For those who continue to, in some warped way, perpetuate the idea that trying to save the environment will do more for the lives of black women than actively campaigning that the NHS take a deeper look into why such an alarmingly high number of them enter the hospital through the maternity doors and exit via the morgue, are very blinkered dare I say it, foolish people.
I have so few that I would call friends that I could quite literally count them on one hand. But those I hold in my palm, I hold in very high regard.
Especially being a black woman, my circle of friends is very important to me. It’s important that I’m able to have open and honest communication and that I know the people I call friends will raise me up when I can’t see the woods from the trees and also give me a soft dragging if I get too ahead of myself.
The universe is like a genie who never runs out of wishes. My only job is to ask, believe and then receive. I find one of the most common things people do, as I used to do it too, is to put so much energy in trying to figure out how they are going to get what they desire that said panic only translates energetically as disbelief, immediately cancelling out their blessings. I have learned that it is not my duty to question how what I want reaches me but just to expect it to already be there. And to me, it’s become a never ending game, which I always win so lately, I’ve really ramped it up.
Of course I couldn’t speak about this topic without touching on colourism. At a dinner some time ago, two lighter skinned black women giggled about the men that they perceived to fancy them because of their ‘light skin and light eyes’. There was a perceived ‘I am better than you because I am light skinned’ entwined into the chiming sound of their laughter and it sat beneath my skin like an irritant. Hastily I snatched up my glass of Prosecco and tried to file their joke away as ignorance but it lingered with me just as it did when teenage boys on the number two bus mocked me every day for being too ‘Blick.’
‘The next day, I paired the Moschino jeans with a red DKNY t-shirt, red Clark’s wallabies, scraped my struggling perm into a ‘fan’ hairstyle, used an old tooth brush and pink styler gel on my baby hairs and topped off the fan with a red ribbon. Basically I looked like a baby member of the bloods (a renowned Gang established in Los Angeles, California) Although upon reflection the outfit was a tragic stylistic misstep, in that moment, at that time, I felt so empowered. Within moments of arriving at school it became clear that I had redeemed myself, with the older girls fussing over me all day and telling me how much they loved my jeans.’
HIV is a savage reminder that we are living on borrowed time for its entire duration. To watch a loved one's body to be challenged and contoured by a virus which can only be suppressed and never displaced is a life sentence for all involved. Whilst I’m negative, I swear I often feel physically burdened by its unwillingness to not compromise its grip over the life of my mother and those of us closest to her.
But although of course I would wish that Esme could have 20/20 vision I also delighted in the way I would encourage her to see her glasses as an accessory. Now at five years old, she has over eight pairs and will regularly switch styles to suit her mood.
I have also come to accept that true friendship is bound by no human idea of time. I have not blessed my eyes on someone I regard to be one of my best friends for almost two years. Regardless of space between us, I know that should the chips fall where they may, there isn’t a thing we wouldn’t do for each other and I feel so privileged to have experienced that depth of friendship in my lifetime. Aside from him, I’m also very blessed to have a sister whom I trust implicitly. Should I have the overwhelming urge to curse someone out of their name, she is the fist number I call. As a child, I couldn’t predict that I was actually living with my #BESITE but that’s what she has become to me.