Written and performed by Sam Ndungula, Spoken Word Namibia, 2016.

ONE

This world will tell you that you are worth nothing more than how tight your butt looks in booty short jeans.

They will tell you
That your skin is a cancer you should trade in for freedom,

That you should hate all parts of your body that no one claps for,

And hide all your edges they don’t find attractive.

Dear child,
I know sometimes it will feel like they’re right…

Do not believe them!

TWO

Some days you will be the shot that empties the bottle of vodka.

Other days you will be a miniskirt too short not to get raped or a dress too long to stand in the front row of all group photos

Child
You will either be too much or too little and never enough

Hell on some occasions you will be too hot or too cold and never a lingering sensation of a winter Sun colliding against your melanin induced blackness.

THREE

From the beginning
You will learn to hide your pain behind shards of your broken smile

You will be taught that pain is ugly, and instead of wearing it like gold;
You will learn to love yourself from a distance- to always love yourself half…

But remember
You are the magic that roams beneath the stars.

The light that abides after the moon has departed to help you trace the path your ancestors once followed.

You need more than darkness to deem your shine.

FOUR

Father will tell you to stay indoors an dress modestly while my brothers and I make playgroup of the Sun.

Which is to say
From conception your place is in the ample bossom of lady birds with clipped wings to give them an illusion of freedom

It is from them you will learn to treat your voice like a dormant volcano and your name like violent tsunami because one day eruption and distraction will be the Herald of your emancipation.

It is also from them you will learn that your name, your voice, and your entire body does not belong to you.

FIVE

When you grow older
Mother will tell you to never stay out late at night, to always walk in a group, make sure that someone always knows where you are, and always take down the number and send it to someone everytime you get into a taxi.

You will hear the fear and sadness in her voice that she too has to relate you what her mother has told her

When she is out of earshot do not call her an annoying old notch,

Do not call her a paranoid sexist old women when she only tells you and not your brothers…
She knows what she is doing.

After all hasn’t she been a woman for much longer than you have?
I mean hasn’t she been a women amongst men for much longer than you have?

So remember to never question her intention.

SIX

When avalanche of pain hits you and threatens the stability of your heart…

Hug all your pieces back into place.

SEVEN

love yourself with the desperation of a praying atheist.

EIGHT

Remember that some days you will be both hammer and mirror;

Sometimes you will be the music that threatens the loudness of silence;

Sometimes you will be the silence.

NINE

When words find refuge on the pedastools you have erected on your tongue;

When your voice is to dense to be carried by the wind;

When your mouth is a malfunctioning airlock…

Then liberate your flesh and let your skin speak on your behalf.

Know that one day you will be able to speak words you are afraid of speaking right now

Know that the day will be right.

TEN

Let me tell you a little thing about love.

Love creeps up on us disguised as healing wrapped in forgiveness

We let it grow onto us like an uncontrolled parasite, until it grows into a cancer far too dangerous to remove.

Be gentle with the scars on your heart. They are evidence that your problem will always be loving too tightly.

See, love is a wildfire and your heart is an unsuspecting forest.

Remember
Death by fire is the worst kind of death there is.

So, When your heart tries to tiptoe out of your skin

Just to jump into someone’s clumsy hands, then grab it by its arms and remind it that home is right here.

ELEVEN

When a boy tells you he loves you…
His words will be loud enough to make up for the lack of confidence with which they come out of his mouth

Do not call him a liar
But know that to fall in love with him is to jump off a building hoping your courage will grow you some wings. And sometimes it does

But most times you will have to cushion the walls of your heart so that though the jump is rough, you will still survive the landing.

TWELVE

A fuckboy is the worst kind of person there is.

He has a gun barrel for a mouth
Loaded with compliments that will speak bullet holes Into your self-esteem.

He will brand and repackage your beauty and then sell it back to you at an inflated price.

Then he will mason jar shards of your broken sense of self-worth because he profits from your insecurities.

It is any wonder you find it difficult to love yourself,

He will sell you capitalism in a form of love

THIRTEEN

The worst thing about being a woke girl is the easiness with which you get played by a woke fuckboy.

I once told a religious girl that Christianity is a patriarchal construct that subjugates women.

I told her
That no sex before marriage is a heteronormative maxim that wishes to reduce her agency when it comes to making sexual decisions

All the while I just wanted to Holy Bible spread her legs and get high on her gospel.

So be weary of wolf men with sheep coated skins who pretend to be lovers…

They will sell you the devil if they have to.

FOURTEEN

Know that it’s okay to think that broke back mountain is actually a beautiful love story.

FIFTEEN

They will ask you how you do it
How you remain so strong even when everything around you is falling apart…

Tell them
Even in death
Flowers are still beautiful.

SIXTEEN

This world will try so hard to bury you- sometimes it will it will succeed

But know that you are a seed and the ground is your sanctuary.

Let your tears water you,so that they can watch you blossom

SIXTEEN

Though you walk through the valley of the shadow of death, do not fear

You have sunlight neatly tacked underneath your skin.

SIXTEEN

Know that you are Haley’s comet

The magic that appears once every generation

The secret
That this world is yet to know.

***Main photo by DefeatHatePhotogaphy

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