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Kleptomaniac

I have run out of electricity.
I would have eaten the sun
Had I known the lights behind my eyes
Would refuse to light up
When I welcomed you

Ever since you visited
Like a kleptomaniac
I have forgotten how to welcome another
To a house that can never belong to him

You dove into my body with mouthfuls.
I would have drank the ocean
Had I known I was not a tsunami enough
For a thirsty man
When I welcomed you

Ever since you visited
Like a kleptomaniac
My body has come to understand
Why it is that airports have a baggage allowance

-Nicole Ruth
(Image via freeasabee.tumblr.com)
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Twin beds

I book an appointment at the psychiatrist.
“An appointment for two.”
“You, and ?” the receptionist asks.
“Anxiety” I whisper. “Couples therapy.”

I try to fall asleep on a twin bed intertwined with cold sheets
But I cannot because the other half of my bed
Won’t stop murmuring.
He pulls me into his sheets,
By the wrists of my hands-
Afraid I may leave him for the daylight.
He says something about cheating-
About the satisfaction of enjoying anothers’ presence-
I hold myself captive near the lampshade and try to explain myself.
I tell him I have never truly slept in my bed
But he grits his teeth and slams the drawer open by the lampshade
I see his fists clench as he takes the Xanax away from me
He says Xanax takes me to bed, gets me to breakfast
It seems like a healthy relationship
But-
We-
The both of us-
We’ve been on and off since high school
But he’s stuck around; for the past two years
That is a healthy relationship, right?
I’m not sure anymore
It is the longest relationship I’ve ever had.

-Nicole Ruth
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Pretty Hurts

 

It’s been a long time since I’ve been inspired or impressed by a Beyoncé’s music video; I hardly listen to her songs anymore.  A few nights ago, after I’ve given up trying to find a good movie to watch on TV, I settled for a channel playing music. I was working on the next chapter of the Swapping Places series when I heard a voice. I was tempted to change the channel but somehow felt lazy to pick up the remote control.

I’ve come to this conclusion about secular music: no matter how good the music sounds, watch the video to see the reasoning behind it before deciding to fall in love with it. I’ve heard great tunes only to be disappointed at best and appalled or worst with their videos.

So I think I was looking for a suitable word for what I was writing and found myself drawn to the video. I must say, I loved the story being told such that I told myself, “Aha, this is the Beyoncé I used to know.”

As women in the 21st century, one truth that would be widely accepted is that, beauty is pain. For a lady to step out with a flawless makeup on, it means she might have taken quite some time to have it done. For those in the limelight, God knows how much they spend and what they go through to appear the way they do and all for what? Human applause? To be named in the top 10 of something? For an award?

Don’t get me wrong, looking good is great. But the issue is the intention behind the extent we go sometimes. I believe the purpose for whatever we find ourselves doing is what matters. Let the applause just be a bonus. It’s not worth it, killing yourself just for your fellow human being to call you beautiful or the best at something.

The truth is, for all the thousands of people who claim to be your fans don’t just follow you. They are fans of your competitor as well. They are just enjoying the show that you’re making of your life. We all have our favorite artistes but our playlist contain songs from other singers as well. In whatever you’re trying to outdo another wouldn’t make those you like you, like your competitor any less.

Discover what you are good at, excel at it and when your 5 minutes of fame comes, enjoy it. But remember, the spotlight won’t be in your direction forever. When it is moving away, let it go but keep working harder, not just so it will come back to you; but because you know that’s what you were born to do. As for applause, no matter how loud and hard people clap, they will definitely fade at one point. If all you live for is that applause, what will become of you after it ceases?

Every goal hurts not just being pretty because everything takes effort. Just don’t do it to please people because they will let you down. No matter how much you love a song, you tire of it after listening to it after a while. The same with applause. Live for something more worthwhile.

© Josephine Amoako 2017

 

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The Purity Movement: A Criticism

The Channel 4 documentary on “The Virgin Daughters
widely preaches the misconception of
tallying the level of respectability a girl is owed
against the personal choice of indulging in (a) sexual partner(s)
alongside religious dogma prior to matrimony.

Personally triggered by the lack of openness
within patriarchal families of the Bible Belt in the United States
and blind sided by devout faith-
the opening scene of the documentary
focuses on a father- daughter purity ball
wherein girls as young as aged 5
vow into a premarital life of chastity.

Though the idea of protecting their daughters
against the presumptuous notion of a wretched world
seems rather noble in theory-
Born into a household that robs these young girls
of the liberty of individual thought
while subsequently conditioning them to seek validation
and consent
is a slippery slope into a naive coma
that is parasitical on a heterosexist movement such as this.

The rather concerning double standard
regarding boys and a lacking opprobrium
for not having a defined chastity oath
to suppress their carnal desires
never surfaces the meticulously articulate documentary.

The concept leaves a vast ocean of misogyny
running thick, through intricate families
that build their foundation
on the fragile emotions of young girls.

-Nicole Ruth
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About a Fat Girl

I’m sure you’ve heard about it – the whole debacle surrounding Usher and the allegations against him. Right – but this isn’t about the allegations.

Here’s the thing – a woman claimed to have slept with the R&B superstar (and allegedly contracted herpes), and nobody blinked an eye… until a picture surfaced of Usher’s accuser.

Okay, so she’s fat.

The day the picture of Usher’s accuser (whose name is Quantasia Sharpton – no relation to the Reverend Al, I’m assuming) appeared online, my FB timeline was flooded with dandruff and ash.

That’s his accuser?”

“Now I know it isn’t true.”

“She’s delusional. Ain’t no way he’s messing with all dat.”

And other shea butter-less quips. Until then, I decided to stay silent about the issue, but something about those comments got under my skin. I’m not really concerned with whether Ms. Sharpton is telling the truth, nor am I concerned about Usher’s sexual health – cuz I’m still trying to get somebody to go half on this high ass rent. I am, however, concerned about the heat that is aimed at Sharpton – mostly, for her weight.

She has been accused of being morally corrupt because she dared to even think that someone like her could have sex with someone like him. Little mention of her possibly lying about what happened – but a laser sharp focus on her weight, and the implausibility of her ever attracting someone famous, talented, and reasonably attractive (I mean, Usher just isn’t really my type). The assumption underlying all of this is that fat girls are unattractive and incapable of having a sexual relationship. Even more disturbing were the ashy comments from the faceless hordes, hinting that Sharpton’s weight was somehow to blame for her lack of moral character.

So many problems here that I don’t have enough time to unpack them all. However, I am wondering about the way we look at body type – particularly, how we look at those who are classified as overweight and assign character traits to them that we don’t assign to thin women.

Okay, ladies, here’s an example – imagine you find out your ex is dating another woman. You’re thinking, “well, he’s somebody else’s problem now,” but deep down you feel some type of way. So anyway, you go on about your life, taking selfies and painting a perfect picture of your life on Instagram. Then one of your friends texts you with a screen shot of your ex’s new girl with the caption, “GIRRRRRRRRRRRL” – and she’s fat.

How do you feel? About her? About your ex?

Now go through this same scenario, except the new Boo is of the Runway Model Tribe. How do you feel then? Different?

That’s the thing, y’all. Media, the fashion industry, music, etc. all have us making assumptions about big women that just aren’t true. Contrary to popular opinion, big women are leading healthy, active sex lives, and not using lies or manipulation to do it. Don’t believe me? Ask your ex.