Monthly Archives: March 2016

#CarrieOn 30-Day Poetry Challenge

April is national poetry month. I don’t write (creatively) as often as I like to so I came up with a 30-Day poetry challenge. We’re going to write 30 poems in 30 days starting April 1. Follow @CarrieAmanda7 on instagram for daily challenge photos. Here is the complete list so you can get prepared. Hashtag: #CarrieOn30

  1. The Beginning of Something: Write a poem about the beginning of something, anything. The beginning of a song, a movie, a relationship, a conversation… etc.
  2. A Haiku: a form of traditional Japanese poetry. 3 lines. Line one has 5 syllables, line two has 7 syllables and line 3  5 syllables. Write a Haiku about something small but powerful
  3. Something that frightens you: I’m very claustrophobic. My poem will be about being trapped in a small space. *Shudder*
  4. A Conversation: a dialogue, a series of tweets, facebook comments, text messages or a face-to-face conversation.
  5. Extreme Weather: describe an earthquake, hurricane, tornado or any other form of extreme weather
  6. Waiting for something: describe the thoughts you have while waiting for something you desire.
  7. An Apology: write an apology that’s owed to you or that you owe to someone
  8. Traveling: away from home or back home, write about what you see on the journey
  9. Three Wishes: you’re Aladdin and you’ve just rubbed the magic lamp. What are your 3 wishes? No rules.
  10. A Tanka: Similar to a Haiku with Japanese orgins but with 5 lines. The syllables are as follows 5-7-5-7-7
  11. Your favorite color: Mine is green. Choose one color if you have multiple faves.
  12. After Death: Write about what you believe happens when we leave our body
  13. A Season: The title of this poem is either “Summer”, “Winter”, “Spring” or Autumn”
  14. Something that makes you angry: What makes you fighting mad?
  15. A first date: Write what goes on in your mind before, during an after a first date. Make it funny.
  16. Giving Directions: Write a poem giving directions on how to do something or how to get somewhere. “Take a left at that light”
  17. Something _______: Write a poem entitled “Something (blank). Something crazy. Something strange. Something new. Anything.
  18. Family: Write about your role in your family. Are you the baby? The first to go to college?
  19. “Imitate” one of your poetic peers: I’m writing my version of “CREAM” by B. Shatter or “Top Ten” by Lance Newman aka “Mr. Spread Love”
  20. A Sonnet: 14 lines and a (not so) strict rhyme scheme: Can be either Italian or English style.
  21. The struggle to wake up or go to sleep: “Why am I awake?” Or.. “UUGHH I don’t wanna get up”
  22. Use every letter in the alphabet at least once: “The quick onyx goblin jumps over the lazy dwarf.”
  23. At least 100 words: Write a poem of at least 100 words in 10 minutes or less using the word “Speed.”
  24. Bars: Write a poem/rap to the beat of a current main stream rap song. The more ratchet, the better.
  25. Erotic: “bow chicka wow wow…”
  26. Use the following words: Exquisite, visit, glisten
  27. An inanimate object that is important to you: I will probably write about my cell phone
  28. An acrostic poem using your first name
  29. Flirting: You see a fine young tender and you’re trying to convince them to go on a date with you
  30. The End: The end of something, anything. End of a movie, end of a relationship, end of a roller coaster.

Special thanks to these sites for the ideas/inspiration:

http://www.writersdigest.com/online-editor/april-is-poetry-month-ready-for-our-poem-a-day-challenge

http://www.creative-writing-now.com/poetry-prompts.html

http://www.creative-writing-now.com/creative-writing-prompts.html

http://www.writingforward.com/category/writing-prompts/poetry-prompts

http://www.poewar.com/poetry-prompts/

 

 

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Self-Care: Benefiting the Activist and The Movement

audre lorde

Activism is a calling. Activism is my calling. My purpose is to fight against white supremacy, racism, classism, homophobia and rape culture (to name a few). I cannot walk in my calling if I am not the best possible Carrie. In order to be the best possible Carrie, I need to sleep, exercise, have me a glass of wine (not in that order) and put my phone on ‘do not disturb’. We must recognize Self-care as caring for the movement. Self-care is a political act.

The day after I went to a Donald Trump rally, I lashed out at a Facebook Friend. He was being funny. (He’s a comedian in real life). I had just dealt with a very traumatic experience and I took it out on him. I had not processed the trauma properly. What I did was completely out of character for me. It was not fair to my friend and I’m glad he called me out on it.

As a black woman from many generations of black women, the idea that I have to be strong 24/7/365 is normal. But this idea isn’t healthy. I am a black woman so yes, I’m a super hero 🙂 but I’m also human and trying to be strong all of the time is detrimental to my physical, emotional and mental health. I need a ‘woo-sah’ moment every once in a while.

Activism is hard work. Fighting for freedom is draining and at times disappointing and we’re doing it in 2016. I cannot imagine what our ancestors went through in 1916. We have to deliberately proactively practice self-care. Sometimes, we may have to choose our personal well-being over the protest, the panel, the debate and the TV.

Here are some “Self-Care/Care for the movement” tips. These tips are for me and by me so all of them may not help you. I hope you are inclined to develop your own list and share your tips with me.

Know Your Role

nah rosaA body has body parts. Everybody cannot be the head. Everybody cannot be the feet. We need hands, hearts, eyes, lungs, a gallbladder.. all ‘at (I got a C in biology) There are things I’m good at that you are bad at. There are things I can’t do that you can.

Take the Montgomery Bus Boycott of 1955 for example, the only two names most of us know from this movement is Rosa Parks and Martin Luther King, Jr. They have written the history so that we think Rosa just happened to say ‘nah.’ that day because she was tired. What Rosa Parks did was planned and strategic.

In preparation for the boycott, The Women’s Political Counsel had circulated 500 leaflets calling for the boycott of the Montgomery buses. Those boycotting had already arranged the alternatives to using the bus. (They organized a city, and later regional-wide boycott without Facebook or public transportation. Our grandmomma and them was LIT)

You may not be the 2016 MLK or Rosa Parks. You may be Ralph Abernathy, you may be Claudette Colvin, or you may be the one passing out the flyers or driving the church van so your homies can get to work. I would’ve been the one designing the flyers and organizing some kids to pass them out. I certainly would not have been Rosa. I’m not going to jail for you nggas.

Know your role because nobody can do it better than you. There is less anxiety and stress when you’re doing something you do well. Perform in your role even if it means you may not be in front of a camera or publicly recognized. You must love the cause more than you love your fame/reputation. But that’s another blog for a different day.

Take time to grieve

“The condition of black life is mourning.”

In Judaism, Shiva is the seven days after the loved one’s funeral. The family of the deceased gathers at home to mourn and pray. They don’t go to work or participate in normal daily activities for a week.

We forget to mourn. We forget to cry. With so many of our brothers and sisters being murdered and not seeing justice, we do not take the time to mourn before we get angry and political. We don’t even have the time. But ee MUST take the time.

Grieving is a deeply personal and necessary process. Everyone has to do it their own way. In December, 2 of my childhood friends were shot and killed within a week of each other. I beat myself up for still crying and being angry; but it’s only been a matter of months and my feelings are justified. Daniel. Alicia. Jamaal. Gyasi. All murdered childhood friends and nobody has been to jail about it. That pisses me off.

Cry. Scream. Pour out some liquor. Put one in the air in their honor. But do what you must to grieve/mourn.

Choose your battles wisely

You cannot educate everybody all of the time. Sometimes you have to say “God Bless You” and move on. When people disagree on my Facebook posts, it makes me very anxious. At times, it is an instant anxiety attack. For this reason, I cannot always debate/educate or engage. I have to force myself to leave that thing alone sometimes.

Last week I posted an article about Ciara and Russell Wilson getting engaged I (jokingly) said “Ladies, see what ‘click clank’ gets you?” A few of my friends (who are sleeping with men who aren’t going to marry them) got offended. It was Friday night and I was at the bar having a good time. I finally said “No standards. No walls. I love you anyhow.” and left it at that. I basically said that to say I’m not going to change my views, I’m not going to judge you and I’m done arguing about it.

I’m also not going to every protest, every event, and every community meeting or participating on every panel. I’m just not always available. We must learn that ‘No.’ is a complete sentence that needs no further explanation.

Unplug

unpluhFor a couple of weeks, I wouldn’t get on Facebook from 8am-8pm. My mind was clearer and I was less anxious. My jobs require I get on social media, but I think I’m going to start scheduling my social media messages and limiting personal use of FB to an hour a day tops.

Researchers have studies the effects of social media on mental health. Check this article out.

http://psychcentral.com/lib/the-anxiety-of-facebook/

Unplugging also means not checking text messages and emails. The #BusinessHours rule means that if you hit me up before or after a certain time (9am-9pm) it will get handled the following business day.

Self-care means not being available 24/7. If you give people an inch, they will take a mile. I have had to stop people from talking “business” with me while I’m at the bar trying to have a good time. Let’s take a shot (of water, cause my momma reading) instead.

Get your house in order

sarah palinYou cannot change the world if you cannot get a grip on your house! (See: Sarah Palin’s kids) It is my belief that your spouse, children, bills and legal affairs must be in order before you can be an activist. This applies to self-care because you must be able to come home and find solace from this crazy world. If your kids are hungry and you ain’t had sex with your wife/husband in months you cannot do this.

Also, I believe if you don’t have a heart for your loved ones, you don’t have an activist’s heart. Activism is largely fighting for the rights of strangers. How much more should we work for our loved ones? We’ve got to make sure we have the time, money, resources and connections necessary for activism. How you trying fight for our rights without a ride to the revolution? Amen lights.

Go down to the church

(This may not apply to you if you are not religious. I’m an unapologetic every-Sunday-church-going Christian.)

God called me to activism. God has kept me safe in spite of myself. My activism is tied up in my Christianity. I need a weekly reminder that God is still on the throne and to shake my dreads to some gospel music. (*sings and sways* I’m GLAAAD TO BE IN THE SERVICE.) I also need to be around my brothers and sisters in Christ. The sense of community is healing. The hugs and kisses help. Sometimes you just need a church mother to suffocate you with her bosom. More often you need to be reminded of your role in the shadow of the cross and that God is still on the throne. *Runs*

Have Fun

james baldwinIt would behoove you to loosen up, beloved. Take time to chill with your loved ones, go dance. Go to the movies. Do something you like. Unwind. Wind down. Don’t talk about the struggle. No activists allowed. No hotep-ing. Play spades, eat good food. Do it around people you love. I feel much better after I’m with my friends/family. My friends and I like Kart Kountry. Go-karts, arcarde, mini-golf… be the oldest ones in there knocking the kids down. SMH. Find something fun… grab your best friends and do it often.

These are my 7 Self-Care Tips. I hope they help you and again inspire you to develop and share your own list.

-CGW

 

 

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I went to a Donald Trump rally

When I learned Donald Trump was running for President, I was entertained. I was as entertained and had the same smirk on my face when Herman Cain was running for office. As Trump has moved to the forefront of the GOP races, I am no longer entertained and have no smirk on my face. I’m terrified.

When I heard he was coming to Louisville, I knew that I had to do something. I talk a lot. I talk loudly. But Donald Trump in my city required some walking and not talking. After talking with some of my fellow freedom fighters, I decided that I would go to Trump’s rally with my phone in hand and film everything. I think in the fight for freedom, it is important that everyone knows their skills and uses them to film the movement. Journalism is my first love. Today, I was a journalist. I also have a passion for young people and the majority of the protesters were high school age so I went with protecting them in mind. So, that’s why my black ass went to a Donald Trump rally.

I parked my car in Old Louisville so I wouldn’t have to pay to park and caught the TARC the rest of the way to the convention center. I never ride the TARC/public transportation so… I put a $20 bill in the machine and expected change back (yea, dumb on my part but hey.. i figure if a machine will take bills, it’ll give them). The TARC driver told me she saw me put a $1 bill in shrugged and said ‘We don’t give change.’ We went back and forth. She acted like my $20 was no big deal and I wanted to scratch her eyes out but I didn’t. I stayed calm. God is merciful. The other passengers on the bus were very helpful and told me to just call the hotline and they’ll check the machine and give me my money back once they see a $20 bill in there. What did we learn… Don’t put a $20 in the TARC and don’t end up in jail about $20.

Once I got to the Convention center the line was around the block. Once we got to 4th and Jefferson, there was a group of protesters across the street. (I’m going to add photos and videos later.. I’m trying to get this all out while its fresh in my mind) Some signs said “Black Lives Matter” I heard someone say “He doesn’t even have anything to do with that…”

First thing I noticed, A LOT of people in line had on University of Kentucky paraphernalia.  LESS (but a good number) people had on University of Louisville ‘nailia stuff too. As a UofL alum and fan, we are going to deduce that the UofL fans were just stopping by the rally before the game and that the UK fans crazy.

The lady in front of me in line struck up a conversation with me. She was an older white lady so I was on the defensive. Turns out she just came cause she was curious and was not a Trump supporter. She told me she graduated from UofL (my alma mater) in 1971 with an MBA and was the only woman in her class. Had she not been my elder I would’ve said “YAAASSSSBIIITTTCHH” but I didn’t. Cause I’m respectful.

We had to walk through metal detectors to get in, empty our pockets, and have our bags looked through.

The room the rally was in was large and it was BARELY half full. A lot of people in the city reserved tickets and didn’t show up on purpose to show Trump he ain’t welcome in these parts. I believe if there were actual seats in the room, it would’ve shown how many people WEREN’T there a little better.

Lots of white people of ALL ages in the room I was surprised to see so many YOUNG white people for Trump. I saw less than 10 other black people, one Latino, and a guy from the middle east. I don’t know if they were supporters or not. Outside the rally after I was kicked out (more on that later), I saw a Jewish family (the men had on yamakas) who were obviously for Trump because they had on his T-shirts. So like I said, Lots of white people.

Young white guys were carrying a sign, a HUGE sign that said “Build the Wall.”

An older white guy had on a shirt with Hillary Clinton’s picture on it that said “Life’s a bitch so don’t elect one for president”

Another white guy had on a shirt that said “Keep Calm and Carry Guns”

Right before Donald Trump got on stage, I noticed a young white guy with “Black Lives Matter” on the back of his shirt and “You remind me of Hitler” on the front of his shirt. I gave him the thumbs up and asked to take his picture. Once Trump got on stage, he started yelling “BLACK LIVES MATTER, TRUMP IS A FASCIST”. Another guy came up to him and was GOING OFF. He was beet red and I swear I saw smoke coming out of his ears. I walked up and stood between him and “BLM” (never caught his name). Beet Red’s friend got him to walk away. Another guy and I stood on either side of BLM cause he was gon get his ass whooped.

The cops came up to BLM and said stop yelling. So he stopped yelling, but he kept saying. “Black Lives Matter. Trump is a Fascist.” loud enough so everybody could hear. Finally, secret service came and grabbed him and told him to leave. I started filming because had I not, they would’ve gotten too physical with him. Secret Service told me to leave as well. Next thing I know, I’m surrounded by 3 cops and the secret service… all white men.

I repeatedly asked why I had to leave and if filming was against the rules. I also said “don’t fxcking touch me.” They didn’t. The cop told me that if secret service told me to leave and I didn’t then it was criminal trespassing. BLM told them that we weren’t together. We were both escorted out of the room, down stairs and onto the street by Secret Service.

I went back to 4th and Jefferson where the protesters were and filmed them some more. I had a good conversation with an older white gentlemen who asked us why Trump’s comments on Muslims were racist since Muslim wasn’t a race. He argued that Muslims had the most terrorists of any religion. I appreciate these moments because I got to engage with someone whose views are different than mine.

By the time the rally was over and people started coming out, all the protesters went down to the entrance of the rally. On one side of the street, people against Trump, on the other side of the street people for Trump. The cops were standing in the middle of the street facing the against crowd which was twice as big as and a thousand times as diverse the for Trump crowd. This was the most powerful, scariest time of the day

The for crowd started chanting “Get a job.”

The against crowd started chanting “Black Lives Matter”

The for crowd, at the same time chanted “Cops Lives Matter” then “All Lives Matter.”

It got heated, so we got the crowd to move down the street to 4th and Jefferson, Trump supporters followed that crowd and it got mixed up. But it was just a lot of yelling back and forth. A line of us stood between the crowds.

By the time I left the scene, the against trump crowd had 4th street blocked at Jefferson. I left because I was cold and my phone was dying, I didn’t want to be around that many cops and that many white people with no phone.

One last thing to note, most of the people that were selling Trump’s campaign stuff (T-shirts, pins, hats, signs) on the street were young and black. Scary.

And that is my Trump rally story. It was way more traumatic than I thought it would be and I’m definitely going to have to do some self-care. I’ll add photos/videos as i figure out how to transfer them from my phone.

Thank you for reading. Register to vote. http://www.dmv.org. We cannot let this man in the white house.

-CGW

 

 

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