Posted in Blog, Poetry

What Is Love?

Love

Loses its shine, like unpolished wood

 

Only lasts for as long as you feel it

Like butterflies in a case, bouncing against the walls

Eventually they must be set free

 

Varying in intensity

So uncertain, so if you do not feel it

Like yesterday

Then perhaps it was never love at all

 

Endless neurosis

Catching you off guard

When you think it is safe to breathe

 

Love

Loses its shine

Because the sun eventually stops shining

Posted in Poetry

Disappointment

Disappointment

A tasteless frozen pizza from a wood oven restaurant.

 

The only Black face in a sea of staring hostile pale faces who simultaneously ignore your presence.

Disappointment.

 

A ringtone on loud in the middle of your meditation.

A refund with no apology because white privilege makes mistakes and we all have to bear the cross.

 

Disappointment

Those two ticks to show you’ve been acknowledged but dismissed.

Message received loud and clear but in through one and out the other.

 

Disappointment

Waiting on you as you ride up that hill an hour late;

Watching as you finish that pointless youtube video instead of helping with the housework

I’ve become a Victorian housewife as I holler about the fucking cobwebs and dishes

 

Maybe my ailments will put me out of my misery like a Victorian orphan.

 

This is adulthood.

 

Constant fucking disappointment.

 

©The Wallflower Speaks Loudly, 2018
Posted in Blog

Coming Out

Last weekend I came out to my family – my uncles – with my partner by my side.

My sexuality is something that I’ve been struggling with since a very young age (possibly around the age of ten years old), and something I didn’t want to admit to myself or to anybody outside of myself, especially growing up within a Black Caribbean Christian home. My mother and I had often had heated conversations about homosexuals (not me), which had often left me in tears while she aggressively quoted scripture at me. I knew what was right and I definitely knew how she felt.

I remember in my second year of University, one of my best friends and also my housemate gave me a ride home during one holiday, and my mother clocked him and decided that she “didn’t like him because he looked gay” and she didn’t want him back around her house again.

He wasn’t gay. My mother was just a religious, homophobic bitch.

Having attended a Catholic school, my friends were all religiously straight, including my best friend of sixteen years. We’d also spoken about homosexuality; I’d mentioned my celebrity girl crushes, however I always did so in jest… Rihanna, Julia Roberts, Drew Barrymore, Helena Bonham Carter,.. and my friend would call me a massive lesbo. I would also secretly check out girls. The guys I fancied in real life were quite androgynous looking and very unobtainable – there would always be a reason why I couldn’t have them, and I think I secretly wanted that.

However, when I met my current partner, a transgender girl, I could no longer deny my sexuality. In her I met my best friend and the most beautiful girl in the world. When we first met, I didn’t know that she was trans, but when I found out, the first person I wanted to tell was my oldest friend, who I naively hoped would be able to see beyond her religious upbringing and understand that up until now, my happiness had been compromised, because I was finally starting to accept my sexuality.

But she couldn’t accept it. I’m not sure if she was more freaked out about my coming out, or my dating a transgender woman, but my oldest friend couldn’t deal with it. We last spoke in June, which is when I told her and we haven’t spoken since. This broke my heart.

I also told another close friend – the one who I invited round for dinner and although she seemed to react supportively to this news, she was suddenly opinionated about my future career plans in a negative way, then blamed me for not receiving her opinions. And we haven’t spoken since. However, it was such a bizarre scenario that I think it was a reaction to my coming out.

Friends seem to treat it as a personal affront when you come out, especially when you’ve had previous relationships with the opposite sex. I felt like both friends were accusing me of lying because I’d had relationships with guys, and for also having not been completely upfront about my feelings. But when you’re struggling with your sexuality, the only person you really trust is yourself. Plus these were my most religious friends – I was hardly going to run to them with my struggles!

I have been frightened to tell anybody close to me since – most importantly my uncles and cousins. Friends you can replace, however family has come to mean everything to me again, especially after being so let down before by other family members.

 

What if they were repulsed?

What if they didn’t understand?

What if they didn’t want to understand?

What if after all of these years, I lost them again?

 

I told my cousins separately first, who were so warm and receiving. However, they are younger than me, and therefore a hell of a lot younger than their dads!

One scenario on constant replay in my mind, was the one uncle whose house I was going to for Christmas would be so disgusted that he would retract his invitation (well actually I invited myself) and I’d have nowhere to go for Christmas Day!

Last Sunday was the day… I was so stressed that I could barely eat breakfast. The Jubilee Line from Finchley Road to Stratford was as packed as a Black Friday trolley and I nearly threw up. I had the stupid idea to ask them all to guess what the announcement might be, to break the tension that only I seemed to be feeling LOL, which actually just built up the moment even more for me. But I did it and I also told them about my partner.

They were all so embracing, it was unreal.

 

I had a seizure during the meal and spilt tea all over myself. But I came out!

 

Homosexuality within Black culture is definitely a conversation that is transforming, especially amongst the older generation and that’s thanks to the younger generation bringing it up with their parents and getting them to talk about it. Two of my uncles who had had conversations with their daughters (my awesome cousins), both said that the conversations have stayed with them and that it had really opened up their minds to some new ideas. These two uncles in particular are older than the third and were teenagers in the 60s, which was a completely different world, where you couldn’t speak about things like this.

When my partner – who is German – was relaying her experiences with transphobia back home and how homosexuality is still regarded by some as a Mental Health condition, my uncles could understand this, because in the 60s, 70s and for some of the 80s, this was the mindset towards homosexuality in UK too, until the explosion of pop culture, with the New Romantics, and pop figures like Boy George and George Michael helped to break the stigma.

We also talked about the stigmatism of homosexuality back home in the Caribbean – particularly Jamaica, where according to my Uncles the times are changing; it’s the people who have to change with the times, which is usually the case with prejudice and discrimination.

I feel for the men and women back home, I really do. I wonder if the prejudice against homosexuality is more to do with power, (because antagonists like to hold authority over their prey) than it is to do with thoughts and feelings on what anybody is actually doing with their bodies.

My mother never gave a damn about what people did with their bodies anyway. She seemed to thrive on the power of religion and judgement.

 

Anyway, all I’ve ever wanted is to be loved unconditionally, and last weekend I realised that I’ve always had it and I always will. I loved it when my partner said to me that in my uncles I now also have three dads. 

It’s an incredible feeling.

And I have come out to a couple of other friends who have been incredibly supportive of both me and and my partner.

It’s great to finally be me.

Gay

 

XOXO

Posted in Blog

Dear White People, stop quoting Martin Luther King Jnr at me please!

Dear White People,

Did you know that Martin Luther King Jnr wasn’t the only Black activist?

Shock

Every time I get into a debate about racism with a white person, they throw a King quote at me, so I’d like to take this opportunity to introduce white people to some other Black activists and some other quotes, which you might like to use in a debate with me, should you choose to:

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Leroy Eldridge Cleaver (August 31, 1935 – May 1, 1998)

Black Panther Party Leader. 

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Nina Simone February 21, 1933 – April 21, 2003)

American singer, songwriter, pianist, arranger, and activist in the Civil Rights Movement

 

Angela Davis

Angela Yvonne Davis (born January 26, 1944)

American political activist, academic, and author.

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Bantu Stephen Biko (18 December 1946 – 12 September 1977)

South African anti-apartheid activist.

James Baldwin

James Arthur “Jimmy” Baldwin (August 2, 1924 – December 1, 1987)

American writer and social critic (and my FAVE) 

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Assata Olugbala Shakur (born JoAnne Deborah Byron; July 16, 1947, often referred to by her married surname Chesimard), is a former member of the Black Liberation Army, a black nationalist urban guerrilla group, who was WRONGFULLY convicted in 1977 of the first-degree murder, under New Jersey’s “aiding and abetting” statute, of State Trooper Werner Foerster during a shootout on the New Jersey Turnpike in 1973. She escaped from prison in 1979 and fled to Cuba, where she was granted political asylum.

Malcolm X

Malcolm X (1925–1965)

African-American Muslim minister and human rights activist.

As you can see, ALL of these quotes advocate peace, therefore you now have no excuse to only know King’s name as the only “Black Peacemaker”. I also know that there are two sides to every coin – as in, some of these people have quoted non-peaceful words. However, you stalked, beat, jailed and assassinated the one black peacemaker you white people keep throwing in our face. So….. what’s your point?

Feel free to steal some of these quotes for a debate. I’d personally love to hear some of them myself.

XOXO

Posted in Poetry

Our Love is Wrong

My pride is strong, 

But not as strong as these chains

From my past that bind me,

Which is why I feel wrong,



Wrong for you because

Your past is pure like spring.

There are not storms for you,

Which is why we must pause



Our love. My pride is strong,

But my will is weak. When I see you,

I can't imagine loving another.

Even though for you, I'm wrong.
Posted in Blog

My Survival

The key to my survival – Part One: my partner. 

For the first time in a while, I’m smiling, I’m dancing, I’m cooking (I love cooking), I’m reading, I’m listening to music and singing.

My partner’s been so patient with me, particularly while I’ve changed my mind AGAIN about my living arrangements. I’ve been so candid here on my blog, so I want to be more explicit on what happened during my psychotic episode which led me to want to live away from my partner.

I no longer felt safe around anybody, but particularly around the person I loved most in the world. I constantly felt paranoid and unsafe – everything he said triggered some kind of fear which now in the light of reason and medication, I can find no reason for.

All of this was because I was bullied in my job and when I eventually tried to stand up for myself, I was suspended. I had put EVERYTHING into this job and prioritised teaching over everything, including my health at times. When I was suspended, I felt like I had been left with nothing, because I knew I was going to lose my job and because of this, I tried to kill myself.  I put ALL of my value and self-worth in a vocation – a vocation I had grown up wanting to do and was more than qualified to do regardless of my colour, or where I grew up, even if I did have epilepsy.

They don’t work anyway right?

After my suicide attempt, the psychiatrist instructed me to stop taking the antidepressants I had overdosed on, because in his words: “They don’t work anyway right?” and in the midst of my brain fog, I agreed.

My GP thinks that the psychosis could’ve been caused by this; my epilepsy team think that the psychosis could’ve been caused by the postictal state from the grand mal seizure I had a week after my suicide attempt.

Whichever the medical cause, I will always know the people who caused this.

I wanted to die

On that night I took those pills, in that moment, I did really want to die and I really saw no other way out.

On that night, I’d also had an argument with my partner – in the weeks before we’d found the perfect home together, but with my career and now my relationship in the organ grinder, I felt that I had nothing left to live for. In my depressed state, I guess I overreacted about the argument, however this was a BIG argument.

I didn’t say much, in fact I think I’d already taken the pills when my partner came into the bedroom to get a quilt to sleep on the sofa. But then as I felt myself drifting off, I sent him a message, telling him what I’d done and he saved me.

And we’ve been through every step of hell together.

We even broke up more than once and then finally for good, which lasted an entire day. However, thankfully, as I’ll go on to mention in part two of this post, I had some friends to counsel me in my darkest time when I found it difficult to make sense of what was going on in my own head, because even when I have wanted to die, simultaneously I’ve never had somebody by my side cheerleading for me to live so loudly.

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Which is why I’ve decided that the home we found together, is where we are going to live together.

Things were never easy for me
Peace of mind was hard to find
And I needed a place where I could hide
Somewhere I could call mine

Genesis – No Son of Mine

And I think I’ve finally done it…

The key to my survival – Part Two: I mustn’t forget my friends. 

The friends who have stood by me in my sickness and my madness, who haven’t even batted an eyelid that I’ve changed my mind about my partner so many times – during my bad times, I must’ve told them some crazy things about him, only to find out a week later that it was all down to psychosis and they didn’t even mind, because they loved him so much and were just ecstatic that we were back together! Furthermore, the security of knowing that they know me well enough, to know when I’m not myself and when I am, brings me so much peace.

The love has been unreal!

I’ve also made some incredible new friends via social media, who again have been with me every step of the way. My job was making me feel intensely lonely – a loneliness I hadn’t felt since my teens and I did some reaching out, while some even did some to me which saved me. I’m still finding it an unrelenting feat to trust people, so the fact that these people have broken past my barriers speaks volumes.

Hugs

I’ll be forever thankful xoxo

The key to my survival – Part Three: My Amazing Three Uncles. 

I rarely see them. My mum completely cut off all communication with them when we were younger and to this day, I still don’t fully understand the reasons why because when we were younger, my uncles were the fathers my sister and I never had. When I moved to London and just before I stopped talking to my mum and sister, I reached out to my oldest Uncle and since then, even though I rarely see them (especially since I started Teacher Training), I talk to my three uncles via Whatsapp or on Facebook. My youngest uncle in particular surprised me because after my suicide attempt, concerned about my cryptic Facebook updates, he phoned me and has been a shoulder to cry on since. I’m a hard nut to crack and I really didn’t realise how much so until this whole experience, but he REALLY cracked me. I loved him so much more for that.

I’m not fully recovered yet – I’m not sure how long it will take, or if I’ll ever get there. All of these components: love, friendship, mentoring, support have all been empowering towards the healing of my mental health.

I know that I’m never going to be the same person that I was a year ago… I’m forever changed and that girl is forever gone. It’s sad because I never got a chance to say goodbye to her. However I’m looking forward to this new journey: moving into my new home, seeing where this new unplanned future takes me and learning to live every day as it comes.

Posted in Blog

You Left Me High and Dry

When you become sick, your sickness becomes your lover, your best friend, your brother, sister – your life.

It has to.

I have to get to know my epilepsy in order to learn to live with it, I’ve realised that now, so when I became sick my priorities had to change and there are people who will stick by you in that, and others who won’t be able to.

For some insane reason, even only knowing me for ten months (TODAY IS ACTUALLY OUR TEN MONTH ANNIVERSARY BABY!!!)

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– at my worst for the majority of our relationship, my partner has chosen to stick by me. There are friends who have drawn closer to me, to hold me up as if they know I’m about to fall before I even know it… amazing!

And then there are the ones on the other hand, who just don’t get it.

When my oldest friend found out that I had epilepsy, I think she was so shocked because we didn’t know. We’d grown up together and yet we hadn’t known. And then she didn’t know what to say. It was made even more difficult with her living in a different country when I was diagnosed. We went from talking everyday to sporadically and my updates would just be… well depressing, while her’s would be vague.

I remember when she got annoyed at me once while I was still living at my mum’s and I moaned about another friend leaving me to go travelling (I’d already been – I just couldn’t afford to do it again) and she snapped back:

“Not everything is about you, you’re always complaining. Just do something about it.”

I couldn’t: I was sick, but hadn’t been diagnosed yet and most of my money was going to my mum.

But since then, I’d been trying to make an conscious effort to ask her about her life, so I would get annoyed at her for being vague!

I also recall when I needed relationship advice while with my ex: I didn’t know what to do, she was happy to talk it out for hours and by the end of the conversation I’d decided that I was going to end things. However, then I spoke to him we decided to work things out and when I told my friend, she became annoyed that we’d wasted all of that time talking for nothing.

Yet I’d spent years of my time talking it out with her about her relationship and never once thrown it in her face. Until now I guess.

 

Things have been tough this year, and she hasn’t stepped up to the plate. I’ve found her flippant to my agitations – particularly when I opened up to her about work.

After opening up to her about my suicide attempt and the reasons behind it, she sent me a peculiarly flippant text afterwards, which I found upsetting and she didn’t respond.

 

That was about three weeks ago now.

 

Then last weekend I really thought that things had ended for good with my partner and I – a million things were going through my mind: I have to look for a new place because I cannot stay here, I’ve got nowhere to go, I’ve got no job (I’ll explain this fully in a later post), no money. I was beginning to feel incredibly suicidal again. At that moment I sought help from the Crisis Team who managed to talk me down from the “ledge”, however the following day I sent her and another close friend a text to let them know about me and my partner and having to find a new place urgently.

 

She never replied. She still hasn’t.

 

Perhaps she never will.

 

Thankfully I have the people around that respond, who don’t think that I’m too much of a burden to bear.

 

I’m so sick and tired to saying sorry for being sick and tired.

 

I went to see my GP yesterday and it was revealed to me that I had a psychotic episode, triggered by the abrupt withdrawal of antidepressants after my suicide attempt. For some context, I started taking these antidepressants because of my job and at the time of my suicide attempt was on the highest dose; I stopped taking them after my overdose and then after my grand mal seizure, the Psychiatrist came to visit me at home and said to me:

 

“well if you don’t think they’re working, just stop taking them”.

 

The antidepressants I was taking were extremely strong, he knew this, and as a medical professional he would’ve known what would’ve happened when I abruptly stopped taking them, which is what did happen – I became a horrible, psychotic monster. I had no idea how to differentiate between reality and fiction, my home had become my prison, every single sound was amplified to maximum. I’ve never experienced anything like it and I was so thankful that I wrote down my experiences on a piece of paper to take to my GP.

 

In the midst of this, my friend hasn’t been there.

 

Who do I blame for this one? Epilepsy, or mental health?… Or teacher training?!

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