Literature

In love with Stereotype

© Rae Dosoo 2014

Rae Dosoo asserts the moral right to be identified as the author of this work. All rights reserved. No part of this can be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means, without the prior permission of Rae Dosoo.

In love with Stereotype

In love with the colours Black and White

There is no in-between

No such thing as Black+White=Grey,

Not in their minds at least

No such thing as contemporary colours

In their world only primary colours exist

No such thing as tones, shades, tints

No such thing as dots, spots, stripes, waves or spirals

No such thing as an inverted triangle,

A triangle stands upright and has three equal sides

No such thing as a rectangle,

It’s a square with four perfect sides

No such thing as odd numbers,

Even numbers must only exist

2, 4, 6, 8, 10, 12, 14…

 

In their minds, doors can never be opened,

Doors are always shut

Each door is named and every type of hinge must fit into its own door

One door for Door 1, One door for Door 2, One Door for Door 3

The Door never opens,

It has its own specific thoughts for a specific group

 

Playing stereotypes games,

Waiting for her

To toss the diamond dice,

Perfect Clarity, Perfect Cut, Perfect Colour and Perfect Carat

Behind this dice lies dirt, greed, tweaking, materialism, blood and lost lives

Magazine pages ripped,

Stuck onto a collage of just pretty little women,

Perfect Size, Perfect Eyes, Perfect Hair, Perfect Bottom and Perfect Breasts

We feed this stereotype all day long,

We Say it’s unhealthy yet

Many still are in love with this stereotype diet

 

The Sun brings light and The Moon is in darkness

The Morning arises and The Night sleeps

This is all so expected

The Sun doesn’t act like The Moon and The Morning is not The Night

Yet if we said The Moon is The Sun, the Moon will act like The Sun

Yet if we told The Sun you are The Moon,

Wouldn’t it appear in the day with a glistening white light?

Full Sun, Half Sun and Total Solar Eclipse

This is a held, fixed and oversimplified view of The Sun

 

Minds being caged in a prison, shackles holding onto our brains

Emotions locked by a key

Holding her back

The voice of her environment,

Telling her what box she is allowed in, what street she is allowed in

Telling her what activities she is allowed to take part in

Telling her what sounds her ear is allowed to take in

Telling her what intellectual thoughts is allowed in

 

Stereotypes painted on canvases

Strictly monochrome the painter is told

There is no in-between

Depictions of the world drawn for all to see

Painter is not happy, knows it’s not reality

But must stay in the movement he’s in

Breaking out would go against the stereotype he painted on the canvas

 

A little big girl wakes up from the dream

Small madam rubs her eyes

And realises she was dreaming,

Reality hits,

Dreaming of Stereotypes she was taught to be in love with

I Don’t Like Me

 

© Rae Dosoo 2013

Rae Dosoo asserts the moral right to be identified as the author of this work

All rights reserved. No part of this can be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means, without the prior permission of Rae Dosoo.

I don’t like me

She looks at herself in the mirror

Tears run down her face, wetting her silk shirt

Wishing she was beautiful,

Wishing someone would like her,

Wishing she had self-confidence,

Wishing she hadn’t lost her self-esteem,

She screams, She shouts and says ‘I don’t like me’

 

Every day after school

She runs to the mirror

Not much to look at, Unbeautiful, loathsome,

Grotesque, Unsightly, Repugnant is all she sees

She screams, She shouts and says ‘I don’t like me’

 

Thoughts run through her mind

One voice tells her she is damn ugly

Once voice tells her, look at that hideous horrid button nose

You for sure aren’t pretty

One voice tells her look at those enormous lips,

You for sure are repulsive

Her mum tells her at least she’s pretty for a dark skinned girl,

Amy from school asks why her hips are so big

Whilst changing for P.E

She quickly covers herself up

But then Megan catches her

And laughs you’ve got extraordinarily big bumcheeks girl

And sniggers with the rest of her friends

She runs to the corner, crying, hating herself

‘I don’t like me’

 

She runs to the mirror

Screaming ‘I don’t like me’

She sees her nose,

She wishes she didn’t have that hook, She wishes it wasn’t so long

She wishes her friends didn’t call her Pinocchio

She wishes her friends didn’t ask her why she is so skinny

Calling her anorexic

They ask her ‘Don’t you eat?’

If only they knew, the food she forces down herself

She eats, eats and eats some more

But the weight just doesn’t come on

She wishes that she had curves like Dominique

Or a big bum like her colleague at work

 

She runs to the mirror

She screams ‘I don’t like me’

She is frightened of her own image

She is scared to look at herself for more than five seconds

Her husband tells her to jump on the treadmill

He threatens her with the door and points that’s where you’ll be going

He calls her names, potbellied, bulky, pudgy and he thinks its endearing

She screams, holding her skin ‘I don’t like me’

She screams, cutting her skin ‘I’m fat and no one loves me’

She screams, burning her skin ‘I don’t like me’

 

There’s one man, Ladies

Who thinks you’re absolutely beautiful

He says this is my girl and he will never stop loving you

This man is called Jesus

You think you don’t fit in

But Beautiful girl, you have your own thing going on

You are unique

You are fearfully and wonderfully created

Look yourself in the mirror girl

Tell yourself each morning that you are beautiful

 

And not only does he like you, he adores you

He loves each and every freckle, He loves your dimples

He loves those eyebrows, as bushy and close as they may seem

He loves you regardless of your size- skinny, curvy or plus size

He loves that and every bit of you

Love yourself, Love you and Love all of you

 

She looks at herself in the mirror

She sees herself

Beauty and Loveliness,

Graceful, Gorgeous and Marvellous

Is what she sees

She tells herself ‘I am beautiful’

She smiles ‘I really do like me’

Don’t Need This Relation…Ship

 

© Rae Dosoo 2013

Rae Dosoo asserts the moral right to be identified as the author of this work

All rights reserved. No part of this can be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means, without the prior permission of Rae Dosoo.

Don’t need this Relation…Ship

“I don’t need this Relation…Ship

The ship sunk a long, long, long time ago

The ship has been under water for a long time now

There is no way it could be pulled back to the surface now

I am in denial, I must admit, I do not want to hear it

I know I am suffocating

I don’t need this Relation…Ship

Why am I holding on?

Why am I holding on?

Why am I holding on?

It does seems safer than jumping into unknown waters

And drowning

And gasping for air

Sinking…Sinking…Sinking…

Slowly

Screaming for help

 

And…

 

I don’t know how to swim on my own

So I hold onto it

I grab onto it

I clinch towards it

I clench towards it

Even though there is nothing to hold onto anymore

I don’t need this Relation…Ship

This Relation…Ship… Ship

Can’t imagine myself without it

I saved my all, I invested my all, I GAVE IT MY ALLLL!

I travelled so far for this…ship

This ship….

To throw it all away

To leave this ship

To throw all this away, like it meant nothing in the first place

Would rip my already fragile fragmented-heart

It feels like the Ship cut into my heart

And threw it on the Deck

Picked it up again and played it with it

It toyed with it,

Then squeezed it, smashed it, shredded it

Before handing it back to me again”

 

It was a cruise before,

Champagnes clicks, The Sunday shopping trips,

Sunny Honeymoon Phase

She described herself as The Luckiest Girl in the World

She asked where they were going

She asked the question ‘Where is this cruise taking us?’

Water flooded in

The smiles turned into frowns

The promises turned into disappointments

The once smooth skin turned into scars

The love yous turned into  I hate yous

Girlfriends called, screaming frantically for her to get off

She sees the lifeboats

However she turns around

And ignores the lifeboats

That will save her from this Relation….Ship

She says to herself ‘I don’t need this Relation…ship’

But why, oh why is she clinging onto it?

“The memories of the once good times

Floods in my mind every time

Every time I am ready to jump into the lifeboat

It just breaks this heart into pieces, time…after time…

I am surprised that it is still pumping

Because it feels like my world is deflating

I don’t need this Relation…Ship

I don’t deserve this Battered…Ship

I don’t deserve this Broken…Ship

I don’t deserve this Sad…Ship

I don’t deserve this Cheating…Ship

I don’t deserve this Dishonest…Ship

I don’t deserve to be in this disaster of a ship”

 

You don’t need this Relation…Ship

I Am Not My Hair

© Rae Dosoo 2013

Rae Dosoo asserts the moral right to be identified as the author of this work

All rights reserved. No part of this can be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means, without the prior permission of Rae Dosoo.

I am not my hair

Let us sit my friends and discuss our hair

Introduce yourself Natural, Relaxed, Braids, Bantu, Weave and Shaved Edges.

Hey, how are you doing?

I wear natural hair

All of a sudden I’ve been given a title, Naturalista

Not that I don’t embrace it

I love it, I love it and I love all of me

There is a political movement attached to it

There is a natural allegiance

#teamnatural, that’s what they call it

The anthem is ‘Naturalista….if not go home’

Let me tell you, I am happy to be natural

But don’t the stereotypes get on your nerves?

Automatically you’re labelled a free spirited black hippie

Do you take meat and dairy they ask?

Quite the contrary Relaxed

 

They meet you and already have their hands covering their noses

Expecting you to be smelly and hairy

Then they have the nerve to smile,

And say oh my gosh, I loveeee your perfume!

Walking through the street, playing the guitar and singing kumbaya

With your nose stuck in a Maya Angelou book

Is what they see, when they see me, but when I see me, I see ME, I know ME

Spoken word poetry,

A girl with natural hair is expected to listen to Neo-Soul

I am not my hair

I repeat, I am not my hair

And no I am not hating on my favourites, Jill Scott, D’ Angelo, Maxwell,

Lauryn Hill, India Arie and Marsha Ambrosius

But please can’t a natural hair girl get a break?

I do listen to Hip Hop and Rock too you know

I am not my hair, I am not my hair and I am not my hair!

 

Yes, my hair is my crowning glory

Getting our hair done can make us feel ever so special

We hold our hair strands ever so dear,

We cling to our hair when the scissors cut it,

Screaming ‘Oh my gosh, why did I cut so much off my hair’

We love running our hands through it or yelling at him

‘Don’t touch my hair!’

We love it when it blows in the wind

Or when we wash it and it feels ever so clean

My friend, I do understand the argument,

That hair can be a part of your personality

I know it can be a way of expressing your character

But does it define you?

I will leave that to you

 

I told you I am not my hair,

They assume I am a political activist

Against this, Against this, Against this

For that, For that, For that

Let me stick my fist in the air

They think I wear dashikis and always putting up a peace sign

They think Natural hair is ‘bad’ and relaxed hair is ‘good’

Who allowed you to govern and to rule?

Who gave you the mandate to decide the morality of hair?

Is this a joke?

Is this the deepest philosophical question we can ask ourselves?

What is good hair?

Let me tell you it is neither natural nor relaxed hair

It is called healthy hair

 

I wear bantu knots

They think I am going to chase them with spears

And that I wear tribal prints across my face

*Yawn*, *Yawn*, *Yawn*

Let me sit myself on this chair my friends

‘Are you tired’?

Yes I am tired my relaxed sister, I am tired

I am not my hair

 

I wear braids,

Sometimes Senegalese, sometimes Marley twists, sometimes Ghana braids

Apparently! It’s not sexy and it’s unattractive

Apparently! It’s unkempt and not tidy

Who cares, I am not your expectation

I am not my hair

 

My hair, my sisters, I cut the edges

*Gasps* *Gasps*

‘Why did you cut your hair?’

Don’t worry Bantu, Relaxed, Natural, Weave and Braids I get that all the time

Do not EVEN get me started!

Aunties asking why you shaved it off,

Are you really a Christian?

Calling me a devilish Ragamuffin

Let me tell you

Please, Please, Please

Am I a rebel because I cut my HAIR?

I am not my hair

 

Weave. Weave. Weave. Oh, Oh, The controversy

The debates. The questions.

I brought it.

It’s on my head. I wear it. I own it. It’s my hair

No questions asked please.

Hands to the face!

No, I do not wish to be European nor do I hate my ‘blackness’

So what if I wish to flick my 24 inch weave in the wind?

So what if I wish to wear Peruvian, Brazilian and Malaysian?

It does not mean I wish to be Caucasian

I proudly wave both my union flag and the

Red, Yellow, Green with the Black star in the middle

And oh yes…I do have hair underneath here

Is there a problem that I like to wear weave

Isn’t it on my own head, my sisters?

Please do not despise me

I am not my hair

 

I relax my hair

My friends, they consider it the worst of all-chemically processed hair

What works for you, works for you,

What works for me, works for me

Please do not condemn me Natural

So what if I like my hair silky, straight and that it is easier for me?

Isn’t it my own head, my sisters?

Am I not a Queen?

Can’t I be called a ‘Relaxista’?

I am not allowed a title because I choose creamy crack over juices and berries

plus the coconut oil and other minerals you throw at me

Okay, call me unhealthy, call it unhealthy, call MY HAIR unhealthy

I AM NOT my hair, I AM NOT who YOU declare me to be,

I have more pressuring issues than what is placed on my hair

 

I am not my hair!

SISTERS AND BROTHERS WHERE ARE YOU?

© Rae Dosoo 2013

Rae Dosoo asserts the moral right to be identified as the author of this work. All rights reserved. No part of this can be reproduced or stored in a retrieval system in any form or by any means, without the prior permission of Rae Dosoo.

Sisters and Brothers where are you?

I am crying, I am hurt, I am distraught

My people’s tears soak my land

Even though we have sun

It hasn’t been enough to put a smile on my people’s faces,

Or warm our hearts

There has been rainfall for over two years

And…

You! My sister ask how the weather is

The weather is bleak here

And it does not look like it is getting any better

We do not know when the sun will smile on us again

My soil continues to be wet with mothers’ tears

Many have lost their sons and husbands

I ask you my Sisters and Brothers, Where are you?

 

My sisters and brothers have deserted me

Why are you punishing me?

Is there not more you can do, my sisters and brothers?

My cities are painted red

The sky has been brushed black

All I can see is Red and Black, Red and Black

Ashes and Dust

My beautiful home,

My beautiful home,

My… beautiful… home

Is no more

My sisters and brothers have deserted me

Why are you punishing me?

Please, my sisters and brothers come together, where are you?

 

I am so sorry, I have been rude

I am so upset, I am so distraught, I cannot cope, and I am far too distraught

Shall I introduce myself?

Here I am!

Is there even any time?

Before we ruin our selves

Before my beautiful home

My beautiful home

My… beautiful… home

Is ruined

They have once called me Assyria

They called me Levant

I’m one of many who has been in the hand of many carers and guardians

I have been adopted many times

From the Canaanites, to the Ottomans, to the French

I have never really had full ‘independence’

Like my acquaintances in the western lands

 

You know when a child moves out of his father’s house

The child goes out into the world and does things for himself

I am waiting… to… experience… this

You see, we are being controlled

You see, I have an overbearing and overreaching oppressor

Who is overstepping his boundaries?

I want freedom, liberty and equality

I want justice, representation and true emancipation

I want freedom! I want freedom! I want freedom!

Instead there’s confinement, imprisonment and suppression

 

I have so many siblings, I am one of five

Let me tell you about them

They all surround me

The other is an estranged sister

It does get heated between us

We have never ever, never ever, got along

They all banned me from our brotherhood

It’s not my fault that the head honcho misbehaves

Many of these leagues and clubs don’t know me

They acknowledge the mother’s tears

But do they really understand what is happening?

It’s not one team against the other

‘It’s one against one’ the news reporters say

Its asymmetrical, my brothers and sisters

One against the other, Two against the other, Three against the other,

Two against the Two, Three against that one and OHHHH!

It just does my head in

Why, oh, why my beautiful people, Can’t we just be a family?

 

My house is full of people from different faiths and different people

My brother believes in Allah, My half-brother believes in him too.

But their beliefs are different

My mother believes in Isa but shhh it’s a secret

I heard that my Auntie married a man who is Jewish!

My distant cousin is a Druze

I am home to people from diverse backgrounds

My grandma is Kurdish, My grandpa is Arabic

The other side of the family there are Armenians, Assyrians and Turkmen

I wish there wasn’t a divide in between my family

There is discontent between the ruling family and the other relatives

Why can’t we respect our differences brethren?

 

My sisters and brothers where are you?

You have all called for an end to the violence

Yet my mothers still cry, crying out for their fruits of their womb to come back to them

Do not sanction us, do not punish us my brothers and sisters

Let us all my sisters and brothers, Come together and let us find us solution.