Happy New Year!

Welcome to 2017! Last year came with a lot of accomplishments and changes and tough times, but I am so ready to move forward into 2017. Running list of 2016: decided to dedicate ,more of myself to this blog, graduated with my masters, was jobless, found a job, lost a job, was jobless again, had one of the funnest summers, built great friendships with amazing people, made the decision to be authentic and live fearlessly, found a job I love, moved into my own apartment, ordered my first big girl bed lol, filed for incorporation for my organization, got my first article feature, when on my first solo trip to Miami, travelled to Chile and fell in love with Valparaiso. Idk what’s next (well I have a little bit of a clue) but definitely two things that I want to meditate on this year are self love and being present. I’m so proud of the woman I am becoming and am ready to continue the work that was started in previous years and continue to grow and learn and love more. Cheers to the New Year!!

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Oceans Series: Submerge (Dreaming)

These dreams felt like a baptism
Conscious stirs pulled me deeper and deeper into submerge
The pressure from being underwater intertwined with being weightless
It was like nothing I could ever imagine or describe
It was alchemy
Breaking into new ground and understanding
Breaking bread and creating common spaces for the self and the soul
Feeling interconnected and yet untouchable, all at the same time
It was a holy contradiction
Tears flow seamlessly into the water;
I didn’t know where one begins and the other ends
Fear flowed into curiosity and then into fantasy
Welcome to the matrix
Welcome to the mystery
The ocean has a way of doing that

-A.A. Eke

It’s Been a Long Time…

Well this title is a bit dramatic lol. I actually had the intro to the old Aaliyah song “Try Again”stuck in my head when I was typing that (trust me it sounded better with the beat and the backdrop lol) But it’s has been a while, and I just wanted to pop in and say hello I am still here, still milling over new posts, new directions and new ideas. I love this outlet and in these crazy social, political, emotional, etc. times I think it’s more important than ever to maintain a sense of authenticity in all that I. Speaking my truth is important and is essential in anything that I pour myself into. And trust I pour myself into this blog.

That all being said, I do have more than just a theoretical excuse as to why I have been gone, I started a new job, dug myself out of a little mini depression and am starting to take the slow but necessary steps to reclaiming ownership over my life. But that brings me to an interesting thought about being lost, or at least feeling lost. This past year has been such a struggle and I don’t anyone who actually knows me would have known that. I’ve never been so financially and emotionally insecure and vulnerable in my life. Having graduated from graduate school and struggling to find work, fighting feelings of not even wanting to go to work, to dreading work, to missing home, to losing my job, to not knowing how I was going to pay rent, to feeling like everyone is moving forward except me, to fighting feelings of loneliness, to not knowing what I wanted in life, to accepting my struggle, learning to rewrite my life on my own terms, to fucking the idea of perfection, to excessive day drinking, to drawing out my dreams and committing to myself. Yeah, it has been one hell of a year and it’s not even over yet…

But to get back to this idea of being lost, I’m learning to accept ambiguity of my desires and my own internal compass. The burden of the world doesn’t have to lay on my shoulders, all I can do is give things my best and that’s it. A huge part that played in my feelings of lostness was because I was focusing all my attention outwardly on what others were doing, or what gaps in the world that I needed to fill, or in what ways can I shift my desires/actions to fit into this idea of me that I thought other people had. I was trying to mold myself into another’s image, instead of creating myself and morphing my life into an image that I crafted for myself. It took a lot of failure, rejection and generally just being really unhappy for me to learn that lesson. But I’m glad I did. Better late than never right?

All I have to say is, in life nothing is ever what it seems and it’s never too late to start all over again. This has been the year of redrawing the starting line, rerouting the track, saying fuck it to the finish line, and becoming one with my futon. I hope you understand.

-A.A. Eke

P.S.- Because I’m a sap for these things and this video perfectly sums up what my inner mantra has been 🙂

DJ Grumble-IcyWrist2

 

Okay so story time, this song takes me allllll the way back, and because I’m in my 20’s I’m talking like 3 or 4 years ago. Back when I was fresh out of college, living in the Bay on my own. Back when I was just starting to get lured into the hypnotic sounds of chill wave and e-beats. Back when everything felt new, as if I was on the brink of something amazing. BART, salt water, Ocean Beach, N-Judah, Washington Square Park, Ike’s Place, Lower Haight, Land’s End, bright sunny days, warm skin, clear skies and endless dreaming. Yeah, I have the best memories attached to this song. I hope you enjoy.

African and Unapologetically Black. (Chimamanda)

So most you all have already seen the viral video where Chimamanda Adichie shuts down her white male cohost on the topic of racism and white privilege. Her co-host (he who shall not be named) was discussing DJT and completely denying any ounce of evidence or reality that he had said anything that was even the slightest bit racist or inflammatory. Adichie handled the situation with the upmost poise, intelligence and grace along with a fabulous eye roll. She quickly stated in no mixed terms with all the receipts in hand incidences of racism and racially biased language that was used by DJT throughout the course of his 18-month campaign. But more importantly, as a Nigerian woman, she positioned herself to speak truth to power and publicly spoke on issues of racism and white supremacy.

We often don’t see African women from the continent in popular culture openly take “radical” political positions. I think so often Africans, especially those of us who are still located on the continent, find it difficult to identify and align ourselves within black liberation movements that are going on across the diaspora. Growing up many of us received intense messages tying success to high educational achievement, assimilation and for the most part, remaining publicly apolitical. This compounded on much of the history we are taught regarding social justice movements is about those who are direct decedents of the transatlantic slave trade. This makes for a lack of language on how the African experience is both different and connected to that of the rest of the diaspora. As Africans there is very little readily accessible literature on how the effects of colonization (forced nationhood, religious and linguistic indoctrination) reverberates and traumatizes us on a physical, emotional, psychological, political and economic level. As Africans we don’t examine this reality in our schools or even in our homes, thus leading to a disconnect as we begin to see the rest of the diaspora engaging in the struggle for liberation (i.e. #blacklivesmatter).

As a Nigerian American woman I didn’t grow up learning about my own people as having a legacy of colonial resistance, much of what I learned regarding liberation was either nonexistent or about the American Civil Rights Movement. Which at the time  was both liberating to see people who looked like me take strong stances, but at the same time distancing, because I knew this wasn’t exactly “my” history.

This is why Adichie’s viral moment strikes a particular core with me. Her confidently inserting herself as an African women in the fight against white supremacy and racism is inspiring and I hope encourages more Africans, especially African women, to become vocal in resisting oppression. We don’t need to be divided by country or histories as Black people. We are all here collectively experiencing an injustice that is rooted in resource extraction, colonization, exploitation and slavery that still exist on the continent and across the diaspora. So thank you again Chimamanda for being fearless, for speaking truth to power and for being unapologetically black.

-A.A. Eke

Photo Credit: BBC