Letter to teenage self

Dear teen Zehra,

I can’t imagine being in your shoes again, and I definitely don’t ever want to have to make the choices you will have to, again. Looking back at things that I would have liked the opportunity to make informed decisions on, there are numerous things that I would have liked to have known in my teen years. So here goes.

Listen to your gut. Trust those uneasy feelings and your body, it’s your best friend and has only your best interest in mind.

Hang out with nanny (grandma) as much as possible. Visit her, take her out, spend time with her, ask her questions, record her talking, cooking, eating, walking, everything. Laugh with her, take her advice, ask her what she thinks of everything (even if it’s offensive). She is the most precious human being that you will ever know. She is your past, present and future, she holds you and builds your history. She is home. Take out even one day a week, get her used to seeing you at the same time because when she hits 80, you are going to wish you didn’t wait so long to connect with her. Every. Single. Minute. Counts.

Your body is beautiful. Honour, love and cherish everything about it. Screw what your parents, friends and strangers are telling you about it and what they are projecting onto it, know that you are a magnificent heir to flat bottoms, round hips, large tummies, tiny breasts, hairy everything, stretch marks galore and the most perfect deep brown skin. Skin that was gifted to you by the sun, brought up by the gods and protected by the most loving of ancestors.

Start reading Audre Lorde, Vijay Prashad, bell hooks, Katherine McKittrick, Angela Davis, Shani Mootoo, Leah Lakshmi Piepzna Samarahinsa, Gloria Anzuldua and start going to the Toronto Women’s Bookstore before it’s gone - you will end up there eventually.

Mom is the key to life. She is, literally, everything. I know right now she seems like a menace to your freedom, love, sex and relationships, but everything she does, she does to protect and love you. When it comes to her, her intention matters. Put yourself in her shoes for a second, think about her relationship with dad and how your actions adds to the harm that could come to her because of choices you are making. She is hurting and surviving in ways you couldn’t imagine. Support her in being strong. She literally lives for you. She is a force to be reckoned with that you should start learning from now. She also wants to learn from you too, share your life with her.

Your sisters, yes, your younger sisters, will be/are your greatest teachers. Start building something solid with them, get over yourself, your ego, your big sister complexes and your resentment and channel that energy into supporting them to thrive. You will leave for university and come back to grown up women who don’t need you anymore. Be someone that they want to share their worlds with, not the overbearing, jerk-face older sister who they can’t connect with. They will literally save your life on many occasions and will always be the people you fall back on when “friends” leave you behind.

Don’t stop playing music. Hold onto that love you have for playing the saxophone, piano and other instruments. Join a band, challenge yourself, don’t get caught up in “being cool.” The “cool” kids in high school aren’t going to be “cool” for very long. Apologize to the ones you consider your enemy. Those people that hurt you, speak to them kindly and wish them all the goodness that this life has to offer. Holding that bad/negative energy is and will be harmful to you, it will lead to you always wanting to please people instead of taking care of yourself. You deserve better.

Remember that you were gifted this abundance (our body and fighting spirit), you were gifted the opportunity to think outside of colonial confines, fight and maintain the resilience of your ancestors. They made it possible for you to start to (un)learn what colonialism did to us, for you to connect with our traditional practices, land, home, our people and everything that was once named as savage, ugly, obscene and backwards.

Don’t be afraid of your power, and do what you do best, bring people together and watch the magic happen.

Be kind to yourself, take time to develop a healing and spiritual practice and prepare yourself for the Whiteness of the world that exists beyond your Scarborough bubble in the most jarring, terrifying ways. Know that the anger, sadness and horror you feel is warranted, but think twice about conveniently forgetting that you weren’t always as hardcore as you will think you are. Humble yourself. Remind yourself that you are only a small drop in a huge ocean of people who came before you and have laid the seeds that you are sowing now. You are exactly where you were meant to be and doing exactly what you were meant to be doing. Thrive, flourish, resist and hold on.

While this isn’t all I could offer you - I also don’t want to say too much more that would change the path we took, the lessons we learned or the mistakes we made. I wouldn’t have all of this to share with you if we didn’t do all those things. Where you will end up is a magical place, with a lot of pain and sadness, but even more happiness, sweetness, endless love and strength. You have so much coming, and so much to look forward to. Until then…

Your teachers / Are all around you./ All that you perceive,/ All that you experience, / All that is given to you/ Or taken from you, / All that you love or hate, / Need or fear/ Will teach you—/If you will learn….

Fathers: please know and think about the power you have to damage, harm and hurt your daughters. In so many ways. You break our hearts so often, I can’t even see the pieces anymore.

What is there possibly left for us to be afraid of, after we have dealt face to face with death and not embraced it? Once I accept the existence of dying as a life process, who can ever have power over me again?
18mr:

Filipino Canadian artist & activist Sean Devlin dropping truth at Powershift Atlantic over the weekend. - CM


Yay seaaaaaan!!!

18mr:

Filipino Canadian artist & activist Sean Devlin dropping truth at Powershift Atlantic over the weekend. - CM

Yay seaaaaaan!!!

I need white people to stop pretending consent was possible during slavery.

Stop lying to yourselves that those black cousins are the result of illicit love affairs & grasp that slaves could not say no.

When consent is not an option, when you’re only seen as 3/5ths of a human being & you have no legal standing? You can’t say yes.

I need white America to sit down for a sec. Look into the faces of black Americans with the same last names & figure it the fuck out.

Our ancestors were raped by your ancestors. Regularly. Some of the kids were treated kindly. Most were not. They were sold.

White mistresses punished the slaves for “tempting” master & congratulated themselves on that bloody work. Read the narratives.

Not the cleaned up ones either. Read Incidents in The Life of A Slave Girl & understand that Mammy was a victim, not the one who loved you.

She couldn’t care for her kids, couldn’t choose her husband or their father most of the time. She was a slave.

Millions of people died on the Middle Passage. Millions more died here at the hands of your ancestors. Own that.

Now you want to sing Kumbaya & keep oppressing our communities & erasing our contributions. Spare me the tired bullshit.

Male slaves fared no better. There’s a long history of them being raped, tortured & killed too. That was slavery. Stop romanticizing it.

Our children were fed to alligators as bait (feel free to look that up) died of starvation or exposure & that was slavery too. Yep, we were livestock & you use sickly livestock as bait.

Stop watching Gone With The Wind & fantasizing about beautiful plantations if you can’t accept what happened on those plantations.

House slaves had it better in the sense of access to food & possibly better treatment, but they were still slaves.

14 year old slave girls weren’t falling in love with the men who could beat them & everyone they loved to death.

Read the tales of enslaved women who killed their children to spare them. Read about people beaten to death as an example.

Sally Hemings could have left Jefferson in Paris. Of course her entire family was still in his power. And his “love”? Didn’t free her. Ever.

Go look at the pictures of former slaves backs. Whipped until they bled & left to scar so they were maimed for life & couldn’t run.

Also before you talk about the cleaned up narratives, remember that the people relating their stories knew lynching was always possible.

Records of slavery were deliberately destroyed so that former owners wouldn’t have to pay anyone.

That “peculiar institution” was generations of blood, pain, & terror. That’s what built America. Never forget that.

Now stop talking about anyone’s white ancestors like they deserve the fucking credit for the success of people descended from slaves.

American slavery began in 1619. June 19, 1865 was the last official day of slavery. Do the math on how long it takes to heal that wound.

After slavery was officially over? Black codes & Jim Crow laws followed. America’s history of oppression is longer than that of freedom.

Also before any d*mb motherfuckers land in my mentions. I have a degree in history. I will read you to filth & bury you in sources.

Trust & believe there is no country here for people who want to romanticize a system that is still grinding away at my community.

All this fluffy fucking talk about American history to coddle white kids feelings & engender patriotism? You won’t get it here.

My ancestors built this country, I served this country & I will tell the damned truth about this country. Don’t like it? Fuck you.

Now let me get in my feelings about slavery before Africans were brought here. Because we weren’t the first people enslaved.

We were deliberately sought out for our skill sets & resistance to disease. Know why we were resistant? We’d had contact for years.

All of that “My ancestors never owned slaves so it has nothing to do with me?” Go look at those NDN ancestors again. See how many were free.

While you’re in there checking that out? Look up those old country ancestors & see how many benefited from slavery indirectly.

Also while we’re talking about NDN relatives? Yo, learn a name besides Cherokee. Better yet, learn about the genocidal tactics they faced.

Look up immigrant groups becoming white in America. Find out who had to bleed so they could gain access to white privilege.

Let’s really talk about the Red Summer of 1919 & how it wasn’t an unusual occurrence. Tulsa, Rosewood? They were just famous.

Let’s talk about welfare & who could access it. Hell let’s talk about who is collecting more of it right now.

Let’s talk about the primary beneficiaries of affirmative action (spoiler! White women!) & what it means to attack black people instead.

Shit, let’s get into the Great Depression & the Great Recession & who is hurting the most financially through both.

Let’s talk about conditions on reservations, in the inner city, & the violence faced by POC who try to leave those areas.

Hell, let’s talk about why we don’t see shows that reflect the American population set in the past, present, or future.

Go read Columbus’ diaries & see what “civilization” really meant to the people he encountered.

For that matter go read up on King Leopold & the Congo. I’ll wait while you cry.

That’s the thing about whiteness as a social construct in America. It’s not about white people, it’s about white power over others.

When we’re talking about white privilege? We’re talking about what it takes to shape this society based on oppression.

America is a young country with a lot of power because of genocide, slavery, & continuing oppression. Individuals build institutions.

All of these conversations aren’t about bringing out white guilt, they’re about ending this institution developed over the generations.

Also let’s be clear that America is sick with this ish across the political spectrum. It may manifest differently but it exists everywhere.

Before I go, let me also suggest that people who are curious about anything I tweeted about take a tour through Google with terms.

It’s not that I won’t answer questions, but there are books out there that I think everyone should read on slavery, whiteness, & America.

Inuit tweet 'sealfies' to protest Ellen's Oscars selfie.

wocinsolidarity:

After Ellen DeGeneres’ Oscars selfie raised $1.5 million for an anti-seal hunt organization, Canada’s Inuit have started a new viral phenomenon — sealfies.

image

Seal hunt proponents tweeted pictures of themselves decked out in sealskin clothes at DeGeneres Thursday.

"I…

Yeeeeah!

(Source: cnews.canoe.ca)

elf-pie:

Equinox is finally here!!! <3 <3 <3 She is Cree First Nation, from Northern Ontario and the latest teen superhero to join Justice League Canada. She is so incredible that her powers change with the seasons!! Also she is inspired by a real-life youth Cree activist! So amazing, I seriously love her already. Can’t wait to read the graphic novel.

Source articles:

Equinox, new Cree teen superhero, joins DC Comics lineup

New DC Comics Superhero inspired by young Cree Activist

Yayyyy! This character is based on Shannon Koostachin from Attawapiskat, Ontario! So exciting and about damn time!

maghrabiyya:

ok after i reblogged that last post i had to go download some of Jolipunk's photography to post on my blog

i love the ‘Fucking Tourists!’ series with. a. passion.

This is beautiful. Fuuuuuuuck you!

People have a hard time letting go of their suffering. Out of a fear of the unknown, they prefer suffering that is familiar.