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Girl, Anything You Want Is Yours


Blogger, writer, artist
This Girl Named Jas

"Seven years old going on seventeen centuries,

I overheard things

Observed things

And learned things..."


~Doechii, Oh The Places You Will Go



Understanding What Others Thought They Saw In Me


As a young child, between the age of six and eight, I vividly remember being treated differently. First, I was a girl. Then, I was a black girl. Finally, I was an Antiguan black girl. None of those things were that popular to anyone in the 1980s. It was a time full of Ah Ha moments. I was learning the concepts of life. My tiny space required survival at home first, then all the dangers seeped outside as well. The rules in our house were distinctly different for my sister and I than they were for our brother. The only universal rule was, "What happens in our house, stays in our house". Everything else seemed split up by gender.


Over time, I was able to keep the outside noise of what others thought at bay. The older I got, I realized it didn't matter. It became a special gift. I understood that individually, as girls and women, we are so much more than a race or a type. We are ever changing, ever evolving, we are magic no matter the age. Our minds are so complex that from the very beginning and at the very end, no one will be able to sum us up properly. That is our job before we expire. To tell our stories.



Understanding What I Saw In Others


On TV and in real life, men seemed to have the charmed life. From what I could tell, they smoked cigarettes, wore their shirts unbuttoned or completely off. They tinkered with cars or the grill, had a stiff drink after a long hard day of work, had whole other families if they liked and some more shit. Boys slept until they were no longer tired, they played as hard as they wanted. They had cool chores like mowing the lawn with headphones on, they got later curfews with plenty of free time and space to grow. They got the most food and the best clothes. They were allowed, because they were men! They were boys. Meanwhile, women toiled away hard at work and at home. There was literally no end in sight. They took care of the kids, cooked, cleaned, suffered from heartache, headaches and cramps. They took care of everyone when they were sick, even the in-laws, but no one ever seemed to take care of them. They were famous for making do with what they had and constantly tried not to get pregnant. Girls, woke up early, washed the clothes, helped clean the house, acted grown when they helped with the younger kids, but remained in a child's place and as chaste as possible, didn't play cards, weren't allowed to whistle and had to clean the chicken. Eventually, girls also suffered from cramps, cycles and trying not to get pregnant.

I would soon find out that the whole world kinda functioned this way. I had many years of feeling that it wasn't fair. I quickly figured out that I had no choice, but to deal with it. So, that's what I did for a mighty long time. However, there was one thing that I could do as I grew up. I could control myself, even if it was just by my way of thinking. I was free to do whatever I wanted in my mind first and I did it to the best of my ability. When I got old enough, I didn't only think it, I spoke my mind to whoever would listen.


My life was far from privileged. There weren't any hand-outs. It just didn't happen. Not at school, not when I was 18 and started my first real job. Life was always hard. Those on the bottom work the hardest with little recognition. Even when I had a partner who made lots of money, I entered our relationship with the wrong approach; I showed up with what I was taught. I went in like Ms. Independent and almost like his second mom. Nevertheless, all things must have balance. You can't want to be independent when others rely on you for your constant participation, while you do all the other things like mother and be great at everything else too. You need help! Even ladies without children need assistance and motivation in order to be good at anything. Mainly when we are required to do a thing for a very long period of time. Many of us out here resolve to get little to no child support while having jobs that pay us less than we're worth, yet by societal standards we should raise happy and healthy humans. We assuage ourselves daily when we settle for less pay than our colleagues. Why do you think most of us are out here clamoring for what we believe to be the "Soft Life"? We're tired as a collective.



Waking Up & Paying Attention


I've always been extremely aware, but also trusting of other people. I love to make others happy. I like it a little less now. Somewhere along the way, I got burnt out. Miraculously, no matter what health or emotional challenge I faced, I still showed up and showed out. I woke up so many times in the hospital for many different reasons. It started at around age thirty. Guess what...? The world went on without me. In order to get to some satisfaction, I had to start focusing on myself. Once I was able to do that, I slowly got myself to a healthier place and vowed that I would slow down and focus on the things that bring me joy.


We must be very careful of the situations that we allow ourselves to remain in; For example, romantic, family or friend relationships. This includes our work environments. Often we settle (myself included), usually to keep the peace. We won't always be as strong as we started out and we don't bounce back the same even when it seems like no harm has been done. In short, stand up for yourself in the moment every single time.


Do not settle for the unequal treatment, less pay, more work, nor more responsibility for next to nothing in return. Especially when you're carrying more weight than you should. You will ruin yourself. Take my word for it.


For a while now, I've been changing the way I think and shifting the way I do things. There was too much on my shoulders. I stopped doing certain things one at a time. I stopped allowing bullshit too. In order to do this, I had to make some big sacrifices, like my marriage. It seems drastic, but it was either that or my sanity and even worse, my life. It is still hard to think about it sometimes. Yet, I needed to save myself. I needed more comfort, a more attentive and giving partner (especially of his time), I needed more reciprocity, more love and understanding. I needed someone trustworthy that I didn't want to hurt, because he was hurting me. I needed more security, more money and more time to blossom into the next version of myself. Over these past four decades, I have stretched myself incredibly thin physically, mentally and emotionally. I've accepted next to nothing from everywhere and almost everyone.


When it's all said and done you can be replaced when you no longer serve your purpose. So, you'd better be planning some peace, P U R PO S E and satisfaction for yourself. Even where your children are concerned. They deserve the space and time to develop freely as well. Not worry about taking care of you. In the end, no one cares about you like you care about yourself. Never forget that.


You are the only one. There's so much value in that. When you are happy, you will make others around you happy as well. When you are miserable, you spread misery.


Here's what I've recently been entertained by:



Watch List



The Musical: Watch List
The Color Purple


I had some preconceived notions about this adaptation of the Broadway musical, which was originally a book written by Alice Walker, then turned into a movie by Steven Spielberg. I adore the book and loved the movie. Yet, I'm so glad that I put It all aside and just watched the musical. A beautifully crafted cast, a set that made sense and pretty damn good singing and costume. Fantasia Barrino played the hell out of the role, Celie and Danielle Brooks nailed it as Sophia. As did Taraji P. Henson as Shug Avery. I preferred this new version of Mister played by Colman Domingo, even though he was still mean as hell.


Documentary about Shirley Chisholm
Shirley


This movie had me from the opening credits, where Regina King made a dedicaion to her late son, Ian. This film follows the groundbreaking 1972 Presidential Campaign of Shirley Chisholm. She was the first black woman to be elected to the U.S. Congress in 1968. Ms. Shirley served for seven terms (1969 - 1983) as the representative of New York's 12th congressional district, Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn. I loved how gutsy her character was. She fought for social, political and economic injustices. In addition to, black civil rights and women's rights. Regina did pretty well with her Bajan-American accent.




Series Review: Watch List
The Many Lives Of Martha Stewart

This series follows the life of the early stock broker ( in the 1960s) turned caterer and then, iconic female self-made billionaire influencer (in the 1980s & 1990s) who fell from grace and went to jail (in 2004). This four part documentary covers almost everything, including her miraculous comeback. Personally, I really liked Martha since I was 19 years old. I had a monthly subscription to Martha Stewart Living. I painted my entire apartment in her signature pigments and bought all the Heirloom Rose and Fox Blue colored houseware and bedding that I could find at K-Mart on 34th Street. I used to lug everything home on the train back before Uber and Lyft was a thing. I thoroughly enjoyed entertaining and cooking just like her. The only thing I was missing was the need to garden, even though I eventually got one, ironically the year she went to jail.




Series Review: Watch List
Feud: Capote vs. The Swans

Woo baby, what a terrible awful group of people. It made for great tv. This is an eight part series about the author, Truman Capote and the book he wrote about New York City's socialites in the 1960s. He nicknamed them "The Swans". The book got him kicked out of high society. It's an interesting watch.




Listen List



Cowboy Carter
Cowboy Carter, Beyoncé


Simply, thank you.


Sometimes nothing else helps, but music. I feared I wouldn't be able to listen to any music for a while, due to how I've been feeling lately. Then, right on time, on Good Friday Bey dropped the most beautiful album that was so easy to listen to. After a quick workout, shower, trim, and breakfast I listened to it in its entirety. The entire album is so pretty!!! What a way to pay gentle homage in only the way Queen Bey can...? BLACKBIIRD, 16 CARRIAGES and MY ROSE is so smooth. It was not what I expected at all, which is exactly what I expected. At one point, I stood on my coffee table and danced around to TEXAS HOLD 'EM. Long skirt swirly and bare feet tapping on the wood. It felt nice to be so high up and feeling so free. I don't own cowboy boots, but eventually I threw on some Anthropologie clogs and fantasized to the twist of JOLENE and DAUGHTER. SPAGHETTI was my introduction to the legacy that is Linda Martell and Country rapper Shaboozey.


ALLIGATOR TEARS is my favorite song on the album for too many reasons that I can only feel and not describe. When JUST FOR FUN came on, it felt like a hug that everything will be ok soon enough. I didn't know how much I needed it.


I was so surprised to hear Miley Cyrus on II MOST WANTED and even more amazingly it made me smile from my soul. Post Malone was also another nice surprise on LEVII'S JEANS.


Love, Love, Love FLAMENCO and YA YA.


RIIVERDANCE , II HANDS II HEAVEN, TYRANT and SWEET HONEY BUCKIIN' flowed so fantastically together... It seemed like an extension of RENAISSANCE.


I thoroughly enjoy reading all of the true history of country music on social media. It's amazing what doesn't get spoken about in this great history of ours. "This ain't a Country album, this is a Beyoncé album."


I wasn't ready for the end after hearing AMEN. I had to run it back two more times. All of it from the beginning.


Simply, thank you for Act II.


Cowboy Carter
Beyoncé Knowles Carter



Read List


I also couldn't focus to read and in that case here is what I listened intently to on the Audibles app:



Book Review: Read List
The Sins Of the Father, by Zukiswa Wanner

The Sins of The Fathers


"The last in the Afrolit Now series, The Sins of The Fathers is narrated by a man dealing with immense grief. When he's unable to heal from the trauma of loss, Akani begins to question his and his father's role as a parent and, in doing so, awakes to the patterns between them. In trying to avoid being like his father as a husband and as a parent, did he inadvertently become exactly the man he wished not to be? And what secrets lie untold? As he grieves, he wonders whether he was ill-advised to keep secrets."


This story was so quick and so good I had a difficult time summing it up. Therefore I used Amazon's description. It is available for purchase there as well. I enjoyed it so much.




Book Review
Life Is Short But Wide, by J. California Cooper

Life Is Short But Wide


J. California Cooper is one of my favorite authors. She was also a playwright of 17 plays. Before I listened to this book, I listened to Family which was one of my first adult books that I ever read in middle school. I went on to read almost all of the books she's written. She is one of the main reasons that I wanted to tell my family's story and also become a short story author. This book is beautifully told from the view of 91 year old Hattie B. Brown. She tells an incredible tale of faith, perseverance and love within two families as they grow up and grow out. Recently married Val and Irene allow their neighbors, Joseph and Bertha to build a house on their land in a rural mixed town in Wideland, Oklahoma. As Hattie says, "Everybody has their way" so she tells a Y shaped story of how the lives meet and move on together. She says the family could've, "taught her or anybody how to live". Her mother told her that "...some people depended on good luck to get them through life." However, Hattie believed that "Luck is opportunity met with action." I have to agree with that. This is a book that will get your mind off of your own troubles, like it did for me.



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The Women Save Me


I have lots of things to worry about like keeping the skin on my neck tight and my face free of fine lines. I don't have time to worry about frivolous things such as being taken for granted financially or otherwise. Also, I know that I don't have to deal with inequality on any level. I can always get up and just do something that is better suited to me and I will. I am, but first we plan.


I stand alone lately. I have to, in order to complete all of the necessary things. However, when life is laying heavily on my heart the women in my life always save me. I think I have a solid ten currently, maybe a few more. However, life is so funny, because most recently the universe is opening the door to so many more women that bring so much joy and I truly thank you all greatly. I'm not sure how I would make it without you. I'm not the easiest to be friends with. I go into hiding with my hobbies for pockets of time and pop out randomly like a ray of sunshine, like I never left. Only to leave again.


It hasn't always been easy to be a black woman, it has set me back often enough. Alas, I wouldn't trade it for the world. I'm so grateful for that one thing every single day. Being born with leadership, flavor, style, an enormous sense of pride and creativity is something that lots of people can't resist. I embody that and I try never to forget it.


That is also how I feel about being a woman. It's a special task. We get to move through life being soft, strong and everything in between at the same time. No two are alike, like a snowflake.


We get to make things beautiful. We get to grow and nurture human beings. Let no one tell you that you can't be something great. Too late for one thing could mean being right on time for the next. You can be anything you want to be. Therefore, anything you want is yours and yours alone.


Happy Women's History Month


I appreciate your reading this. Please give me a like at the bottom of the page.


Don't forget to grow up and grow out.


A L W A Y S,



Jas





Magnolia Tree in Harlem
This Girl Named Jas






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2 Comments


Beautiful. Thank you for sharing your words and your heart.

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I absolutely loved this one.

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