Racism, Politics & the Spirit of Fear


Martin Luther King

Yesterday, I was verbally attacked for not being fully black (my mum’s white)… I couldn’t believe the hatred that came out of the person’s mouth. They directed racist abuse towards me – pointing out my background, my skin being fairer than theirs and my hair being too long to be “black”. Whaaaat?! Are we really going there, again? 

This happens to me every now and then (click here to read), but whenever it does it’s still a shock to my system, especially when it’s done by someone who’s close to my heart.

I won’t say who they were because I’m not here to fight the perpetrator, but I do want to come against the spirit (of fear). That person has been following American politics and got infuriated by president Trump’s racial attacks on 4 democratic women of colour… I understand why he felt angry, but he did to me the exact same thing Trump did to the other women. That’s what fear does – it makes you irrationally hate another… Reverse racism does exist. Since when are all white people responsible for evil actions of one or even a group of “their kind”? By that standard, should all black people be responsible for evil actions of one or a group of “their kind”? Moreover, being mixed-raced, should we be responsible for every crazy utterance of every black and/or white person? This… is… madness! We are individuals responsible for our own actions and nobody else’s. 

Instagram This Conversation

I don’t support the American president’s racist comments and the dangerous ways in which he carries on in his role. I don’t know much about politics, but my heart sank when he became the head of the state… Still, I don’t appreciate the vulgar way in which one of the women expressed her desire to impeach him. I understand her anger, but there’s a better way (language) to confront evil. We cannot fight fire with fire and we can definitely not fight racism with more racism… Two wrongs don’t make a right. Why do we remember and respect men like dr Martin Luther King or Nelson Mandela? Because, despite injustice and cruelty, they responded with love and reason. They did not debase themselves to the level of those misguided by hatred and othering… 

We live in a fallen world. Bad things happen here. Bad people further their evil agendas… Is it difficult to manoeuvre through the darkness? Yes! The only thing that centres me is knowing that in the midst of it all, God is still in control. And, that there will be a time when all lies will be exposed and the truth will stand. It may not be  for another hundred years, or it might be tomorrow – but that time will come. In the meantime, we have to stay close to Him or our hearts will surely fail out of fear… 

I’d like to conclude with the following verses from the Bible which is what helps me with my own struggles in this area…

Men’s hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth: for the powers of heaven shall be shaken…” 

Be strong and of a good courage, fear not, nor be afraid of them: for the Lord thy God, he it is that doth go with thee; he will not fail thee, nor forsake thee.”

Extraordinary Things in Ordinary Places


Two weeks have passed since my poetry evening. I’ve had some time to reflect and would love to share my thoughts with you…

After-Party Poetry Evening.jpg

The event was a success. The venue turned out to be the right one, and it was full. Due to previously mentioned last-minute changes, I had less than 3,5 weeks to promote the show, hence filling it up was probably one of my main concerns…

Testimonial Joanna.jpgSome of the words attendees used to describe this poetry evening were: eclectic, organic, inclusive, something different… Paul, one of the guests, said that it was “an interesting, colourfully put together event”. 😊 David, another guest, apart from leaving a solid testimonial in the pic above, said the event was “low key, but nice”… People got inspired to write, create and many met other like-minded folks. Yuppie! For the purpose of this post, however, I would like to zero in on David’s initial thoughts – low key but nice…

Ostentatious is, in my opinion, the best antonym of low key. This event wasn’t that… I’m not saying there’s something wrong with showy presentations, but they’re not in my nature. Plus, if I’m honest, I didn’t have an “ostentatious” budget this time around.

Testimonial Desiri.jpgWell, even though my poetry evening could be considered low–profile – we had some interesting guests in our midst. There were award-winning authors, publishers and other creatives who’re experts in their respective fields. Why is this important? Because they’re the ones who can teach budding or fellow creative-entrepreneurs a thing or two about their craft… Then again, I think that some of the lessons many super–talented (especially young) creatives need the most are life lessons which you don’t learn at school.

I found the following claim in an article by independent.co.uk: “For people in Britain, everyday problems can seem like the end of the world – and most of us are guilty of complaining about things like bad weather…” I’m guilty as charged (every now and then)… It was extremely hot on the day! After the event, a few of us met at a local café… I had only brief conversations with most people, but one of them still resonates with me. The guest’s a filmmaker, whose first film won the Palme D’or at the 50th Cannes Film Festival. We spoke a little about her films which was fantastic, however, what struck me the most was what she said about preparation.

She said she didn’t like to complain about things she couldn’t change, and the weather (hot, cold, or rainy…) made no difference to her. She said – the only people who complain about things are those who aren’t prepared… The topic of preparation is deep and wide – it can include many different aspects, besides the weather. Yet, my take away from the conversation’s that preparation is key, and as the saying goes – by failing to prepare, you prepare to fail…  

Extraordinary things do happen in ordinary places. Don’t take people for granted or you’ll miss whatever help God may be trying to send your way. Also, remember – help isn’t always material. Sometimes, it is the right word at just the right time. I hope this helps.

‘Twas a good evening, everybody. Track my event journey by checking out the previous post and by following me on Facebook and Instagram @monikaribeiro.writer.

Slow Walking Man – Poem


Man Walking - Poem
‘Man Walking’ – image by Adam Podlecki

This bench of mine is a little far,
Thick fog & the rain keep blinding my eye
Yet, I’ve embarked upon a task –
Observation of that guy…
Walking, in a misty weather
I noticed him take…
Two steps forward, one step back.

He keeps walking though…
Slow, slow, slow…, but steady…
He keeps on… walking…

Oya! Oya! Honestly,
Someone, shoot a film about him –
Series called “Unhappy Feet.”
Same old picture, every day,
Rain drops falling on his head
Every day, the same old way…
This must be the pace of a snail!

He is rude. Never does he say “hello”
He stepped on my toe a few weeks ago!
Yes, I step on his toes – time after time,
But… my feet are smaller than his –
I’m a lady. He’s a man…

Err…

He’s a walking man, actually
While I am a seating lady…
Wasting my time watching him.

Eh?!
Yes, he might have covered but a little ground,
But I’ve just been seating here. I have covered none!

Oya!!!
Within his slow walk I have parked my nose
Focused on his journey rather than my own…

Oya! Oya! Oya, me!
Watch no more…
Girl, move! Move! Quick!

Meaning of “OYA!” – “Hurry up!” (Nigerian)

 

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The Balancing Act Called Life…


At the musem - BarcelonaI believe in hard-work – it’s a good thing. However, too much of a good thing can be bad for you. Life should be a balanced experience – we all need to find (and keep on finding) our equilibrium.

Most people living in London (which is where I live) work super hard. Meeting up for a coffee is a challenge. You want to do it, but often don’t because of work, family responsibilities, school or whatever else. So, you live in the same city but do not get to see the people you’d love to see or do the things you’d love to do for years, sometimes.  Well, I want to be a lot more intentional about how I spend my time on this Earth!

La IglesiaBarcelona happens to be one of my favorite European cities. This week, I was blessed with 2 ‘take it easy’ days in the city. The weather was beautiful and the trip, although not entirely recreational, so refreshing. I’m not sure what you do for fun (what do you do?), but I enjoyed the old town’s beautiful churches, museums, colorful features and narrow streets. I only wish they were a little less crowded, but I guess there’s no perfect place under the Sun. Sometimes, we need alone time to relax. At other times, we need to share it with the people we care for. Laughing, talking, eating and sharing my time with this lady here (plus the music, of course) made the trip super special. 

Back to the main point of this post – one morning, I was passing through the Las Ramblas boulevard and noticed La Equilibrista (The Balancer). She was petite and super focused which caught my attention. Of course, a yellow head-to-toe coverage and the fact they’re standing on a bike’s seat also helps you notice a person. 😊 I’ve digressed again, but check out her balancing act (the short video here). It may look like a passive activity, however, try this for about 30 minutes and I’m sure you’ll know that it’s not. Such is balancing in real life too – we cannot be passive if we’re going to stay balanced. 

We’re surrounded by people and forces (sometimes intangible) pulling us in so many different directions. For most of us, our culture and surroundings encourage everything but a balanced life. Working hard is good, playing hard (reasonably) is good too and so is praying hard etc. However, we need a little bit of everything to be happy and fulfilled in life.

Barcelona Streets 1My recent trip to Barcelona was a treat indeed, so it was a little hard to say “Adios” in the end. But again, I remembered that balance is key and too much of a good thing can be bad for you…

When it’s time to go it is time to go (ask the Spaniard in the picture – he knows) 🙂 There’s a time for everything. Balancing is not passive, and it is an ongoing activity. So, take charge of your days and be intentional about how you spend or invest your time.

What do you do to stay balanced? I would love to know.

Oh, and take a moment to watch the video from my previous trip to Barcelona  – expect to see La Mercé, Partying and Music, The Giants, Museums and stuff… 🙂

Peace, Love & Poetry – Merry Christmas…


I’ve been relaxing with family ☺️ (in between dramas 😠) while preparing for Christmas which, in Poland, starts tomorrow with a rather fancy dinner called “Wigilia”. We’ve just celebrated my grandma’s 80th birthday & I’m so grateful for being able to share these  special moments with the people I love. I hope you are surrounded by warmth, kindness and loved ones in this wonderful season & that it truly is a jolly season for you.

Reflection time:

In the beginning, I thought I’d start a blog to share & to inspire others, but truly… I’ve been so inspired, challenged and enlightened by your words! I really feel like reading your expressions enriched not only my blogging experience, but my world altogether. Thank you for your labor of love and for your support of mine. 

On that note, this is the season of giving & I don’t want to miss out on an opportunity to give you a little Christmas gift!  With no further ado, I want to encourage you to get your free e-copy of my book “Do Lend Me Your Ears.

Alternatively, if you prefer to be the giver 🙂 click right here to see how you can support a worthy cause with my book.

I’ve got to run as I still have a few more gifts to get before Wigilia. Yet, once again, thank You so much for being here and for sharing your precious thoughts & time with me.

Stay inspired & inspiring,

Merry Christmas ♥♥♥

♥♥♥

Quick! Before the Drama Blooms! Poem


Drama Trap Pic Final

They have seen too many fights

Teary days & weary nights

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Respect, trust,

Communication

Seem like ancient arts

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Instead, there are…

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Fast flying arrows

By a rebellious Cupid

And mean accusations

Some way beyond stupid

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Whenever she wins a battle

She knows she has lost

When she opens her mouth

Her heart becomes closed

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She can’t hear his heart

He’s convinced he’s right

Every common goal forgotten

Overshadowed by pride

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What are we doing?

Why do we fight?

Where are we going?

Where is the light?!

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If there was a drama trap

She’d buy it – whatever the price

She would lay them all around them

Like the ones used to catch mice

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If there was a drama spray

He’d spray it all over their rooms

He would spray before it comes

Quick! Before the drama blooms!

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Yet, there sure is such a trap

Yes! There sure is such a spray

They remember the old battles

They decide to kneel & pray…

This Feeling – Poem


angry face

What you gave me tonight…

I am talking ‘bout this feeling

Didn’t drive me up the wall –

It did drive me up the ceiling!

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I would like to say some words

Decent people shouldn’t share

I would also like to show you

How much I don’t care…

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I would, but I won’t…

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Not because I’m scared

Not because I don’t know how,

but because there’s enough drama

We don’t need another row

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There’s pain on the left

There’s pain on the right

I won’t let your careless thoughts

Rot and stink inside my mind…

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I must own my own feeling

I need to do it today

I can’t let your ignorance

Ruin everybody’s day…

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I must dispose of this feeling

As if it’s rubbish or clutter

I need to save my strength for tomorrow

For battles that really matter.

Story of a Broken Friendship


umbrella and girl

Once upon a time, a fine umbrella was left behind

It happened so fast, a man jumped on his train

Forgetting his fine umbrella

That had sheltered him from the rain…

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Umbrella laid motionless on the station’s bench

Frightened it would be picked up & thrown in a trench

It was closed, no longer open, very very sad –

Unable to understand why life got so bad

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It remembered the early days of flaunting its price tag

 “Wait! You have forgotten me! I’m not in your bag!”

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Questions and a guessing game forced it to contend

Yes, okay – during a strong wind I do tend to bend,

but I have been good to you. I am a good friend?

Could you please forgive me? I’m sorry I bend 😦

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Confused, emotionally drained,

Silence feels so loud…

The umbrella bursts in tears

Whilst its sadness turns to wrath

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“I’ve been there for years & lasted through many a storm!

Why have you abandoned me?! Did I not conform?

Will you now exchange me for a friend that’s fake?!

You know how they are – tiny winds & they break!”

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The umbrella’s heart was broken & needed to mend,

so it wrote a ‘goodbye’ letter never to be sent:

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‘Though I’m truly sorry our love had to end

Thank you for our time together

You were a good friend

I pray the Sun shines

When you’re off that train

I pray you are not alone at the time of rain

I wish you another faithful and a solid friend

One that wouldn’t break, although it might bend’

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The end.

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Oh wait, wait, not yet…

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A girl sits down on the bench to wait for her train

She looks up & thinks, ‘No doubt, it will rain.’

She picks the umbrella up, with joy in her eyes

She opens it up & flaunts it in front of the skies

 ‘I’m back in the game!’ The umbrella thinks & smiles. 😊

♥♥