More often than not, I wish my life was like a Shondaland series.
To be specific, I wish I was more like a high-powered, fast talking, power-suit wearing, no nonsense taking boss-bitch character in a Shondaland series. From Olivia Pope, Papa Pope, Christina Yang to Michaela Pratt and now, Kate Littlejohn, the list of inspiring fictional people who own the spaces they’re in, makes me want to find me an old(er) privileged white man/woman with entitlement issues, buy wine by the crate and break dialogue with an unnecessarily long monologue that’s purely because I want to be dramatic as dramatically possible.
Forget that we’re currently living in the golden age of TV, it feels like all you have to do nowadays is turn on the news and you’d swear we were living in a badly scripted, B-grade reality show where an undeserving and untalented troll is running things and the only way out is if the entire thing gets cancelled and we start over again with an entirely new cast. The last time something like that happened, entire species were wiped out and I don’t know if anything (other than the roaches) would survive the reset button this time around.
So instead of worrying about where and when the next bomb is going to go off, I’d rather pretend like I have my shit together, amidst the mess that is life, that I have faults and challenges that make me endearing, but at the end of the day, I’m a badass who has the world at its knees.
They have capes; Shonda Rhimes and her team of writers have this ability to create people who are so dynamic, and so intrinsically fearless that they cleave from within you a side that you know you possess, or at the very least want to possess. They create living superheroes that look, sound and bleed like us and it’s amazing. It’s like they look into the hearts of their viewers, they cradle their desires and they fashion a living, breathing, giant slaying human from them, and it gives you hope. That’s what it is; hope. You feel it in the way they tackle issues that would otherwise cripple the average person, but at the same time they make you feel like average people have that within them as well.
So I guess what I really want, is to feel hopeful. I want to feel like within me lays a Meredith Grey, who can survive shootings, plane crashes, fires and losing loved ones year after year and still feel hopeful.
I want to feel like I can be a gladiator; I can fight injustice, I can build empires and I can tear them down because I have that within me.
Maybe that’s what we all need. Maybe, in the midst of this B-grade reality mess that is life, maybe what we all need is to feel like we can…WE CAN.
It was easier to sit back and allow the world to label me as they so choose; easier to play the victim, to wait for life to happen, for the universe or cosmos to favour me and for someone to save me. It was easier to allow my value to be determined by men and women who know nothing of my struggles, who know nothing of the places I’ve been, the things I’ve witnessed and the dreams I have.
It was easier to remain palatable, to be a comfortable shade of black or a pleasant personality where I remained an asexual, racially and culturally ambiguous, omnipresent observer to the thrills of another’s success, another’s life.
It was easier to not make a noise and not be seen, when all I wanted was to be seen.
Turns out I was never designed for easy.
I was never meant to sit back and allow others to dictate the trajectory of my life, to speak on the value of my existence or contributions for their benefit.
I was never meant to remain complacent, to not experience life, to not reach for the stars, to not be loud and obnoxious and present.
I was meant to make a splash, to be seen and heard and revered and desired and put first, all while I celebrated the blackness that so clearly defines a very large part of me.
I cannot wait, I will not wait; I am more than enough, more than capable, more than incredible and more than any one person can handle.
I have fielded worse rejections and will celebrate greater acceptances than you will ever know.
I am dramatic, eccentric, mysterious, a gladiator; not just a gladiator, but I own the whole damn arena.
I’m not the entertainment; I’m here to show you how it’s done.
““Family always finds its way back” That was her mantra. Sometimes I’d catch her staring at me, deep in thought. It was like she was plotting something from the very beginning, like she knew I was never enough and that one day, one day she’d have no use for me and I would end up alone, broken, weak and held prisoner by a mad man.
I was never the strong one; that was my older brother. He had the looks, the charm and the slick tongue that found a way to get him just as much into as it did out of trouble.
I was never like that. I was never like any of them.
That had to be why she sold me. I hope I was worth it.
“Fire of the Lord” That’s what our surname meant. So my mother, who spoke more and more about the importance of family the bigger her belly got, drilled it into our heads that all we had to do was follow the smoke, because that’s where the fire will be, that’s where family will be.
But I couldn’t do that even if I wanted to. It’s been days since anyone’s offered anything more than a cold, tasteless meal and a quick senseless beating.
The beatings are something I kind of miss now.
Part of me hates myself for thinking like that, but I can’t help it. When he beats me, the man my mother sold me to who always smells like cigarettes, at least then I know I’m not invisible. At least then, in between the screams and the cries and the begging, I know that he sees me and he knows I’m still here. Without the beatings, I’m scared that he might forget about me and the food will stop coming.
I wish I had been invisible before I was brought here. If my mother hadn’t seen me and I had been part of the furniture and nobody felt threatened by me, or if I was quiet and didn’t eat too much, maybe then my mother wouldn’t have done what she felt she needed to do.
If I was smart enough, though, I would have seen it coming. She did warn me. She’d always tell me that I didn’t belong with them. She told me I was beautiful and delicate and too precious. She must have been lying. Nobody throws away something that’s beautiful.
I’ve been in the dark for too long. The boarded window just below the ceiling is the only thing that gives away the day and night. Right now it’s too dark, so it must be night.
My mother must have had her reasons for giving me up, so I can’t hate her for doing what she did. We’re not a rich family; it’s just the three of us, probably four now, and so each of us has to work hard and make sure we provide for the family. This was her way of providing for the family. I can’t hate her for surviving.
It just means that I have to survive too. Maybe if I showed them that I can be strong too, that I can be a fighter and I can work hard too, maybe then my mom will keep me.
All I have now is a box with two matches, a wooden door, boards against a window and the clothes on my back.
If I make a big enough fire, maybe they’ll see the smoke and come find me.
This is how I’ll prove to them that I can be better, before the smoke takes over my lungs and before the fire takes everything, maybe they’ll see that I’m just like them. Maybe they’ll see that I’m family.”
“I would fall apart”
“I would get back up again and move along. Life’s short; you fall and you get back up and go at it again”
“My husband would be right there to pick up the pieces”
“I don’t know if I would be able to pick myself up again”
“Everything I held back, from years ago to last week, would come crashing down on me and I would literally suffocate. I’m a ball of repressed emotion; I would not survive an open wound”
“I would look for someone to help save me, maybe. Maybe I’d let it be and fall apart and just let it happen”
“I would definitely let it all out. I don’t want that toxicity in me. I’d rather fall apart today, than keel over tomorrow because of all the stress I put my heart through”
“I would pray; seek counsel from the bible and hope that those who have gone through it have encouraging words for me in my time of need”
“I wouldn’t want to come back. I would remain in that nightmare, swallowed whole by it and I would surrender to it because I think it’s a safe space in its own way. Our minds can’t cope with something, an external, stressful and dangerous stimulant, so our mind goes to the darkness to help save what little sanity we have left. I would remain there where I have a shot at being whole”
“I fall apart everyday and I’m made better by it”
“I would document it. I’d use the experience to feed future literary journeys. I would welcome it hey”
“I’d have to reassess my entire life and the people in it if I fell apart and had nobody to turn to”
“I would remain with myself. I want to come undone in the privacy of my own evils so I can exorcise them in my own way, deal with them accordingly and come back with a clean slate. That way I can do it over again and wait for the next time I fall apart”