this is a submission by Sushmita Ghosal
possible trigger warning, please continue reading at your own discretion.
the light that shines through
i love nothing more than the night skies,
angelic darkness and twinkling stars winking at me like a wise, old soul,
telling me that everything will be alright.
i wish for nothing more than to keep even one window open to hear the soft sounds of the night, so they can lull me to sleep,
see the things of the night that no one else sees so they can visit me in my dreams,
a secret between me and midnight,
but since i was just a girl i was told, ‘Mija, if you keep your curtain open then they will see you at night, they will climb up the ladder of your dreams so they can catch a peak of you changing into your Cinderella pajamas.’
if your curtains fall open just a tiny, sneaking inch, then when the cars drive past they will let their lights shine through into your room,
so all the peeping toms of the neighborhood can catch a glance of your sleeping face,
looking calm for once in your life because in your dreams you don’t have to worry about the registered sex offender on your street,
or the three registered sex offenders on your best friends street,
or the five registered sex offenders on your other best friends street
the lights from the cars cast shadows into your room that form into the man your mother told you about when you were six and you couldn’t understand why someone wanted to see you while you slept, while you were stuck in a vulnerable coma of candy land and sugar plums,
and now that you’re twenty-three, living on your own, you close your curtains but forget to triple check that they’re closed all the way,
and the next thing you know car lights are shining through to you and you’re six years old again wearing your princess pj’s and you call out for your mom,
but all you get in a response is a grown mans hand holding a rag against your face that smells like a
and suddenly your eyes flutter shut and you no longer worry about the lights that shine through from the night skies
I’m not good with math
Or numbers or change
but here’s an equation
I’ll try to explain
if I start with a positive
and lose any cents
My account becomes negative
make any sense?
I know you don’t get it
Just hear me out
I’ve run out of worth
causing debt and doubt
I don’t take loans
grants or gifts
in the form of cheap thrill
Or fake relationships
so try and keep quiet
don’t fuss or holler
Bc what’s your two cents
Compared to my dollar
You still don’t get it
so let me just say it
I am changing for me
And no opinion can delay it
So in Dollars, cents
pennies or quarters
know your self worth
And stop taking orders
So better yourself
and don’t be ashamed
add up your value
Bc everyone needs change
Damn. My first thought as I delved into the book I got whilst shopping with friends.
The Hate U Give
T H U G Thug.
This book, written by Angie Thomas, was the best book I’ve read-maybe in my entire life. Besides the fact that this book was incredibly written, has great wording and descriptions, plus makes real connections with the emotions that the main character feels, this book will make you feel things, I can promise you that. This book should make you want to get up and scream for justice!
THUG follows 16-year-old Starr Carter as she struggles to keep her two lives separate. Her life in Garden Heights, her ‘black’ neighbourhood, and her life at Williamson, the, mainly white, private school she goes to. She finds herself at a party with her friend, who she hasn’t spoken to in months, Khalil Harris. When cops try to break up the party, Khalil says he’ll drive her out of there, and they never quite make it home.
Khalil gets fatally shot by a white police officer while he was unarmed and simply cooperating, and Starr’s two worlds collide forever. People at Williamson constantly talk about him, unaware of the companionship he and Starr had in her early childhood. The people of the neighbourhood wouldn’t even talk to Starr about him, yet riots would break out on the streets. A movement.
The Hate U Give is a phenomenal punch to the gut of those who fight against Black Lives Matter. It really exemplifies what it’s like to be one of the only people of colour in a primarily white school with such raw emotion and in depth detail. “I’m cool by default because I’m one of the only black kids here.” or another great quote which I personally relate to on a whole new level, “Funny how it works with white kids though. It’s dope to be black until it’s hard to be black.”
This book screams for social justice and equality for all, with an echo of the pride Starr has at the end of the book for her race. This book is all about teaching people that everyone deserves to live, that there is another side of the story that the media won’t tell, that no matter what there will always be that one person to drag you down but it doesn’t matter because you will have at least one more person to bring you all the way up to the clouds to get you away from the one person who’ll drag you down. It talks about how you will always be seen as a certain thing, like Star was seen as ‘the witness’ ‘the black kid’ ‘Big Mav’s daughter’ and many other things, until at the end she sees herself as a powerful young woman, with a hopeful future in activism, she is seen as Starr.
This novel is a must read for any teenager, young adult, adult, elder, absolutely anyone, no matter your race, sexuality, gender, or age, get your hands on this book as soon as you can!
Khalil, while talking about what Tupac has said and his current relevance, said, “Listen! The Hate U-the letter U-Give Little Infants F**ks Everybody, T-H-U-G L-I-F-E. Meaning what society gives us as youth, it bites them in the ass when we wild out.” And if what we give kids in their youth affects how they act when they’re older and how they impact the world, then we should give them this book as soon as we can, or at least teach them even a sliver of what this book can teach others.
I’ve always said that us minorities can scream until our throats are bleeding and we can’t scream anymore, but those with the privilege can whisper and be heard better than us, and this book proves that in an insanely amazing way. This book will truly inspire you to take action, and you’ll be forever glad that you read it.
I have never met anyone capable of saying “beautiful.” I have never met anyone strong enough to comment on the wonders of the world that way. Are you capable of saying beautiful? Are you strong enough? When the word slips out does it taste awkward and new? Strange and unused? Are you sincerely commenting on the world?
Does he tell you that you are beautiful when you are shattering? When you are sitting in the bathroom in a pool of tears wondering why you keep going? Does he hold you like you are made of porcelain? Does he watch you dream, wishing you would wake up to say your watercolor face is beautiful? If he does he is capable. He is strong enough.
You’ll feel like you aren’t strong enough sometimes. You’ll feel like you want to scream, but you can hardly whisper. You scoff and roll your eyes and sarcastically say it’s beautiful, even if you love the old lace, memories, and flowers. If you are not ready to speak your truth to someone, if you are not ready to be your true, vulnerable, and floral self, then chances are they are not worthy of knowing it. But you’ll beat yourself up, because you’re scared. You don’t owe them anything.
There’s a world out there, my dear, and it’s confusing to try to understand what you are going to do with it. Because part of you wants to know where the outside goes, and the other part in terrified. And are you ever going to let us know? Are you actually going to fly away, or are you only going to live in you mind. I beg you, go outside. Go outside with your new ability to say “beautiful” and find the things in the world worth seeing.
It pins you down
Captures you in its grasp and won’t let you go.
You can try as hard as you would like
But nothing you do will help
The voice in your head
Constantly reminding you that you failed
You did not succeed
You’re a failure and a disappointment
Don’t try again
It’s not worth it
Waste of time, space and energy
chapter one: the broken girl in the coffee shop
she was not the type of girl to wait around after school just to watch you walk to your locker.
she would not wait around at the coffee shop after your practice just to watch you order your large strawberry flavoured water and yoghurt parfait cup.
she would not give you the answers to yesterday’s homework no matter how important that game or practice was, ” or was it a party this time?” she’d ask in an almost sarcastic tone.
she was a tough one, there was a certain stubbornness to her that you admired.
her light brown eyes had seen some of the darkest days you are yet to experience, but you loved it, you loved how she managed to get through it all.
she was not dying to get to know you, but god knows you would do anything to get to know her better.
the quiet girl who just transferred from california, was that her name? her name! you don’t even know her name.
you started to stay after school to get a glance of her on her way to her car, backpack half open, hair a mess. it was cute. you thought it was cute.
after your practice at the coffee shop you would glance around hoping some day she would be sitting alone reading her favourite book, then you’d approach her right then and there and get her name.
weeks go by, she seems to have disappeared. you see her occasionally when walking from class to class.
apparently, she has been seeing someone. someone who you know is not any good for her, but as long as she is happy right?
one night in the coffee shop you glance over at the brunette girl with light brown eyes sitting next to someone.
you hear the pain in her words as she opens her mouth, voice trembling, ” we were doing so well”
minutes go by and there she is alone. wiping the tears off of her rosy cheeks.
you grew angry with yourself, why didn’t you comfort her? why didn’t you go and sit by her? ask her if she was okay?
these thoughts attacked your panicked mind until you got up and walked over.
there you were sitting next to the broken girl in the coffee shop.
no words were exchanged, as she placed her head in the warmth of your embrace.
she doesn’t have her car, so you’ll drive her home.
you won’t ever forget that rainy night or the dark pink and purple sky.
she lives close but you don’t mind taking her. you hope she feels better, and not alone.
you got up and out of your chair, let her feel her emotions without having to hide them behind her grey tear stained sweatshirt. drove her home so she’d be safe. you offered to stay in case she didn’t want to be alone.
little do you know she’ll remember this night forever