The Sweetness of Life

Over my posting hiatus I dedicated my time to reflecting on my life’s experiences, wrote fiercely, and had the opportunity to perform in shows that aligned with my core beliefs as a queer black femme dedicated to the liberation from oppressive systems. I was literally riding this high celebrating when I was attacked and violated by a stranger. The days and now weeks that have followed since this incident have tested my abilities that I have written about in the past : loving myself and my spirituality. In the wake of the trauma I was cared for by the women and femme folk that I am blessed to call my community. This experience has inspired me to write again in a public space about the transformative power of love, survival and sisterhood.

I woke up completely sore trying to shake the feeling of a night terror that clings on after sleep. Without moving I looked at the disheveled state of my room, house then down at my body that confirmed what I had feared to be true. Still in shock, I reached out to two of my close friends one of which before leaving the club we were at the night before told me to let her know when I had made it home safe, which was not the case. At some point in my drunkness I accidentally called two more of my friends, one who called me the next day and I told her what happened. I am extremely thankful at how quickly everyone moved into action to guide me into a recovery process that I am currently still undergoing.

Over the next two weeks I spent time sharing living spaces with friends as I still felt unsafe in my apartment. Among themselves they organized their availability to when they could be present with me when I was fearful of being alone. Each friend I stayed with and supported me during this time poured their loving energy into me as I began this new phase of my healing journey. They each passed along to me essentials for thriving through healing that I had forgotten in the wake of the most recent incident.  

Natasha and Ebony reminded me of the importance and simplicity of self care and spiritual balance. They both had their own unique takeNatasha reminded me to trust and return to my body through affirmations like ‘my body is doing what it knows to keep itself safe’, taking me to the hospital, and pushing me to take time to sit and rest. Ebony reminded me the importance of my connection to nature by going on walks and spending time with me in the park. The warmth of Shaketa and Zoe’s support reminded me of the feelings of my family that I longed so much for that is absent in my life and restored that love inside of me. Jayden restored my hope of my future self, that the care I dedicate now does extend to the me of tomorrow and thereafter. Eve and Rachel reminded me that coping can be unorthodox even messy, but writing will always be healing.

‘my body is doing what it knows to keep itself safe’

So many more of my dear friends imparted their love,wisdom and magic  that has nourished my soul. They all collective came together at my home to celebrate my twenty fifth solar return. With sage, paleo santo, candles we set intentions and reclaimed my space. Before bed that night I did a separate ritual where I reflected on my life’s course. I can honestly say I love my life.I cherish the experiences I have had and am excited for my future.

Coming forward with this new chapter of my story is a struggle. Grappling with flashbacks, triggers and unhealthy habits is harder than I remembered. I get angry and frustrated with myself for not progressing at a rate I aspire to in my mind. But each day I have to accept the fact that these wounds are fresh and new – I have to be gentle with myself.

If any of this resonates with you- if you are overcoming a trauma, a hardship of any form let me remind you of this: patience is key on this journey.

Love and self compassion will restore and recharge you continually.

When fear feels larger than life itself, shrink it by connecting with someone who genuinely cares for and loves you.

You are not alone in your battle for reclaiming your birthright of a peaceful liberated life. I hope my posts will remind you of this as I recount pieces of my own journey.

Advertisements

 Reclaiming My Time 

I’m sitting with and processing emotions from interactions I’ve had over the past week. This has been forcing me to acknowledge my social conditioning : how I default in handling situations and the result that has on myself.

I was raised heavily in Assimilation Culture and by Respectability Politics: that if I did mind my manners, speak properly, tamed my hair- then white people would not be an issue, and if they were, to avoid Any confrontation. I’ve never witnessed my parents prioritizing their blackness over whiteness. Without noticing, I began doing the same as I’ve gotten older- that is until recently.

In the past year I’ve been spending more time in black and brown only spaces, spaces that center blackness and organizing with people of color collectives. In these spaces I’ve realized my conditioning and how it stems from systematic self preservation tactics pasted on generationally. Returning to work in a predominately white space has triggered how I see myself, my blackness in reference to how I handle whiteness.

I didn’t realize the problem I had with prioritizing whiteness until fellow organizer and friend brought it to my attention in the wake of Charlottesville both in a conversation we had on it and later in an important piece on this topic.*

I was telling her how I was avoiding going to places because I didn’t want to talk with white people about what had recently happened. She shifted the conversation and my view from avoidance to standing in myself and simultaneously refusing to talk about matters that made me uncomfortable.

Friday I remembered her words after enduring a rant at work from a white man on Charlottesville, how it was staged, the manufacturing of a race war and how now isn’t the time to worry about race. Despite my attempts to end the conversation it didn’t stop until my boss intervened. I felt at the end of it exhausted from listening to him, exhausted from his entitlement to my time, and his ignorance of his privilege that has resulted in so much violence.

As a black American woman, I felt insulted and triggered by his reduction of over 400 years of oppression and violence to singular moments of eruption of race relations when white supremacy feels threatened by our fight for liberation.

I noticed in this moment how it felt to let my identity come second in an interaction that:
1. Did not need to be had,

2. Would not reflect negatively on my job performance, had I centered myself

3. Would be more loving/ honoring to myself to center my identity.

White people have created and we’re raised in a society that has always put their ideas first, gave themselves room to be expressive without judgment which in turn resulted in them believing that they can encounter any interaction in that way. Where as black and brown people were not, we have always made space for whiteness.

Now, however is optimal time to enact Auntie Maxine Waters words and Reclaim Our Time.

I urge all my black, brown and all intersecting identities to stop, give yourself space and reclaim your time in the face of whiteness- supremacy and toxic masculinity.
Stop yourself in interactions ask ‘ am I prioritizing self or whiteness?’ – if the latter, reclaim that time.

To futher quote her words in the Just Resisting post “Are we actively in this moment, joining and working to build a world we want to live in? A world that centers us? Are we engaging in the work that prepares us for what we’re so obviously up against?”

End that respectability/ assimilation mindset and reclaim your unapologetic blackness : in your interactions, in demanding our rights, justice and the continued fight for liberation.
I’m still working on this – from my organizing to my own personal experiences and my hope is for you to do the same.

*Please read the rest of  Just Resisting’s Post and if in the Buffalo area be sure to check out JR’s Political Education Kickoff!on the 21st!

Salon Talk Podcast – Episode 16: Rhonda Lowe [INTERVIEW]

girls
Arica, Lowe, Fee (pictured left to right)

Salon Talk Podcast – Episode 16: Rhonda Lowe

Have you listened to ya girl Lowe on Salon Talk Podcast yet!?  If not, what are you waiting for!!!???  While home in Buffalo, NY for the Christmas holiday, Flagrant City Boss Lady and BuffaLowe PR CEO, Rhonda Lowe sat down with Arica and Fee the icebreaker for Episode #16 was “how far have you gone in a video/pic or facetime?”  Let’s just say it was a hot and spicy opening!!! LOL. Salon Talk also discussed Lowe’s move to Cali, Cali weed, Burning Clothes, Vandalism and they also Play Over-rated/Under-rated!

Stream the episode live right on the blog here: Salon Talk Podcast – Episode 16: Rhonda Lowe also available on iTunes, Soundcloud and Google Play!

15825880_223422928066920_8001886407103897905_n

Be sure to follow @salontalkpodcast @beingrhondajane @buffalowe @flagrantcity  @goodoldank @danktank_official@halfbakedboys @dirtylogan716 on Instagram!

Also be sure to shop RhondaJane.bigcartel.com and BuffaLowe.bigcartel.com and use promo code SALONTALK15 for 15% off your purchase!  Thanks for listening!!!

salontalkpromo

Introducing Charlotte Tobias, the Mad Princess

jes

What is up Flagrant City Fam? Allow me to introduce myself.  My name is Charlotte but you can call me Lotti aka the Mad Princess.  I come to you all from the East Coast, starting in New York and making my way through the South until I finally ventured out to California.  My mother’s love of traveling when I was younger has stuck with me, and is probably the reason why I moved to LA. There’s so much to do in this city!  In addition to a variety of experiences, LA also hosts an assortment of flavors and ideas making their way into the world every day.  But a lot of happening scenes can get lost in the flood of social media.  So it’s my hope that I can bring you all some great events where you can experience amazing art and better company.  I hope you’ll join me as I assist Lowe down the path less traveled, and when you’re not listening to our fire tunes be sure to check out my blog!

Spread love, it’s the Brooklyn way.

The Mad Princess

14650227_10154188790738472_6736715943351966290_n

Loweso Says: Vote for @DeuceEllis in @Afropunk’s Battle of the Bands 2013! [SHOWCASE]

Vote for Deuce Ellis in Afropunk’s Battle of the Bands 2013!

20130514-014704.jpg

VOTE HERE!!!!!!

Also stay tuned for the follow up to the hit single “Stocky” off the highly anticipated album Spread called “Color The Walls.”

20130514-020035.jpg

Check out the video, if you haven’t already, Deuce Ellis’ video Stocky. 36,000+ views and counting!