Going it alone

Lensa AI

Getting into the Christmas spirit, I’ve been meeting up with friends for eats and drinks these past couple of weeks. I’ve been enjoying my time going out, catching up and dancing my little heart out.

Each time though is marred a bit by the line of questioning that always seems to follow while out and while the drinks are flowing.

So have you got yourself a new man yet? So what are you doing to meet someone? What are we going to do to get you fixed up?

I haven’t really spoken much about my separation from my husband. Probably because it still fresh and also because there were two of us in that relationship and talking about it publicly is disrespectful I feel. For now.

However, as we move into 2023, moving further and further apart and having less and less interest in each other’s lives, thoughts and feelings, friends and family think it’s about time for me to get with someone else.

But I have to ask where is it written that for an individual to be ‘fixed up’ that they need to have a significant other to be so? It’s beginning to fuck me off more and more each time I’m asked these questions, so where’s your new man etc.

Their justification is that they think I’m awesome, a wonderful person therefore why am I alone or should be alone? Why not share your awesomeness with someone else. This is their reasoning no mine.

And I repeat this fucks me off that they think I should be sharing my awesomeness with someone else. That it’s a waste not to. That there must be something wrong with the world if I’m such an awesome person and have no one to share it with. That I’m awesome and alone. So there must be some on thing wrong with me!

And this is the part that fucks me off the must. I’m so awesome but not awesome enough to keep all this awesomeness for myself, to myself. That I do not deserve to direct all this awesomeness towards myself. That’s I’m not enough to be awesome alone. Take all my time, energy, attention and love and keep it for myself, because I’m worth it.

Where is it written that my only value or awesomeness is truly recognised when I’m hooked up with someone else who probably doesn’t deserve it, would take it for granted and steal it for themselves?

Where is it written that to be alone is frowned upon, is seen as something wrong and that it must be because I haven’t found anyone or no one else finds me attractive rather than an active choice?

I choose to be alone and focus on myself because I deserve to follow my dreams and hopes and not hang them on someone else’s or on someone else being around and loving me.

I choose to not direct my time and energy seeking ‘the one’ because I believe my time and energy is better used focusing on me and fine tuning the energy I’m putting out into the world. If this kind of energy attracts someone else so be it, but I’m not going to put my life on hold or stop shining ‘this little light of mine’ because I do not have a man in my life to be with and love.

I’m not going to go around thinking I’m less than because I’m not in a relationship, because no one is loving on me at the moment. Because I don’t need anyone else to. I can do that all for/ by myself.

And this isn’t me just settling. It’s not me realising that the world doesn’t live Black women and I may’s well give up on trying to find love with someone else. I know this to be true by the way. But this is not influencing my choice, my decision.

I’m choosing me because I can. I chose me when I walked out on my last relationship. And that hasn’t changed it’s just become more of my mantra now as I navigate singleton status. I’m not pining for anyone else. I’m not searching anyone else. I’m not measuring my worth by being with someone else

I’m choosing me, every time. And that feels good for me. So do me a favour and stop asking me when or how I’m working to get a new man in my life and just rejoice in my choice to {BE} alone.

I Want To Make Things …

“I want to make things that are beautiful, seductive, formally challenging and culturally meaningful… I‘m also committed to radical social change… Any form of human injustice moves me deeply… the battle against all forms of oppression keeps me focused.”

Carrie Mae Weems

I’ve just sent out the December Studio Notes. I feel it was an epiphany moment for myself. It happened during the process of writing the newsletter that I realised what’s wrong with me. Why I’m experiencing a bit of a funk. And I’m not fighting it either. I’m allowing myself to feel all the feels because that’s what being human is about but also through the process I learn stuff. True.

I’m experiencing a funk at the moment because I’m exhausted. Bone-tired. I thought I’ve been looking after myself and resting when needed etc. However, what I realised today is that it’s not just the physical tiredness I’m experiencing after a busy November of lectures, presentations and workshops. Nah man! I’m also emotionally and psychologically tired because of the type of practice I’ve been doing lately. It’s been focused around agitating, pushing back against the system, white supremacy culture, through anti-racism teaching, anti-blackness rebellions, and holding space for difficult conversations where my blackness is totally exposed. My vulnerabilities have been out there. I realise I’ve experienced re-trigging of trauma and oppressions. And it’s tiring. The work has to be done but back to back gigs of this kind of work is exhausting and at times soul destroying even though I know I’m doing good work at the same time as protecting myself.

But obviously not well enough.

It was already going to happen, but this epiphany has just reinforced my decision to hibernate this winter. To go within and rest and {BE}. I want to fill my pot with readings, books I’m been wanting to read for ages. Writings, my own, for pleasure and seeking beauty within nature and artworks. I’m going back to the beginning in terms of craft and creativity and embracing everything with curiosity and wonder. I’m centring me.

Let me say the again, I’m centring me.

Taking my inspiration from AfroFuturism, I’m centring me and speculating about the future of Blackness. I’m adding my fuel and energy, though rest first and foremost, to me and my creativity. I’m allowing myself the time and space to go with my flow and letting my practice speak for itself.

The message hasn’t changed that we need to burn down white supremacy culture; that we need a revolution. But the delivery will change. I’m using my voice to seduce my audience through my practice.

This isn’t a new thing for me, but it is in the sense of no longer being prepared to do the singing and dancing routine of making white people comfortable around race. I’m realised that a lot of people think that’s it, that’s doing the work for them. Listening to me talk or present or coming along to a workshop, they think that their task is done. Done and dusted, move on.

I want the thorns, the pricks to the conscience and hearts to last long after my disappearance from their view. I want the truths I’ve whispered or shouted into their ears to riddle them with uncomfortableness. If their eyes have been opened to the state of the world, to the system created to keep whiteness superior, then I want them to stay open. That they have no choice but to keep their eyes open and so do something about it. Like I have to be with my lived experience.

My practice can do this, if I give it the time and space to grow and blossom and stick like the barbed sticky burrs from the Pirri Pirr shrubby plant that carries warning signs on Holy Island. These burrs stick and spread, causing a problem which is expensive and time-consuming to eradicate.

As the Carrie Mae Weems’ quote echoes, I want to make things that are beautiful and centre Blackwomen in all our glory for us, not any white gazer saviour, but for us, for myself.

Early Morning Photowalk

Chirton Dene Park

I’ve been resting. Resting for me looks like house and dog sitting for the weekend. It‘a getting up early for dog walks and then doing it again and again for the rest of the day. Getting out and stretching our legs.

Chirton Dene Park

And I’m not complaining. It’s good to be out there greeting the light. Well what little there is. As the fog came in during the night and stayed. Creeping into the daytime too.

Royal Quays Marina

We get into a rhythm Mila and me on our walks. Short lead near roads. Long leads in the park with expansive greens. She knows though to stop and wait while I take pictures of things that take my fancy. That make me slow down, stop and look closer.

There is still so much beauty left for the season. Still so much colour which is even more striking and startling as they cry out from the grey. The fog. The chill.

Saltkisses Misses

Royal Quays, North Shields, 28 November 2022, 07.44

I miss your saltkisses, your cold caress. As I welcome winter and I’m reminded to rest, I will come to you with arms open wide, ready to kiss the day with you again.

A Deep Attachment To This World

“The most sublime act is to set another before you.” William Blake, Proverbs of Hell

Let me honour you. Hold you up to the light. Explore, examine and praise your simple beauty, your blessed grace.

Shiny, hard nut. Chestnut. Conker. Like my heart, you will soften and give under the right conditions, under the right love.

Who do you belong to? Where do you belong? I ask you, but really I ask myself.

It’s rude to stare, to touch but I’m attached to you whether I want to be or not. We are both citizens of the Earth. This Earth.

I’m not alone in this world I’m connected to you. Chestnut to brown. Brown to chestnut. Skin to skin. We are kin.

And I feel your hurt too.