My name is Janay Kelley. I am a literary artist from Memphis, TN (the most beautiful land in the world). This summer, right before my senior year at White Station High School, I learned that I am an Aquarius Sun, an Aries Moon, and an Aquarius Rising. I have absolutely no idea what that means.
It was this year, actually, when I come to realized that I have had absolutely no idea what anything means until this point in my life. Coming to that realization is a terrifying feeling. It feels as if the ground is swept from underneath you, but you are not falling. There is just a nothingness underneath your feet. Nobody, but you, notice that your feet are hovering above a void. Gravity, you realize, was a lie. Everything, you realize, was a lie. Everybody is trying to play it cool as if they do not see that the physical world is trying to swallow you whole. I was one foot away from allowing it. Allow the world to continue oblivious to oblivion. That is a lonely way of thinking.
As long as I could remember, I have thought more about loneliness than I have about myself. Being lonely – I have come to learn – is not a choice. It is thinking about others knowing they will not think about you. It is believing that reciprocity is achievable. It is taking time to learn another’s love language when you don’t even know your own. There have been times when I have tried to explain my loneliness to others. However, being lonely also means having a better memory than others.
I would like to think that I am self-aware. I have tried my best to research as much as I can. Emotional intelligence is something that I have come to cherish. More curse than blessing despite the benefits it has brought me: understanding my emotions, understanding others’ emotions. With this information, I started writing a little piece called “Creating Spaces that are Safe”. It won’t be done in years, but I find myself so motivated to finish it, especially at this point in my life when some of my safe spaces have been invaded.
I do not want this to be a sad article, so if you can bear with me as I type through these tears, it’ll be worth it; I am all for happy endings, I promise.
The year of 2019 has shown so much growth for me. It is so hard to adjust, but I know the time has come for me to be an advocate for myself minus the guilty that I used to hold onto. Before when I would write, I would write these characters with so much of my insecurities. One was beautiful. Another popular. The other smart. I would create these worlds where my loneliness would no longer exist, where essentially, I would no longer exist. However, I have grown up, and I noticed that my loneliness is eating away at myself and another girl lonely may be eating away at her, too.
I started performing poetry spoken word. Not for myself, but for the people like me. I started talking about all the things that anxiety would not allow me to. I started writing about all the things that loneliness would not allow me to. Before you know it, I am asked to perform on an expense-paid trip to Virginia Beach. It has been five years since I started writing poetry. It had been a lifetime of surviving myself. Throughout the years, I have found that there are children, just like me, who need a chance, who need an outlet, who need someone to look at their lonely and say I feel that as well.
I still battle it to this very day: loneliness. It is big and intimidating and frightening, but so am I. It is an invisible disease. I, like Rome, was not built in a day. I still get taken advantage of. I still get withheld apologizes. I still get blamed for other’s emotions. I still hurt. I still get hurt. Is that okay? Am I okay?
I am an Aquarius Sun, meaning that I am meant to be healer even when I neglect my own cuts. I am not to be confined to water because others thought me there; I am the air, and I am learning how to fly, how to fight for my own spaces and my own time. I am an Aquarius Rising. I have been stranger to all who feel I will not accept them. I have been excluded by all who feel my human is not obvious to tell. However, I am stubborn. I still chose to be a mother to all wayward children even after I am sucked dry of all my milk. I am an Aries Moon, meaning I want recognition and gratification and “thank you” and “I am sorry.”
Am I going to get as much as I give? Will those around me keep mind of my sensibilities? When will the Earth give me ground again?
I know not the answers to these questions. I know not of the future. All I know is that I am an Aquarius Sun, an Aries Moon, and an Aquarius Rising. I have absolutely no idea what that means, but I know loneliness, and I know care, and although he will never admit it, he is scared of my voice.
I wrote this because I wanted to talk about emotions that are universal to every race, but not universal in representation. I want black girls to know that they are not the only black girls feeling like the only black girls in the world. I want them to know that our kindness will be taken for granted. I want them to know that I, too, do not have the answers to all our questions. Despite all of these, there is comradery between us.
When There is Worship
Clasp your hands together
This is a prayer
We whisper our psalms to our baby girls
to keep them baby
Perform a ritual of celebration
In the light, we are demons
When Man looked at their reflection in our eyes and saw a monster,
They sacrificed our bodies
Feasted on our flesh until our blood tasted like
When there is worship to be done, give it to us
Whose womb has birth this Son
Ain’t this body holy enough?
When you come home from playing God,
How can you not acknowledge divine in these fingertips?
Hold the power of both life and death
Grant life no matter how many times it kills us
You will never give us our roses until after
we have died
Until after we have fried upon your pyre to face judgment from your God
Your god sends us back every time
With his scripture sculpted into our vertebrates
With his voice cut from the back of our teeth
When there is worship to be done,
Look at us with the fear of God
When the four horsemen are upon you, know it is
How many times do we have to burn before we are awarded the name phoenix?
If we ended this world in fire, will you call it judgment day?
The black Madonna cannot block all her sons from this wraith
Remember this is a prayer
Clasp your hands together
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