Hi APC! My name is Oumy Souané and I’m a college student based in NYC. Below are a few of my favorite writing pieces! Enjoy!
My father. The man that separated me from my body, and my body from me, and left me to glue all the broken pieces together. But don’t you worry, it got done.
My heart. For a very long time, has felt empty. Blood flowed through it, but it was tainted. It had strings and coils and feelings of hatred, love, anger, and of being insufficient laced with it, all from the man who was supposed to protect me and love me unconditionally.
My Maman has always been there for me, always told me she’s loved me, but her words were always drowned out by the seeds of anger my father planted in me.
My eyes. Growing up in Sénégal, my eyes seldom saw their father and when they did, it was for a short visit. They would see him barge into the house with the brightest and most inviting smile that would automatically melt all confusion and anger they ever felt towards him.
My eyes would be brought to tears sometimes, because they could not help but love the sight of him, of his displaying actual interest and love to the rest of me, despite his being more absent than present.
On the day I turned eight, my Maman could not wish me a happy birthday because she was in America, but my father happened to be there and did. In my fragile and impressionable mind, I valued his physical presence over her absence, and began fostering feelings of contempt towards my Maman.
My feet. They would then quickly move towards him, as if with a mind of their own that needed not my permission. They played catch-up with each other, one trying to outrun the other to no avail.
My hands. As each finger desperately reached out to him, my hands would gleefully wrap themselves around his hunched torso to pull him closer. My ears would drink up everything he would say. As if afraid of another drought, a drought where they’d be forced to go years’ ends without hearing his voice. The warmth radiating from his body would reaffirm his being, despite him never being there.
My mouth. It was always careful around my father, afraid that it’d say the wrong thing to make him disappear, to make him leave. My lips would stay forcefully shut and would keep my tongue hostage to force a silence, one as profound and hushed as the wind that sneakily weaves itself through tree branches, hoping to go unnoticed.
Maman. Forgive me. She has always been there, even though father came and went like the seasons. He was nothing at all. All I wanted was for him to be something. A decade ago after coming to America, even after I cried for months because I was yearning for my father, you were still there. A rock, the voice on the broken stereo that never stopped playing. Even after I placed you as my second choice, I was your first. Me. It’s been almost a decade since I laid eyes on my father, on his white, shining teeth. Almost a decade since my ears drank up the sound of his voice, of his boisterous laughter. Almost a decade of guilt. Of feeling insufficient. Of asking myself over and over and over… and over whether I made him leave, made him pack up and never look back? All that time spent being bitter and resentful kept me from fully enjoying the time memories I made with my Maman, of never showing her the love she fully deserved.
Writing. It was the glue I needed badly to stitch these parts of myself together. For the reaffirmation of my existence, and of the hunger to be chosen and loved, set me free from being held hostage by my pain, and misery. And finally, I could love again.
It hugs me, even when I don’t know that I need a hug
A badge of honor, of devotion, of strength, of beauty
A sign of malfunction and suffocation, they say
Sits as symmetrically and toweringly as a crown on my full head
Brighter than that of the king
Of the most ‘civilized’ of civilizations
I sometimes wear it in bright colors
Coral blues, and daring yellows, and wooing reds
Or dark blacks, and stormy grays, and raging purples
Its warmth is endless
Its comfort too great to ever be passed up
Its symbol of my unending love of my Creator
And of my gratitude to have been created
Confessions of an Angry Black girl
Yes, you read that right, I am angry. So very angry to the point where my anger has balled and coiled itself into tight fists, ready to mercilessly shatter anything in its path.
My blood is boiling as I type every letter on this keyboard. So angry to the point where mere anger is rather juvenile, I am now full-on pissed. Well, why so angry? You may ask. That, I’ll be beyond delighted to tell you.
For all the dirty looks I receive because of the beautiful hijabs and abayas I wear in respect to my beautiful religion Islam. Those mocking me for them would not know style if it slapped them across the face, pity. For always being seen as the ‘angry and loud’ black girl whenever I express passion and zeal towards something, anything at all.
For the countless times I’ve felt so very uneasy walking down the streets because men old enough to be grandfathers shout obscenities at me as I merely try to breathe. Can you even imagine how disgusted that makes me feel?
For all the times I would turn on the television and see an avalanche of stories about police officers massacring my people without ever being indicted.
For the times I was automatically deemed the ‘token’ black girl and was the immediate representative of my entire race whenever a controversial topic came up.
For the fear and the perturbation that always engulfs me whenever I think of the doomed fate awaiting my children in this cursed land. Let’s not overlook the bare fact that I don’t even have children yet.
For being made to feel ashamed of my God-given black skin, and was utterly unable to look in the mirror. Unable to accept nor love what faced me back in the mirror. For the times I’ve considered purchasing skin bleaching products to color my skin white.
But wait, I am nowhere near through with this. For all the people that have silenced and deliberately ignored me simply because my African accent was “too thick and wild” to understand. Funny thing is though, the English that oozes and drips from my tongue will always be superior to theirs.
For the innumerable times I’ve had to drastically alter the pronunciation of my name simply because the American tongue was too lazy to say it correctly. For being made to feel like no matter what I do, it will never suffice. Yes, I am angry, and be warned, for this anger knows no bounds.