I Have a Voice...I Deserve to be Heard

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

How I Found my Freedom

In the drab cramped two bedroom duplex there was nothing to be proud of. There was too many people and not enough space. No privacy to think or grope or cry or pout. Nothing. It had to be at the age of five when I realized that the only beacon of light which shone in the dark atmosphere of that duplex was the bookshelf built into the wall.

I would run my brown chubby finger over the dusty books until I touched one that caught my eye, pull it from the shelf, and prop it up on the floor between my legs. The words had no meaning, but I wanted to imitate Mommy who after fixing dinner, chastising me, and preparing us for the following day would still find time to read one of those Danielle Steel novels. As I grew older I learned this was the world into which she disappeared which gave her some relief. It was then, at those magical moments, when I wanted to be just like her: propped up in bed, rollers in hair, glasses on the tip of her nose, with one of those novels in her hands.

I believe that the love of reading was handed down to me from my mother. While my friends were reading teen magazines I was engulfed in books by Alice Walker who gave me an empowerment of African-American women. After reading In Search of Our Mother’s Gardens I valued my grandmother, mother, and aunt in a different way. It was my 12th grade English teacher who introduced me to the works of Zora Neale Hurston.

After reading chapter one of Their Eyes Were Watching God our teacher gave us a writing assignment. We had to explore in some form or fashion our personal horizon. I scratched my head in disbelief because at the age of 17 I was still unsure of what I wanted to do with my life. Going to college was not an option, but I did not know what I wanted to study or what direction I wanted my dreams to lead me to. I realized I had to search within myself and focus on what was within me and the gifts that God had given me. I wanted a life so much different from my mother’s. Instead of living my life like a book I wanted to write the book. Let other people live inside of my words. That essay won me a scholarship from the United Negro College Fund.

No matter if it’s the “The Weary Blues” by Langston Hughes tapping inside my head or Nikki Giovanni’s Love Poems or the hips of the sassy “Sula” causing laughter in the back of my throat, I know one thing for sure; if it wasn’t for reading and writing the freedom in which I express myself would never exist.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

I Deserve to be Heard

I speak,
I have a voice,

I deserve to be heard!

Do not silence me
With your wicked stare
And the hatred in your eyes.
You see me as inferior.
Ha! I dare you
To try and silence me
With your threats,
The backlash of your hand,
And the venom in your tongue.

I am not inferior.
I am just like you.
Strong, powerful,
My voice
Like the rolling oaks asunder.
Deep and pure
Like the spring waters
Raging through Mount Fiji.
You dare try to stop me
From saying
What's on my mind?

Don't you dare try and silence me!

For I know many secrets
That have impregnated themselves
In the womb of my mind.
I have a voice
To say what deserves to be

Don't you dare try to stop me!

I have a voice.
I deserve to be heard.

Monday, July 17, 2006

Still Here & I Am

Still Here
Despite my downfalls
And the winds of tribulations
I have managed to overcome
All statistical evidence
That disposes me to some
Depths of hell.
I have risen to withstand
Even my worst enemy
Who threatens to overshadow
My life with grief.
They do not know that
Pitfalls and turbulence
Do not hinder me,
Only makes me stronger.
In spite of the rain
That pours on sunny days
Or the gray clouds hovering
I'm still here.

I am steadfast.
Never wavering,
In the wind of
In the midst
Of a storm.
The songs of
My ancestors
Lull me to sleep,
And I stand,
Not knowing
Or not showing
That the tears
Of many
Befall upon me.
The color purple
In a barren field.
And I watch,
For the generations
That are to come.
I am the personification
Of beauty.
Of mind.
Of spirit.
I am the African violet.

Sunday, July 09, 2006

I Won

Finally...all of my hard work and dedication has paid off. I won my very first writing contest. I have been trying to get my voice heard for so long. I believe ever since I was a child and I received my very first rejection letter. Well, it wasn't really a letter of rejection, but instead a letter of encouragement. The letter simply stated that since I was still so young I would do better by just strengthing my writing skills. Well here I am today. I always knew God bestowed upon me the gift of writing.

Here is an excerpt of the piece that I entered into the contest...

Should've been in American cinema class, but I wasn't. Found myself at the Oasis, with a hotdog in hand and a raspberry smoothie on the way. I heard the laugh, but was too engulfed in my thoughts. Everything was on my mind. School. Work. All the men who had done me wrong. The laugh...again...this time it caught my attention. I knew the laugh. The way it began in the pit of the stomach, churning and rolling, until finally releasing into air causing heads to turn. My head was the only to remain in that direction.

Hope you like it. Be sure to keep an eye out for the How I Met My Sweetheart anthology coming in February 2007.

Saturday, July 08, 2006

For me writing is...

I have never really been the verbal type. You know the one that can express themselves without much thought. I have always relied on my pen and paper to tell my story. To express my hurt. Despair. Until this day, married and with kids, I still find it easier to write my thoughts down in notebooks and journals. It makes me feel better.

There was no teacher who gave me the passion in which I express myself through writing. I do not recall anyone standing over me telling me that this is the way you write a story or a poem. I look at it as a gift from God. One day a pen found my right hand and paper found the left. I wrote. Wrote for pleasure, pain, happiness, and comfort. Writing makes me Shauna. Helps me to take away some of the chaos in my life.

I remember a professor telling me that when you write a poem you are supposed to capitalize each beginning line. Not in my poems. Whenever I feel like capitalizing a word, I do. My poems flow, evoking pain and laughter. Writing cures an aching soul.

No matter if it’s the The Weary Blues by Langston Hughes tapping inside my head or Nikki Giovanni’s Love Poems or the hips of the sassy Sula causing laughter in the back of my throat, I know one thing for sure; if it wasn’t for reading and writing the freedom in which I express myself would never exist.