What I wish she had said instead

Baby girl, mama loves you. You are beautiful, but watch who you let in, because there will be armies of men hungry for a piece of that skin of yours, all because your undertone is more yellow than pink. girl, they will look so honourable – but remember that the devil doesn’t show his horns, he wears a halo and a crooked smile, so don’t let that smile beguile you. don’t let them beneath your skin to what is really beautiful about you- they will take that from you if you do. Baby girl, trust me, mama knows. Mama’s beautiful has been scraped and muddied and screwed by so many different kinds of devils that she can’t separate them in memory anymore. I have never seen an angel, my love, but I pray that they will swarm to you. I don’t see how they could resist, you being so much like honey; sweet, preciously guarded, desired and good for just about everyone.

Sometimes, when I talk to God about who you might become, about how many mistakes my most precious charge will make, that look like mine, I smile. Because baby girl, mama knows that He’s got you. He told me so. speaking of God, He speaks to us in ways that aren’t always easy to understand, so baby girl, don’t worry about those loved ones that haunt the corridors in your dreams, He will show you, in time what it means. Let it go, my love, and live free. Baby I want you to know Jesus, He is the standard to live by, don’t ever trust a suitor that isn’t living by that same standard- it can only hurt you both. Heartbreak is a diagnosis that mama knows so well, it almost feels like the only lover I could keep. Baby girl, don’t be any man’s lover unless he vows to keep you and if you make that mistake, like I did, know that Grace means we get to try again, so keep trying my darling, God doesn’t give up on us for anything. You are so precious to Him. more precious than you are to me, and to me, you are everything. My child, you are never alone.

when you grow, you will wonder about the influence of race on perceptions of beauty, because yours will only start thinking you beautiful around 16 years from now. You’re going to fall in love with your best friend more than once. It’s going to hurt, but you’ll get over it, trust me, there’s only so long you can love somebody before their not loving you too is enough for you to choose somebody that does. You’ll be okay, better if you learn to embrace how much heartbreak fixes heart things. Heart strings can make a beautiful sound if you find the right musician, so keep tuning yours to the Word, and he’ll come along with all the right ambitions to make that heart of yours sing.

Don’t ever give up on poetry; It’s the lung that never fails when life knocks the wind from you. You will write about so many things. In some ways, poetry will give you courage, in other ways, it will take courage to write that poem, but when you do, bravery will be an item on your growing list of credentials. Keep writing. Pens will always be beautiful to you, use them as spades to dig up the ink stuck just beneath the surface of that next blank page. Ask your questions there. Find your answers there. Explore love there. Say I love you there, when you haven’t the tongue strong enough to verbalise the words to him. Let poetry be your freedom.

At last, baby girl, know that there isn’t anywhere that I would rather be than here, with you. You can rely on me. Always.

A beautiful reaction

Define ‘awestruck’, she asked them. They stared at her, resolved to fill the air with a dumbfounded sort of silence (which is almost the same thing but not quite as profound) as she steadily met their gazes, allowing them to search her frame for any betrayal of that daring countenance she bore as regally as though it were a crown.

And just what did those probing pairs upon pairs of eyes find? I cannot speak for any pair save my own (I was, by default as a student to the lecturer, part of that fore-mentioned ‘they’), so this is whom my eyes met: A lady, around the age of 25. her hair fell like sighing grain that yearns for the support of a shoulder- just out of reach. Her neck held up that grain-framed face with poise and when she unlocked those coffre-fort lips to speak, her palms would spontaneously drift to elbow level and turn upwards, as if in worship of her subject. Her subject was poetry.

She answered her question like she was delivering a ration of some long-kept secret; to be awestruck, she said, is to be silenced because of  an overwhelming feeling that follows having directly been exposed to grandeur.
My mind, as party to the reception of those words, tripped, then raced, then soared. I felt as though revelation had just taken place without so much as a ceremonious “How-do-you-do?” and I was left wrestling with how  best to phrase this one experience of beauty.

This then is how I processed that experience: I derive beauty from hearing her definition of awestruck. The word itself is not particularly beautiful, but the exposition of what it could mean, is. Awestruck is the description of a reaction- a reaction to grandeur. The potential of grandeur to be beautiful, is truly what I find beautiful and perhaps what it stands in contrast to; the possibility of never actually achieving that potential. The fragility of balance in that conflict is beautiful too, is it not? 

I chose to write about this gem that passed- almost unseen- with those sand grains that separate our pasts from the rest of time, because I thought I owed it to that ever-growing cycle of experiential beauty.