Beautiful- A tribute to breast cancer survivors

Hi everyone,

Just a bit of background:

I wrote this piece because I was asked to perform a piece for A Breast Cancer Survivors Ball. I was very shocked at this invitation and deeply touched because I have never been through this or been around anyone closely enough to even share personal experiences, but was trusted for such an offering. I wouldn’t be able to make it so I recorded this piece and decided to share it on my site and soundcloud. The event (Pretty In Pink) was held by Gardner’s House which is an organization that helps people with Cancer to get necessities and support that they need despite circumstances. The founder is a breast cancer survivor herself. I find her story very inspiring. She is a beautiful person and full of strength. As I explored more and more stories on breast cancer survivors and their families, this is what came to me. Find out more about the dynamic and excellent work of Gardners House here: http://www.gardnershouse.org

 

Beautiful

 

They said I would not make it to see today

This morning I opened my eyes

Breathed the breath of life

And knew that there was a reason why

I give thanks

I cannot stop

 I have to try

There is a reason why

When adversity comes we must learn how to ascend

We must teach ourselves to fly

Pink is symbolic of my struggle

of my climb

of how far we have come

and that we can still have fun

It keeps me inspired to do more because there is more to come

It reminds me I have and must continue to do more than just survive

To enhance the quality of life

To be beautiful and bold enough to take the masked faces off of our fears

Embrace the tears from many nights of remembrance and dealing

 

The days to this point have not been easy

Many nights I cried myself to sleep

Heaving oxygen wondering why all of this now?

To me?

Cancer did not make me who I am, but on this journey I refused to let it break me

The reality hit when they said I have numbered days to live

That was the hardest part of the day but in acceptance of what may come I found truth

Death begins in the mind and I have more work to do

Sometimes the ugliest things in life show us the true beauty within

It breaks us down to show us what created the bonds in our foundation

 

It took me so long to see

I had been blind

Keeping up with appearances and holding onto unnecessary things

They say beauty is in the eyes of the beholder but what does that mean when your eyes are not seeing reality

If there is no room to see what can be

 

They said I would not make it to see today

This morning I opened my eyes

Breathed the breath of life

And knew that there was a reason why

Every night I will shine with the stars

Shine the light on visions of sunrise

Every day I will rise with the sun

Warm and brilliant

Blossoming as the flowers do

Growing through adversity

Triumphant

Spreading my wings and soaring like the birds do

Coming out of my cocoon

I am no longer in hiding or ashamed

Or to be pitied

I am a reflection of possibility

A beauty

In rare form

No longer feeling like a victim

I am a victorious woman

And I still dream

Finding blessings in each piece of every day

A kind word

A loving hug

A smile so warm

The calm of the rain

The force of the storm

The rainbow after

 

Fall came around and my hair was falling as much as the green from the trees

Preparing for the coldest winter
Waiting for the warmth of spring
Every day in the interactions and encounters

Discouraging appointments filled with sympathy
I am more than a body
No empathy
Sorry ma’am We can’t do anything
But I must do everything
And through all of this they say you’re so beautiful
Through the daily tears
Through the hair that went from blowing to gone with the wind
Beautiful
No more breasts that aspired to make me voluptuous
Beautiful
Dress clothes free
A minor touch of make-up
Beautiful
That is what they’d call me
So I asked my boyfriend one day when everything sent to me seemed to be crumbling or washed away by the tide
Why everyone thought I was so  beautiful now
He almost instinctively said that it was the determination to live
The passion to experience the ability to breathe once more
The fight to get better and become stronger every day
The optimism when the world tries to take it away and show you every reason to complain
Influencing you to give up
Redefining the conditioning we have received about beauty
Because it is something that grows within you and radiates
You are an inspiration reminding us to never give up
Emphasizing that the quality of life is one of the most valuable things in life
That it isn’t what happens to you that creates you
It is what you choose to become

They said I would not make it to see today

This morning I opened my eyes

Breathed the breath of life

And knew that there was a reason why

To be all that I can be
My full self
To not only be pretty in pink but to embrace my beauty

Our beauty

To express the spectrum inside of me

 

Copyright© 2013 Narelle Thomas

All rights reserved.

Intro/Foreword to Unspoken Sound- book available now!

Unspoken sound cover art

 

          Unspoken Sound

        

By: Narelle Thomas

 

 

 

 

 

Dedication:

To my ancestors

 

 

“I believe that our spirit is our ancestors,  and that they’re in our blood, and that they constantly run through our bodies and keep us going..

The blood of your parents, and the blood of their parents all come together to create you, and they are trying to give you ideas, because when they go through your mind they say things like ‘hey listen turn right do not go left’

they’re trying to tell you things that can help you

things that can improve you, because the longer you go on the longer they go on

the stronger you are, the stronger they are

the more people want to know about you, the more they find out about them, and how they tried to help each other. I believe the spirits are beneath each one of us”- Gil Scott Heron”14

 

 

 

Acknowledgements:

Thanks also to Bernice and Leroy Thomas (mommy and daddy), Mom and Papa, My aunts Pamelar & Yolanda Johnson, Kemet Maroon, April Simmons, Blanche Jackson- Hill, Frank Weston, The Anderson Family: Darlene, Sherwin, and Shannon, Jimmy and Erwin, My cousins: Tay, Tosha, Alex, Alexis, and Terrance, Aida Nieves, Roderick Kelly, Davidson Esan, Neach Kobain, Von Don, The Phillips Family: Glynis, Amiya, and Ronnie, Seba Rkhty Amen and Dr. Phil Valentine of the University of Kemetian Sciences, Noble Anpu Galileo, Nia Akasha, Jacqueline Williams- Hines, Dennis Henry, Kayla Sanders, Linda Thomas, Mary Jane Eustace, Matthew Jaquith, The Springfield Public Library, Raeven Jemison, Ayana Harrison, Maria Luisa Arroyo and Magdalena Gomez

For your continuous encouragement and support of my projects, and plans. I love and appreciate you.

Much love to everyone who supports any of my efforts, all of those who I have ever encountered and spoken to, shared a brief conversation with, a smile, or good laugh. You have a place in my heart.

 

©2013 Narelle Thomas. All rights reserved. No part of this chapbook, which contains original works by the artist, Narelle Thomas, can be duplicated, reproduced, performed or disseminated without the express written permission of the artist.

 

 

 

CONTENTS 


Foreword.……………………………………………………………………4

Knowledge……………………………………….……………………………… 8

Love Again…………………………………………………………………..10

Embarrassment………………………………………….…………………………15

You are NOT the dumping ground………………………………………………18
What kind of people do you see?……………………………………………………………………..20

Are you an artist? To the disrespectful “artists”………………………………………22

Indestructible……………………………………………………………………….…..24
Burns to the Soul (Image)………………………………………………………….29

Back to natural……………………………………………………………………………..29
Back to the beginning/ Big Chop (Image)……………………………………………33
Gender Natural/Neutral………………………………………………………34
The Mad Black Woman……………………………………………………………………39
Mother Nature (Image)…………………………………………………………….42

No More Excuses…………………………………………………………………………..43
Locked In- Breaking News………………………………………………………….45

Locked In- Breaking News (Image)…………………………………………………………….48

Time to Learn- High School………………………………………………………….49

Childhood (Image)……………………………………………………………………………..57

Butt Kiss- A sure way to lose…………………………………………………………..52

Love the Children……………………………………………………………….54

Food………………………………………………………………………………………58

Take off the 3D Glasses and Live!…………………………………………………………………. 64

Black- On- Black- Love………………………………………………………………………….67

The Root of All Evil………………………………………………………………………………..75

Soaring Upwards…………………………………………………………………………..77

 

 

 

 

 

Foreword

 

The truth doesn’t sit well with everyone. Not everyone can accept it as it is. Who wants to work on becoming better, changing, and breaking away from what they know so that they can start working on something that may not come easily? It may be very hard to change your mind about what you have held onto for so long. It may be painful and lonely feeling like an outcast, to be strong in a world that constantly tries to get you down and thrives in your weakness. It is not always encouraging being optimistic. However, when you begin anything you have to understand that planning, sacrificing, and struggle brings success. Know that everything is working for your benefit.

 I’ve learned not to complain when I am able. I have learned not to complain when I’m not able because, there is always a way, even if only in vision. You’ll never find a way if you focus on what is in your way. No matter how hard things get I always remember this image I saw online one day where a man is diamond mining and then it shows one man working really hard to get to the end (that he can’t yet see). He was about half way there and working persistently. The man below him is walking in the opposite direction discouraged. It shows the path that he paved to reach the diamonds and it turns out that he dug all the way to them and just had not reached them. If he had of struck the ground one more time he would have had them all.

In some form, there will always be a sacrifice you have to make to reach your goal. Sacrifice breeds success because you are showing reciprocity by understanding that what you have will help you to get what you need. In sacrifice, you are showing gratitude. With strategy you are being diligent. You are preparing with what you have so that you can receive what you need. In taking action, you may struggle, but struggle brings success.

Struggle brings success, because success is what you are working to achieve by being focused and over time you will progress. Through your struggle you must share. By sharing you are creating, reinforcing and ensuring success.

We need to be disciplined individuals to achieve; not only in school, or work, but in life. Achievement is different to everyone. We need to do when no one else is watching us. We need to practice our speech when no one else is listening. We need to be strong when we are the only ones to be strong for. We need to do this without aspiring to receive congratulations or obtain a pat on the back. We need to be self-motivated and disciplined enough to get what we need for ourselves and our people, our families, for the future generations. We have to aspire to greatness and work with it even when the only greatness we see is in our will, ancestor’s works, and visions from our dreams. We must reach still in the knowledge of what will be. As Gandhi says “we must be the change that we wish to see.”

When we are being the change we continue to encourage ourselves and encourage others. We are encouraging growth and being a catalyst to change. The important thing is to learn how to do just enough. Don’t do too much. Don’t do enough to barely get by. Do what is necessary to complete your objective. Work smartly. Work hard strategically. I have learned that it is important to practice focusing, because asking too many questions, for too long can create distraction and detract from capturing the essence of the topic. So pay attention and ask what will be instrumental to your understanding.

 

I hope that this work will inspire a doer, but not just any kind of doer, a radical doer. I hope this because we need to radically change and we need people who are not afraid to create it. We can no longer do what we have done and just keep hoping, praying, tolerating, and getting by; because in the meantime us and our loved ones grow older, sick and tired, suffer in impoverished minds, conditions, and are ridden with disease. We become easier to please, because we are taught that this is what happens as we grow older, so we pass on these tendencies through our lines while our ancestors watch and wonder when we will turn down the distractions and sit still long enough to hear what they are saying.

 

My intention in writing this book is to provide a perspective that I feel is not often enough shared. I not limited to, but fully, a young African melanin dominant woman in America. As a younger person, as a person of African ascent (decent), I feel that we have been spoken for, misrepresented, and spoken through. Through all this I feel as though we are not really heard and understood as well in current times. I found writing this book to be my responsibility. As Sister Souljah says “I Mean No Disrespect” to anyone that reads any part of this. Wounds often sting or burn before they scab up and heal. They cannot heal well with bandages on them all the time. They must be exposed to the air. I am not sorry for anything that I have written. I encourage others to do the same if you are so compelled and if you feel something speaking to you, don’t ignore it. In turn, I just wanted to share some of my experiences, my thoughts, things that have come to me, information and observations. These truths may help to bring clarity to others as they have to me.

I source people that I have listened to online, in person, those whose books I have read, whose music I can vibe to, and whose words have brought something different to my awareness. I don’t agree with everything everyone says or does. I understand that some people are considered “controversial” but I am a person who can see truths in a message. I can see the reason. I am not one to label others based on any “evidence”, theories, or accumulated views. I let people be as they are and can listen to a “crazy” person and find truth in their words just the same. I can do this because I respect differences; have a vision for myself and direction over myself.

I do not confine myself to any one view on anything. I may only agree with and practice one fully, but our world is not flat, as we live in a multidimensional place, as it takes many pieces to create a whole, as there are many facets to a gem, I have learned to never take things at face value. We are all created equal. So we all have an equal right to be ourselves. We all have a right to understand ourselves by knowing who we are and what makes us who we are. What makes us different, what makes one person whole may not make another whole, because we all are configured equally in different ways. It is similar to the make-up of a dollar. Businesses usually accept money in whatever form it may come in; whether it is ten dimes, two quarters and five nickels and twenty five pennies, or twenty nickels. I find that you can learn from someone no matter their background in life, culture, views etc. when you innerstand the heart (truth) that a message carries.  If you can build on anything, build what rubs against your heart, whatever resonates within the beats.

This chapbook contains much of my experiences and observations that I have made throughout my life, but especially within the past five years.

 

I originally was going to call this book “Peace..Love..and Possibility”. Those are recurrent themes in my work. Later I renamed it “Growth”. That is part of the mission and undercurrent of this work. Later I came up with “Unspoken Sound”. The idea came from “A Song for Assata” by Common. I really look up to Assata Shakur for her strength. Common captured her autobiography well in the few minutes of that song. He says she discovered that “freedom is an unspoken sound and a wall is a wall. It can be broken down.”

This was sort of reminiscent of Harriet Tubman to me (The “Unspoken Sound”).  The strength of the Underground Railroad. To freedom. Harriet Tubman didn’t yell her plans. She took action through the night, in code. My first chapbook of poetry is entitled “When Silence Speaks”. I thought this fit perfectly because “Unspoken Sound” is more extended writing. It is all free-form and creates a new image to me. Everything was written; the book became tattered through the years and fell apart. It blew in the wind of time and pieces scattered themselves throughout my life. They were embedded in conversations, songs, TV, people I’ve encountered, in thoughts from all different places. This book is a culmination so far, each was specifically chosen, because they all impacted my life in big ways.

 These are the sounds that the people called crazy hear and usually express

These are the ones that people choose to drown out

 These sounds return though

 These are of truth so they resonate transcending time when the events within have not changed and acknowledged them

 These are the codes that when cracked open up and lead to freedom

 These aren’t always appreciated when heard, and when heard, aren’t always understood, but they reach the receiver with intention

 There are no accidents

They are heard when they are accepted

These are the unspoken sounds.

 

 

 

 

 

 

     

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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