Flowers Come in Different Colours, Shapes, and Sizes

Black/White Mixed-Race Experience in Poland

“Have you lost that weight yet?” was the very first question a friend of mine asked me, after I had just given birth to my first child. Because why ask about mine or my daughter’s health first, eh? That was many years ago…

However, one thing that struck me when I first came to London, apart from the noise and multiculturalism, was how relaxed bigger women were about their body shapes. Just so you know – I’m not now nor have I ever been skinny. Okay, I was pretty skinny once upon a time when I first became a vegetarian which I no longer am. However, that only lasted for about a year, maybe two… Prior to that, back in Poland, I was often on some sort of a diet – never able to reach or keep my desired shape. Of course, there was always someone there who would “kindly” remind me that I was just slightly too fat. The crazy thing is – I really was not!

So, in London, after the initial shock, I began feeling quite liberated from this obsession of trying to be skinnier than what was right for my body type. Well, if you’ve never been to Poland, let me tell you, just like me back then, many Polish women don’t shy away from diets and many despair when they put on weight. Polish women are beautiful – often blond and blue-eyed, poised, and elegant with not a lot of flesh on them. You can tell that they’re serious about their appearance which is fine. But what isn’t fine is the obsession that I can still recall and often am reminded of when I go back home.

I had to leave the country and see something different (thanks, London!) to understand that there isn’t just one standard of beauty for a female body. I should probably mention that marrying an African helped with that too. And yes, the friend who asked the previously mentioned inappropriate question was Polish… Now… I do know that Polish ladies do not own a monopoly on the ‘I’m too fat!’cross-cultural obsession. However, I do not recall any of my African friends or family members ever suggesting that I should lose weight. Quite the opposite, during my strict vegetarian days, some actually demanded that I fatten up, but that’s another story for another day…

Ah, the beauty of a mixed-race experience! You just can’t please them all, can you?

Anyways, I am not advocating obesity, but it is extremely disturbing to me when I see mothers telling their young (already insecure) daughters that they need to lose weight, especially when they don’t! I came back from a holiday in Poland two months ago.

But, while in the land, a friend of mine and I recorded this conversation which went in that very direction… Ironically, it is titled, “Go, lose that weight already!” It’s in Polish, with English subtitles, and we chatted while making flower crowns. Why not? We laughed a lot throughout the talks, but there is a deeper message, in between our cackles. Enjoy!


Let’s Make the Most of Our Time…

My 2019 ended… well… with passing away of one of my mentors and friends. Mine and other journalists’ tributes have just been published by the Voice News. And, I couldn’t start 2020 without acknowledging the impact this editor/publisher and friend had on my writing and life.

“…Barbara Campbell trained me as a journalist while I was freelancing for Black Heritage Today and International Women’s Month magazines. She taught me how to write feature articles, conduct journalistic interviews, research and more. She welcomed me into her home and heart as well.

“I remember proudly presenting my first feature to her. It was embellished – quite “flowery”. She cut so much out. I got upset thinking she took my soul out of the piece. I then showed it to my friend who had read the original. She didn’t hesitate to tell me that Barbara’s pen made it better. So, I decided to stop mourning my style and started paying attention. 


“Barbara knew exactly what she wanted to say and how she wanted to say it. Her heart bled for the black community and for black stories to be told the RIGHT WAY. I could see a flame in her eyes when she spoke about how much the community needed positive role models and narratives. That passion drove her and made her fight tirelessly against financial, physical and all other odds. It was tough on her, especially towards the end. Sometimes, I think she sacrificed her life for it.”

Speaking about the lasting impact that Campbell had on her life, Ribeiro says:

“These few words are not enough to summarise the impact she made on me as a writer. When I decided not to pursue journalism, she encouraged my poetry and gave me a poet’s corner in Black Heritage Today. In one of her recommendations, she said ‘…Anytime, she is performing l hope to be there – cheering from the front!’ Sadly, she never made it to my shows, but I still hear her voice in my head reminding me to use the word ‘reportedly’ just in case… I edit my stories the way she taught me. Her heart and skills are part of my writing. She was an excellent journalist, editor, boss lady, teacher and friend…”

Please read the rest of mine and other tributes on the Voice News Website.

I wish you and myself a Happy New Year. Let’s make the most of our time here and let’s appreciate friends and family while there’s still time.

Everywhere & Always – A Story Waiting to be Told

“It was one of those afternoons when the beautiful summer sun chased even zealous hermits out their four walls. All but one. Her curtains were closed all day. She didn’t notice the sun’s rays and her skin couldn’t feel its warmth…”

Yes, there’s a new book in the making!

The first draft is done. Yuppie! However,… Yes, there’s a however… I have a bunch of revisions ahead of me still. There’s a vague release date in my mind but I’m not going to share it just yet. Undoubtedly, it is going to take some time before the book’s out. That’s not a bad thing though. Quality is what I’m after…

So, I’ve already spent some time revising the first chapter – over and over and over again…

I believe it is strong enough to capture your imagination, but… Yes, there’s a “but”. I thought it’d be smart to ask a few other storytellers for feedback. I’m waiting to hear from them, at the moment. Once I’m confident that I’ve done the chapter justice I am going to share it with my e-mail subscribers. I can’t wait!

Please Join Us if you’d like me to share glimpses of my novel in the making with you.

So now… The title…  [drumroll] “Everywhere & Always”

It is a story of a multiracial friendship between four people from  different cultural backgrounds… Taking place in a world that doesn’t always get it… It is about their pursuit of happiness; identity search and breaking away from the society’s expectations to pursue their own respective destinies…

Life events force Ai, Alma, Emilio and Jack to face their fears and make choices: love or money; truth or freedom; forgiveness or torment, sadness or joy… Ohhh…

I feel like giving away a little more… I hope this isn’t a spoiler. Nope, I don’t think it is. The book begins with “trouble in paradise”. Yes, their friendship is tested, and the journey begins. I’ll add this for good measure – one of the characters is a drama queen… who’s suffering from depression to top it all off.

But don’t worry – the others are lovely… or not… 😉

Click to Subscribe (via email) and Find Out for Yourself.