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Traveling Black Chick- An Update!

TBC Followers!! Are you still there??? Has it really been 4 years since I last posted. I guess I must have been tired, huh! I have made peace with the fact that the desire to both write and read is not a constant for me and developing the discipline to do so even when I don’t want to, is now part of my journey. Needless to say it feels good to be writing to you now in this moment.

My people!  Sooo much has happened since 2015, so much that I should share in honor of the vision and promise of this blog.  I imagine that many of you must have moved on to more exciting bloggers and adventures by now. BUT whether or not you are still there, i feel that I owe you an account of at least the major adventures  and there’s definitely been a few of those! Including the one I am literally living right now! The wisdom of age has me no longer making promises I can’t keep; but that same wisdom has taught me that discipline makes wise promises. So here today, I am promising to update you on a journey I feel you are owed. After-all you were with me when it was a silent hope first expressed on this blog; with me as I took on the goal with gusto and attempted to raise funds, alongside creating the ‘NO MEANS STOP’ campaign, to raise awareness about consent;  with me when I lost steam and simply disappeared, when i could not stay the path. With me through it all so it seems only fitting that I share the end (or beginning) of that beautifully fated journey with you.

So! Do ya’ll remember the mountain? You know, the tallest peak in Africa, highest freestanding in the world; remember that dream from over 5 years ago? Well folks, guess where I ended up in the week leading up to my birthday in 2018? Yaaass! In that week of my 42nd birthday I was blessed to have had one of the most beautiful, difficult and rewarding adventures of my life. I climbed Mount Kilimanjaro!

Somewhere on Kili

Day 2 of the trek- These dramatic looking trees are in Kilimanjaro’s moorland vegetation zone which is found 3000 mabsl

It is now almost a year since I made that trek, and finally I feel ready to share the journey. I am not sure why it took me so long to get to this moment of releasing that story and sharing it with you, maybe as I share it that answer will come to me; but it feels divinely right to be here at this moment typing with the intention to tell you all about it!

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In an effort not to bore you with long posts I will break up the journey according to the photo and video stories that I managed to capture on my way to the top. At the time of the trek my intention was to vlog my way through the journey, but I seem not to have the stamina to keep a camera on for every waking moment and movement of my life. However I did manage to capture a few short video clips that provide perfect bookends for key moments on the trip. I also did a few journal entries on my phone that will help jog my memory as well.  I imagine this retelling will be a mixed bag of photos and vids added to loose recollections of the most visceral moments  and lessons on my Kili journey. A journey that had me feeling feels I had never felt before, and ultimately made me fall in love with this big mountain, even as she chewed me up and spat me out whole.  So let’s jump right in, I hope you enjoy this Traveling Black Chick’s Kilimanjaro adventure in review. Click Next post for the tea!

Till then, I am yours always, in adventure.

A Traveling Black Chick

LH

 

 

 

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A Journey Continues – Up to Kilimanjaro!

Continuing the Journey to the Top – Dubai Edition

Now might probably be a good time to mention that I have since moved cities and now live in the UAE! Yeah…lol, I know, I know, I do owe you quite a few updates indeed! BUT Let’s not lose focus here, this post is about Kilimanjaro remember.

It became clear to me after the first meeting with the coordinator from TrekUp Dubai, -the company who organized the climb- that while Kilimanjaro is considered one of the less difficult climbs of the world’s 7 summits, it is still very much a challenge. After asking a few questions about my umm non-existent fitness practice, I could tell by his reaction that he was skeptical about my prospects. For sure even I was skeptical, especially after listening to the adventures and fitness practices of the other would be trekkers on the climb.  I was definitely not in good shape physically and probably had no business attempting that climb with only 2 months to train. But Kili stood right in front of me, she was closer than she’d ever been, it seemed all the ancestors had aligned to ensure that I made the trek, all the elements were in place, ( I had the funds, I had the time, I was relatively close to Tanzania). Everything that had stopped me before was no longer an obstacle. Plus the climb was to happen during my birthday week and if I was lucky I would summit on the night of my birthday!! There was no way I was not going to do this, I absolutely refused to talk myself out of this journey. Plus ignorance is true bliss they say, and so I decided, I would do whatever I had to, to get fit enough to climb that mountain!

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Girl you better werk!!

I got focused and challenged myself. I don’t believe I ever pushed myself so hard physically in my life. I did everything I could, from daily 3 hour early morning treks, weekly stairs in a 45 storey  building, a two week intensive functional training program, plus a few dance classes and swimming here and there to mix it up bit.  As for my diet, it drastically changed, not just what I was eating, but how I was eating also. After checking with my doctor who gave me a clean bill of health -except for my low hemoglobin- I also included a bit more red meat to enhance my iron intake.

Being able to do that trek meant the world to to me and so I dug deep and most times I made no excuses – hey I never said I was perfect! lol.  By the time we were ready for take-off I had pushed myself as hard as I could and in the end I did find that there was a small but significant change in my body and fitness levels. But, was it enough? That we’ll save for another post… 🙂

For now I gotta Shout Out my warrior women friends (Jyoti and Aisha) who were great motivators and occasionally joined me on my treks and workouts!

Check out a small snapshot of my fitness and health Kili journey- final leg, in the vid below!

Till Then I am yours always in adventure

A Traveling Black Chick

LH

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Releasing words…Releasing you.

I didn’t believe your protestations of love…the sensible part of my brain knew this was to go nowhere soon or otherwise…knowing this doesn’t make putting the final nail in our coffin of possibility any easier. Some strange place within me still is sad…still wanting the possibility of you. Maybe  protestations of love did touch something after all…deep down i want to hear i love you…you are my queen…I miss you so much i just want to hold you in my arms….

I am sad in this moment of release. Not angry that you said words you had no business saying to me, but sad that those words could not truly belong to me. Sad that it is possible that this was possibly a game to you…just words spoken- meaning and impact designed to produce a particular result…but not the one I hoped for without hoping for it

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If I wanted to torture myself further i could consider that maybe you did mean those words in some part of your being but then the sadness returns when i think the words you say to her are pretty similar to the ones you speak so passionately to me…and so i am back at the sad place wondering when will those words be actually be meant for me…

releasing you…releasing words…

LH

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To whom does black lives matter

When this slogan, affirmation, demand, chant first came out in the wake of the Michael Brown murder i was averse to it. I thought but to whom are we saying this? Why do we need to tell them black lives matter…i felt as though by stating this we were asking for them to see us as human and in many ways i believe it does not matter what they believe…it does not matter to me what you think about me…what matters to  me is how we feel about ourselves. I still feel this way but as i see more brutality in the past and present amongst ourselves against our selves i have found myself pondering that perhaps less to them and more to ourselves we indeed do need to be reminded that Black Lives Matter. I spent part of my year in Southern Africa and while a remarkably reinvigorating trip…i found black lives being taken by fellow Africans in everything from xenophobic attacks on so called African ‘foreigners’ by those who were black like them, to revisiting stories of  the killing of miners demanding a fair wage by police officers with skins of the same shade. In America the history of brutality is prime and present with daily scenes of brutality against black bodies and in some places black lives killing other black lives. It is depressing and heartbreaking. I recently watched the Black  Panther film which prompted this writing.  Though powerful in parts, the film left me wounded and exhausted. Tired of scenes that refuse to stop being perpetuated. Black folks protesting, black folks being stripped naked, black folks speaking of struggle. It left me wondering what is this all for…why are we all here and to whom really does black lives matter. How far and how deep can this current movement really go. Will it fall victim to government interference and co-intelpro  like the Panther movement? Or be laid bare by the typical infighting that ends up destroying such movements in our community? Will any and all strong voices continue to be silenced like those of Lumumba and Chairman Hampton, Garvey, King and Malcolm for fear of the rise of a ‘black messiah’? Why are we not given the peace to become all that we are able to be? Why is it so important to keep us in a space and place of poverty and oppression?. …will we, through our own inability to fight our demons never be able to rise above the legacies of brutality now embedded in our DNA? This weighs heavy on my spirit because it feels like there is no time to contemplate for us. So busy are we trying to survive this constant attack….our minds are splitting our souls are barren and more and more of us are struggling to keep the threads of our spirit together. We are in desperate need for a place and space in time where our peace of mind and hearts are priority. Where our bodies simply by virtue of their hue are not constantly under attack. Where we can exist in a way that allows us to simply be…where we can re-engage, rediscover or discover our own humanity without being glared upon and scrutinised by others. I long for a kind of peace for African humanity away from the maddening crowd away from the insanity of this matrix. I long for an emptying of African lands of those who seek to exploit her and her people. I long for a riddance of poverty and the concept of struggle. Surrounded, immersed, overwhelmed even, by black bodies, minds and spirits who are free!!!!

As Always …yours in Love
A traveling black chick
LH

This was another rambling of thoughts written a while ago after i saw a screening of the powerful Black Panther documentary “Black Panther: Vanguard of the Revolution” . It truly left me shredded. I took a moment to post this cause I wrote it to free my spirit and thought it was not so good at the time. However having re-read it by accident and in light of Laquan McDonald’s murder and the ensuing cover up…..just tired.

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Love made me smile today…

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It can be as simple as a light peck on the lips…or as solid as the kiss on her forehead as he says goodbye. Love or affection or loving affection is so very heartwarming to see. Had me smiling out loud on the 116 TTC bus today. They were in the first blushes of love…you could tell,  just discovering the delightful sensations of a light touch here, a small peck there…. timid, gentle, uncertain. Ahhhh, what is it about young love? So untainted, unguarded, hopeful. The beginnings of a journey full of promise. A drunken embrace…a promise to ‘call you when i get home’….a beautiful, simple love shown with loving affection. I couldn’t help but smile out loud!

May your day be filled with moments that remind you of the beauty of love and may you also smile out loud!

Yours with Love
A Traveling Black Chick
LH

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On Love…an internal investigation as i fall…

I am always curious about love…you know the kind between two people that makes body parts go pitt-erpatt-er. I am curious because well I see many do it so well and others like me fail miserably at it…it seems.
Curious because on the one hand love can be so so beautiful and strengthening, and on the other it can release the deep deep ugly in us. Now i don’t know for sure whether it’s love perse that reveals the ugly, but it sure allows us the safety to reveal our ugly.
In the name of love we can be so kind yet by the same token so very very unkind to those we claim to love…
In the name of love we can be so fearless but at the same time so very fearful.
In the name of love we can be so…and yet by the same token be so…the opposite.
Is there a difference between when the mind is in love and when the heart is?…
Can your mind be in love while your heart is not convinced?…i ask these questions as my heart – i mean my mind (but my fingers typed heart). Anyways my mind’s been ‘being in love i mean in something’ with him…crushing hard on him recently. I don’t see him often but when we do its like an intellectual love fest… spilling all over each other knowledge and insight and ideas about people and places we mutually love. i love his…..i mean to say…my mind loves his mind. Loves the way i learn so much from him about all the things that we love, and in my mind he is a true renaissance man of brilliant proportions. And when we meet – the  once in a rare blue times in years that we meet- it’s like we never didn’t see each other for years or months or whatever!
My mind thinks about him often. Thanks to technology i can keep up with what he is doing and it tugs on internal spaces I don’t want it to tug on…Cause you know we are so not like that…but…
So anyways can your mind and heart stand in different positions about someone…about love…

I’ve taken to calling the fact that i’ve been thinking about you way too much lately, an intellectual or rather professional crush. I am just so impressed by his work I say, and then the tiny memory of feeling so in-connect with you on the rare moments that we meet always has be second guessing…thinking, wondering, do I like, LIKE this guy????

Ewwwwwww uh NO! We are so not each other’s type…true say i have no clue what his ‘type’ is,  but i know for damn sure that I ain’t it. I think….and well, he is ….noooot…my type…either…. Right? RIGHT!! Definitely NOT!

I am smiling as I am having this raging debate…wondering can the mind tell the heart to be in love? As in, ‘heart, this is someone sensible to be in love with so CHOOSE him. Or does the heart go solo and decide, yep i like that one! bump you brain i am choosing him! How does one choose love? does one choose love?

Cause well i don’t know when exactly i started thinking about you…like that i mean. I don’t even know what ‘like that’ means. How exactly have I been thinking about you? You know, in that way that now has me writing about it-you-love…kind of way (cause i don’t write about things unless they are affecting me on a cellular level). And like when did that -you having a cellular effect on me- happen? Then again it might just be an absence makes the heart i mean mind, grow fonder type thing or maybe honestly its just a professional crush…

I don’t know and to be honest i don’t know that I want to know…cause he is so so so not my type and I am definitely not his! I …. Think.

Plus I believe both my heart and mind are in agreement, at least for the moment, that we shall remain mute on the subject…Cause neither of them feel ready for the burden that we believe to be of love! Phew! Thankful for small mercies. Ase!…yet the heart whispers, ‘but what if…you know…maybe?’ ‘No! No! NO!’ says the mind don’t even go there!…Or was it the mind who said and the heart opposed? Arrrgh Lol who knows…

i am truly amused by all of this and thankful to be able to stand apart from it all and write about it.

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Love.Who decides…the heart, the mind or both?

With love always
A Traveling Black Chick
LH

My dearest readers, this is a real conversation with myself; it is a rambling of words and thoughts…hence the seeming rambling on of this post. Plus this is also me trying to capture every thought that passes through the cortex on this particular topic. Cause I feel very much like a scientist at this moment. Observing myself…as i am possibly falling in love with someone who has no damn clue about it…and most likely never will! lolol! I love me so much!

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I checked a bully…male micro-aggressions

A 17 year old boy tried to bully me on the bus yesterday….he called me ugly, said I had a big forehead. Why? because I checked him on his aggression and pretty much what could have been considered assault of his girl (friend) on the bus. After we exchanged words, a tiny part of me thought maybe it was not my business and I should have kept my mouth shut. But the bigger part of me wishes I could have checked him better. Call him what he was a bully, and advise the young woman that he is no good for her. Advise her that to receive such violence at such a young age (at any age really) is destructive and sets her on a steady downward spiral. I wish i had found the words to say to her that love is kind…love does not publicly or privately disrespect…love does not publicly or privately humiliate and even more so love is not expressed through physical agression no matter how small.

But alas the right words always fail me when in a confrontation…my brain doesn’t like confrontation and so it just fights, threatens, attacks right back…if you continue to be aggressive with her I will call the police i said… Go ahead he said…its none of your business…do you see her saying anything? If she didn’t like what I was doing she would say something he said. The fact is I actually did SEE her saying something. She did not say it verbally but I saw her, head bowed, trying and failing to push him off her as he squeezed her into the corner by the back door of the bus…all while cussing her out loud enough that i and the other passengers could hear…. No one else said anything….I couldn’t not say anything...yes it is my business…i will not sit here and have you treat her this way in front of us on the bus i said….

After our exchange of words he noticeably stepped away from the young lady; his behaviour reduced now to aggressive whispers while barely touching her…. I may not have found the right words at the time but a bigger part of me is happy for the courage to have spoken up and at least curb the situation in that moment . I only hope that his wrath, – now probably meant for me- was not unleashed on her after they got home.

In the past weekend alone I have witnessed and have been a ‘victim’ of male aggression and micro-aggession. In my situation it was actually a professional argument gone south.  The contractor whom i hired to do a job felt comfortable enough to charge at me because i chose not to stand down from my position in our exchange. The other incident i observed from a far again on a ttc bus. I mostly watched and occasionally heard as the man proceeded to scold and shame his girlfriend on the bus. It was another young couple this time with a newborn baby. He was possibly no older than 23 and she even younger. In a short bus ride i saw this man humiliate the young woman, albeit silently. This though was followed by caresses and a passionate goodbye as they parted ways. It was almost psychopathic the movement from scolding to caressing (two sides of the same sword) She also did not say anything, but her body language spoke volumes – upper body bowed over, tears slowly creeping down her cheeks, pouting and sulking while he berates her to look at him….she barely raises her head to say goodbye, then  shamefully but longingly looking at him as the bus drives of and he asks her to blow him a kiss.

These incidents are worrying. Mostly because in all of the above situations including mine the men felt comfortable enough to perpetuate their aggressions in public. Is it because we are so very oblivious as a society to male aggression…so uncaring that aggressors are not afraid to act because they know we all think ‘it’s none of my business or that’s just the way things are?

It is worrying because in both the ttc situations these young women were no older than 17-18 at most. For them to already be in abusive relationships means somewhere along the way we are failing them. They are getting the messages that violence and abuse equals love.

Concerning because even in my situation i ended up giving the aggressor a forgiving tap on the wrist.  I was poised to continue working with him , until my best friend and business partner said in no uncertain terms, that based on his behaviour we will NOT do business with him. His was not a micro-aggression he full on charged at me stopped only by a mutually respected colleague who stood in between him and me in the nick of time. She then proceeded to talk him down. There was no provocation on my part just a refusal to stand down from my position.

For a while, after i closed the conversation by no longer responding to him, he just stood and watched me. Seemingly baffled, I guess by my unwillingness to ‘defer’.

I have noticed that as I increasingly become more present as an unapologetic female i have developed very low tolerance for male bad behaviour. As i get older i see more and more how many men navigate this life with an expectation of deference from women, and by the same token women and as a wider society we simply allow and indoctrinate them into it. In my case even as I become more aware and have the intentions to check their aggressions, the sanctioned right to this deference is so ingrained in me that i still fall into accepting or easily forgiving bad behaviour.

I had my bestie to thank for the reminding me to not reward my aggressor’s terrible actions.

We do not have to accept male aggression and micro-aggressions. Women are equally capable with or without them. We are equally invaluable as they are and it is for us to police ourselves and them to ensure that they come correct.

It is for us to train our boys to know that girls are not less, but rather they are equal partners, bringing different but just as essential and important skills, tools and abilities to the table of humanity.   I am happy that i remembered and chose to speak up last night on that TTC bus. I may not always catch it or act as I should when i do, but i am committed to act up more. We all must do so in order to create a better world.

#genderequalitynow #teachboysbetter
#teachgirlsthattheyareenough #nomeansstop #standupforwomen
#violencecomesinsmalldosesto #checktheirbehaviour

P.s. Readers if you’re indeed still out there. I know i owe you many tales, after all i did journey to the continent (Africa to be exact) and stayed a while. I wrote quite a bit while there to, but for reasons I may share later i did not post them here. Maybe I will…soon.

These recent happenings though affected me to the core and I felt compelled to release it on this space.

Always with Love
A Traveling Black Chick
LH

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