Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Leaving the Suburbs


At the end of the last episode of Freaks and Geeks Lindsey gets on a hippie bus to follow the Grateful Dead instead of going to that weird achievement math camp at The University of Michigan.

She lies and goes against her parent’s wishes, finally taking ownership for her life.





Thats how I feel about going to college.

Like the future is this big, unknown, beautiful scary thing. Like I'm finally getting to choose my life, just like Lindsey Weir.

I have been waiting my whole life to go to college.  To go to a place full of open minded, free thinkers.

Up to this point, I have partially defined myself by my surroundings.

That’s where this blog came from.


It was birthed out of my utter frustration concerning my life.  The town I was “stuck” in, the mindset of the people I was “stuck” with…

The genesis was my desire to fly from the jail bars disguised as picket fences

^^^(…I definitely just exceeded my teen angst limit for the day).

Throughout this whole experience I have developed my sense of self, based on what I am not.

But that is a flawed understanding of self-awareness.

Tomorrow I leave for college.

I have finally escaped the suburbs...

But the truth is, you can never escape who you are.

You can never run away from yourself. 

Maybe that’s what I was trying to do all along. 

Instead of accepting my true self, quirks included I blamed my own denial on my environment.

The truth is I’m not fundamentally changing and the world isn’t either.

But college is a time for introspective thought and regretful Friday night behavior.

I’ll have more than enough time to discover the authentic me and do some pretty rad shit at the same time.

I hope you guys join me because this feminist ain't in suburbia no more...


Friday, July 11, 2014

Fashionable Feminism




My mother and I argue over about 50% of the clothes I wear.

She doesn’t like my style.

But that’s the amazing thing about fashion.

IT DOESN’T MATTER!

It’s all about you.  Not about others preconceptions or expectations.  Its all about wearing things that make you feel good.

Society pushes all this bullshit down our throats about what we should wear.

Look in any Seventeen Magazine and you will find tips to find the perfect pair of jeans for YOUR shape.

But the truth is we should all wear whatever the fuck we want.

Feminism has influenced my fashion by empowering me to dress the way I want to dress

Confidence comes in all shapes and sizes.

For me I find it in crop tops and the mantra…

More things… you should def wear more things (meaning rings, scarfs, vintage broken watches, Nana’s clip on earrings.)

Excess is my nirvana.

There is that whole perceptions that feminists shouldn’t care about fashion, make-up…shaving ;)

But in my mind fashion can be feminism in action.

Instead of living within the confines of a patriarchal society that insist we be sexy but modest at the same time we consciously decide for ourselves what we want to wear and thus who we want to become.  





Follow your neighborhood feminist on the gram:
Instagram: @mimialyce

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Thick or Fat?




I am so annoyed.


Honestly, the world is so confusing, sometimes I feel the need to play my mother’s meditation music on full volume and imagine I am on an island made of peanut butter,  and ʻN Sync is circling around me signing "This I Promise You" while simultaneously feeding me grapes that taste like chocolate chips.



So you ask, what has gotten your panties in a bunch this time?

Well, let me explain.

On the most foundational level I am confused by society’s view on beauty, more specifically on whether I, Camille Alyce Borders am thick or fat.

To some this may seem basic or even slightly vain, and tbh it is.

Obviously as an educated young feminist of color (I am honestly not that self-righteous, I promise ) I understand that there are bigger fish to fry than my own individual body issues.

But this blog is a bullshit free space where masks are left at the door.

Before, I get into the nitty-gritty of this lifelong battle I have endured (excuse my melodramatic tendencies) let’s get the basics out of the way.

Thick is desirable and sexy.  Thick is a girl in this 2 Chainz video.  Curvaceous, bootylicious etc.

Society uses fat as an insult.  Fat is feared.  Fat is discriminated against and stereotyped.  Lazy, unmotivated etc.

Thick is something to be proud of.  Fat is something to be ashamed of (according to society).

This topic has made me look in the mirror and dissect every inch of my body.

The dilemma is augmented by the racial side of it all.

I can be the fat friend when I am with my white friends but turn around and be thick and voluptuous when I am surrounded by my mocha skinned family.

So what’s the deal?

Who decides?

Growing up surrounded by white individuals increased my mass confusion.

When I started to loss weight.  Friends said “you look so good” “tell me what you are doing ” “you have so much self-control”
The body in question...

On the other hand my Nana repeatedly said, while practically stuffing Oatmeal Raisin cookies down my throat “You are too skinny” “You aren’t eating ”  “Stop this rowing business , I can practically see your bones”

It’s like a never ending struggle.  When you are placed in the middle of two cultures it seems impossible to ever please both sides.

Through my experience of living on both sides of the figurative track, I believe that white and black people have two completely different views on weight and what is acceptable as beauty.

Being my size and being black is ok, as if my beauty is limited to one race.

This can be hard for me as I spend my life switching between feeling desired and wanted and feeling like an obese monster waddling around town and simultaneously eating everything in my wake.

That is where the discomfort lies.

It’s like having another fucking identity crisis.

Through my life, I let other people define my beauty.  It seemed at the time like the most logical thing to do. 

If guy called me ugly and fat, I must be.  I was a smart girl, at least I thought, but not smart enough to define my beauty for myself.

So imagine the shock in my eyes when someone liked my thick thighs.

When the things that made me feel unwanted were actually things others loved.

My whole life I have attended a PWI (Predominantly White Institution).  I was surrounded by white guys my whole entire life minus the occasional Deshawn or Malik, who would float by my eyes so quickly I would have sworn it was a mirage.

I spent most of my life feeling unwanted while occasionally feeling desired.

This is a complex subject but the truth is quite simple. 

I cannot let others definitions of my size and beauty define me.

I must take back my power.

 It doesn’t matter if I am thick or fat, it only matters that I have the power inside to look in the mirror and love what I see.


Thursday, June 19, 2014

Thoughts on the Road

This poem is about societal expectations.

Strong black women don't fall when walking on broken glass

They don't cry over spilled milk

Or bring flashlights to illuminate

the dark caves within their stronghold souls

Women who know
Charcoal  hands
Calloused worn

Hard women

What do they know
that I don't
What secret escapes me

These women hug long
And love hard

These women have a way of making my greatest insecurity fly away

"Baby if you were ugly I would tell you"

Honesty sharpened

Safety

Faith unwavering
God certain
God is truth
God is

Looking toward the sky on your knees eyes clenched rocking back and forth to the rhythm

Our father who art in heaven hallowed be thy name

Maybe I wasn't in the womb long enough to absorb the strong black women tonic laced in the placenta

There is an epidemic.

In a world that expects brick walls

When brokenness infiltrates the soul.

What then.

There is no room for the shattered or
The crushed in the world of
Strong black women

This country has been built out of forced entry, violated space

Built out of pain
Born out of pain

My ancestors still
Strong black women

I see it in the eyes of others
The problem with no name

Black women broken
Expectations of strength
Constant bravery

We must see the unseen

Crack open this exterior of forced
Strength

Open eyes to the broken within us
The hurting

For the longest I thought it was me

Everyone else is
A bronzed statue

Strong black women
Save my life

Saturday, May 31, 2014

All is Fair in Love and Feminism




It’s one thing to have ideals.

For example: “I’m a feminist”
I believe in gender equality for all.
I care about reproductive rights and the wage gap.
I am passionate about the struggles faced specifically by women of color.
I’m against the illusion that virginity is some sort of precious jewel.  I don’t accept the excuse that “boys will be boys”.
I acknowledge rape culture and the things within our society that perpetuate the vicious cycle.
I cringe at the fact that 1/5 women will be sexually assaulted while in college. 
I recognize my privilege.

It’s one thing to say you believe. 

Sometimes I fear I come off self-righteous.  As if I think my ideals make me a better person.  But to be honest, in my opinion, ideals aren’t jack shit.

It’s one thing for me to go to half price books and drown myself in feminist/gender/sexuality literature but it’s another thing for me to be faced with a real life scenario and to stand up for myself.

Doing things you regrets sucks.  Disappointing people sucks.  And if we can have some real talk for a moment, being a teenager sucks.

I thought I knew what I believed.  I thought I had a pretty substantial handle on all this “Who am I” business.

But as the cliché story goes, I was naïve to the complexities of me.  I have yet to grasp how to live my life in such a way as to make me proud.  

Here I was thinking I was some sort of self-realized girl, when in reality I’m in the dark fumbling down a staircase with no flashlight. 

I realize that finding yourself is a life long journey.  And pain is a part of the path.  

As teenagers especially, we can believe one thing and do another.  Our minds can tell us to go left when our bodies tell us that we should most definitely go right.

But even knowing this reality doesn’t help. 

I always thought I was courageous.  Gutsy.  Bold.

I always assumed that I would stand up for myself.

As I look to college I know I will be faced with circumstances where I will be tempted again to compromise myself.

To compromise my loud voice. 
To compromise the way I look.
 I will be tempted to shrink myself into the mold, but I hope I don’t. 

 I hope I will look in the mirror and see the Mimi I want to see.

The loud chick with crazy hair and an open mouth.

Always ready for a passionate debate and not accepting anything but respect.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Nighttime Questions




Ruffled pages of ink staining the tip of my index finger.
Men  abused.  Used.
Cracked knuckles.
Specks of blood crusted into the folds of their wrinkled hands.
Doors not opened.  Assumptions falsified by the God that assumes no blame.

A couple of weeks ago I read an article in The New York Times about a group of mentally disabled men who had been abused at the hands of a turkey company (http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2014/03/09/us/the-boys-in-the-bunkhouse.html?_r=0). 
When I read this article I felt an initial punch of disgust and sadness.  Fast forward to that night when I retold the story to my sister. 

Fingers grazing the curvature of a dusty armchair.
Shrinking away.
Holding close to an illusion.
Images. 
Blood flowing
the pale skin, kissed by the God that assumes no blame.

I started crying.  I wasn’t able to contain my sadness.  But it was more than despair, it was a lack of understanding.
I don’t understand why bad things must happen.
Now, I know I must seem naïve.  But as I grow older the answer to this question doesn’t become clearer instead it always seems one step ahead of me.

Fingernails raking questions
Off the inside of my wrist
Pounding through blackness
Deeply felt

The world sucks.  It is busting with violence, abuse, and sadness.  People are attacked by their own government.  Aid sent to countries in need is used corruptly by dictators.  Education is a privilege not a right.
This type of sorrow usually hits me at night.

Quiet whispers creep in
The ghosts follow
One
By
One
   
I wonder what I’m supposed to do.  How can I change anything?
I write on this blog.  I think about issues.  I talk about issues.  But what am I really doing with my life.  Am I doing what I was made to do?  Was I made to do anything?  Is the goddess mad at me for not following a predestined path? (existentiall crisis ensues)

Thoughts pour out
Dripping like sap
Stopping the beat of a young heart
Closing books
Dog eared pages
Dusty dreams

I wonder why some people’s top priority is finding a prom date an others is finding food?
Why am I given the privilege of being surrounded by a loving family while others are abandoned and ignored?

Things fall apart in my mind.
The crashing symbols of
Expectation and
reality

Mother says when things seem to be falling apart they are really coming together.
I think that’s totally bullshit.