ties with my mother, in my eyes I have no parents.

I still don’t really know why my sister hates me. My last conversation with her was her accusing me of faking my seizures for attention, and then telling me that she could no longer deal with my “shit” because I was too much of a burden, (but then the next day expecting me to pretend nothing had happened, without any apology). And one of my last conversations with my mother was her informing me that my sister had many grievances against me, which she was not privy to tell.

We grew up in the same household, had the same perspective of our mother, both wanted to escape, and yet something went terribly, terribly, wrong.

In 2016, after coming close to committing suicide and telling my mum that not being able to have a relationship with my sister was the reason, her response was:

“do you really think she would’ve cared if you’d killed yourself? She thinks you lied about your dad abusing you anyway.”

Of course she’ll deny that if you’ll ask her. Because that’s what they do.

Every time there’s a terrorist attack in London, I wonder to myself, don’t you guys ever wonder if I’m fucking okay? Are you really that fucking heartless? They know that I live in London. My partner actually said the other day that even if I did say that I didn’t want any contact, as a mother wouldn’t you fight? The last time I heard from my mother she wrote me a card telling me that she loves me, and God loves and forgives me. She didn’t apologise for saying that I was possessed by the devil though, and that watching horror movies had been the cause of of my epilepsy and therefore I had caused my own suffering. This is why I had asked her to stop sending me cards. 

If you’re going to continue to deny that there is something wrong with you and that you have abused me for thirty years and cannot apologise for that, then we cannot be friends, let alone mother and daughter.

I spoke one of my best friends over the weekend, who’s been with me through this entire journey and she said to me: if you go back to them, you’ll have yourself to blame when you get hurt again.

And she’s right. It hurts, but she’s right. I can’t go back. I can’t EVER go back.

I have to put myself first.

XOXO