Photo
eternallybeautifullyblack:

This is an utterly amazing display of strength, agility, balance, and above all, beauty by these members of the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater Company.
Image via Afrikan Knowledge: Beyond The Book Club.

eternallybeautifullyblack:

This is an utterly amazing display of strength, agility, balance, and above all, beauty by these members of the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater Company.

Image via Afrikan Knowledge: Beyond The Book Club.

(via blackballerinas)

Quote
"

i.

“Your name is Tasbeeh. Don’t let them call you by anything else.”

My mother speaks to me in Arabic; the command sounds more forceful in her mother tongue, a Libyan dialect that is all sharp edges and hard, guttural sounds. I am seven years old and it has never occurred to me to disobey my mother. Until twelve years old, I would believe God gave her the supernatural ability to tell when I’m lying.

“Don’t let them give you an English nickname,” my mother insists once again, “I didn’t raise amreekan.”

My mother spits out this last word with venom. Amreekan. Americans. It sounds like a curse coming out of her mouth. Eight years in this country and she’s still not convinced she lives here. She wears her headscarf tightly around her neck, wades across the school lawn in long, floor-skimming skirts. Eight years in this country and her tongue refuses to bend and soften for the English language. It embarrasses me, her heavy Arab tongue, wrapping itself so forcefully around the clumsy syllables of English, strangling them out of their meaning.

But she is fierce and fearless. I have never heard her apologize to anyone. She will hold up long grocery lines checking and double-checking the receipt in case they’re trying to cheat us. My humiliation is heavy enough for the both of us. My English is not. Sometimes I step away, so people don’t know we’re together but my dark hair and skin betray me as a member of her tribe.

On my first day of school, my mother presses a kiss to my cheek.

“Your name is Tasbeeh,” she says again, like I’ve forgotten. “Tasbeeh.”

ii.

Roll call is the worst part of my day. After a long list of Brittanys, Jonathans, Ashleys, and Yen-but-call-me-Jens, the teacher rests on my name in silence. She squints. She has never seen this combination of letters strung together in this order before. They are incomprehensible. What is this h doing at the end? Maybe it is a typo.

“Tas…?”

“Tasbeeh,” I mutter, with my hand half up in the air. “Tasbeeh.”

A pause.

“Do you go by anything else?”

“No,” I say. “Just Tasbeeh. Tas-beeh.”

“Tazbee. All right. Alex?”

She moves on before I can correct her. She said it wrong. She said it so wrong. I have never heard my name said so ugly before, like it’s a burden. Her entire face contorts as she says it, like she is expelling a distasteful thing from her mouth. She avoids saying it for the rest of the day, but she has already baptized me with this new name. It is the name everyone knows me by, now, for the next six years I am in elementary school. “Tazbee,” a name with no grace, no meaning, no history; it belongs in no language.

“Tazbee,” says one of the students on the playground, later. “Like Tazmanian Devil?” Everyone laughs. I laugh too. It is funny, if you think about it.

iii.

I do not correct anyone for years. One day, in third grade, a plane flies above our school.

“Your dad up there, Bin Laden?” The voice comes from behind. It is dripping in derision.

“My name is Tazbee,” I say. I said it in this heavy English accent, so he may know who I am. I am American. But when I turn around they are gone.

iv.

I go to middle school far, far away. It is a 30-minute drive from our house. It’s a beautiful set of buildings located a few blocks off the beach. I have never in my life seen so many blond people, so many colored irises. This is a school full of Ashtons and Penelopes, Patricks and Sophias. Beautiful names that belong to beautiful faces. The kind of names that promise a lifetime of social triumph.

I am one of two headscarved girls at this new school. We are assigned the same gym class. We are the only ones in sweatpants and long-sleeved undershirts. We are both dreading roll call. When the gym teacher pauses at my name, I am already red with humiliation.

“How do I say your name?” she asks.

“Tazbee,” I say.

“Can I just call you Tess?”

I want to say yes. Call me Tess. But my mother will know, somehow. She will see it written in my eyes. God will whisper it in her ear. Her disappointment will overwhelm me.

“No,” I say, “Please call me Tazbee.”

I don’t hear her say it for the rest of the year.

v.

My history teacher calls me Tashbah for the entire year. It does not matter how often I correct her, she reverts to that misshapen sneeze of a word. It is the ugliest conglomeration of sounds I have ever heard.

When my mother comes to parents’ night, she corrects her angrily, “Tasbeeh. Her name is Tasbeeh.” My history teacher grimaces. I want the world to swallow me up.

vi.

My college professors don’t even bother. I will only know them for a few months of the year. They smother my name in their mouths. It is a hindrance for their tongues. They hand me papers silently. One of them mumbles it unintelligibly whenever he calls on my hand. Another just calls me “T.”

My name is a burden. My name is a burden. My name is a burden. I am a burden.

vii.

On the radio I hear a story about a tribe in some remote, rural place that has no name for the color blue. They do not know what the color blue is. It has no name so it does not exist. It does not exist because it has no name.

viii.

At the start of a new semester, I walk into a math class. My teacher is blond and blue-eyed. I don’t remember his name. When he comes to mine on the roll call, he takes the requisite pause. I hold my breath.

“How do I pronounce your name?” he asks.

I say, “Just call me Tess.”

“Is that how it’s pronounced?”

I say, “No one’s ever been able to pronounce it.”

“That’s probably because they didn’t want to try,” he said. “What is your name?”

When I say my name, it feels like redemption. I have never said it this way before. Tasbeeh. He repeats it back to me several times until he’s got it. It is difficult for his American tongue. His has none of the strength, none of the force of my mother’s. But he gets it, eventually, and it sounds beautiful. I have never heard it sound so beautiful. I have never felt so deserving of a name. My name feels like a crown.

ix.

“Thank you for my name, mama.”

x.

When the barista asks me my name, sharpie poised above the coffee cup, I tell him: “My name is Tasbeeh. It’s a tough t clinging to a soft a, which melts into a silky ssss, which loosely hugs the b, and the rest of my name is a hard whisper — eeh. Tasbeeh. My name is Tasbeeh. Hold it in your mouth until it becomes a prayer. My name is a valuable undertaking. My name requires your rapt attention. Say my name in one swift note – Tasbeeeeeeeh – sand let the h heat your throat like cinnamon. Tasbeeh. My name is an endeavor. My name is a song. Tasbeeh. It means giving glory to God. Tasbeeh. Wrap your tongue around my name, unravel it with the music of your voice, and give God what he is due.”

"

Tasbeeh Herwees, The Names They Gave Me  (via libeeya)

(Source: rabbrakha, via bookishboi)

Video

nezua:

cocoavalentines:

lovedomidee:

puta-del-infierno:

not-here-for-it:

candie-leonhart:

wocinsolidarity:

metaphoric-jizm:

catchstds:

The History of Twerking

this gave me chills

*snaps* 

!!!!!

I literally did get chills

image

omg <3

I am here for every minute of this.

Oh my GOD

Pleasure is our Power….

(Dear Miley and Lily and stans…)

(Source: better-than-kanye-bitchh)

Quote
"Storytellers are a threat. They threaten all champions of control, they frighten usurpers of the right-to-freedom of the human spirit — in state, in church or mosque, in party congress, in the university or wherever."

Chinua Achebe (via rightinfrontoftheolderkids)

Today would be a really good day to start reading Anthills of the Savannah, if you’re looking for a book recommendation!  It’s rad as hell and includes Achebe calling himself out for his own sexism in Things Fall Apart.Now THAT’S how to write with political ethics towards those less empowered than yourself.

(via mattachinereview)

oops i just found another thing to add to the top of my reading list.

(Source: flashlightsandfireflies, via tgstonebutch)

Quote
"A woman who writes has power, and a woman with power is feared."

Gloria Anzaldúa (via beautiful-ambition)

(Source: lesbian-app, via bettychantel)

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When someone says “this is not about power”

jadepichette:

phdstress:

This. So much this.

(Source: phdstress)

Text

a story about “sir”

once upon a time, i was kind of straight. i wasn’t really straight, and i never thought i would only ever sleep with or date straight men, but i was straight the way you’re straight when you find men and masculinity attractive as a teenager in a heterosexist world. i had one of those authority-flouting, sex-having, drug-trying bffs4lyfe, and she and i used to, flouting authority, throw around the word “sir,” affectionately, to assent to requests from people of all genders.

then i got “actually” queer and kinky (in practice in addition to desire). then i was flirting with my first butch (a bigendered trans guy), and i dropped a “yes, sir” without really thinking about it, and i could sense that breath-catch, i could sense him get hard, even through gchat.

and that was one of the first times i felt gender being created through a relation, and it was the last time i said something so powerful unintentionally.

Photoset

angelasublogs:

Because androgyny is more than just a pixie cut and a buttoned up shirt

(via fuckyeahdykes)

Link
I wrote about sluts and how fucking does not deplete their power because fucking is the reward, not the sacrifice.

Been thinking about this for probably like a year; I was reminded that I’d been meaning to write this post when this quote started making the rounds on the internets:

Stop degrading the act of sex by calling it ‘opening your legs.’

I’m so sick of women being degraded all the time. Because women just, you know, lay back and ‘spread their legs’ and let men do whatever they want. They don’t take any active role in the actual sex act or enjoy it. They are just objects that lay there with their legs open. Then they are stupid because through poor judgement or mishap, they became pregnant. The man is never blamed or shamed or degraded for having sex. There are no phrases used to degrade the act of a man participating in a sexual act, at least not a heterosexual one.

Anyways. The post is also slightly porny. Bonus!