Category Archives: Teaching

Talk to the Cat – Say What About Work?

Hey Speakerz,

Tune in to today’s episode of Talk to the Cat! Leave a comment, have a like and you betta Subscribe! 


Love Always,

Damali Speaks Xx

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Being Alive: Meditations on Alone, Alive & the Unknown

Hey Speakerz! Happy Monday! I hope that weekends were restful and cultivating and this monday isn’t about shaking off the blues but embracing a wonderful new way of life. I realize that on this blog, I talk a lot about self love, expression, artistry, aloneness, social justice, etc. I wondered why I “harped” so much on these topics and I realized that as a young 20 something in a metropolis, this is what I deal with in my day to day. This leads into our topic for the day. Our topic for today’s post comes from the song “Being Alive” from the musical Company. What exactly is “alive” and “alone”? How do we filter comfort in our aloneness while this society wants us to constantly have someone, not just in a romantic sense? Who are we?

I started to think, a few years ago about what made me, me. Am I this thought? Am I this emotion? Am I this work? What and who am I, exactly? The more I thought about it, the more secluded I became. I became a hermit. I stopped going out to clubs and bars unless it was to drink a glass of wine and draw by myself. Everything in my life became centered on myself. Many people around me, my family etc. began to say that I was “selfish” because of this newfound awakening and form of questioning. But let’s go back.

If we can acknowledge that the body that we live in is borrowed and we must return it when our time is up, can we also acknowledge that while the body dies, the soul lives on? Where we go isn’t as important as the discovery of just who this soul is that we exist with. Enjoying the little moments, the big moments, challenging ourselves to be better and bigger every day is one way that we learn who the soul is. Despite this, being a young millenial in 2017 is hard because I can admit that I don’t actually know anything and all the things I think I know are probably not in existence. So, in self discovery, being alive is presence. What presence do we have in our current position and how do we make it work for us? We are all alone. It’s true. We walk through this world in a singular existence looking out from our own eyes. But do we then have to be lonely? Does our purpose fill us enough?

How often are we as human beings trained to be people pleasers? From a young age, many of the people that I know, along with myself have spoken about how we are “recovering” people pleasers. I sometimes find myself wanting to do things on my own and then stopping. Sometimes I stop because of fear of the unknown, sometimes I stop because of the wanting to be “ready”. Are these all social constructions that cease to exist in reality? They seem to have the power that we give them. They only have as much grounding as we allow for them to have.

I’ve always heard the saying that someone is an “old soul”. This old soul status. What does it bring with it? A knowledge? A hunger for real, true and honest? Does it mean an understanding of the “aloneness” that seems to haunt us throughout our bodily existence?

How do we live in our alive? How do we love in our alone?

When Brown Girls Seek (For Black Girls Who Rock)

When you seek out your sister

do not present your

hurt

as a wall.

Don’t you see?

both of you hurt

both of you seek

both of you cry

Instead, walk into her arms

with hope

with joy

with exhaltation

The evil has not won.

You are here.

Make yourselves dinner.

Make yourselves lemonade.

Laugh

Smile

Cry

Remember that love keeps you alive for this moment and for the moments that follow

Ashe

Accountability, Gratitude & Accepting the Love We Deserve

Hello Faithful Blogosphere! I’m sorry to have been gone for a few days. What had happened was, I got sick not just in my body, but in my soul as well, and I had to take a second, recoup, regroup, and get my damn life. BUT, what’s funny is that even though I’m still recovering and working towards where I want and need to be, I feel SO GOOD! Lemme not get too far ahead of myself. Backing up.

Three of the biggest lessons currently being learned that I see among myself and my friends at this juncture of our 20’s is accountability, gratitude and accepting the love that we deserve. Let’s talk about and dissect each one slowly, shall we?

Accountability. According to my dear friend Merriam-Webster:

Accountable (adjective): 

required to explain actions or decisions to someone

or

required to be responsible for something

So what’s so important about being required to explain ones actions or decisions to someone, to be responsible? I’ve thought about the times in which being accountable and being vulnerable go somewhat hand in hand. To be accountable, to admit my wrong-doings or my mis-understandings is to be vulnerable. I admit that I am not super-human. I am human and therefore fallible. I fucked up. Now, how do we move forward? The people that I’ve seen who have a really difficult time with accountability?

White people, who fail to admit their role whether willing or unwilling in the oppressive world that we live in.

Men, who oppress the women around them by staying silent during cases of misogyny or refusing to listen when being called out.

White Feminists like Lena Dunham, who don’t understand their role in refusing to assist their black and brown sisters in the fight for equity and equality.

Americans who turn the other cheek when the government decides to build a huge pipeline over the sacred grounds and homes of Native American peoples.

The list can go on forever, but the point isn’t to point out a negative with no solution. The point should be to take stock of the oppressive structures, and gather to find a solution. The hardest point of taking accountability in your 20s for myself and my friends is that I think it requires great maturity. As 20-somethings, we don’t really have that yet. It’s so much easier to blame others, to refuse to bend or to label things “good” and “bad” in an attempt to establish a false sense of hope. This particular thing is good, therefore it must be done and this particular thing is bad, therefore we stay away, right? That only works in a perfect world where humans aren’t fallible.  Accountability doesn’t care about good and bad. Accountability just is. Either you stand up or you sit down.

We as human beings are responsible for our own happiness. There is never going to be a moment where someone else takes our lives and our happiness into their hands unless we let them, and even then, you are letting them have that power. At any moment, we can stop. It all leads to accountability. How do we remain responsible for our lives and our actions even as they lead us to feel such harsh and sometimes cruel emotions? Then, what if we factor in the oppressive structures? If black people are being shot and killed daily, do I really have the choice to be happy? I think it isn’t as clear cut as it seems. The world is hard, but I don’t think being “harder” always makes a life worth living.

Moving on to gratitude. In the midst of being accountable, I’ve experienced great moments of gratitude. Let’s consult my dear friend again.

Gratitude (noun):

a feeling of appreciation and/or thanks

Along with learning how to be accountable, I’m learning rapidly how to be grateful for the moments of calm, blessed moments that seem to speak to my spirit. In the midst of great oppression, I’ve experienced great joy. I can be thankful for those moments and those kindred spirits, without erasing my oppression.

So far, in my almost month in Los Angeles, I have met some amazing human beings. I’ve also met some people that aren’t going to make it to the friend status. Being able to spot when and how compatibility works is so crucial. Sometimes, we have to set people free to welcome others. I’ve also heard from people that I haven’t heard from in a while. Friend break-ups that return. How do we stay in a state of grace through the constant fluctuation?

A lot of my friends start the day with affirmations. Gratitude for waking, Love for the world and the day, Abundance for the world has much to give you. These affirmations, do they turn into wishes, reality, hopes and dreams or are they just something beautiful to remind us that we are in fact alive?

For the final topic and probably the biggest that weaves together all previous is accepting the love we deserve. At 24 years old, I’m aware of the love that I’ve received from friends, family, significant others and most recently myself. Does it all match up?

I don’t know how many of you have been tuned into the world via Astronomy, but we are in an interesting time right now in the month of September. Mercury is in retrograde and we just had a Pisces full moon. Why is this significant? Well, Mercury in Retrograde makes everything go haywire. You might see people that you would never in your life expect to see, you might trip over nothing and break your nose, you might lose your keys only to have them returned by a dog who found them in the sewer. Anything is possible and believe me it’s wacky. The full moon always brings us as human beings closer to what many believe is the line between the spirit world where spirituality and all that encompasses it resides and the world that some deem as “reality”. Who really knows? But just for flips and giggles, have you ever noticed that your body just knows when a full moon is coming? You’ll be minding your own business and look up and voila! you knew it was there but you didn’t really take stock. The sign of Pisces is one of emotions. Pisces signs feel deeply, they are incredibly intuitive, warm and at many times old souls. As a person born under the Aquarius-Pisces Cusp, I will always have great love and appreciation for the Pisces sign. The moon we just came out of was a Pisces moon, and was great for letting go, channeling in, being fully aware of emotions and feeling very much tuned into the wacky that is Mercury Retrograde.

How does this filter into the talk of loving and giving love? Sometimes, my friends and I choose to give of ourselves to people who are not compatible, yet in this new area and place in life, I feel a new sisterhood forming. Ever since I was a little girl, I heard the phrase: You have to love yourself before you love anyone else. Now that I’m older, I realize just how harmful that ideology is. So you mean to tell me that I’m not worthy of love unless I fully love myself? So my being singular is punishment because I haven’t yet learned to love my own existence? What about recognizing my existence in someone else? Loving oneself is paramount. I do not mean to diminish that. I do think that there is more than one route to discovering love of oneself. I think it is a discovery. It’s a long journey that I will personally be going on for the rest of my life. I won’t ever finally love myself because I won’t know all of myself all the time. Human beings change so often and so drastically that with each new moment in life, I fall deeper in knowledge and love of myself.

With that knowledge, I can now discern the love that I deserve from the love that I don’t. Have you ever been friends with someone and something goes a lil bit haywire in the friendship and you react in a way that past you wouldn’t have? Did you recognize the love that you deserved and that this person was giving you less than that? For myself, there are two moments. I recognize that something is up and then I do something about it. Sometimes, those moments in between are FARRRRRRR apart. How do we close the gap?

Last year, I met two beautifully spiritual and awake young people who helped me on my journey of rituals and using the earth around me. I went through a ritualistic big chop (Cutting off all my hair), calling on my ancestors for strength and then continued to have ritual moments with these beautiful human beings. In loving myself, I found my spirit finds freedom in the ritual. This full moon, I gathered two of my sisters and off we went to manifest by the ocean under the moon. Loving oneself is a slow process. Letting go is a slow process. Moving on is a slow process. Accountability and gratitude are slow processes. If we remember that we all do it and we all must be gentle as we find ourselves within each other, love wins.

Tribute to One with an Empire State of Mind

Sing.

Make people happy.

Love.

You are not what is expected.

 

You have so many words for one so stoic.

In one night and half a day, morning filled with nothing but body language and eye contact

Night filled with sweat, song and touch

You taught me about me

You showed me what it is to revel in love and feel true

Freedom

 

How does an old spirit live in a body so young?

Teach me what you know.

Timing does not permit you to stay and I’m trying not to feel any other way than

Happy and full of love for your impending flight

Away

from

me  

I know this isn’t an end.

 

I’ve known you before.

I’ll know you again.

 

For now, I want you to stay and though I know we don’t always get what we want.

I’m left on the floor to ponder more of the age old question:

 

Is it better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all?

 

Meditations: Farewell, Goodbye & Moving On

This post is written at two separate points in the process of moving on. It journals my last few days in Providence, Rhode Island and my first day in New York City before flying to Los Angeles. The music video is a song that I’ve been listening to this summer and I love.

Whoever said that the twenties were turbulent definitely had something going on. I’ve been talking with a lot of people recently about their twenties. I love talking to those who have passed the twenties and lived to tell the tale. They seem oddly empathetic but also so very glad to be clear of these woods. My cousin told me that in preparation for Los Angeles, I should be ready for the highest highs and the lowest lows. I’m writing this post on my last night in Providence, Rhode Island. I move to New York tomorrow and then on to LA in two weeks. I used to wonder if this year was ever going to end, and now that it’s here, I find myself in shock. Is this actually happening? Am I actually ready to start the next chapter of my life? I don’t have a job or car or apartment yet! What am I in for? Did I really sign up for this?!

IMG_1844

 

Saying goodbye has been a month-long process. It started slowly, with long walks at night and late nights at bars with friends. Trips to Boston included long looks around a city that I couldn’t trace the moment that I started to fall for. Pictures of sunsets and summer selfies with friends are the classic staple of short goodbyes. I don’t know that I ever intend to return to New England. I currently don’t see any strong reason to besides graduate school, but it is interesting isn’t it? This life is at times characterized by the strange nostalgia and utter joy that human beings have the ability to feel at the same time. Dual feelings war with each other and make a perfectly sane person feel like an alien. Have you ever stopped to look at the place that you’re leaving after you pack everything into the car? For me, it’s so very odd that this place that only a few hours ago was filled with my energy, my things, my life, is now empty and waiting for the next person. It shocks me that through time, humans come and go and yet the monuments remain, just as they were when we were there.

These last few weeks have been integral to making me wake the heck up to the world around me. Hilary Clinton became the democratic nominee and I realized just how many people support this woman, which is scary as I currently live in the world with a black female body. The new Ghostbusters came out, sparking conversation and animosity from various receptors. I started to pack my life away and move on from the space that’s been mine for exactly a year.  I lost friendships that were once so dear to me. Value of the materialistic kind tends to fade as huge life changes approach. What is near and dear to me are the relationships, the people I’ve interacted with, the work I’ve created that lives on. Below is a collage of some of the gorgeous children that I’ve had the wonderful opportunity to work with.

Is there a real difference between Farewell and Goodbye? They are two very similar phrases and in the world of Merriam- Webster, they have the same definition. But somehow in the past few days of hearing them, they mean something different.

Farewell:

Used to express good wishes on parting

 

Goodbye:

Used to express good wishes when parting or at the end of a conversation

In my mind, “Goodbye” holds a certain finality. To say goodbye is to say that I won’t be back, that this is truly the end. “Farewell”, in my mind, is saying that this moment is only “See you later” or “See you soon” and remains open-ended. Although I’ve had tons of practice in moving on from places and people, it somehow never gets easier. I’ll always miss the time I’ve had. Isn’t that so human? We always miss the places we never thought we’d leave. Throughout the day, my mother was adamant: “You aren’t leaving. You’re just moving on.” Now that I think about it. There was a point to her stressing that I was moving on. Leaving requires no looking back, a fleeing energy that comes from disparity. Moving on requires maturity, heart and soul and even some tears within the firm understanding that this is for my good as I take with me, the trials, tribulations and successes of a year fully lived in.

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This and last summer, I taught theater at a theater summer camp here in Providence. I met some beautiful brown girls, who worked their way into my heart.  All year long, I got to mentor them as they came into the theater to take various theater classes, expand their artistry and just sit in the office and talk to me about their lives. Saying farewell to them was the hardest thing I’ve ever done in my life. But, as I looked in their deep brown eyes, and they asked me with tears, “Why do you have to go?” I realized that this moment was oh so familiar. As a young girl growing up in New York, I had so many brown women come into my life and leave to pursue their dreams. I would ask the same question with tears filling my brown eyes and they would say something to the affect of ” I have to leave so that you can be some other girl’s beautiful brown woman and mentor.” As I looked at the future dead in the eyes today, I said those same words. ” I have to go, so that you can be some other beautiful brown girl’s mentor.” They bestowed upon me the same Black Girl Magic that I bestowed upon them. They changed me just as much as I changed them. They needed me just as much as I needed them. What a gift.