Thursday, 2 April 2015

Cascades

Today's prompt was to gaze upward, and write a poem about the stats. And here it goes:

The Stars cascade 

Tides pulling us in and out. 
Licking the shore, 
Then lapping it up again, 
Toes buried in the sand. 
The sky cascades, 
Dark mass enveloping itself, 
Me, myself. 
Breathing it all in, 
Cool and brisk. 
Air. 

Arlana Shikongo
April 2, 2015

Wednesday, 1 April 2015

What is not....Life

It is not a sequence of days,
Building up one by one to be called a living.
Nor is it feeling the sun on your skin,
When the skies are grey and crying.
It isn't capturing moments on an iPhone,
Making the ordinary surreal,
So that to some body else it might seem,
Like you've got it all together.
It is not the moments in which you realize the little things,
And transcend your knowledge,
Your ideas of the meaning of being.
It is short,
It is simple,
It is sweet.
It is not a sequence of days,
Building up one by one to be called a living.
It is life;
It's a real thing,
...and it's happening to you as we speak.

Arlana Shikongo
April 1, 2015 4:57pm

Thursday, 29 January 2015

Welkom Bij Amsterdam

There was a bustle, but it tickled the air subtly. The nippy air bit at my skin as the winter coat I had brought across waters attempted to do its job. I was unfazed. Having earlier been bathed in the Dutch rains as I attempted to find the building I was to call home for the next few months, the cold had already given me a rude welcoming to the Dutch lands. 
I was in the bicycle capital of the world, yet somehow I was still surprised by how many bicycles littered the streets. Families were transported in these things. Children were diligently following their parents on them, or sometimes they'd be loosely left in a crate type of basket attached to the front…and as a result, few cars dressed the roads. It was very unlike the American way of life; definitely healthier for your body and your pocket. 
Having flown in that day and then bombarded with information regarding banks and city councils, the obvious choice was to go home and get ready for bed once the orientation dinner was over. It was a pizza party. European pizza, though smaller, trumps American pizza by yards. None the less, I decided to go on a little adventure with a girl I had just met. Given that our cellphones were not yet set up as we might have liked, we had no GPS to aid with the navigation so we figured we’d do it ourselves. We were looking for a coffeeshop so it couldn't be all that difficult. We ought to have known better. 
Before long, we found ourselves in an illuminated part of the city, where lights dressed trees and bridges; and before I knew it, the lavender that kissed my lips left me in a haze which amounted to excitement and paranoia. You can imagine the adrenaline rush.
What does Amsterdam have to offer so far? Sights for sore eyes: not limited to but including beautiful Graffiti, beautiful men and beautiful coffee shops. 

Thursday, 1 January 2015

In Retrospect

One of my first memories of 2014 entails having a gun pointed at my face while being patted down for money, a phone, or really, whatever they could find. That cold day in Memphis, TN I was seated next to an individual who I had come to learn would be a lifelong friend. I knew this because our friendship had evolved and strengthened rather than faltered after months of fighting and then moving to different places for college. 
Next, a young girl in the little know-one-know-all community we'd created back home in Windhoek committed suicide. I didn't know her well, but I knew that that occurrence shook the earth under the feet of the teenagers who were close to her. I liked to call them the "BB's of our little community" because they were about  two to three years younger than me. I guess we're never too young to experience the tragedies of death and sadness.
A couple of weeks followed and then I got the news that my aunt had died. She was ill. No one had told me. I cried, and then I moved on. 
The year opened up as a mecca of misfortune and pain, and in all honesty, it is likely to end that way too. None the less, this is not a post about my sadness and the things that make me cry at night, it is an avenue for me to explore the positive experiences and greatest moments of my year. 
This year saw the majority of my growth, it saw me come into my maturity, and it encaptured the process of me becoming fully and unapologetically myself. 
2k14 blessed me with friends who loved me enough to entertain the idea of making a whole week out of my birthday. It introduced me to individuals I did not initially approach because of my bad habit of casting a judgement on a book based on its cover. I can only thank them for being the part of my life that entertained and joined in on my craziness. They have been my rock, helped save me from myself; and helped me understand what it means to live, to persevere and to know that a good outcome is always in the distance. 
The year blessed me with the courage and self-assurance to put myself forth to people rather than coup myself up in my own shell. It allowed for a spontaneous Facebook post about Spring break, that resulted in a spontaneous trip to Chicago; the city that I've come to adore and intend on spending a good portion of my life in. That led to a relationship developing between individuals who I know are my soul sisters and a "Tribe" I will forever belong to. These people helped me learn to be comfortable with myself, see the beauty in myself and keep my head up. Thank you for letting me know that when it comes to my feelings and emotions, it's ok to dive into the deep end and perhaps have abit of a hard time keeping my head above the water. The most important thing is that I keep trying to keep my head above the water, and with friends like you, swimming out to the shore for Corona's on the beach becomes easy to do. That Chicago trip taught me a lesson about putting myself out there, approaching people and capitalizing on my spontaneity. It taught me that there are people on the same wavelength as myself, and it brought me to them. 
The individuals I've met have taught me lessons on being a strong, independent and persevering woman and every day that I was surrounded by them was a new learning curve. They've opened my eyes up to the reality of what I am and what I experience and they've helped me learn how to harness my strength, despite how little it might be sometimes, and turn that into dynamite; a force to be reckoned with. 
A huge part of that dynamite also includes being able to let go of people's judgement of me or the ideas they conjure when they judge my cover before they've read my pages. This group of people have helped me learn to go forth as I am, and that those who matter will be around when they need to be. I never knew that I could be so certain that my one call from jail will never go unanswered despite where in the world I'm calling from, if that call is made to them.
It took me nineteen years to find a tribe of people that have undoubtedly made me feel like I was part of a truly loving, judgement free and supportive group of friends. So much so that each and every one of them have become family and interacted quite personally with my nuclear family despite meeting them via a computer screen while sitting in a dorm room 7 270 miles away. 
Between Illinois and Wisconsin for spring break; lake house shenanigans and Jewish frat party mishaps, and a 9mm gun pointed at my face in Tennessee, so many extraordinary memories have been made during this year. From high times in California to low times in New York; I wouldn't change a day in the face of 2k14. 
All I can do now is let go and let love. The next year will be one continued to be filled with growth, adventure and new journeys. I want to enter it with an open heart and the courage to realize that the inevitability of change is a matter that should no longer make me cry. I move forth, letting go of those whose paths have gone completely perpendicular of mine, and keeping close to my heart those who are on their paths and their journeys parallel to mine, separated only by a brief amount of distance. With energy being everything, I can only hope that mine is granted positivity and strength to carry me threw the tides of the new journey I am about to embark on, 
....and for you, I hope positivity, prosperity and genuine joy; even if it comes momentarily, even if it comes fleeting. Live your life to be entertained by even the smallest, most insignificant moments of joy as those are seemingly becoming more and more rare.  

Saturday, 29 November 2014

UNTITLED

by Arlana S
Nov 4, 6:52am

I like you, 
I like him. 
He likes me 
And wants me, 
In the same way I want you. 
So I have to tell him, 
The same way you told me
That there wasn't room for us to be. 
But see; that'd be sacrificing myself whole, 
Cutting off a limb in hopes of a transplant, 
But when will I know? 
You're making me wait, 
But, waiting gets boring and it gets me late, 
When I could be getting laid, 
With someone who wants to lay me down gently and caress my spine, 
Rather than "FUCK ME" on a counter in what I'm calling "record time" 
For you, not me. 
Because unlike you; he thinks of me, 
Whether HE got ME off;
and he never leaves me until I come undone and we've both experienced different worlds,
So we can lay, wrapped up in sweet sweat and skin. 
He never leaves the plate anything but spotless, 
And licks every speck of it till it shines. 
But you; you leave an assortment of condiments messily spread, 
Uncaring of how you've left me. 
And that's the trouble. 
I seem to care because you're not carrying me in your arms and telling me how precious I am to you. 
But he is..
And somehow that pushes me closer to you. 
I need to let go, 
Because I've grown
And these games aren't ones I can play anymore 
Like hopscotch, I had to stop because I didn't want to sprain ankles anymore. 
...so I need you to get out of my mind, 
So I an go find what I'm looking for,
But in a better place. 
Because I can't hold your hand forever, 
Let you rest on my chest, as I stroke your hair and try to ease your distress. 
Different roles, one girl. 
Not too sure how I feel about it. 
But I do know,
The man that wants to love and make love to me, rather than FUCK 
Is where I should be! 

....but somehow, I can't convince myself of it completely. 

Saturday, 19 April 2014

Chapped Lips

Chapped lips like hers,
They tasted like whiskey and tears,
Lemon and pain.
Chapped lips like hers,
Often smiled a luscious pink,
While speaking sunshine things
As they burned from the sun's persistent heat.
Chapped lips like hers,
Concealed by sticks and;
Stones could never break her bones.
But they nicked at them,
Leaving cuts and bruises the surface was adapt to hide.
Chapped lips like hers
Could only smile so much before the acid rain of her eyes burned away at them.
Those chapped lips and lipstick,
You didn't know,
Did you?

Monday, 24 March 2014

My Cheek Piercings and I: We Won't Work for You

There is one thing that you're most likely going to notice about me when first meeting me. Yes, I have two silver balls sticking out from both sides of my face. Some people question why I would ruin my dimples (which were never there before the piercings, btw) with piercings and others admire how "classy" I make them look. Either way, my piercings are very personal and the journey I've been on over the past two years since getting them has been just as personal and significant.

During the course of my time with these piercings I've received many curious questions: Did you have dimples before? How do you eat? Can you take them out and squirt liquid out of them? Is it one bar? How much did it hurt? What did your parents say?
Jup, those are all questions I'm familiar with and despite how original you might think your questions are, things can become pretty redundant over the course of two years. There is, however, one question I get asked often and that I feel is worth answering. I'm not answering this question because I have anything to prove to anyone or want to put anything to rest. I'm answering it because it allows me the time and space to think about what I'm being asked, the importance of it and it's relevance to my life.

Many times I'll answer some of the sillier questions I get with the same amount of bullshit I measure from the question. "Is it one bar that goes from one side of your mouth to the other?" Yes Sherlock, because it would make plenty of sense to do something like that. The entire purpose of these piercings is to limit how easily I can speak, eat or suck a dick.......because I'd intentionally like to make all three of those things significantly difficult for myself (Sorry, I'm aware that was a little crude).
....but unlike these, the question of what I'm going to do about my piercings once I need to get a job is a very valid one and definitely worth thinking about.

When I got my cheeks pierced I was a teenager dealing with teenager stuff and quite frankly, I did not think I was going to live past 20,  so employment wasn't at the top of my list of "Things to consider before getting a facial piercing". However, now that I am well-aware of my (hopefully) lengthy lifespan, I realize that there are a lot of reasonable things to consider and think about before getting a facial piercings, and employment is definitely at the top of that list.

I know for a fact that I probably won't keep these piercings in till I'm 30. Heck, I'll probably have them out by the time I'm 23 or even sooner. However, that has nothing to do with the fact that I hope to get a job someday. If anyone asks me whether I recommend cheek piercings I tell them that I can, quite honestly, not make a recommendation. This is not to say that I hate my piercings or that I regret getting them. If that were the case, I'd have them out and closing up by now. But it is important to realize that we are different people going on different journeys so I could not make a genuine recommendation with your best intentions at heart. Yes, cheek piercings are a fun conversation starter, I find them aesthetically appealing and despite being an iffy and stressful kind of piercing, they are still fun to have. However, I also know that I have no intent on working some job in which I'm required to wear a dress suit everyday like I'm Jessica Pearson (this is a Suits reference, just by the way). I am not opposed to piercings and tattoos in the work place, but I also know that every career path has somewhat of a uniform and cheek piercings do not fit in well with most of them. However, as an individual and someone who knows that she's going to be the captain of her own ship someday, be it at a self-made, independent magazine or wherever else I might find myself, I know that I would not want to work for or with anyone that is bothered by my cheek piercings.

Quite frankly put, if I were to get an interview with my favorite print press I would NOT take out my piercings. Apart from them being a large part of who I am, I would also not want to work in a place that strictly dictates how I'm supposed to look or that overlooks my abilities and capabilities because of something temporary. Don't get me wrong, I think it's important to make a good first impression when interviewing anywhere for an internship or job you really want and if you prepare yourself well enough and come to find out that the kind of piercing you have would not sit well with your potential boss and that is the kind of environment you want to work in, then by all means remove your symbols of rebellion and be an adult about it. But I am comfortable and prepared enough in what I want to do to know that I would not even apply for a job in a place that would force me to conform to a standard of appearance. I, for one, know that my piercings do not look outrageous and in my experience, I seem to wear them well. No cockiness intended there, but "whatchagonnadoaboutit"? Right?
I've worked with and around people that do not see any less significance in the things I do, make or say simply because they have a preconception of what people with piercings are like. I have worked in spaces where I am treated as any other person would be treated, where my intelligence has not been questioned and my aesthetic has not been ridiculed. I know places like this exist and that is an ideal working environment for me, which is why I am to pursue a career in something that would be just as accepting.

When push comes to shove, how you present yourself is an important part of being hired. However, when choosing a place of employment keep that in mind too. If at this stage in your life you feel like you want the entirety of your torso and face to be covered in ink, go for it, but also be aware that you're not likely to become a lawyer or a doctor. I mean, you could try. I am most definitely not going to stop you and hey, you might just make revolutionary advances in the field when it comes to dress code and individuality. But be aware of the constraints of the society we live in. Regardless of how much you want to break down the confines that it places us in, also be aware that you might not have the opportunity to do that.

My point is this, I know what these two unusual little things mean to me and at this stage of my life I am not willing to compromise that for a paycheck. This line of thinking is likely to change in the next few years as I evolve as a person and that is completely fine... But for now, I know myself well enough to say that I'd only want to work in an environment that is understanding and accepting enough for my face to not be weird. If that can't happen, I probably can't and do not want to work for you.