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NaPoMo Day 14: Broken by Shanelle Gabriel

Men
Broken men
Battling broken men
Breaking battling broken men
Be breaking battling broken men
I be breaking battling broken men
Cause I be breaking battling broken men
Tired cause I be breaking battling broken men
So shattered cause I be breaking battling broken men
Get so shattered cause I be breaking battling broken men
I get so shattered cause I be breaking battling broken men
I now see my reflection in his shards

NaPoMo: Day 13: Struggling to Pray by Shanelle Gabriel

I struggle to pray sometimes
Except to bless food
Every plate I remember to be thankful
But some days my plate seems too full
Too much to bare
Or too little
Not much to share
I struggle to pray sometimes
Except for the youth I know
I may feel stagnant at times
But my goal is for them to grow
Recognize the same sun that burns them
Feeds their leaves strengthens their branches
The mistakes are okay
God gives second, third fourth fifth chances
I struggle to pray sometimes
Except when I'm in danger
Walking through the darkness
He always sends a friend in the guise of a stranger
I can't count the uncountable number of times
I felt so afraid
Barely a moment would pass
And the terrifying situation would fade
Im ashamed to say
Sometimes I struggle to pray
But He keeps on blessing me
Anyways

NaPoMo Day 12: Who Dem by Shanelle Gabriel

*Disclaimer! I was listening to "Who Dem" by Capleton when I wrote this*

Who dem a think they
Get away with murder
You whispering your sins
Best believe that God heard ya
Who dem a like to break gals heart
Dem build monuments of lies
Watch all a dem fall
Who dem a teach the youth foolishness
Pollute the radios
Dem no even make sense
Who dem de liars an hypocrites
Rappin bout pure bull shit
Immortalize dead man dem
Make Duppy man dem
Music talking all lies
Criminal records fiction
Dem a praise violence
Kids a kill cause a dem
Ignore de parents
Dem Rejecting wisdom
Nobody lead
Dey Just a follow dem friend
But when Babylon come
De friend dem flee from dem
Dey doing hard time
While they friend a live dey life
This is the cycle

NaPoMo Day 11: This is My House by Shanelle Gabriel

Sometimes
We mistake windows for doors
Confuse ceilings with floors
Think opportunity doesn't knock
So we jump to Plan B
Before A can arrive
Think our limit is where we stand
Plant our feet on the ground
Ignoring His command to look up
See
That ceiling just shows you what level
You're on
Keep walking
Keep grinding
Keep on
Finding stairs to take
Till you realize that ceiling is gone
Never forget
That you know the way
You built the house you're in

NaPoMo Day 8: Kinda Type of Love by Shanelle Gabriel

This ain't your light kinda love
Your "like" kinda love
Or "I'm not sure" kinda love
This ain't your past midnight kinda love
Hold me tight only when we're outta sight kinda love
Ain't treating me right kinda love
This ain't your just want to hit kinda love
Only intimate when we're intimate kinda love
Don't want a relationship kinda love
Until you meet the next chick kinda love
You can miss me with the bullshit
Cause this ain't an a billion excuses kinda love
This ain't that useless kinda love
"If you love me then do this to prove it" kinda love
This ain't no I don't want complain kinda love
"We're taking it slow" game kinda love
8 months and none of his boys know your name kinda love
This ain't no loneliness prevention kinda love
Getting hit up by the baby mama you forgot to mention kinda love
This ain't no just do it kinda love
Don't confuse repeat visits with commitment like its love
Don't confuse repeat visits with commitment like its love
Don't confuse repeat visits with commitment like its love
This ain't no misleading kinda love
You only call when it's cuffing season kinda love
Text me when my new pic on Instagram gives you a reason kinda love
This ain't no can't talk to you when I'm sober kinda love
Hit me when your period is over kinda love
You still looking for the one and I'm her placeholder kinda love
This ain't no "I'm not in love with you, I just got love for you" kinda love
Too scared of the past to be present for you kinda love
Dealing with Momma and daddies issues kinda love
Do I stay do I go can't choose kinda love
Too many people walking around confused about love

Nah
This love is that real
That real deal kinda love
Whoever's home first cooks the meal kinda love
And clean my plate even though your chicken is hard like steel kinda love
This is that granny panty kinda love
You like me even when you can't stand me kinda love
Got inside jokes with members of your family type love
I'm family type love
Anniversaries we sometimes forget type love
But can't remember life before we met type love
Building empires together so we both could be set type love
Power couple Bey and Jay, Michelle and Barack type love
Sharing hate for Sallie Mae dealing with that Student loan debt type love
This that text me when you get home type love
Giggling like teenagers like I'm not grown type love
Might get pissed but you know to check your tone type love
No comparisons, my mistakes are my own type love
Been two years and in each other's eyes we still stare type love
I get the tweezers, pluck your ingrown hairs type love
This that rub my back even though you're half asleep type love
Not afraid to take the next leap type love
Put a ring on it to make the commitment complete type love
This that rock type love
That smooth pebble type love
We skip together over rough seas never settle for less than love type love
This ain't kinda love
This is that love
This is the only type of love

NaPoMo Day 7: For NS by Shanelle Gabriel

I shone today
A broken blue bottle
Turned into a stained
Glass window
People walked around me as I sparkled
Worked so hard
That sweat glistened off my sweat
And they all noticed
Bore witness to my shimmer shine
The same folk told me my personality
Was too big
That my problem is
I don't sit and smile nice
That my problem is
They're the only ones who can say
What a bright child looks like
I don't know how to dull myself
Never realizing
It takes smarts to be a smart ass
Intelligence to always have a comeback
And I laugh
Cause too many did so at my dreams
So I beat them to the punch
But tonight
I let them know what's up
I shone today
You shoulda seen jaws hit concrete
The shocked look on each face
Like they never knew
My tongue could make a prism
My arms could break sunshine
My smile could bend light
These shards of me
Could be more than shattered trash
I'm not a mirror
Or a window
But they're still purpose
For this broken blue glass

NaPoMo Day 6: Lupus by Shanelle Gabriel

You think you own me/ squeezed my life in your palms/ taken over my body/ you think you are me/ Lupus/ you think because you've hijacked this vessel that you're captain/ you think you can get away with mutiny/ but see/ I'm still the same me/ the same beautiful butterfly floating on the breeze/ I ain't scared to wrestle the wind/ to battle raynauds thorns/ not afraid to diss this disease/ to find peace/ be at ease with this disease/ I miss my old life but I'm fashioning a new one with this disease/ in no way am I saying this is eas/y/
The way my cells fight themselves/ that my chest being in a cage of pleurisy/ that my scalp crying strands of my hair/ that the pain in my knees which interfere with my prayers/ makes it hard to sometimes find the joy in life/ makes the sun less bright/ but I know no matter what there's nothing that'll take away my fight/ When it seems to make my day feel like night/ I'll still reach for a star / when it seems my world spins left/ I've resolved to force it to revolve right/ and even if my limbs refuse to move/ my spirit will still dance/ Every day I'm going to choose to enhance this universe with my presence in any way I can/ Lupus is not me/ but it's the spark that created a flame/ my disease is not me/ but it's the source of my vanity/ lupus you can't damage me/ cause my body isn't all I possess/ I still have a purpose/ a reason to smile/ I'm still living my life with no regrets.

NaPoMo Day 5: Chasing Perfection by Shanelle Gabriel

I miss the days
When I didn't have to be
Nipped
Tucked
Bleached
Stuffed
Smothered in stage make-up
Or rock blue-contacts
To be considered a
Black
Beautiful Woman.
This generation
Will never say
"I see me on TV"
Never be
Valued
Told how much they're worth
Without being told
How much of themselves
Needs to be fixed first
Pre-teens who won't go outside without a full face of paint
And two rakes called lashes
Over their eyes
Strategy-wise
It's an attack on self-esteem
When we're told we have to
Break nasal cavities
Inject substances that don't exist
Naturally
Before before we
Justify self-adoration
Chasing perfection
While surgeons
Magazines
Beauty creams
Tips and tricks
Make us minxes chasing a tail
We weren't genetically meant to have
You didn't "get it from ya mama"
You no longer look like your dad
I miss the days
Where if you didn't like your butt
It was ok
Cause you learned to love the legs
God gave
And you rocked
Mini skirts and short-shorts alllll day
Or if you didn't like your boobs
But you had theeeeee smooothest
Stomach,
You coulda owned stock
In crop and tube tops
I know you think I forgot
The new natural hair trend
"Oh Shanelle didn't you see,
All the Afros in Beyonce's shows
And Shea moisture products'
Popularity"
To that I laugh
And say "Yea I'd say sure
Except recently
I saw women trade their yaki
For a kinky weave
Cause their black hair ain't bla-asian enough
Their own kinks ain't full enough
Cause your Black
Ain't really good Black
Unless you look like a mixed child
In an ad by Old Navy or GAP
I just wish we could be
Comfy
Welcomed
Open arms
Our own skin
Rooted hair
But to get a job
Not be a threat
Be valued
We have to chase a perfection
That isn't really even there

NaPoMo Day 4: Gentrification by Shanelle Gabriel

Prelude:
I must be / losttttt/ no no no its gentrified

I don't know where I am/ walking round like damn/ this ain't my hood/ I grew up in Flatbush/ eating beef patties and cherry klans/ but Now they call it ocean hill/ was a place folk in red got killed/ now it's a place a Sista can't afford to live/ unless she stacking bills/ and got a lil paper/ affordable housing can't do me no favors/ cause you gotta make a penny to pay rent for a G/ spread love it's the Brooklyn Way but not to me/ White folk starting to get off at later stops on the 3/ and I can't knock them for trying to live comfortably/ but the more landlords rent to Jim and Susie/ the less likely they'll sign a lease for me and Tariq/ putting Whole Foods every where now like back then no one needed to eat healthy/ nice things ain't in the hood unless the hood is conquered by the wealthy/ feeling like my home has been stolen from me/ they turning crack houses to condos/ triple the apartment fees/ foreign folk don't know they living in the graves of dope fiends and broken dreams/ interior designers/ must've had a tough job erasing poverty with paint primer/ they had to call ghostbusters because of money green like slimer/ the spirits of those lost in the hood/ should haunt you and your loan cosigner/ Developers said 5 Pointz was an eyesore/ South Paw made too much noise/ so now one is an empty lot/ the other holds play dates and kids toys/ downtown BK ain't the same/ new high rises every day/ who in the got damn world can afford to live there anyway?/ but they try to say we're to blame/ for giving away our property/ to the Jew man a knocking giving millions in cash for deeds/ meanwhile a bank won't refinance/ and you're behind on your payment/ roofs got a leak/ squatters rights have cats not paying rent/ seems like this guy is heaven sent/ 1.5 million in your pocket/ and your problems will end/ hard to break the system of gentrification when it won't even bend/ white dollars mean more than brown ones/ what message does it send?

NPoM (Day 2) by Shanelle Gabriel

I shake my locs
Along with any thought
Of the weight of these beings
In my care
I don't care
Where true justice is
Just that I am judge
I don't destroy lives
And dreams
Because I am principal.
I do it
For mere principle
No mistakes under my watch
No humanity is to be found
Only robots
Parents who never show
Still have remote control
Over the fate
of those beneath me
I wield the sword that can destroy
Careers and hope for all children
Eliminate the essence of educators
With pure hearts and intentions
In their wake
Be fine with desolate hallways
abandoned families
Ignore the desires of many
For the loud suggestions of a few
Cause to me
true leaders pull threads
without considering
The fabric they undo
I have something to prove
I make the hard decisions
My arms strong from throwing rocks
At colleagues
Then hide in my glass house
Jagged jaw
Tongue sharp
When I know I can
draw blood from the weak
Dull when real wars
need to be fought
I pick my battles based on ease
Not need
Short term squinting
Nearsighted
Refuse to see how easily
I can break an already broken thing
Into unrecognizable
Sinful
An absurd clutter of stockpiled
Shards of potential
I am fine destroying the body
As long as
I am the head

National Poetry Month - Day 1 by Shanelle Gabriel

Hello!

It's National Poetry Month. Gonna try the 30 for 30 challenge to write a poem every day for the month. Here's the first one!

SHE PLANTS

The strawberry swirl
Of her hair
Against
Her vanilla skin
Makes her warmth
Unexpected
The ripple of her voice
Melodic
Speaks with
Forte
Marcado
Heavy is the crown
That people
Refuse to see
And she wears her kingdom
On her sleeve
Offers it to everyone
With a weak pulse
Or an attraction to sunshine
Or an affinity for broken places
She loves peaks
Loves valleys
Grows roses in deserts
Adds lightning to storms
Soothes fears amidst thunder
She is
Worthy of petals
And soil beneath her feet

New Video: "MORE THAN ONE OF A KIND" by Shanelle Gabriel

Hello all!

Check out my new video for my song "More Than One of a Kind." It was directed by Jason Sirotin and Produced by ECG Productions. It features clips from my mini-documentary on Living with Lupus for the Simple Tasks Campaign of the American College of Rheumatology. Share! :)

When a message of Unity isn't enough by Shanelle Gabriel

“If you stick a knife in my back nine inches and pull it out six inches, there’s no progress. If you pull it all the way out that’s not progress. Progress is healing the wound that the blow made. And they haven’t even pulled the knife out much less heal the wound. They won’t even admit the knife is there.”
– Malcolm X

 

It's crazy to see how so many people say "This isn't about race, it's about human rights." Duh... But whose rights are statistically being disregarded in our society? To pretend race isn't a huge part of the problem and isn't what incited these streams of protests in the first place would be disrespectful to those who are over-policed, murdered, and victims of injustice. I'm sure there are asshole cops everywhere, just like I am sure there are good ones. But this fight began as anger against the racism that some who live in a nice, mid to upper class (maybe predominantly White) bubble seem to think doesn't exist. But it's not "segregating" when you recognize there is a serious problem with the way one demographic of people are targeted, victimized, and demonized by the justice system. No one goes to a rally against drug trafficking and says "Yea, and let's promote safe sex." Both causes are important, but as everyone joins the bandwagon, it's disrespectful to change the message that the movement was initially created to address to one that YOU feel is a better issue. Maybe equality for all is more palatable and UNIFYING than saying "equality for all but especially for a group that has historically and is still not viewed as equal", but I don't see why we can't unify in the fight against something that is wrong and has BEEN wrong in our society for centuries. 

Cool Post: "REASONS 'NOT' TO WEIGHT LIFT" by Shanelle Gabriel

Taken from http://www.liftbigeatbig.com/2013/06/10-reasons-why-heavy-lifting-is.html

Everyone knows that lifting makes women big, bulky, and less desirable. But, do they know the reasons why? I compiled my top ten reasons as to why women should NEVER EVER even think about touching a weight. Ever. 

 1. You will find less and less that you are asked to go to the kitchen and make a sandwich. What will you do with all that free time?!?

2. Men on the Internet will tell you that you are too big. Can you handle no longer being the object of a stranger's fantasy?

3. Pants won't fit because your butt has gotten so big. Imagine actually filling out a pair of pants, the horror!!

4. Your children might see that a woman can be something more than a frail object meant to please a man. Challenging the status quo is never a good thing.

5. You can eat a much larger amount of delicious food and not gain a pound. Disgusting! Pass the tofu and skim milk please.

6.  Men will avoid you at the gym when you lift more than they do. How are you supposed to know how to lift without their constant coaching?

7. You will be able to open a pickle jar without a man or a knife. No one should possess that much raw power.

8. Your bones will maintain a thick density throughout your life. Do you really want to rob a surgeon of your money for osteoporosis treatment?

9. Heavy lifting can be as diverse as you want to make it. Your time would be much better spent on a treadmill every day watching CNN.

10. You will be shunned from old friends that want you to go clubbing every night. Those are the kinds of friends you just don't want to lose.

Get the official poster HERE.

New Blog Post: "Pills and Potions: When everyone knows the cure" by Shanelle Gabriel

The walls were a pale beige color, kind of a "mother of pearl" shade. No windows; just one door that remained wide open with a billion footsteps shuffling back and forth. This was my umpteenth time in the ER for complications with my autoimmune illness. My nurse was from the Carribbean (like many in this hospital in Flatbush, Brooklyn), and he had a thick Jamacian accent. He comes in to do a vitals check and then asks if I'm chronically sick. I tell him I have Lupus. I usually expect that to be followed with eyes that say "I feel so sorry for you. Shame. So young..." Instead he perks up. "Oh me kno' jus' de ting. See, me cousin sell dis drink a called Noni juice. It a purify ya blood an get ridda alla dat sickness inna' ya blood." I thank him but kind of wave him off. Before I leave the hospital after my overnight stay, this nurse hunts my room down and gives me a complimentary bottle of this liquid Noni cure. 

A few weeks ago, I was hanging with my friend JB and his friend. We got to talking over a bad Boston Market meal, and me having Lupus came up. The friend says, "What if I told you you could heal yourself?" I wonder where this conversation is going and what type of lifestyle change he's about to try to sell me on. He starts speaking about alkalinity and the body needing to be less acidic. I let him talk although I've heard this cure before. Later, he brings up leafy veggies and I say that I can't have too much vitamin K because of the blood thinners I'm on that prevent me from having, oh let's say, a STROKE, since I had a pulmonary embolism a few months ago. His only response: "Well stop taking them. You won't need them after a while, anyways." Everyone has the cure. 

I don't know a person with a chronic illness that hasn't gotten fed up with the constant stream of prescriptions doctors swear by that, due to side effects and blanket treatments, only seem to lead to a sea of pills. And when many of us have gotten fed up, all these "natural cures" on the Internet and in the media seem to be a better option. So we push away the prednisone and start juicing. We do cleanses and special diets. And our doctors freak the freak out. 

See, I don't blame medical doctors for pushing prescriptions. Many of them were not required to take a course on nutrition or the healing power of foods. They are so technically and chemically trained that they cannot fathom something helping without knowing how. They need a carbon + oxygen+phospholipid trail to make it make sense. They can't state "I have no clue why, but it works." And because they don't know how it works, many of them don't prescribe it. So we're left to figure it out on our own, for better or worse. 

Don't get me wrong, I believe in the power of Eastern Medicine. However, I know that when that fails me, I'm running right back to a Western doctor faster than a veteran nurse can put in an IV. I have done the extreme switch from pills to potions... And gotten even more sick (and broke) than when I started. I believe good health comes from a healthy blend of the two, a balance of preventative and restorative medicine. I take plaquenil to improve my condition and Dandelion root tea to clean my liver. I eat a whole foods diet, and I exercise and take yoga to de-stress, promote circulation, and improve joint function. But, I'm not afraid to get a steroid injection if need be. Any changes I decide to make to my diet or pill regiment, whether my doctor likes it or not, I let her know so that if anything goes really wrong, she knows where the source may lie. And to all of the people with their magical healing concoctions, medical conspiracy theories, and tales of people curing themselves of cancer then walking on water, I tell them to email me sources (not just from the website selling the product swearing Dr So-and-so cosigns this therapy) and say thank you. I don't allow people to make feel guilty for trusting a medical professional over an anointing from a pastor because I believe God gave mankind wisdom to come up with treatments for various illnesses. Yes, I know capitalism and greed very well might be the reason we see more treatments and less cures today. But just as each body, person, lifestyle, illness is special, you have a right to mix your own cocktail of pills and potions to suit your own special pallet. 

Recap: "The Purple Party" for Lupus (Featured in the LI Herald) by Shanelle Gabriel

Partying to fight lupus
(From the East Rockaway Long Island Herald)

Valley Stream resident Christine Miserandino and her family celebrated her 37th birthday this year in an unusual way. Instead of presenting Miserandino with gifts, the family hosted an “unbirthday party” to raise money for lupus research.

Called the Purple Party, the third annual event was held on Sept. 7 at Pompei Restaurant in West Hempstead and served as a launch for Miserandino’s new charity, the But You Don’t Look Sick Foundation. Miserandino said she was inspired to turn the idea of a birthday on its head as a result of her own experience with lupus. “I have been living with lupus for over 20 years. We started to throw an ‘unbirthday party’ to raise money for lupus research two years ago when I decided I didn’t need gifts, but I wanted to give gifts to others and grant the wish of someday living a life without lupus. I remember being younger, when I was first diagnosed with lupus and wondering if I would even make it to 37, so now every birthday is such a gift and a reason to celebrate,” Miserandino said.

(Read more here: http://liherald.com/eastrockaway/stories/Partying-to-fight-lupus,58364?page=1&content_source)

Response to "If Black People Said the Stuff White People Say" by Shanelle Gabriel

After watching this video on racially insensitive things some White People say to Black people, Salon.com News Editor Prachi Gupta decided to comment: "Man, with so many rules, it’s getting pretty hard to be a white person these days. We feel for you." Hmmmm.....

A stupid response to a real issue that this satirical piece was meant to show: that no one wants to be treated like an animal in a petting zoo (touching hair/skin without asking), as if their skin color defines their experience, like stereotypes are automatically true (I'm Black so I MUST listen to whatever Rapper is out right now or I must have grown up in the hood), nor do I want to be treated as if my race automatically connects me to whatever Black person they see on TV. There is no need to PROVE you're connected to Blackness ("I'm down with Black people 'cause ***insert stereotypical Black lingo/archetype/friend name here**)  or empathetic to our history. No one walks up to Jews asking about how the Holocaust affected their people without a sincere reason to. I understand that I have to excuse ignorance at times in order to answer sincere questions so that there are less misconceptions out there regarding race, but it would just take two seconds to think about how the some of the same things done in reverse would make you feel a lot less human. And no, Pratchi Gupta, these "rules" aren't just for White people. They apply to you, too. 

It's not asking questions that's wrong. It's the way you ask them. Acknowledging race and the diversity of backgrounds is never the problem. It's actually the solution. However, it cannot be done while ignoring the basic standard of interpersonal communication. There's a big difference between "I watched Amistad...dag, your people had it bad," and "I learned a lot about the black experience in America watching Amistad this weekend. I really want to learn more." The first isn't the opening to a healthy discussion (what am I going to reply to that with? "Yeah, it's effed up what YOUR people did to mine. And are still doing to mine based on the school to prison pipeline which has become the new form of slavery..."). The second seems like someone sincerely learning about a new element of another race's experience. 

This video is pretty comical because many Blacks who've spent a significant time around non-Blacks have heard at least one of those statements in some form or another. I think if more people took a second to think before they spoke with the listener in mind, we'd have less offenses and misconceptions about each other.

My Christmas Wish List by Shanelle Gabriel

I do these for my birthday and for Christmas, although I pretty much end up buying these items on my own... or it ends up on the next list. lol. I do it for fun and maybe to put you on to some cool things.

 

1) CR-X WOMEN'S INSULATOR PRO TIGHTS 

Wouldn't my booty look GREAT in these??? 

 

 

For those of you that don't know, I'm an active runner training for my second half marathon right now. Yes, I run in the winter. No, I'm not crazy. After the 1st mile I'm usually pretty warm, but my legs tho! I  need some windproof tights to motivate me to run in the 20 degree weather NYC likes to drop to.  Size Medium please. 

 

 

 

 

2) iTunes Gift Card (Any value over $10)

I'm so in love with my iPad mini and, as always, TEAM IPHONE! A gift card so I can get some cool apps and music would be swell. Anything less than $10 isn't gonna do much... You know Apple isn't cheap.

 

3) Garmin 620                                                      or its less expensive cousin the Garmin 220                                    

I work at a specialty running store, and I've been drooling at these through the electronics window. My training for these two half marathons I'm doing next year would be soooooo much more effective if I had one of these with a heart rate monitor. The 620 is touchscreen and has a few more features (VO2 Max calculator, Wi-Fi capabilities, etc), but the second one is close behind in dopeness. 620 = $400 while the 220= $250


3)  iPad Mini Case with Bluetooth Keyboard
Speaking of my iPad mini, a keyboard would help me get more work done without having to hunt down my stylus. 

4) A Cozy Comforter
I don't get to see my bed enough... but when I do, I want the type of comforter set that makes me never want to leave it. 
5) Anything you think I'd like
I'm super easy to shop for. Keep it simple...I'm just happy to be thought of. :) 

HAPPY HOLIDAYS!