I am not made in your image

I shake my head in disbelief. A man trying to tell me that I am too much

That I AM TOO MUCH

I am created from a womb to be a womb

to birth and create life like the God himself has given me a task of such importance

I am the maker of the future

he said that I should stay in my lane

The lane you’ve created for me by assuming my position in this world? Fuck that. I have molded my own path, with the weeds and the flowers blooming through the cracks of my soul. The darkness giving way to a lighter and brighter future. I am not in a tunnel, I am in an open field. I have no path and their is no light at the end of this tunnel. I am the light. the LIGHT radiates through my golden skin. The LIFE exudes from my lips.

You’re jealous and insecure.

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My essay done on storytelling in Foe by JM Coetzee.

Story telling and the truth behind the story go beyond the telling of the event as it happened. In JM Coetzee’s Foe, we are introduced into the story of a female castaway within the old aged story of Crusoe. This version can be seen as modern and feminist, judging by the context, which is postcolonial literature. The novel is a battle of narrative control between the characters. The obligation of the story being told before it is forgotten has Susan Barton filled with anxiety which is evident within her letters constructed to Daniel Foe and she constantly obsesses with him, the author she assigned the duty of writing out the story for her, and his lack of interest in her version of her castaway journey. The question posed is who has the literary authority to tell Susan’s story the way she wants it to be told? Who is able to tell Friday’s story the way he knows it happened when Friday is “silenced” by his inability to speak or write? The novel by Daniel Defoe was presented as a work of history, an autobiography, to capture the attention of its readers. What JM Coetzee does is create a similar world but base it on an obsession with finding out who is allowed to tell the story and whether the person who has the control is the one who should be telling the true account. Susan is left with this responsibility of recounting a tale she feels did not include her, as she was not the survivor like Cruso or even Friday, and deems herself unfit to tell the story herself, however, if we see the character of Susan as a postcolonial feminist, we can perhaps view her journey as a fight for her story to be told the way she wants it to against Foe’s changes to her story and look at Friday’s silence and what could happen if he were to gain the tools of writing to tell his story as he experienced it. It can be argued that perhaps Susan is merely a character within Daniel Foe’s mind that torments him to not let her go as he struggles to find a story with more adventure to gain the interest of the audience he sets out for. It goes beyond the nature of the narrative about a man who was cast away and a woman who joins them. It can be seen as a fight between who is the author of the story and who has the control. It is also about what this novel indirectly tells us about storytelling or even the telling of history.

 

Within the interview by Atwell and Coetzee, we read about the writing of fiction, “The feel of writing fiction is one of freedom, of irresponsibility, or better, of responsibility toward something that has not yet emerged, that lies somewhere at the end of the road” (Atwell 246). Susan Barton’s plight within the novel is considered postcolonial feminism due to her fight against Foe’s change of her story. Her story she desires so intensely to be told is about her female experience on the island whereas the man she entrusts to write the story, Daniel Foe, wants to have the island as only part of the book; the majority of it he wants focused on Susan’s quest to find her daughter, which is in his opinion as an author, a more enticing storyline. This is to do with the fact that on the island, she has had not many adventures worth telling in his opinion. But Susan’s reasoning for wanting Foe to write her story can be questioned because of how she constantly goes against what he is saying. As well, Susan began to think of her journey to and on the island as a storyline that people might have been interested in when the captain of the ship that rescued them mentioned it, “It is a story you should set out in writing and offer to the booksellers” (Coetzee 46) and thus creating in Susan’s mind, the story that she obsesses over during her return within civilization. This statement from the captain begins her plight with the truth of her story and the truth within fiction, because Susan states, “I will not have any lies told” (Coetzee 46) and the captain responds with, “their trade is in books, not in truth” (Coetzee 46) which opens the argument that people who write stories, even nonfiction, has some fiction within it to make the tale more enticing to readers.

Coetzee not only argues that when author’s add to a story in order for it to have more adventure but he also allows Susan to dwell on having substance to write a successful work of art. Her obsession with Foe relies on her belief that she does not have the “substance” (Coetzee 51) necessary to write the story herself. Susan depicts herself as merely a witness to the event than a fellow survivor, “I seem to exist only as the one who came, the one who witnessed, the one who longed to be gone;” (Coetzee 51) On the Island, she has not ever had the survival moment that Cruso and Friday have encountered on their time there, “for the apes, he said, would not be as wary of a woman as they were of him and Friday” (Coetzee 15) and instead of following her instincts, she obeys Cruso due to his experience, “was a woman, to an ape, a different species from a man? Nevertheless, I prudently obeyed” (Coetzee 15). She has to absently add Friday within the story even though his life has been nothing but a silent void. Friday can be seen as the character that could potentially be the narrator of the story but his lack of literary advances makes him inadequate and sadly, Susan knows this. She watches his every move and is fascinated by his silence. She seems to confuse the silence with substance that she is without because of her own insecurities. She sees Friday and Cruso as both more adequate of storytelling because of their life on the island. She does not understand their silent retreats alone because like she states, she has no substance or she has lost her substance; that is left open for interpretation. Susan could represent history by witnessing and experiencing the discrimination or the dehumanization of a certain group of people, who have been cast away from civilization, but cannot seem to fathom why they are the way they are or what she is supposed to do next. There is a fear that comes with Susan and her story. She does not entirely know why but she wants to tell the story of the Island and not the story she had initially set out for: finding her daughter. This entails that Susan lost her plot completely or perhaps never had one in the first place. This leads us to another interpretation of many critics that view Susan as not only the feminist story teller who fights for her narrative control in a patriarchal dominant role or as the Susan Barton fighting for her own narrative control with her self, but as the manifestation of Foe’s own struggles to gain control over his stories.

 

Daniel Foe within the novel represents or is the adaptation of Daniel D Foe, the author of the original Robinson Crusoe. As with the original story, the Foe character in JM Coetzee’s novel has authority complications. The argument claims that Susan is merely a manifestation of the character that Foe has conjured and it is his subconscious fight for control over the story, “Susan Barton is not a woman whose story is stolen or misinterpreted; she is the physical manifestation of Foe’s own ideas and she represents the battle between author and character for absolute narrative control; she is a muse who takes a life of her own” (Snead 1). If we look at the novel in this light, the entirety of it is fictional experiences that Foe has imagined and is subconsciously looking for what would make a great story. This sees the novel as a fight between fiction and fact; and Foe battles for his control of the story just as Susan Barton battles with her fading memories. As in Snead, “It is a battle only explained by the physical reification of a narrator and muse spun out of control. It is an example of an author’s struggle to control his characters and therefore to control his art.” (Snead 8) this argument changes the way we look at the novel and literary authority as a whole. Instead of seeing it as one person’s true account versus another’s fictional world, we view it as one person struggling to control his characters and the way his story is going. This looks back to what Coetzee states in his interview with Atwell, where he states that fiction is “irresponsible” (Atwell 246) and he continues to mention that “stories are defined by their irresponsibility” (Atwell 246) which entails that the this argument stating that Foe is struggling with his own characters is valid in that he is not following any structure but his own conscious mind when writing his fictional stories.

 

The art form of narration dwells on what the reader believes when reading the story. We can immediately tell that Daniel De Foe’s tale about the castaway was not a “true account” so why did he title it as such? He presented his character as real and as flawed as the reader and thus gaining relatable reviews. This sort of narrative is seen within the novel written by Coetzee as well. He claims that Susan is a real woman who has a full history and is on a quest, she enters the island as a castaway and is immediately in another world, a world of silenced history and no prospect for the future. The fact that Susan is uncomfortable with her history being silenced is the reason she is irked by not having her story told the way she wanted it to. She could be feeling as though her story might disappear from her mind if she does not get it told. There is also some historical readability to this: Within the history of slavery, and racial discrimination, the stories of the slaves are not told by their account (although here and there) and thus creating a sense of authorship struggle as to who the actual author is, or should be. Susan felt this way throughout her journey home without Cruso, who was the author she intended the book to have, yet he was gone and she was left with the responsibility, despite Friday’s potential.

There are many ways of interpreting the novel’s literary struggle. Many of which involve Susan and her quest to tell her own story. There is also the fact that Susan might not even be real and might be the manifestation of Foe’s imaginative mind, him dwelling on what his story could potentially be, and the character of Susan becoming so real that she escapes the island where her story climaxed and torments him with her story. Susan’s battle with the truth of her story is within the realm of fiction and nonfiction and which is more the successful one of the two

 

2 AM 

There is nothing significant about this post. Except perhaps the pain.  

I have been struggling with every day duties that should have been in the handbook of life, had we been given one. Things like taking public transport or moving on… letting go…

Quite ironically, the sorts of things I cower from seem to come into my life more often. Constantly having to face my fears has left me praising my strength but not actually moving past them. I still cower. I still fear. 
I fear that everything I am used to will change in front of my eyes when I’m not ready for it to move. I fear that I will have to let go of people…pets… The things that mean the most to me. I fear not being able to handle the pain that comes with loss. The reality that comes with death. 

I fear the way I will handle not being okay. We all have this ideal future but what if it’s not like we planned? It never is, I suppose. But still. It scares me not to know what it means to go forward. 

My fear stems from bad experiences and anxiety. I know this because I’m more self aware than most would imagine. It doesn’t mean i can take it away. I’ve tried. I’ve tried to jump off the bridge of fear into the vast abyss. What I got for it was…satisfactory.  not enough to make me change my mind about change. It will scare me until I am confident my life will turn out the way I assume.

Aren’t we all, though? In a way really afraid of life as we picture it to differ. 

I suppose we are. We have to be. We are just human in a world where the mind l works too fast for us to comprehend and emotion takes control of our actions. Our futures change. We are control but we can’t even understand ourselves.  How are we supposed to be perfectly in line with our vision if we can barely get our thoughts in order. 

We are all just fucking drowning. 

“Sea Grapes” Poem Analysis

Just completed my analysis on Walcott with the help of this analysis.

SoPhIa

Sea Grapes

By Derek Walcott

That sail which leans on light,

tired of islands,

a schooner beating up the Caribbean

for home, could be Odysseus,

home-bound on the Aegean;

that father and husband’s

longing, under gnarled sour grapes, is like

the adulterer hearing Nausicaa’s name in

 every gull’s outcry.

This brings nobody peace. The ancient war

between obsession and responsibility will

never finish and has been the same

for the sea-wanderer or the one on shore now

wriggling on his sandals to walk home, since

Troy sighed its last flame,

and the blind giant’s boulder heaved the trough from

whose groundswell the great hexameters come to the

conclusions of exhausted surf.

The classics can console. But not enough.

Critical Journal to “Sea Grapes” by Derek Walcott

Sea grapes are a type of grapes that is indigenous to Caribbean Sea that has particularly bitter and sour taste. The title of this…

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Woman. RISE. 

Happy woman’s day to all powerful woman in the world. 

To those who have proved to be greater than expected and more powerful than the men who have told them to stand down. 

To the girls who loved books more than barbies and couldn’t understand why her brother got to eat and sleep whereas she had to clean up after them all

To those who do not keep quiet in a world where rape is as common as dying.

Woman. Rise above the remarks made by those we need to support us on what we can do and what we are no supposed to.

Rise out of the ashes of your burnt dreams, phoenix. You’re not dead. So what is stopping you from fighting back?Nothing should be able to hold you back anymore! 

Stand for your womanhood and the people who support you.  Shake hands with the women who hate us for our strength. Wish them their own happiness if they try and steal yours. You are more powerful than you know. And that is why you should rise.

By the words of Maya Angelou, we have been written down in history as weak. Fragile. Dependent. Those were all “twisted lies” because we’ve overcome generations of feeling inferior. To the point that our grandparents believe us to be spoiled. “Too smart” they tell us.  But that is what they are used to. 

But we will rise. 

Rise above Paulette Julies’ poem about the role of women. Why should we be in the kitchen instead of out in the field. Why should I have to fight to prove to be the one fit for the job.

I call bullshit! To all those telling us we are not intelligent enough to take on roles previously seen as “male”. Have we not come far enough to show otherwise? 
I am not a victim.

I am not a child 

I am as human as you and as powerful as it gets. You can throw me down and you can yell at me. But I will rise out of the hatred you have woven around us for centuries… 

As a woman, I will rise. And I will fuck you up. 

Love Her but leave her wild…

Love the fact that the her eyes sparkle when she sees children. Not because she desperately wants one, but because she says they are the innocence we lose throughout the years and it is fascinating to see them at that stage in their lives. untainted but vulnerable. She wishes she were untainted again.
Love her because she is dramatic. she is always pulling faces and pretending to be upset. She is so spoiled and not with material things but just genuine love. this world she lives in has always been hers. She settles for nothing more than she deserves.
Love the fact that no religion or faith has ever made her something she is not. She refuses to choose and she lets people know that. Her religion is humanity and people are confused by that.

Love her because she loves her dog as her own child and you do not understand but she puts every living being as equal. You think it is because of compassion and perhaps it is true.
Love her because she does not have much friends to speak to so she writes and writes till her fingers bleed in the early hours for the morning. You never read what she writes because she does not let you in fear that you wont understand. Love her because she is great but she is never confident enough to put it out there. She is afraid of her own aura and she knows you are afraid too.

she hates stereotypes and conventions and she is annoyed by rules. She does not like cooking and feels that if you are as human as she is, then you do not deserve better treatment. She fights with you constantly because you grew up fearing your father and she grew up praising her mother. She is going to fight forever, and you know this so you love her regardless of her mood.

Your father hates her powerful presence. Your mother envies her strength, But you know she is neither powerful or strong, but her refusal to conform is that which makes her seem untouchable.

love her because she runs from pain, knowing well that she is not equipped to handle it. She cries when she’s upset and she lies to protect. Love her because she would kill for her family no matter how wretched her life is. She would stand in front of danger to protect you because that is who she is. Love her because she is a warrior. And a worrier. She is woman but she is also not.
Love her because she will show you strength which you first thought only is inside men.

love this woman, for her open mind and her bright eyes. she is never there to judge faiths or choices. She is only infuriated by her own demons, her temper, her mind. She is constantly struggling to put things in place when her mind is scattered. She is constantly worrying and you love her for her brilliance. She is a born mother but a sleeping warrior. Give her an opportunity and she will fight for your freedom. Love her because unlike you, she is not in a box that has been given by you parents and you may fear it but you should love her.
you have to.
Love her but never change her, she will never be the girl you thought you could spend your life with.

Love her because it is people like her that change the world. People like her who see past the history books and into the minds of those living today. People like her are going to be pushed down and moulded to fit the standard but you need to loosen her chains and let her fly. Love her but leave her wild.

We will all thank you for it.

Use it wisely.

In order for me to be as open and honest as I could be, it would be best to start at the beginning.

By beginning, I don’t mean the beginning of time, where the worlds were created by either God or just nothingness, or when I was born.

By beginning, I mean when I started realizing things.

It began when I realized I was not the centre of the world. I did not have authority over anyone but my mother. I could kick and scream and they would glare at her, knowing she spoiled me into believing I owned everything.

I was no longer lucky. I used to think I was unreasonably pretty and would be for the rest of my life. I wasn’t. There will always be someone prettier, someone smarter, someone more than me. And realizing that pained me enough to withdraw myself. I got angry.

I was angry enough to begin writing these hate letters aimed at insulting people who did me wrong, they were amusing years later, but at the time, I was so pained. Anger brought out a lot in me.

Slowly but surely, I began to love life again, I found someone who made me the centre of their lives and for a time I was fine, blinded by being treated like a princess that I didn’t remember that princesses were property, not power. I was ignoring all the bad because he was only human and we all have our bad sides. But this began hurting me. I got angry again. Way more than before.

This time I didn’t write, I let it boil up inside me until i eventually burst open, in flames, on everyone surrounding me. I had a habit of burning down doors that opened for me.

Anger is a realization that life is not how we imagined it to be. Anger is how you feel when you realize you are not going to get what you want but you want it anyway so we fight. we fight with our bodies and our minds about why this cannot work for us. We, as women, deal with so much bullshit but we let our anger subside because “THEY ARE ONLY HUMAN”

but I am done not writing about it. I figured the best writing comes from emotion we cannot control. What better emotion than anger?

Love letter

About her:

She had a pile of books by her bed. She read for fun. She said it takes her to a different place when her own feels too foreign. She laughs at things she reads and sometimes she cries. Both make me stare at her in disbelief.
I cannot comprehend how a girl like her has lived this long in a world this cold. She is nothing like me. Nothing at all. But her eyes makes me believe we’re one.

See, I come from a background where if I need something, I get it. It was a simple as that. I had my own room with all my childhood memories and she had none.
We each had our own bathroom within the house which was convenient for those busy days. But she had one make shift bathroom detached from the house. It was nothing special, frankly,I was appalled. Yet it was all hers and she asked for nothing more.
She didn’t have much and didn’t ask for much. she just smiled at life’s little pleasures whereas I worked hard trying to receive what I thought I deserved, missing out on everything that makes life worth living.
That’s when I noticed her, how little she must care for a big house and a thick wallet. All she needed was a good deed and her day was made.

She was better than me in many ways.

Womanly heavenb

As a woman, I have gained immense fascination with make up. Especially lipstick. At first, I told myself that this type of thing was just for special occasions. Now they are for everyday moods. Helping me gain confidence and reintroduce myself to the world.

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Mother dearest

I had a bad dream last night. I dreamt my mother had passed, all alone, and I had seen her lying there lifeless and no longer in pain. I cried out in anger and I cursed the gods for their decision. This was my mother! How could they!?

Now I know about how some people believe dreams are messages about how death is actually rebirth and all that bullshit, but I prefer knowing that ones subconscious opens up hidden doors within our minds when we’re asleep. Fears you never thought you had. Or maybe you knew it,  but accepting it would be as painful as going through it. Its possible. 
But seeing an image of your mother lifeless is another step towards accepting the fact that your mother means more to you than you realize. Or are willing to admit.
My mother steps on glass every day for me. She puts up with vile insults, disapproving looks. She tells me about how she feels unwanted. About how she feels like a failure.
It breaks my heart.
As a woman, one is obliged to be the following roles : Protector. Provider. Comforter. Punching bag. Cook. Maid. Slave.
We take hits on an every day basis. I feel my mother has been through enough of these proposed stereotypes and has accepted she just cannot fit into those boxes. She’s unconventional. I get that. She’s liberal. I get that. People don’t understand why she does this and I get that more than anyone.

I have heard people question her ways of raising us but I’m pretty sure I turned out better than most. She raised me to be myself. She raised me to be strong. I am equipped to provide for my family with a minimum amount  of resources. I am smart. she raised me to believe what I wanted to. She never forced anything onto me. Not religion. Not stereotypes. Not opinions.
I praise her for that.

I can look back at myself one day and see that I am who I am because this is who I chose to be. No one has pushed me into anything I didn’t want to do. And I have my mother to thank for that.

She might not be conventional. She might not be married. She might not be the best cook. She might be going bankrupt putting me through school. She might not be very helpful. But she’s taught me and my brother to follow our own routes with one thing on our minds: provide and protect.

And I will be trying to do that for her until the day I see her lifeless and no longer in pain.