Featured

Depression is a blue scarf

Day 1

You wake up with a scarf around your neck. Sitting up feels like crawling out of a grave but you do it anyway. Then, all of a sudden, the scarf is strangling you. You need to get it off now. You beg. You struggle. Your eyes bulge. Your nails almost break skin trying. Now you understand the fly in a spider’s web. You cry out.

Maybe, someone hears the sound. You explain that you just can’t get out of this awful scarf. You don’t even know how it got here. You just woke up and-

“Why don’t you just take it off?” they ask

“I’ve tried.” you say.

“It’s just a scarf. How hard could it be?” they insist.

You don’t answer. You don’t call them again.

Day 2

You wake up with a scarf around your neck. Around your WHOLE body. It’s tying you to the bed. You try to shift your legs but you can’t move. You blink up at the ceiling. You open your mouth but no sound comes out. You just lay there.

“Stop being lazy” they shout.

You just lay there.

IMG_2140

Day 3

You wake up with a scarf around your neck. You’d spent all night wrestling with it. Your arms have scars from where it scratched you. You wear a sweater to hide the proof.

 

Day 4

You wake up with a scarf around your neck. It’s so tight, oxygen has to hold its breath and suck in its belly, just to squeeze down your throat. To survive you move through the day like you’re wading through honey. S-l-o-w-l-y. One step at a time. One breath at a time. One task at time.

“You’re taking so long to do such a simple thing.” they complain.

You count the breaths it will take to explain and decide it’s not worth it.

IMG_2217

Day 5

You wake up with a scarf around your neck. It moves like a snake and coils around your stomach. Squeezes the appetite out of you.

“ Why you not eating?” they ask.

“I’m not hungry” you say. The kind of fullness you need cannot be found in food.

Day 6

You wake up with a scarf around your neck. It crawls up the back of your head and covers your whole face. It makes everything look blue.

You look different” they say.

A Big yes ( please do this one)_

Day 7

You wake up with a scarf around your neck. Fill your best friend’s shoulder with tears. Become a puddle in your mother’s hands. Today you are blessed to have people that understand. People who see what the scarf can do.

“I know you’re fighting.” they say.

For the first time, you do not feel alone.

Day 8

You wake up with a scarf around your neck. It hangs loose today. You breathe easy (almost). You laugh. And it doesn’t feel pretend. You’ve learnt the things that makes the scarf heavy. You try to avoid them. To dodge the bullet. To bury the gun so no one can pull the trigger. You’ve learnt the things that make it lighter. You try to do them always. To keep the routine. You know things can get bad again at anytime. 

Day 9

You wake up with a scarf around your neck. Reach up and yank it. Today it is small enough to fit in your fist. Today, you look like you did before the scarf arrived. You feel good.  You feel well. You’ve fought and bled and sweat for this. 

IMG_2194

Every single day

You wake up with a scarf around your neck. You can not take it off. The doctors say it’s attached to your brain. And you understand. That some days you can fit it into your back pocket. And some days it can swallow you whole. Some days you can laugh it off. Some days are too terrible for words. But everyday, you wake up and carry on in spite of. Everyday you keep fighting.

To the ones who have learned to live with the blue scarf.  I see you. Keep living.

 

CREDITS:

(The Incredible) Photographer: Jabari David

Concept / Creative Director: Alexandra Stewart 

I’ll be posting a photos and poems for the series #depressionisabluescarf on my instagram

Congratulations to us! (The poets who did NOT place.)

I chose the red pill. At the end of this blog post, I hope you do to.

I don’t know what the night before Poetry Slam is like for you, but for me, it feels like the hours before a hurricane. You know how everything is still and quiet and there’s nothing to do but wait?

I am a modern-day Noah, tucked away in the ark of myself, waiting for the flood to come.

It’s a fist fight between dread and excitement. It’s the day before a big exam in a subject you love. It’s the Marvel fan waiting for Infinity War but also wishing it wouldn’t come out, ever.

slam-blog-photo.jpg

The waiting is the longest part because when it finally comes you’re suddenly backstage, then on stage, then off stage, then heading home and then it’s the morning after.

Now this is the crucial moment. If you were not among the top three, then when you woke up and checked your wallet, at first glance it did not look any fuller than before. If you entered the slam thinking only of the monetary prize and title, then you will not take a second glance.

Open your wallet and look again. Because when you do, you’ll see that:

Performing is not just about the change you make but the change you make.

Your wallet is full of the faces of all the people whose perspectives you challenged; the people you made laugh or cry or say amen.  Just because you didn’t make a profit doesn’t mean you didn’t make a prophet (someone who can see a better future because of you).

A pocket full of loose change does not mean you lost. It simply means that what you gained doesn’t have a dollar sign in front of it. Whether you placed or not, you ought to be congratulated.

fb_img_1525182152676.jpg

Congratulations!

Being a finalist in the First Citizens National Poetry Slam (FCNPS) is a massive opportunity to share your message in a sold out NAPA auditorium. Hundreds of eyes, ears and hearts are focused on you for three whole minutes.

The FCNPS is a watering can, sun and good soil which means it is difficult not to grow when you stand on its stage.

While it is a magnificent showcase of local talent, it is not the be all and end all of Spoken Word Poetry in Trinidad and Tobago. Do not lose heart. In the next 365 days how will use your gift?

When it comes to the results, some people will be dissatisfied. After all, there can only be one champion and every poet goes in hoping to cop the title. So what do you do when it’s not you? Technically, the possibilities are endless, but it all comes down to a red and blue pill (both hard to swallow).

We’re in the Matrix: you are Neo and I’m Morpheus so I say,

“You take the blue pill and use your energy to be bitter. Or, you take the red pill and use your energy to be better.”

Which will you choose?

 

Performance Photo by Marlon James

Group Photo by Curtis Henry

THE EARTH DOES NOT NEED SAVING

Save the earth” is perhaps the most egotistical, delusional thing humans have ever come with up with; (and we’ve come up with lots of those).

The earth does not work so hard growing trees that give us oxygen just for us to breathe in, and then exhale that nonsense.

The earth is no Titanic; no sinking ship. There will be no lifeboats leaving it behind.

If the earth were the Titanic: Jack, Rose and everyone else would drown. Then the ship would unwreck itself.

It would wake up, roll out of the sea-bed and go right on sailing, like we never happened.

See, the earth doesn’t need us. In fact, it’d be better off without us – and our mess.

We talk about the earth like it’s a baby in a burning building. When in truth: earth IS the burning building (with rad self-healing capabilities), and humankind is the baby (being suffocated by the smoke from a fire we started).

This awesome one-of-a-kind planet is not depending on us. We depend on it.

“Save the earth” is a ridiculous translation for: “Help! We’re making the only planet we can actually live on, uninhabitable!”

Even google translate would do better.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m an advocate for every positive action the “Save the earth” spiel encourages.

I’m only asking that we be realistic. This is not a charity. We are not doing the earth a favour. Every creature is a vital part of our optimum survival. (I mean, we all know what’s going to happen if we keep messing with the bees)

Besides, do we really want to be remembered as another generation who didn’t care about the people coming next? If you don’t want our chapter in the History books to be named “The Hypocrites”:

Prove it.

Turn off the light you’re not using. Call out the people you see littering. Sign a petition. Share this blog post.

Because the earth does not need saving. We do.