Category Archives: Flash Back

Bars! Back in The Days When I Was Angsty and Poetic

Soooo all over the interwebs it’s throwback thursday. In the spirit of this weekly holiday I’ve decided to go back to the archives of a young Raki, back when I used to spit bars. Sort of. Not really. I just used to write a lot. Writing has always been the best way for me to express myself and it’s usually the most honest version and most vulnerable side of me that I can show. After digging around a bit I found my folder of poems. The one below was written many moons ago. My son could only have been a few months old if that. This poem gives you a big peek into what I was going through, from discovery to delivery.

FLUSH

Remembering that night,
Tossing and turning,
Thoughts were churning,
Something just ain’t right.
Felt a little uneasy,
Stomach feeling kind of queasy.

Now I remember that day.
Just as clear as water is blue.
1 line means you’re not
Another line means you’re through.
I saw two.
Then Flush went the E.P.T.
And all my hopes and dreams.
My pride was pushed aside.
That second line,
Had changed my life.

Tumbling,
Stumbling,
Humbly,
I came to you.
Had no one to turn to.
If I had only known,
You were a wolf
But sheep’s clothing you owned.
I cried out my soul,
But your eyes were so cold.
And
Slowly I began
To feel the crush
Then Flush
Went my sole support
You wanted to abort
Mistakes were made
Now the price has been paid
And then came that day…
All those months I’d spent crying
Emotionally dying,
My shame the whole world could see,
My protruding proud pregnant belly.

In the morning,
So early it was dark,
At the door to my womb
I felt a knock,
Then another
And another
3-4 minutes apart
This is the start of the end.
It is finished.
It begins.

Tagged , , , , , , , ,

The Virginia Bama Tells a Story

Raki wasn’t always cool. I speak of myself in third person to show how far I’ve come. But lest I forget, the following will always bring me back to earth. A few weeks ago I found a cassette tape of a 13 year old me telling a story that I’d made up. I had just moved from southern Virginia to the DC metro area and had not yet begun the arduous task of eradicating my accent. Listen and be amused.

http://theoriginaldavid.com/Shakiras_Story.mov

(if the link audio doesn’t work try the direct link HERE it takes a second to load, but sit tight…it’s worth the wait)

Are you done laughing yet? This tape surfaced right on time, and turned into an afterschool special. Dave is growing up and as much as I appreciate his eccentricities, being a teenager in a society that is telling kids to grow up too quick and act too cool way too soon, makes it difficult to instill in him to just be cool with who he is (everybody else can kick rocks). I get frustrated with some of his insecurities mostly because I’ve been in his shoes and understand what he’s going through. Telling your kids that you “get it” works sometimes but this tape gave Dave a real life peek at me at his age. I was awkward, friendless, the new kid, totally out of place and telling stories in the closet to amuse myself. Of course when I let him listen to it he laughed a lot, critiqued everything, then wanted to hear it again. Thankless but worth it 🙂

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , ,

My Grandma: Whoopins and Apple Pie

Grandma

You see those forearms and powerful hands in that picture? They have wielded cast iron pans, switches, and have snatched a head of my hair with equal force and accuracy. Today would be my grandma’s 90th birthday. I miss her dearly. My grandma was the only person I’ve ever verbally acknowledged as “Ma” she raised me. She was a woman of steel, with old school values that while I was growing up I couldn’t appreciate and thought were prudish and restrictive. My grandma was not the kind of person that one would call “warm” or doting, she had a steel resolve, she worked tirelessly. I can remember nights seeing her come home after cleaning the houses of Jewish people. She did what she had to do to be sufficient. She was as hard on me as if she was the one who had bore me. Our relationship was more than I can put into words. She made me polish silver, she taught me how to make apple pies, she taught me how to do nurse corners on the bed, she made me go to school dressed as a “music teacher” for career day when I wanted to be a gum shoe (neither can be easily depicted in costume). She taught me how to make a mean bowl of Cream of Wheat and how to fit more than three pancakes in the pan at once. She taught me how to work with my hands. I often look at my hands, and see hers. They’re not soft and dainty, they’re rough with memories of callouses and wrinkles that gather around too large knuckles, but they remind me so much of grandma. I was laughing the other day with my coworkers as I shared memories of how my grandma would make us sharpen our pencils with knives (good in a pinch, but only if you want a square lead). She had a knack for making due with whatever she found around the house…see below illustration

Grandma Taught Me

When my grandma passed away. I was by her bedside and as soon as she left this earth i left the hospital and drove 4 hours to get back home. I had made that trip twice in less than 24 hours. On My first trip we thought she’d had a turn for the better but within hours of me making it back to northern virginia from the hampton roads area, the news was dire. The drive was eerie because I felt in my heart that my grandma was going to be leaving soon. Those hours were very lonely, my son was asleep in the backseat, I actually saw a pack of cougars on the side of the road. I couldn’t process that even as my eyes told me what I was seeing my mind wouldn’t believe. When I got back to my grandmas bedside I was able to be alone with her.  I held her hand. I told her things. i told her everything that i’d done that she wouldn’t be proud of. i didn’t tell her about any accomplishments. I told her how much i had messed up my life, and strayed away from the person she had raised me to be. I needed to let her know. I whispered things directly into her ear so that she would know that I loved her and all that she had taught me. I honestly can’t wait to see her again. It’s an assured knowledge that I have deep inside that I will see her soon and for me, that day couldn’t come soon enough. Miss you Ma.

 

Tagged , , , , , , , , , ,

Letter to Me from My 9 year old self. Don’t Judge Me

me in the window

Yes, I did actually break down and do the “write a letter to yourself” thing. I usually think those types of exercises are a little sappy, but I did it anyway – it was a low moment in my life.   The way I did mine was to write a letter from my 9 year old self to my 30 year old self, does that make sense? Here goes… (note* my first name is Rakiyt, aka Raki, but growing up most people called me Shakira, my middle name)

My 9 year old self to me at 30:

Hey Raki it’s Shakira. I’m here in Norfolk. I can’t wait to be you. I want you to know I’ve watched everything you’ve been doing for the past 21 years and I want you to know I’m not ashamed of you.  I think you’re doing great now. I never thought we’d have a son but I’m happy he’s here.  I forgive you for your mistakes. I forgive you for making our path to greatness so hard. It’s okay. I love you anyway. I’m so happy we still have our sense of humor. You know we’ve always been a tomboy. I’m writing to you now from our “thinking tree”! Remember the big tree in the front yard? Well I climbed up here today and I see that you’re struggling. I saw what happened to us this week. I can’t believe someone would treat us this way. I’m just a little girl and I don’t really understand too much but I know I wish we had someone to stand up for you and It’s really scary knowing that I’m going to be in your position one day, but we’re fearless. You know we are. It’s going to be better. Please make it better for me. It’s lonely here and I see the path I’m going to take and I just need to know that at the end of it we’ll be happy. 

 

 

 

I wrote this on May 1st 2012 and just found it while going through old files on my computer…and you know what? I don’t think it’s too lame, I actually am happy that I found it. At almost 2 years later, it reminds me of where I was mentally at that time and how OUTRAGEOUSLY WACKO DIFFICULT CRAZE BALLS INSANE things got just one month later…and how the Crazy Train just steam rolled right on through to 2013. I promise I’ll write more about 2013 soon, …. matter fact I promise I’ll write more period. I miss you guys 🙂

Tagged , , , , , , , , ,

The Fellowship of The Nigerians: By J.R.R. Tosin

(Tosin is a Nigerian name meaning God is worthy to be served)

I’m going to let you all into the truly fantastical and imaginative way that I experience the world and the unconventional scenarios in which I more than often find myself. I don’t know if this story will translate exactly how I experienced it but if I somehow manage to communicate this without completely going down the rabbit hole, I will count it as a resounding success!!

I’m a nerd, I read too many books The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit are some of my favorites.  So it should be no surprise that the following events played out the way they did in my mind.  So I got pregnant with no plan B (lol), pretty much all I knew was that I was having a baby. My kid’s dad is Nigerian, born and raised.  I’m half Nigerian also.  The Nigerian side of my family actually lives in Nigeria (my father included). I was born and raised on the good ol African American southeastern coast of VA. At 18 my experience with my African roots was more embarrassment than cultural awareness. Imagine growing up with cousins taunting you in feigned staccato African accents saying  “YOUR DADDY LIVES IN A HUT AND PLAYS WID DE LIONS” … yeah they were the worst.

I had never met my kid’s Dad’s family. The Dad and I weren’t exactly an item when we decided to procreate and there was so much turmoil going on throughout those 9 months, being introduced to the family never seemed to be on his to-do list. So finally it was D-Day and after 22 hours of labor and temporary paralysis from a misfire with the epidural needle, little D had made his way into the world.  The next day I found myself by myself in my room. Baby was with me and I was just kind of worn out. I was still in very much pain from the delivery and had managed to sit gingerly, when just as if Ricki Lake her self had given an invisible off camera cue,  the doorbell rang…

I hoisted myself up and was managing to make my way to the door by doing this kind of shuffle stiff legged walk not unlike Fred G Sanford.  There was more impatient knocking adding to my apprehension, because I was NOT expecting any visitors.

Finally I opened the door and there they all were. Standing there. Stuffed in the door like the dwarves in The Hobbit when “They all fell in “

 

I refer you to this passage from the Hobbit

“Someone at the door!” He (Bilbo) said blinking

“Some four I should say by the sound,” said Fili. “Besides, we saw them coming along behind us in the distance.”

            The poor little hobbit sat down in the hall and put his head in his hands, and wondered what had happened, and what was going to happen, and whether they would all stay to supper.  Then the bell rang again louder than ever, and he had to run to the door. It was not four after all, it was FIVE.  Another dwarf had come along while he was wondering in the hall.  He had hardly turned the knob, before they were all inside, bowing and saying “at your service” one after another. Dori, Nori, Ori, Oin, and Gloin were their names; and very soon two purple hoods, a grey hood, a brown hood, and a white hood were hanging on the pegs, and off they marched with their broad hands stuck in their gold and silver belts to join the others.

 

It was the dad’s family!!! They had shown up at the hospital unannounced. I had never met these people before. He didn’t tell me they were coming I was overwhelmed by people I didn’t know, speaking in languages I’d never heard before. HE. HAD. SET. ME. UP BIG TIME!! I was by myself with no warning AND wearing a rear vented hospital gown!! NOTHING in this world makes you feel more vulnerable than having on mismatched ankle socks and an open back hospital gown.  Forget being swollen and unable to move around (and 8 months shy of my last perm #blackgirlproblems). This whole scene reminded me of when the dwarves came to Bilbo’s house in The Hobbit especially because Nigerian Yoruba names sound a lot like hobbit/dwarf names.)  I hope that the following visuals will aid in my attempt to help you envision my predicament…

Caught Unawares

Caught Unawares

The Gathering

The Gathering

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,