East Coast Poetry Club: Abena "Beloved Green" Tuffour
In the tenth instalment of this series, Abena Beloved Green shares vulnerability and wisdom.
Welcome back to the East Coast Poetry Club. This is the tenth week of the project, in which we share a poem and first-person insights from a local poet. This week, Abena "Beloved Green" Tuffour is sharing a poem that she hopes resonates with people who have depression or anxiety, and especially BIPOC who are dealing with collective and individual PTSD.
Inspiration and Meaning
I wrote this during a time when I had been feeling extremely low – mentally and spiritually – for a while and was tired of feeling this way. I wanted to pep talk myself into finding ways to be present, and content enough, and clear.
This poem is about being determined to switch gears and take action in your own body and mind on a simple level to start shifting yourself out of constant isolation and discouragement (which is ironic now because COVID-19 and quarantine).
I don't want to promote superficial positivity that says to smile the struggles away but I do believe in being your own coach when you can and saying, "Come on Boo, we can do this." With the last line, I was being both serious and playful…perhaps about how much striving we do.
Get Up, We're Going Out
Pull all the yesses you can pull from your bones
Tell them get dressed
You are going out to greet the sun
You are going to the bank
You are going to donate old books to the shop
Across the street from the Dollar Tree
So you can get money back and buy more books.
The bibliophile's circle of life.
You are going to invite a friend for tea
You will meet in a public place so that you can
leave the house and then,
leave the scene when your social energy has run out.
You are going to the flooded park next to the bay
You are going to pretend
you are young Mary from the Secret Garden
You loved that book because the garden seemed so magical.
But you are not Mary
You are you,
You are living in a time of climate change
And recorded racism
Pandemics and protests
Stuff's too real to be magical
Yet, something about it is unbelievable.
You are you
And you are
You are hunting for peace and you will find it.
You will create it.
You are going to send those thank you notes.
You are going to submit that proposal
You are going to go to physio
You are going to make supper with more veggies than rice.
You are going to eat the mother loving rainbow tonight.
What I Hope People Will Take from "Get Up We're Going Out"
I want them to ask themselves, do I need to be still right now or do I need to move? Sometimes, we need to relax and be still because we are always busy and expecting. Other times, it helps to move. This could mean creative movement or going outside, or heck, being part of a collective movement for the betterment of humanity.
I want people to build their own lists, repositories of things that make them feel calm, lighter, purposeful, and connected. I want people with depression and anxiety to develop more self-compassion. This is especially important in our current times of literal murder and mayhem where so many BIPOC are dealing with collective and individual PTSD.
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