In The Mist of it All … By Taj Omari

DSC_0052-e1502399248302Submission from close friend. Film maker Taj Omari who I love so much!  Also check out her interview WatchBlossom.

In The Mist of it All …

By Taj Omari

Now that the hustle for finishing “Ghost” and organizing “No Ghost Writers” is over, I can take a min, sit back, and reflect… and all I can say is DAMN!!! The event was better than I could ever imagine. The energy in the room was positive and supportive, the talent showcase was amazing, and my film received nothing but love and constructive criticism to help me grow as a film maker and artist. But I have to acknowledge the fact that the day before “No Ghost Writers”, word of Charlottesville broke loose. In the mist of preparing for my event, I intentionally ignored the news because I did not want to be consumed with anger. And when I finally looked up what happened, I was not surprised by the ignorance in my country. The incident reminded me of a very disappointing conversation I had with a young black man a few weeks back. He said, “ I don’t understand why black people are still mad. I wasn’t a slave, You weren’t a slave, our parents and grand parents weren’t slaves, why are we still mad. We need to get over it.” I was shocked by his Tom Fuckery. How can you NOT feel enraged when white people of all ages are still waving confederate flags high and mighty. How can you NOT take note of white people ignoring the fact that they too were immigrants into this country and yet they claim this land as their own. How can you IGNORE the micro-aggressive comments, the social unrest, the political scrutiny, and the systematic injustices . So YES I have a right to be mad! But what I do with that anger separates me from the ignorant. In many ways I stopped believing white people were the sole problem here. Don’t get me wrong, they started all this bullshit, but how can we end it if we are not united and educated. White people can be foolish and ignorant, and they proved that to us when Donald Trump was elected into office. So I expect Uncle Tom Fuckery from them….. but not US!! I believe we are and need to be better than that! For African Americans ( black people and culture) our history begin with slavery. We come from pain,suffering, and oppression simply because we are black. And yet here we are! Black and Beautiful as ever. So YES I expect more from my people because we have been though hell and back. But in the same breath… we have the bandwagon black people who simply are mad because they think they have to be (The  “I’m black so I believe OJ didn’t do it” type). We have the “woke” but really just quote memes from Instagram black people ( typically the self proclaimed woke).  Then black people that are comfortable living in modern day slavery ( the ” I mean…. I gotta job so I’m cool”) . And then we have black people like me. The creative minds who can’t hurt fly ( unless that fly start some shit) and would rather mold minds with art then climb the up hill battle of protesting and yelling back at ignorant white oppressors. So Charlottesville did not surprise me one bit. I am surprised when black people think that our country has changed since 1808. In a way I feel like many of us are still living in the Matrix of social reform and equality. So I ask myself and others, in leu of Charlottesville, what are we going to do bout it? My homegirl wrote a blog post called “Woke” on her page Anxiously Ivy , and she provided many therapeutic ways to deal with the bullshit of this country, and I praise her for that. We need more of THIS!!!! Lets talk about it AND be about social change…. which started with changing ourselves as individuals. Doing the spiritual work to see beyond what America has placed in front of us and find love and triAs for me, I want to make a movie about it. The strongest, most powerful prison is then within our minds so I feel my job is to continue to create. And I encourage other creatives to continue to use their art as a vessel for peace and UNDERSTANDING!!!!!!!! Spread knowledge not ignorance! Develop the community by getting them involved indoor projects. Host events, poetry nights, art galleries, and fill them with content that will expand consciousness. As a black people we are not yet free. Some/ many of us are still held captive in their minds. And if all of us aren’t free, none of us are. 

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Say goodbye to weight gaining pasta…

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IMG_2123Hi Everyone!

After a rough weekend I finally had time to cook. This past weekend my wallet was lost/stolen while I was walking to meeting off of 125th in Harlem. I leave for Cuba in a few days so it’s a lot of work trying to recover new debit and credit cards. Today I cooked Salmon and zucchini noodle recipe I jazzed up. All items were bought from the new Whole Foods off MalcolmX which I loveee so much.  This was my first time trying to zucchini noodles and it was AMAZING. Im don’t think I can ever go back to regular pasta after trying this. Plus regular pasta makes me gain so much weight! A lot of recipes don’t cook the zucchini in skillet but I did and it tasted really good.

 

Ingredients:
SALMON ZUCCHINI SPAGHETTI WITH ARUGULA PESTO
  •  Whole Foods ready-made Zucchini and Squash pasta
  • 1/2 Tomato (chopped)
  • 1/2 cup diced mushrooms
  • Pesto (pour as much as you like, I kinda went a lil loco on it)
  • 2 Garlic Cloves (minced)
  • 1 half of a lemon
  • Olive Oil
  • Greek Seasoning

PASTA

  1. Heat 1 tablespoon  olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add Whole Foods ready made zucchini noodles an.Add  pesto and minced garlic and cook, stirring, for 30 seconds. Add tomato, mushroom, and sprinkle with Greek seasoning; cook, squeeze a half of a lemon while stirring occasionally  for 15 minutes or until you’re personally satisfied. (peep my lower pic)

SALMON

  1. In another skillet heat olive oil. Add lightly seasoned salmon. Cook until fish starts to brown on sides. Make sure fish is no longer raw in the inside. I personally cook it about 20mins

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Woke.

 

Being woke and conscious has its pros and cons.

While I am blooming as a young woman becoming the person God wants me to be, I can also feel myself wilting from recent events. I am consuming and immersing myself into my Blackness and appreciating where it comes from…but to also be aware of the current state of Black people in this country can drive one mad; such as what happened to my favorite artist Nina Simone. The most recent event in Charlottesville has left me mad, angry, and disturbed. If you also feel this way, you have every right to. However it is so important that we keep a level of sanity and know when to remove ourselves from situations that may effect us internally.

I wrote this blog for people at work or school this week that may feel disgusted by recent events and don’t feel the need to always smile when society isn’t giving us a reason to. As Solange  would say “You got the right to be mad“.  This blog was inspired by Alex Elle most recent blog post  (click here) where she writes “In the face of adversity, we must bloom, even when we feel like wilting“.

Journal Question via Alex Elle blog: How am I self-caring and showing up for myself + others with everything that’s going on in the world?

1. Everyone doesn’t deserve your response. Over the years I have read many post from “friends” and strangers via Facebook that are insensitive and downright racist. One thing I don’t do is argue online with people about current events. I used to be open to discussing current events with bewildered white classmates but I emotionally do not have the energy to explain to people their privilege anymore. It appeared my white classmates thought I was their translator every time a Black man was shot by police, in which I am not. I believe Stokely Carmichael  words are so timely “In order for nonviolence to work, your opponent must have a conscience. The United States has none.” I believe that our oppressor has no soul, is evil, and lack conscience and for me to have to explain to you why Nazis marching on a college campus is traumatic for POC is an issue alone.

2. Unplug yourself from the world. Its okay to leave your phone on airplane mode and log off of social media. Try reading a book before checking your phone in the morning. Turn down weekend brunch and try finding a near by park to reflect in. Don’t watch the news or click on videos that may upset you. Sometimes we forget what life was like before phones. We were never meant to stay connected and be assessable 24/7 to the world.

3. Know what makes you happy. Get to know yourself and do something that makes you happy when you are stressed. Go for a run in a park. Google near by waterfalls in your city. Visit a local museum and find an art form that you may surprisingly be good at. Journaling or blogging can also be helpful.

4.  Talk it outCommunity is important. Calling a friend or family member can be extremely valuable. I believe having a network of similar minded friends to discuss current events with is important.  If it’s hard to concentrate in  the workplace, don’t be shy to ask your supervisor for a safe space, to check in with other people of color to make sure everyone is ok. Also joining a sister circle in your city can also be supportive.

5. See a Therapist. Talking with friends and family can be extremely beneficial however a part of caring for yourself I believe is also taking the step to get professional help. No one will ever listen to you as honestly and open as a therapist. Their job is to give clients their undivided attention. Look for nearby psychologist and therapist in your area. I personally believe that having a Black psychologist is important to decrease distrust in the clinical setting but make sure that psychologist is also competent in their work. Utilize Psychology Today (click here)  to view what they specialize in and read their reviews from previous patients.

6. Get your spirt together. Feed your spiritual self what it needs to thrive. Root yourself in a higher power.  Find a church to join.  Read religious text. Join a meditation class or near by donation based yoga classes.

7. Identify and activate your inner activist. Immerse yourself in the community. We have so many problems stacked against us. Everyone is able to point out the problems but If we ourselves don’t do something about it then who will? I personally get so much energy from helping people and seeing people happy. For example if you’re an painter your inner activism can be doing a monthly painting workshop with kids in your community. This is my personal “inner activism” agenda which is also rooted in my field of work. I hope it inspires you to develop your own agenda.

-Conduct workshops for women at church that discuss  Anxiety and Depression

-Creating a safe space on campus for African American women to be able to develop a sisterhood among each other.

-Volunteering at Black urban gardens

-Next week I get to participate in a training to be a Mental Health First Aid Instructor. With this license,  next semester before I graduate I plan on implementing the training with the Women at Rikers Island prison.