Council Estate Girl

I was born,
and sped to work,
in a British society,
not quite high society,
council estate girl,
lost in the trees,
staring up at stars,
and making plans,
in crayon.

I worked on my grammar,
to get into grammar,
but my grandma always told me,
it was better to shine in the safety of the state,
than to struggle at the top.
My school died as an academy,
starved by those I used to want to be.
I tried to believe that they meant it,
when they said,
with rehearsed and reductive smiles,
that it didn’t matter where I came from.

DOGgbIbWkAAJPm6.jpg

My life is a really long commute,
from my mother to my god.
Traffic jams,
and dandy distractions in between,
choking on air pollution,
born of my own ambition,
and some days,
I still believe,
that I’m rushing towards something,
other than the realisation that I’m not.

 

Work myself to death,
living somewhere in between,
but no matter where I run,
how many of the classics I read,
or how many times I drown my rough accent,
in elocution lessons,
and later in cheap cider,
I am a council estate girl,
lost in the trees.
Scared to climb down,
to the grass of my past,
that glares up, in disappointment at my betrayal,
and the fact I never call.
I am a council estate girl,
terrified,
and ever so dramatic,
disgusted,
by what waits above me,
and the plans I had for them,
created in crayon.


Order “Stormy Weather” here

Order “Last Of The Greenwich Glamour Girls” here

Order “The Things We Did Last Summer” here

Order “Home Wrecker” here

Listen to”Past Preston” here

RECENT FREE CREATIVE WRITING COLLECTIONS
Are You Afraid?
Ladylike
Summer Of Love

RECENT BLOGS
Jim Chapman’s “147 Things” Review
How I wrote “Depression Is Not Real?” from Home Wrecker
It’s Time To Talk About EVE (Because Many People In The Wrestling Industry Won’t).

COME FIND ME
Twitter
Instagram
Ask Jen
Facebook
Patreon
Tumblr
Amazon
Podcast
Spotify

Advertisements

Love Lessons

His brow furrowed,

as his eyes,

that had seen and collected,

the wonders of the world,

fell to the floor.

He asked me,

why I wanted him.

 

 

 

I took the hands,

that had spent more nights,

alive and exploring,

than I had had days on the earth.

I told him,

that I wanted someone,

who knew how to love me.

 

 

 

He has loved me,

with tenderness,

with curiosity,

with ferocious passion,

that he thought he had lost,

and I know,

nobody else could love me,

the way he taught me I deserve.


Order “Stormy Weather” here

Order “Last Of The Greenwich Glamour Girls” here

RECENT CREATIVE WRITING COLLECTIONS
Ladylike
Summer Of Love
Baby Steps


RECENT BLOGS
Let’s Go To The Movies
An Open Letter To Miranda Larbi, In Relation To Unicorns

Thought Provoking Stories In Your Horror Movies? It’s More Likely Than You’d Think!

COME FIND ME
Twitter
Instagram
Ask Jen
Facebook
Patreon
Tumblr
Amazon
Podcast

Women Who Work (Really Hard At Pretending To Be Allies)

She tapped on a screen,
as if it meant the same,
as standing with the brave,
and using her freedom,
to free them.

I am proud
I will say I am proud
to support my LGBTQ friends and the LGBTQ Americans
of the LGBTQ Americans my Dad targets
who have made immense contributions to our society and economy.
so they can’t point out my cowardice,
in the face of their bravery.

I will say I am proud,
of the LBGTQ Americans my Dad targets,
so they can’t point out my cowardice,
in the face of their bravery.

She tapped on a screen,
and typed everything,
a publicist told her,
and it meant nothing.


Order “Stormy Weather” here

Order “Last Of The Greenwich Glamour Girls” here

RECENT CREATIVE WRITING COLLECTIONS
Ladylike
Summer Of Love
Baby Steps


RECENT BLOGS
Let’s Go To The Movies
An Open Letter To Miranda Larbi, In Relation To Unicorns

Thought Provoking Stories In Your Horror Movies? It’s More Likely Than You’d Think!

COME FIND ME
Twitter
Instagram
Ask Jen
Facebook
Patreon
Tumblr
Amazon
Podcast

OK

I tried to hate him, I tried harder than I’ve ever tried at anything to hate that man. As I lay alone with nothing but a bathrobe and a small blanket for comfort I tried again. I closed my eyes and visualised his soft, gentle hands on her body and bit my lip to stop myself from wailing in agony. It hurt to think about them together, not psychical pain but emotional. When I thought about them I just wanted to cry.

I’m sure she has some kind of disease, which explains why he did it. It was probably just out of pity, it might have been her last time. Again I’m making excuses for him and I know I shouldn’t. They aren’t even good excuses. They don’t even make sense. He wouldn’t make excuses for me if I had done that to him, I like to pretend he would but I know he wouldn’t.

I didn’t see them, I didn’t have to because he told me. He said he was awfully sorry and that it wouldn’t happen again so I just nodded and carried on preparing breakfast. It was her job to do breakfast, she’s the maid so should have been busy but I’d imagine she was upstairs in bed. Our bed. I heard them the night before as I came in from drinks with a friend and decided to sleep on the sofa downstairs. I didn’t want to walk in and see them because that would make it real so I stayed downstairs and pretended.

After breakfast I played outside with the children for a few minutes before leaving them with the nanny so she could take them to school while I went to work. “Are you okay Madam?” She asked after sending the children to go and get their coats. I nodded and she nodded back at me. “I’m sorry.” She said quietly, I smiled in thanks and walked towards the car with my handbag on my shoulder, wondering who else knew about my husband’s blatant indiscretions. Rachel, our nanny, was the closest thing I had to a friend, and I was certain she was only my friend because we paid her.

I kept it together for the entire day, I stayed quiet at the office and kept to myself as usual. David would have been pleased. For a man who socialised with any woman who took his fancy, he had a lot of ideas of who I should be talking to. Namely, nobody but those in our isolated existence. My work wasn’t even mine. I had always been aware that he had set up my job with a friend, and that I was constantly being watched. Sometimes, I wasn’t even sure what my workplace purpose was. He probably just wanted me out of the house, so he could have more time with whoever he liked this week.

We all ate together that night, David sat at one end of the table and I at the other, the children sat together on one side and Rachel sat on the other. Mary had dinner in her bedroom because she was ill. I spat in her soup.

It was when the children went to bed that things got worse, David went up to check on Mary and Rachel went to read the children a story. I just sat in the kitchen looking into space not knowing what to do with myself. It had occurred to me during my dull work day of doing nothing but staying out of my husband’s way that beyond staying out of my husband’s way, I didn’t actually do anything. I had no friends. I had no hobbies. I only played with the children to give David some space.

After a few minutes of soaking in existential despair, I walked, almost robotic to my bedroom, fully aware of my husband’s voice behind Mary’s door, but also fully aware that I’d be doing absolutely nothing about it.

David’s tie was lying on the foot of the bed, I pushed it to the floor and began removing my clothes. I stood in front of the mirror in nothing but my underwear and took a moment to evaluate myself. I was acceptable. I always had been. More than that, I was beautiful. In my pain, and his rejection, I was beautiful. I took a moment to fantasise about a future without David. Taking the children to school myself, getting to know the mother’s at the gate, getting to know myself, maybe finding someone new, or not, it didn’t matter, just as long as he wasn’t there.

I took my bathrobe from the top of the door and wrapped it around myself, squashing the flames of my rebellion. The bed, as treacherous as it had been for keeping secrets, welcomed me and I wrapped myself up in the duvet.

I heard footsteps approaching and closed my eyes, desperate to escape, or even to find the bravery to consider the idea. “Kate.” David called as he pushed open the door, I didn’t open my eyes and simply lay still, unable to face him. “Kate are you sleeping?” I stirred slightly but kept my eyes firmly shut, I couldn’t bare to look at him.

“No.” I felt the bed dip a little as he laid upon the bed next to me, his breath was warm against my skin and his hand crept up my leg and under my bathrobe. I didn’t push it away because it was all I wanted. I wanted him to hold me so desperately, despite my earlier desperation for anything but.

“I’ll always love you Kate.”

I opened my eyes and laid in silence for a few moments. “Ok.”

I suppose it hurt his feelings when I ignored him, I just couldn’t handle telling him I loved him back. I did and we both knew that but he didn’t deserve to hear it from my lips. I rolled over and fell asleep hoping I would wake up from the nightmare the next day and it would simply have been a dream.

I awoke the next day with his arms around me, Mary was gone and everything seemed back to normal. He had made his choice and I suppose his decision was final, for a whole day all I wanted was for Mary to be gone so I had David all to myself but now I wished she had kept him. I didn’t want to be trapped any longer. If it wasn’t her, it would be someone else, and I’d be sat in that God forsaken house, screaming at the walls and my own lack of a spine.

I sat up in bed and heard his voice, it was hushed but just about audible. “I love you Kate.”

“Ok.” I said quietly as I took a step off the bed towards my old life.


 

Order “Stormy Weather” here

Win a copy of “Stormy Weather” here

RECENT CREATIVE WRITING COLLECTIONS
Ladylike
Summer Of Love
Baby Steps

RECENT BLOGS
Let’s Go To The Movies
An Open Letter To Miranda Larbi, In Relation To Unicorns

Thought Provoking Stories In Your Horror Movies? It’s More Likely Than You’d Think!

COME FIND ME
Twitter
Instagram
Ask Jen
Facebook
Patreon
Tumblr
Amazon 
Merchandise

Stormy Weather

Hola amigos!

I hope you are coping with this heatwave better than I am…

I just wanted to check in and let you know about a few updates.

Firstly, you can now preorder my upcoming release here and it will be released on the 30th of June.

Secondly, if you sign up to my Patreon, you’ll receive a free ebook copy on the 30th of June.

Thirdly, you can now enter my tumblr giveaway by clicking here.

Besos,

J x

Looking For Squirrels

I lay in bed staring up at the ceiling as the noise of the house began to simmer down. My mother was sleeping and my little brother at a friend’s for the night. There was only the light purr of the cat across the room and my father’s padding feet travelling up the stairs left to be heard. I closed my eyes and thought about what my day had been like, pretty normal with just a hint of excitement. My best friend Jamie and I had gone to the woods after school to look for squirrels. We gave up looking after about ten minutes as little children often did. At the age of seven you don’t have much patience, not even for something as wonderful as squirrels.

Jamie and I had been friends since first grade and told each other everything. Almost everything. We had sat deep in discussion for about half an hour about nothing of great importance, just the usual subjects. Music, television and how icky boys were. Secrets were shared on her part and I fed her lies to replace the secrets she hungered for.

I had a secret, but I knew she wouldn’t understand. She wouldn’t believe me. She’d think I was a slut. I thought I was a slut.

I thought about my wedding. I often did that when I should have been sleeping but couldn’t. I wanted a dress, like all the ones in the magazines. White and full of the promise of a future I’d never have to dream my way out of. It would be a chance to start again. Trade my name for something new, and be truly loved, just like in the movies.

I heard the door of my bedroom slowly creak open and was dragged from my dreaming. I tried to hold on by closing my eyes and running back to the church. I held my breath and hoped I would die. I felt his hand on the body he was too big for, and I knew the dream was dead.

I pulled the blankets up over my head as the lights flickered on. This couldn’t happen tonight. I had gone a whole day without thinking about it and felt nothing but air on my skin, and the innocent blades of grass. I curled my body up until I thought it would break, and I ran from the church, and the future I wanted, to the forest, for the squirrels I’d seek sanctuary with.

“Come on, wake up.” The forest began to burn around me, and I heard the desperate screams of the angry, attacked animals. Mine were silenced by a huge hand across my lips. We burned together, huddled in our helplessness and thrashing against the cruel, scorching flames. I closed my eyes, but was tortured by the bright, endless stream of light, determined to leak past my eyelids and blind me.

I prayed. I wept. I ran and I ran, until all I could do was grab the nearest object and swing. Swing for my life. The flames engulfed me, and the world was so still, in it’s destruction, as if every part of the cosmos had taken a half day to watch me finally defeated, but I was strong, for someone so small, and I was wide awake, fighting for my life. They’d have to understand. They’d have to believe me. They’d have to think I just did what anyone would do. I just did what anyone would do.

I opened my eyes, and my lamp had been broken, and the fire, finally put out, and put down, fell to the ground, leaving me free, in the forest, to search for squirrels, once more.


Preorder “Stormy Weather” here

RECENT CREATIVE WRITING COLLECTIONS
Ladylike
Summer Of Love
Baby Steps

RECENT UPCOMING COLLECTION PREVIEWS
“Baby Back There” from Ours

“Beach Walk” from Ours
“The Bride Wore Blood” from Ladylike

RECENT BLOGS
Let’s Go To The Movies
An Open Letter To Miranda Larbi, In Relation To Unicorns

Thought Provoking Stories In Your Horror Movies? It’s More Likely Than You’d Think!

COME FIND ME
Twitter
Instagram
Ask Jen
Facebook
Patreon
Tumblr
Amazon 

Neglected

“What have you gotten into this time?” He smirked at the voice as he opened his eyes and delicate fingers ran through his hair. “Or what have you gotten me into, princess.” He sank back into the pillows, thankful for the mercy of a comfortable bed, and noticed the restraints on his wrists. “You have been thorough, my love.” He whispered, trying to mask the pride and arousal in his voice as he looked up at his lover, a sweet smile spreading across her delicious, painted lips.

“I wanted to play.” Her sing song voice sent chills down his spine, and straight into his groin, as she fiddled with the bow that adorned the front of her dress. “You were being difficult.” He had been initially apprehensive of his girlfriend’s desire to take the lead in the bedroom, but he had to admit, he was enjoying what she had to offer so far. “But here you are.” Here he was, and he admired the effort she had gone to.

“My sweetheart always gets what she wants.” He muttered, aching for what lay under her clothes.

“You’ve been very bad.” She knelt on the bed beside him, her fingers still lost in his hair, pulling it slightly. “Bad, bad boy.” She released her grip on his hair and reached for the zip of his trousers, his whole body desperate for more.

“Anything you say.” He said, with the hint of a moan as she began sliding them down his legs, tortuously slowly.

“You promised me…” She whispered, playfully snaking a fingertip across the fabric of his underwear. He nodded, closing his eyes, with a smirk. She began rubbing his erection through his underwear, and he groaned in pleasure, wanting even more to touch her. “You said I could have whatever I want.” She said suddenly, removing her hand. He groaned in protest and opened his eyes.

“How am I meant to do that when I’m all tied up?” It seemed a reasonable question, but she pouted nonetheless, hitching up her dress to reveal what he desired most, covered in black lace. “Please, stop teasing me.” His voice was low and throaty, as his tongue ran over his bottom lip, and he pulled, in vain at his restraints.

“No.” She replied bluntly, removing the dress completely, to reveal even more lace covering even more things he desired. He groaned, fighting once more against the rope that bound his wrists, and crying out slightly as the ropes burned at his skin. “Bad boy.” She whispered, ripping open his shirt, with a surprising amount of ease. “You never get what you want.” She sunk down into his now naked chest, her soft hair tickling against his neck, as she ran her fingers up and down his erection. “Do you?” Her touching teases were driving him insane, but the intimacy of it all soothed him.

“Please?” She shook her head with a smile, releasing him suddenly and sauntering off the bed and out of the room. He sighed, watching her leave. “That girl of mine…”


RECENT CREATIVE WRITING COLLECTIONS
Summer Of Love
Baby Steps

Darling, Desperate, Dismal Girl

RECENT UPCOMING COLLECTION PREVIEWS
“Baby Back There” from Ours

“Beach Walk” from Ours
“The Bride Wore Blood” from Ladylike

RECENT BLOGS
Let’s Go To The Movies
An Open Letter To Miranda Larbi, In Relation To Unicorns

Thought Provoking Stories In Your Horror Movies? It’s More Likely Than You’d Think!

COME FIND ME
Twitter
Instagram
Ask Jen
Facebook
Patreon
Tumblr
Amazon 

Don’t Wake

He asked me if I’d die for him,

I accepted,

in a heartbeat,

as his last drew near.

His greying hair,

and fraying air,

still enchanted me,

even if the world loved him no longer.

We shook out the last of the sand,

as the planet turned upside down,

at the beach,

where we broke into each other’s hearts,

and built a contented castle to live in.

We drank down denouement,

our epic epilogue.

The sun slipped,

as we slept,

forever,

yet,

never again.


RECENT CREATIVE WRITING COLLECTIONS
What Do Little Girls Dream Of?
Enemy Of The State

Boo, Bitch

RECENT UPCOMING COLLECTION PREVIEWS
“Baby Back There” from Ours
“Window Shop” from Ours

“Beach Walk” from Ours

RECENT BLOGS
Tis The Season To Be Bad At Wrapping Presents🙂 
Lipsticks I Love

You Don’t Have To Be Alone

COME FIND ME
Twitter
Instagram
Ask Jen
Facebook
Patreon

Final Messages

It’s hell.

We just can’t do anything.

Goodbye, for the last time.

I want to close my eyes,

I hear people are doing that,

across the world.

I’m jealous of their trendy ways,

eyes closed, en vogue.

I’m running out of time.

We are still here.

Will I see her for another day?

I can’t simply surrender.

I want to hear myself breathing.

In and out, the air in no hurry,

me, in no hurry.

I hear the world is in no rush,

I would blame them,

but I simply don’t have the time.

They are hours away.

All streets are destroyed.

Don’t let them erase us. 


RECENT CREATIVE WRITING COLLECTIONS
What Do Little Girls Dream Of?
Enemy Of The State

Boo, Bitch

RECENT UPCOMING COLLECTION PREVIEWS
“Baby Back There” from Ours
“Window Shop” from Ours

“Beach Walk” from Ours

RECENT BLOGS
Tis The Season To Be Bad At Wrapping Presents 🙂 
Lipsticks I Love

You Don’t Have To Be Alone

COME FIND ME
Twitter
Instagram
Ask Jen
Facebook
Patreon

National Poetry Day :)

Hola amigos,

Today is National Poetry Day where I live, in the UK, so, unsurprisingly, I wrote some poetry.

I also wrote the little thing on the cover, so if you can’t read it, please remember that I have the worst hand writing in the entire world, and that I’m sorry.

I hope you like it.

Besos,

J x


 

 

sincerely-jennifer-jennifer-juan-cover

-x-

Lights

Fluid lights,
flit, flirt with every spot they can,
I’m sat here,
driven mad by a man with no licence.
I write so he can’t hear me,
I sing because I know he can’t,
the breaking burn in my chest,
as unwelcome and essential as his kiss.
Street lights and I are the same kind of girl.
I shudder, as I watch her,
flit and flirt with the wrong kind of boy.
I know I can’t stop,
no matter how much we both know.

-x-

Winter Is Excited

Winter is excited,
I am jumped upon,
frosty kisses where my scarf can’t reach,
bitter, boreal boy up and down my bare legs.
He holds me with a tenderness I don’t get these days,
and it could be love,
if he didn’t give it up,
for all the frozen females.
Winter is excited.
Winter is also a slut.

-x-

Mad Mud

At night, I dream of hidden screams,
in bloodied mud.
Small bears, the only ones with smiles,
reach out to tiny friends,
taken.
One by one by one by…
There are darker dreams than those in my head,
in the minds of the maniacal,
who would love to invade my mind with more.
How I wish I could tell you.
How I wish I could show you.
Perhaps, if we just wait?
There is no time to wait.
You have to remember,
for the past awaits those who forget.
It’s November,
I walk among you,
and I hear hungry hate,
salivating at scapegoating.
It never wakes me,
for I never sleep.
While the mud has cleared,
and the “showers” traded for baths,
they could still be coming,
and I’m not ready to be next.

-x-

Speaking

“Bare with me”,
said the lion of language.
Lying when he said this was easy.
As easy as lying on a bed,
with your favourite teddy bear.
With the bare minimum of effort,
I could pay for a change,
left with change, for sweets.
Minute mind was broken for a minute,
sure it was right.
I’d been given the right,
to obey every step,
of your complex step ball change.
I slipped, stuttered,
stumbled down the steps of speaking.
“Bear with me”,
said the bear to the lion.
“I’ve barely been here a minute.”

-x-

Heirloom

Gleaming promise,
hard to destroy,
hard to keep.
Sleeps heavy on my mind,
on my hand,
I am almost afraid it has been lost,
but when I lift my eyes, I feel again.
Blinded in the light,
unsure rage,
guarded by diamonds and Earth.
So still, surrounded by wonder,
still, as if I never quite knew you at all.

-x-

Dinner

Former friends frolic,
the dance floor was white sheen,
until it wasn’t.
Devour a tribe of angry mints,
they sting as they slide,
tough crowd.
I send a tidal wave after my friends,
and return to you,
while thanking my fingers for their service,
and my waistline for keeping its success a secret.

-x-

24

Where is left to land?
When you have left your mark across the world?
I dashed for nothing,
running from no one.
I trip out, and trip over,
as the sky takes your name.
Day is all around,
the floor is broken,
but there is cuteness to the cracks.
The concrete cages are open,
and we’re off to Oz, on the next house.
I’m falling where the fearless fear to float,
I can’t hold back my icy heart a day longer,
for it is melting with desire,
desperately dripping into yours.

-x-

Art

I shall attach you,
by your sweet nervous neck,
to the bedroom wall,
and just wait.

You deserve a gallery,
but I won’t share you,
I’ll fill in your eyes,
with a sea coloured crayon.

Sometimes, I will scream,
at your sandpaper speaker,
until you wistfully whisper,
that you promise to stay.

You’ll stay hanging in my bedroom,
until I’m good and ready,
or until I sleep, hypnotised,
and you finally escape.

-x-

Tights

When I was six.
Look, when I was six.
Are you even fucking listening?
Okay, when I was six.
I had strange, bony hips,
and long, distressing rips,
in my tights.
I was just so little then,
it’s disturbing how much I’ve grown,
I’m so tall, and so strange,
and so much more than bone.
Every day now,
a tiny skirt,
popular twins,
and lights,
but one thing always stayed the same,
rips in my bloody tights.
I think I want you.
Shh, I know,
a new rip in my tights.
It’s unfamiliar territory,
unprecedented heights.
I don’t want to tell you the truth,
but unfortunately, I might.
I love that you’re familiar,
like the rips in all my tights.

-x-

Moving On

If I’m half asleep,
my pillows feel like your doughy chest,
that could have felt firmer,
had you smashed the gym,
instead of my sister.
That was petty.

I’m sorry.

I know.

You know,
it would be easier if you were dead,
no offence.
At least then I could pretend,
you meant to call, but couldn’t.

You’re sorry.

I Know.
You know,
by the way,
day by day, it gets easier.
I’ve forgotten who you were,
and sculpted a softer, safer you,
that I miss more,
than I ever loved your reality.

You know?

You know.

-x-

Giant

You, my love, are tall enough,
to hand me the moon,
and arrange the night’s sky,
to my liking.
You could block the sun,
I’ve heard, from some,
you’ve been tearing down towns,
with a roar in your throat.
I’ve seen you though,
in tears on my monkey bed sheets.
Tell me, little giant,
what frightens you so,
about a girl like me?

-x-

Want

Run through me,
fuck me up.
Go, baby, go.

I think.
I guess.
So long, Miss Mistress.

I want your youth,
I want you mess,
I want your wanting of me.

Run through me,
fuck me up,
Go, baby, go.

Oh, baby, don’t go.

-x-

Sincerely, Jennifer  x

That’s the thing about me,
I’m sure you’ll remember,
pressing, pressing matters,
sincerely is how I end my letters,
but never how I live my life.
I get a little sick of telling you I’m sick,
in every sense of the word.
I promise,
I mean everything I say,
except what I type,
and what I tip from my lips,
but I probably love you,
God knows why.
That isn’t critical,
although this is critical,
to you,
but everybody makes mistakes,
and I guess that was yours.
I’d really like to be one of those girls,
you know,
the type in the land army of love.
I dream of digging down to my core,
and letting you,
well, actually, probably not you,
but somebody, anybody teach me how to grow.
Sadly,
my hands are only good for directing dreams,
and I’m not quite sure you’ve made the cut, kid.
Don’t sit on my couch,
and don’t call us,
we won’t call you, either,
but as I said,
this isn’t critical.
I wouldn’t believe me though,
if I’d been paying attention,
bur everybody makes mistakes,
and I guess that was yours.

-x-

This Poem Is Really Good

breaking

up

a

clichéd

sentence

and not

using

punctuation

and

capital

letters

does not

a

poem

make.

-x-


RECENT CREATIVE WRITING COLLECTIONS
Sincerely, Jennifer x
Darling Dawn

Sleepwalk

RECENT UPCOMING COLLECTION PREVIEWS
“Window Shop” from Ours
“Beach Walk” from Ours

RECENT BLOGS
Jen’s Spooky Soundtrack
British Fashion Start Up Awards Nominations 

Your body, and the hopefully happy adventures you can have

COME FIND ME
Twitter
Instagram
Ask Jen

Happy Birthday, Maya Angelou.

Angelou_Obama

 

When I was twelve, I first read “Gather Together In My Name” by Maya Angelou. I was reading her books in the wrong order, I know, but it was the first one I came across in my quest to discover more about black literature, and learn more about my heritage.

There have been times in my life, where I, as a biracial person haven’t felt black in any way, times, when I’ve felt black throughout my entire body, and times, when I feel like an awkward, but accepting mixture of black and white. I know the actual blackness, or right to claim blackness of biracial people is a difficult, divisive, and sometimes sensitive subject for people. I’m not going to tell you I have all the answers, I absolutely don’t, but what I will tell you, is that reading the work of Maya Angelou, even in the wrong order, gave me a peace and acceptance that I wish I had owned from the start of my life.

I was never given much black literature to study during school, and that was where I got most of my reading material. It wasn’t until GCSE English classes when a few poems by black writers sat shyly behind the blindingly white majority in the AQA Anthology, that I discovered it in the curriculum, but before that, at the age of twelve, I grew impatient, and determined to learn more about myself and since I loved to read, that seemed the obvious place to start. I knew black writing probably existed, and much further back than the Anthology would have me believe. How could it not? Black people existed, and they all had voices, no matter who tried to silence them. Where there are voices, there is literature.

There was a lot, that at the age of twelve, and probably even now, I hadn’t experienced. There was however a lot contained in “Gather In My Name” that I could relate to. I found understanding, in so many things that nobody had ever been able to explain to me before. It isn’t that people never tried, but there are some things that just can’t be articulated by someone who has never experienced it, and probably never will. I had spent years reading one half of my life, and feeling there was a part of me missing, before discovering that all the questions, insecurities and mysteries of the other half had been answered, loudly and beautifully, through the literature of Maya Angelou. I read through everything of hers I could find, before delving into more and more black writers, addicted to learning about my other family and the black community that I had exiled myself from, due to a naïve, afraid, untrue belief that I couldn’t be a part of it. I finally had the confidence to ask if I could be included in the other side of myself, after feeling I had no right to.

I felt more connected to my father’s side of the family. We had shared nationality and language, but I never felt we shared race before, because while I had (and still have) some black features, and a black parent, I felt separated. Maybe we still don’t share race, according to some, and maybe I will never truly know or experience life as a black woman (again, this comes down to how you define blackness, but that is another blog post, really), but I felt closer, not by speaking, but by listening, reading, and learning. The half of my life I had never reached before was finally with me, and I felt complete. The isolation of only understanding one side of myself was lifted, and while my identity was still growing, I could feel it was closer and clearer than ever before.

There are realities for black women that will never be my own, due to the privileges afforded to me, as a biracial woman, but the things we do share, I have been able to understand, and discuss, and that never would have been possible, without picking up that first (actually second, but…) Maya Angelou autobiography, and so, on what would have been her eighty eighth birthday, I am thankful for Maya Angelou, for helping me understand myself, and who I could be.

RECENT WORK

Casa Azul
What Jen Did Next

Portraits From The Pier

COME FIND ME
TWITTER
INSTAGRAM