Posted in Blog

When Will It End?

Sometimes, I don’t know who I am anymore.

Some days I wake up, work on MSc, do some blogging, etc etc. Yes, I’ve got it together!

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But then, some nights, my anxiety is through the roof and I cannot shut my brain off, while some days it’s completely silently dead and I cannot move, so I stay in bed all day – on days like today, where I slept my life away.

I’ve gained weight because I’m no longer as active as I used to be, and I’m not vocal about it bothering me, but it does bother me, especially when I used to be bulimic. I fantasise about making myself sick, but I can’t because I have to cling to to those stupid pills that stop the seizures. So I just watch the weight gain every morning in the mirror instead.

I’ve spent an entire week arguing with my employer, trying to arrange an afternoon to collect my belongings from my old desk. I have nothing that belongs to them, because when they escorted me from the premises like a criminal for standing up to racism and disability discrimination, I was instructed not to take anything with me, so they have everything of mine and I have nothing of their’s. With the dire state in which the education system is in, I had to buy my students stationery to use in my lessons, so I spent a fortune on supplies which I had to leave, and which have been sitting at my old desk since May. My employer have spent a week at first trying to convince me that I had already collected the supplies (I haven’t), and then refusing to set a date. This was supposed to be the job of my Union Representative, who was far too lazy to do his job. At four in the morning on Wednesday, I finally emailed him and told him to do his job, and now I’ll be going in on Monday to collect my things.

These people are sick. 

Oh, and my Union Representative also sent me a copy of the Settlement Agreement I was forced to sign, (legally binding me to keep schtum about the name of my employer, as well as stopping me from suing their asses) with a coffee stain on it. When I pointed this out to him, he apologised, claiming that he hadn’t noticed before he posted it to me.

The coffee stain to me, was a visual gesture of what these people think of me, of how poorly they value me as a person.

Which is fine, because I feel exactly the same.

However, I still have to live with the damage. I’ve now moved to an area in London where my two nearest tube stations have no step free access, so if I have to travel during my postictal state (post-seizure), I’m screwed. Last week, I went to The Pink Floyd Exhibition at The V&A Museum, (aaaaamazballs by the way. I cried at it’s celestial-ness!), however I had to change at Green Park station. For anybody who lives in London, and has regularly done the interchange at that station, or even encountered it a few times, you’ll know it’s a lengthy process. Even at my fittest, I’d avoid it just to save time! Last week it killed me. I had to do this journey postictal (the tickets were pre-booked and non-refundable) and I’m currently at my unfittest. It was worth it for the exhibition, however I massively paid for it, both mentally and physically for days afterwards.

I’m trying to get over the mental damage, however knowing that there may have been a different outcome if I had been white, is a bigger pill to swallow than any of my anti-depressants or AEDS.

Self-care is so important. Yesterday, while lying in bed and feeling rubbish about doing so instead of research for my latest assignment, I stumbled upon thread about self-care on Twitter. Such simple steps: 

  • Getting out of bed (always a good start!) 
  • Drinking water – it is so important to keep hydrated, not just when you have epilepsy and you’re on AEDs, but also when your mood is low
  • Doing something other than what you HAVE you do – so we’ve just moved, and I’ve been putting off unpacking for ages, because of my MSc. Yesterday I decided to just put some music on and unpack. A flat full of boxes is so unhealthy for your mental health anyway. It’s like living out of a suitcase but worse! 
  • Take a shower. So after all of that unpacking, I was pretty sweaty anyway. Again, I put some music on really loud, had the bathroom door open as I was home alone and took the longest shower I’d EVER taken. It was glorious! Back in the day, before I was ever in a relationship, I would go days in bed, without showering, never changing my underwear, festering in my darkest thoughts. Not good. If you’re too weak to stand, treat yourself to a bath – you fucking deserve it you beautiful biatch ❤️
  • Read a good book. The best thing about not being an English teacher anymore, is that I get to read whatever I want, because I’m no longer constrained to the curriculum! Glorious! At the moment I’m reading Assata Shakur’s autobiography “Assata: An Autobiography” which I highly recommend. One thing I’m also trying to do, is getting into a routine of reading in bed, in order to calm my brain down. 

Anyway, these are just my suggestions, mixed with some I’ve come across. Life is tough, but we can’t give up right? 

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?

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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 Blog

Labels #1: Blackness

This is going to be my first piece on labels.

As well as my epilepsy journey, I’ve also begun a journey of discovery of my colour, which is why I’m going to begin my series on blackness.

I am black.

I’ve finally come to accept that.

People reading that, may find that statement strange: a black girl stating the obvious.

However, as a black girl who was born in South-West England, and grew up knowing absolutely nothing about her heritage, and denied her skin colour, now you can understand why I’m stating the obvious.

I grew up ashamed to be black, so much so, that I soon became unaware of my own skin colour and believed that I was part of the culture I grew up in. My friends and I would joke that I was “more white” than them, as I jokingly coated my skin in vanilla ice-cream to get a rise of laughter from the table, and any black people who met me would call me “Bounty”, “Coconut” and “Michael Jackson”.

I never understood why the older generation amongst the black community felt so aggrieved by what I believed to be sins of the past; I didn’t understand why current generations should have to pay reparations for the past. Being around ‘angry black people’ made me feel uncomfortable, therefore I surrounded myself around the culture I knew.

Cultural appropriator? Brothers and sisters, I was a cultural assassinator.

When I was ten, my family and I moved to London, and I remember my uncles jesting on my South-West posh accent; I didn’t talk like my cousins at all. Growing up, I listened to grunge metal and indie music, and then as soon as I turned eighteen I went to gigs, pubs and festivals.

Throughout this time, we all continued to joke about how “un-black” I was, because to us it was funny; it made me feel superior to other black people: If I’d managed to integrate, why couldn’t you?

However, the older I got, the more uncomfortable I became. The jokes soon took a sinister turn: I can still vividly recall a moment between myself, a friend, and her fiancé where we were talking about Pakistani people, and then he paused. I was puzzled; my friend turned to him and said: “oh don’t worry, you can say what you want to say because she’s racist too.” Then he breathed a sigh of relief, and said what he wanted to say, which was a racist comment about Pakistani people.

I am black.

However, it now dawned on me that I had been trying so hard to fit into a culture I no longer wanted to be a part of, and a culture that never really wanted ME.

I’ve had my name changed: I’m currently reading Maya Angelou’s I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings, and the white woman she once worked for, refused to call her by her name because it was “too long”. A name is SO important – there is power in a name, I grew up believing that there was power in the name of Jesus; when the Slaveowners took the Slaves, the first thing they did was take away their names; I changed my surname from my father’s to my mother’s because I wholeheartedly believed that it would change my identity, and it did. Therefore, when people refuse to call you by your name, they are taking that power away from you. In KS4, I had a Physics teacher who insisted on calling me Christian, instead of my correct name, because she insisted it was right, even though me (the owner), my friends, and the school records, insisted otherwise. A friend, insisted on calling me “Fifi”, because my real name was too long, and because “Fifi” was loud, fun, all of the things she wanted me to be, and regardless of my protestations, the nickname stuck.

I felt powerless and insulted.

At work, a colleague told me that it was pointless teaching poetry on racism because it was “irrelevant”. However, in this same place I suffer and witness racism every single day.
I’ve spent hundreds of pounds, changing my appearance in a feeble attempt fit in, and this has made no difference, because of course I will never fit in.

I am black.

Now I’m taking this opportunity to apologise to all my brothers and sisters of colour, because for thirty years I have been a fool, and I feel like a complete and utter idiot. I’m so, so sorry. I wasted so much time on segregating myself from you, when I should’ve been building you up. Now that I know that I’m black, I feel empowered because I’ve found a family that were waiting for me my whole damn life! Friends whose hearts have been broken earlier, have welcomed me and are now educating me as I walk on my own path of discovering my blackness.

I am black, and I am proud.

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