The true friend

Long ago, I grew up in an environment that did not embrace who I truly was. I was scorned, rejected, and made fun of.

The friends I had turned out not to be true friends. And, I made unintentional mistakes that hurt people, that I wish I could apologise for.

I used to think that no one liked me. I know what it’s like to be really lonely.

A few days ago, I was reading and meditating on a passage from the bible about Yah’s love.

1 John 4:16

16 And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him.

18 There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love.

One of the errors I make is that I live and socialize as though I am rejected. I have felt rejected and marginalized in the past, so now I reject myself before anybody gets a chance to by isolating myself, rejecting them before they reject me. I truly do belong where I choose to and it doesn’t matter what people think, say or do to me. I’m going to be my own best friend.

For the new year I made a decision that I wanted to learn to love others, take another step in loving God, and in loving who I was created to be, as well as embracing my gifts.

I put my hair in locks this year. I began to realise that I had been vain with my looks and the beauty of my thick, luscious natural hair, and how it requires so much time and so much maintenance and care; I don’t have time for that anymore. My identity was entirely wrapped up in the coils of my hair. I then began the process of liberating myself from defining myself by my hair and by the way I look. It’s a hard thing to do as a woman in a society that grades the value of a woman based on her looks, but I took the leap anyway.

Everyday requires you to leap once more. You don’t know when you’re landing, or if you will land at all.

The way I define my beauty is entirely different. I don’t see myself as “beautiful” or even “ugly”. I don’t look in the mirror as much and don’t need to. I’m just focusing on cultivating beauty from within. As within, so without.

I look the way I choose to. This is pleasing to my God. Some people may not like my locks but I guess what? My hair+my rules= don’t care. Some people exercise great nerve in telling people how to live their lives. Isn’t it that whatever is esteemed in the eyes of man is despised by God? I’m not doing anything wrong. Let me express myself. I chose to be free so let me be. If that’s what you want, liberate yourself. But don’t you dare try to squeeze me into a box of what your mind can conceive.

These verses made me realise that where love is, God is. I can be one with God in Love, true love for the people. No more hatred, no more anger, and much forgiveness. But also in truly loving and embracing myself-balance is key. If there is love within, God will prosper in me as a vessel. If my cup is overflowing I’ll be sure to give.

No one is perfect. I don’t read scripture every day. I pray when the feeling strikes.I try to follow the Law, and also do right by others. God would want me to Love my enemies. All we can ever do in the midst of this spiritual battle is pray for them. An act of love. Entrust them to God. Everything just works itself out. 

I don’t want anything. I don’t need anything. I am just thankful for everything I have. Even though I have nothing. But I have love; so I do have everything. I found the true friend from within-I found God.

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Loc-Loc, who’s hair?

Black hair is not dirty or untidy simply because it is kinky, curly and grows from a black person’s scalp. Dirty hair is dirty hair, uncombed, untidy hair is just that as well, and a spade is a spade – we are under no illusions. But it is time that we shed our former colonizer’s mindset that our hair is bad or somehow wrong.

Black hair is not untidy just because it has not been pressed, processed or wrangled into colonially-approved modest buns or lifeless, straight shoulder-length sheets. There may be standards for hair grooming, and those might just exclude some beautiful styles that are popular but these rules must not be cover-ups for institutionalised racism.

http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/teenage/No-easy-way-forward-on-hair-regulations

Loc-loc!

Who’s hair?

Mine. I.E.: Not yours to police and tell me what not to wear.

OOOooo burn.

 

Is there such a thing as being “too black”?

I’ve been running into articles about the controversies surrounding black hair and a black person’s choices to keep their hair natural being severely limited. This is something I’m really passionate about so I’m going to rant about this.

This article which I just quoted was written after an a young black boy (only 3, and fairly recently!) was turned away from school because of his hair in its natural state. The school did receive quite a bit of heat because this is discrimination…who would have thought…in a “black” country. I always believed that as a black person I’d have more freedom being my black self in a black-majority country, but I guess the colonialist ideals are there too. What a shame.

I’m a black Canadian in a “white” Canadian society. Well…it’s very diverse where I live and I’m starting to see more representation thank God . But I do believe we still have a long way to go when it comes to resolving racism in our minds. Racism is ideological. It’s a spiritual disease. It speaks of an irrational hatred, bias or just lack of love or regard for one another.

Now as a person who is black, who is living in a “white” society, I would expect to find a lot more racism and discrimination coming from non-blacks , not within a black society. My Jamaican step-father told me once that, when he went to primary school in Jamaica way, way back, they would run his hair through everyday with a small, thin-toothed comb. If it didn’t go through you’d face serious consequences. Knowing Afro hair, the thin-toothed comb didn’t go through as though it was a straight Euro-hair (surprise, surprise -_-) and he was punished corporally. That just goes to show that ideas and ideologies are hard to get rid of…even among black people. They are reinforced in society… in the media from the very beginning…in conversation that is implied but not said. Children are smart; they learn about differences from a very young age. “Race” is a social construct. We shouldn’t have to be punished for not being white. That’s just ludicrous. God made us all different for a reason; not to punish one for not being another. This is where colourism comes into play in the black community (also in other ethnic communities…but I can only speak about what I know of my own people…ho hum) that’s for another post. Or not.

As a part of my spiritual journey, I’ve been contemplating the decision to turn my natural hair into locs. But I’ve been somewhat hesitant because I fear the discrimination I will face in the job market not only as a person who is black, but also who is a dreadlocked person.  

I know it’s a trend right now, but that’s not why I’m doing it. I’m doing it for spiritual reasons, but I’m afraid. There have been many other incidents just like the one I mentioned above (see the link), in which people are getting hired and then months later fired because their hair was deemed unacceptable, according to white standards.

Tangent: Standards for what? White standards are for white people. They don’t apply to me. I refuse to follow or go by them. I don’t need a standard. I’m going to be who am. Not who you want me to be.

Anyway, I don’t find that reasonable. If it was unacceptable, then why go through the whole hiring process and then fire them months into the job? I don’t find that fair and, frankly, it doesn’t make any sense.

Folks, this is just one of the ways society tries to limit your freedom of expression no matter who you are, but especially if you are black in a white world. Keyword: Freedom. I don’t know if this is deliberate but things have to change because WE are changing.

I won’t be who you want me to be. I won’t kiss ass and be a sell out to my people; I think I’d rather be me. I can take the risk. I can listen to the voice of Spirit, of God. I can listen to my own spiritual beliefs. I can say to myself what I say to people who complain to me about the very same thing:

Whatever I claim in the Spirit I can claim in the physical. I can say that my hair protects me from places where I shouldn’t be. I can say that whatever is meant for me, Spirit will not hold back. The truth is, no matter what we will always make it. There is always an exception. Don’t give up. Have faith.

When I say that to myself I do feel better. Who cares what people say, anyway?!

Hope this brings you peace or insight.

May the sun kiss you after the rain hits you

~Peace Lillian

Pray about it.

I am nothing. I am nobody. I don’t need words to describe me. How do I find my bliss?

I while back I’ve been stuck in my search for my true path. I have made the mistake of listening to every single person, when in fact people seemed to be guessing while I’m leaning this way and that way, listening to too many doctrines of what is what.

It’s maddening.

I don’t know what happened, but recently I have been experiencing a breakthrough in my mind. My ego is being put to rest, my heart is opening, my mind at peace and my body under my control.

It’s something I should have been doing but have forgotten to do.

I lit a candle, burned some incense in preparation for my mind, heart and spirit.

I covered my head and humbled my spirit. I prayed a heartfelt prayer to the Most High and Creator. I prayed about knowing the truth. I prayed about the oppression of all people, including myself. I prayed about my personal issues as well. When I was done I spent a moment waiting in meditative silence and contemplation. I felt his words in my mind. A still small voice.

The voice of Spirit come to me and comforted me:

Everything will be okay. I will let you know EVERYTHING in due time, but for now, Trust me. Inform yourself. Read everything (books, articles, keep self informed. receive the information coming at you and discern with prayer).

Just trust me, Katie. (he really emphasized this)

Everything will be alright.

Everything in its due season will unfold. You will watch it.

As the rain falls, so will you know. [When] the sun shines (here he prompts my memory of a saying I always use) Everything in darkness comes to light.

Thank you for your humility. You have done well and make me proud, my child. No one who trusts in God will ever be disappointed.

In that message I realized that The most high communicates with us within the constraints of what we can understand. Because of the spiritual principles that remain yet unknown to man (revealed to us in time when we are ready), not everything can be explained and communicated to us, because of our limited perception of the world beyond our own.

Also I am going to say that for a long time I had been holding onto an inferiority complex because of my dark skin, and I was corrected by the Spirit:

Stop thinking that because you are black that you are inferior; you are a child of Israel. Whether the seed or the branch (grafted in) [Those who have eyes to see refer to Romans 11] you are apart of it. EVERYTHING God made about our form is GOOD.

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And from that I went from inner turmoil to complete inner peace. I felt It’s presence or peace in my heart that I haven’t felt in so so long.

What I learned in this prayer session after reading about Elijah the Prophet was that The Most High is someone who I can trust. He provides for you in the spirit, which feeds you in the physical world as well in whatever you are needing or asking for. (I swear Yeshua mentioned something like that before in one of the 4 Gospels) If you trust and ask with a pure heart and be nothing but truthful, sincere, and humble, the Most high will hear you and reach his hand out to you.

A relationship is not a one-way street. Do your part. Let go of your sins of the past; everything that is hurting you, grudges and regrets. Let The most High take the burden. The secret of Forgiveness is when we forgive (in my spiritual experience) The most high goes before you in that time and space where you are reliving that horrible experience and stands between you and it, so that it is not really happening to you anymore and you can move on. That person who looks down on you, is now looking down on the Most high. The Most High I realize can work on many levels of our existence– spiritually, Of course, which trickles down into the physical and he works in our minds and hearts. Who do you think is the author of psychology? A more complete psychology with the right approach.

You do the research, and pray about it.

If you don’t believe me, Pray about it. I don’t know everything.

Scared? Pray about it.

I hope that this brings peace to whomever this unfolds to.

May the sun kiss you, after the rain hits you.

Ashe~,

Peace Lillian

What marginalisation, marginalised how?

I Have a lot to say about this. I’m preparing you.lolz

I think it’s really important that teachers implement certain practices into their teaching to help students feel as though they are included. Feeling like the odd-one out is hard. I can speak from personal experience. Growing up I had always felt like I didn’t belong. I was the black sheep of the family…or the rebel, the one with the feet that walk to a different rhythm.

An unfair and hard truth for some to fathom is that as a person of color I have been through events in which I felt marginalized, or that I didn’t belong, especially when I am one of few Jamaican-Canadians in the vicinity! What can I say, when you share a culture with someone sometimes the bond is easier because you’ve already surpassed that first layer of the illusion of separation that we as human beings hold as barriers in our minds against each other, whether we choose to see it or not, it is there. That’s just human nature.

 Here are some examples:

Sometimes when I walk into a room and I am the only one who looks like me…it’s hard to ignore when people look at you a certain way, or stare a little too hard like you’re an alien and you’re reeeally uncomfortable, or even keep their distance from you just to be safe…sometimes it’s just the anxiety of not knowing what to expect that poisons the experience. Sometimes you can even tell by the glances someone gives you that they’re judging you (pick a stereotype). It’s all in the body language. It may not be verbal or overt but manifest in covert micro-aggression too unnoticeable for the perpetrator, but very noticeable for people who are often marginalized; they’ve been trained to see that kind of behavior from a young age, they pick it up easily. When I feel most uncomfortable is when I sense that people are “othering” me. Making assumptions about me because of what I look like on the outside. (I’ve heard this term “othering” from Simone de Beauvoir’s “The second sex”, commenting how women are basically marginalized in society.)

 In this society we often say “black (wo)man” when we ought to say, “(wo)man”. Yeah, I get it, (s)he’s the “black edition”, but (s)he’s a (wo)man first before (s)he is “black”. There isn’t that much of a distinction between us. We’re all human. And “black” people come from somewhere, too, just as “white” people can come from England or Portugal. Whereas, when we refer to a “white” (wo)man, (s)he’s just a “(wo)man”. This is how POC are marginalised. Labels are a big part of it.

Labels are labels. “Black” is a marginalising label. “white” can be too. but you see, in media the connotation of the word “black” is often bad. Superhero may say to a villain, “You black-hearted scoundrel!” (okay, peter pan said that, but still.) That means the villain has nothing but evil in their heart. What does it mean when you apply that word to a person? That the person is inherently bad? If that is what society believes about me; I guess I’m the wrong shade to be good or anything nice (lolz, yeah right!). The colour white, on the other hand has been long associated with heaven’s angel’s robes, or the colour of virginity on a wedding dress, I mean, it’s not surprise that the same connotation refers to a group of people. My question is…is this deliberate? The fact that the word “black” can trigger any response in someone from defensiveness, to discomfort to disgust…I’m not saying to change the symbolism, I’m asking you to challenge what that word “black” means when you stick it on an individual. You will find a skeleton. Biases are okay and normal. Confront it.

And there are different ways and different reasons that one may be marginalized, I’m just telling you an example of how I have experienced being marginalized. I can only speak out of the authority of my experience, which cannot be disregarded or refuted or denied, because it is MY experience and truth, meaning your turn to listen, not to correct.

 Anyone who is different in any way has a chance to be marginalized, whether it’s by gender, ethnicity, weight, sexual identity, etc. I think it’s super important to have classes that allow the unheard marginalized voices speak, because often the pressure of the majority will squash their courage or the audibility of their voices. Teachers have immense influence in that they can encourage students, listen to their struggles and allow themselves to be taught. It will allow other students to learn about themselves and about the social constructs that have gone “under the radar” for a long time. Sometimes a fresh new perspective is a good thing, and shouldn’t be stifled or seen as a threat.

Response to Baker Kee’s “Art as Ashe”

“Kujichagulia: To define ourselves, name ourselves, create for ourselves, and speak for ourselves instead of being defined, named, created for and spoken for by others.”

I was reading an article about assemblage in art and this quote caught my eyes. I truly love and adore this quote. It resonates with me…It speaks depth about something within me, key to my identity; creating and defining who I am. The media, that does not know me, will not take that away from me… something or some language used to make me apologize for being who I am. I will not.

My response to the quote goes as follows (excerpt of one of my poems):

…But

I do not create for fame…out of shame, but claim…claiming my divinity as an art-ist.

with my golden pen I speak my truth and assert myself as

Goddess on paper

And BLACK female whose image

has been maimed and shamed, profaned

Must erase the image on the chalk board

and wash the residue too.

Art is freedom and voice of knowledge to speakers and listeners…

though they may be few.

I say

Facilitate to liberate and do not let any man have your power;

“To thine own self be true”

I ask, are you your hue? Then what is your power?

It’s

WHO YOU ARE that cannot be “excused”

spoken for, or namely abused

for simply being; reiterate–

We create, and therefore we educate.

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Art as Ashe article in PDF

Article bibliography:

Baker Kee, J., Bailey, C., Horton, S., McClue, J. & Thomas, L. (2016). Art at Ashe: Collaboration as creative assemblage. Art Education 69(5), 14-19. 

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I haven’t really been very diligent about writing regularly. Sorry, guys! I’ve been busy with school and it’s sooooo demanding. However, these past two posts had been written as blog assignments for my art education class; I have deemed them worthy to be on this blog because I have put my creative effort into it and was pleased. So enjoy and stay posted. I’ll try to be more consistent with my posts. Once a week sounds good.

May the sun kiss you, after the rain hits you.

Ashe,

Peace Lillian.

Response to art

I totally love this class I’m taking. It’s a credit course for my early childhood, and elementary education B.A. I’m in my second year now. I totally love it but I’m exhausted, and lord dam, you better spend some money. University art classes are way up there! So we are assigned weekly reading to which we have to respond in form of a blog. (What I do best!)

Here’s my response to Barnes’ “Teaching art to young children: the value of art”:

When Barnes says “art is a way of knowing”, I think he means that it’s something which comes natural to us. If we look at history, we can observe how thriving nations and peoples have used art as a form of expression of their culture and their experiences. Now, it seems like all the art and creative energy is being stifled out of us because it doesn’t seem to prove to be necessary or as smart or as serious; it’s just that it’s not taken seriously.

Isn’t it human nature for us to ignore the things that may be good for us even if it can’t be proven?

Not everything can be measured or categorised. Nevertheless, I’m sure it does get challenging to grade art, so thankfully other grading techniques could be used. For example, narrative grading, which is writing comments about students’ achievement or progression, instead of using a letter, number, or a percentage grade, could be used.

There are things that we can learn as children creating art that we can’t learn from Math. Art is the one of few subjects where anything and everything is possible. that’s called freedom. It’s like a medium for unspoken philosophy. According to the Bloom’s Taxonomy scale, art requires a higher forms of intellectual skill (Like creating, evaluating and analyzing), whereas Math requires a lower level of intellectual skill (like remembering, understanding, or applying). Ironically, there are six levels of the taxonomy and math took the lower three levels of intellectual skill.

There are no right or wrong answers with art. Math on the other hand is so much more rigid, and not everyone can handle that. It’s not like our real and complete intelligence can be measured by a math test, only a developed (or underdeveloped) aspect of our cognitive ability. 1+1 is always 2. There is no argument about what it means, it just is. I feel like we live in a world that only wants to see the black and white of things…when in fact there are many, many shades of grey 😉 or any colour you can think of. Why not see the creative side of things? This is not original, but I want to say, 1+1= window. The first time I heard that little “joke” (if you want to call it that I thought it was strange, creative and funny, but now going deeper I think )of it as looking out of the window of objectivity to subjectivity — to the dream world where everything is possible–; to the abstract nature of what art can be, or what we know art to be.

On a side note, I think that the sum “window” could be a metaphor for math as a box. Nothing gets out, nothing goes in. That doesn’t help anyone. Our society seems to have a need for conformity and I think that art defies that sameness. No two scribbles are the same. Isn’t that kind of awesome?

 

Uncertainty in love

God, what am I doing? 

I miss him, but I am pushing him away. I love but I don’t want him. Even though he’s perfect. Even though he is good for me.

What do I do?

I’m not ready to put those pieces back together. Not now. Not right now.

What if I can’t love him like I should? What if there’s no more room in my heart for there to be broken pieces?

On my own, I feel complete. I feel great. I feel perfect. Of course I wonder if a relationship is what I truly want.

Today my friend Cati and I spoke about relationships and what it meant to be a parent. She has been married for years, but had chosen not to have children. Recently, she had discovered that she could no longer conceive due to some condition in her womb. She told me that having a baby changes the relationship. Sometimes for better or for worse. She gave me a scenario about a friend who just went through a divorce. The child was having difficulty adjusting to the change of not having her daddy around. It was hard for the mother, too, for she still loved this man very much; sometimes relationships don’t work out, but it’s hard when you have to see them so often for the child’s sake. She cannot forget him if he is always before her.

Babies change relationships. You roll the dice and see what you get. Am I willing to risk my body, risk investing 9 months into someone and their offspring only to find out that nothing has come out of it? No. I don’t think so.

I don’t know why, but I seem to see myself as a single mother. Maybe because my mother raised me as one. I could get married, though. But I’m very independent. Oh, What’s the point of love if it doesn’t matter? If it only lasts so long?

Why should I waste my time? Why do I feel the pain when I think of hurting him? I know that no man is perfect. Why do I keep asking him to wait? Why won’t he leave me? I’ve done him wrong before. And I was sorry. So sorry.

I just can’t understand the reasoning of my heart.

I had a dream about a man. It was a sensual dream. I walked into the house and he was there. I lay down. He lay down with me. Our legs intertwined, caressing and whispering sweet words of forever. No more. No less. 

I can’t lie, I miss the intimacy of loving a man, of holding his brokenness with delicacy– with which only a woman could be trusted– touching the wounds only a woman can heal.

But what about my wounds? Why should I look after another when I am still here, waiting for love of self? I cannot give if I do not have.