Thick Skin Warmth

This poem “Thick Skin Warmth” is in a sense,  a double entendre. There are two interpretations that I want people to take in from the title and the content. I wanted to personally address how circumstances in my life, forced me to grow a thick skin and contributed to my sometimes hardened heart. I also wanted to address the literal meaning of thick skin, in terms of the weight problems I’ve had with my “big-boned” figure. ( As Caribbean would put it.)  Growing up, I sometimes had aspirations to be somebody-else  or to be treated differently. This poem is a tribute to not only my former self and to the woman I’ve become, but to many others who may have had a rough childhood, difficulty  finding their identity,  have been overlooked, have had weight issues etc.. but despite any odds or doubts, have come out better people because of it. If not for what I had gone through I couldn’t have written this and I wouldn’t have gotten the chance to connect with others who can look back to their past and find the cracks of light that built their spirit of resilience. All things considered, I have the maturity to love all of who I was,  the confidence to love who I am, and the faith to love who I will become.

There is always a spin of positivity for any adversity you face. For me it was that, more thick skin = more warmth.

 

 

Thick Skin Warmth

I have memories in the thick skin I grew
And for a child with big bones
I would chew words
Thrown across dinner tables
Like bread rolls and dull swords headed for destruction in war quarters
I fought soldiers of enemy blood
Camouflaged in family love
Giving harsh hugs
Sharing hushed laughs
Wishing silent good lucks
Then a child grows up
Hoping the thick skin would shed itself off
Toasting the New Years with resolutions
For light pounds
Ground heights to look tall
Light skin to suit stars
Bright mind to pass college and make mama proud
I found self in the dark clouds
Searching for a way out
To skip towns
And drift to sleep with no sound
Of echoing dreams failed
Dropped down to level man’s esteem
Of a woman with thick brows
Big shoulders to rip through a double small
Tom boy with a jean jacket bending gender bounds
Oblivious to gender nouns
Little child
With thick skin
Protecting others from her bitter vowels
A and E
WE owe you for breaking promises
Not keeping us as hostages
Remaining fatherless saved the spirit of this optimist
If I didn’t die by this
Trust I won’t hold on to it
This skin grew thick
My mind grew to compensate
Faith knew he’d be the one
To help thick skin love
Whoever thick skins does
Will love her back
and feel the thick skin warmth

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Unapologetically Black and Poetic

Sometimes I feel like I fall into the black female stereotype a little too often. I don’t mean to and I don’t mean not to. I’m loud, bossy, I clap my hands sometimes, (only because it’s the scarborough coming out) and I have opinions that are usually visible on my face. But, I feel that without my permission, especially in public settings, I can be placed under the loud black girl with an attitude label. I definelty won’t deny that this label exists and that there are black women who fall under it but it’s frustrating that as a whole, black females are generally represented this way. With any stereotype comes the distortion of reality and truth. Every black girl is not the same, just upon a first glance don’t assume that’s the case. This loud, speak my mind type of confidence I have is what has greatly contributed to my character and how I express my creativity and my poetry.

A friend once told me that she is always so shocked and amazed  when I perform because of how eloquent I speak. At first, I was offended, like aren’t I that articulate all the time??  I guess not, but as I began to reflect, my poetry has been that outlet where I do channel more of my serious, “intellectual” and smooth-spoken self. For the most part,  I can accredit my attitude and energy to giving my writing it’s personality, if I wasn’t as outspoken as I am in public, how could I expect to be as bold in my poetry.  When I speak, I communicate out of passion and enthusiasm, I speak to the fullness of emotions. To many it may seem ghetto or extra but I think there is a fine line that I try not to cross in terms of being disrespectful in that manner. For anybody who knows me, they know I am full of “oomph” and that translates into the liveliness I try to bring to life for myself and for others. As much as it would be ideal to distance myself from this “negative representation”, I don’t plan on it. However, I do plan to show people how unapologetically black and poetic  I am and how I won’t allow people’s perception about how black I’m being, stop me from achieving or being myself.

I hope many of you out there will find enough confidence to embrace attributes society doesn’t alway shed the best light on. Work off of your strengths and continue to work on your weaknesses, who knows how they will balance each other out! Don’t apologize for not being like everybody else, be an individual and represent yourself!