Culture Commentary: A Day Without Woman

#ADWAW is a point of privilege. I feel its necessary to go ahead and plop that out right up front.

While its intentions are good and wholesome and very kumbaya, it is a point of privilege nonetheless. The woman. The woman who already works more only to be paid less, who uses sick days and vacation days to care of all but themselves. The woman who works … with NO paid time off. The woman who cannot afford to take a day off but is now forced to do so because schools are closed.

I salute each woman who has the mind to participate in #ADWAW. But I remain puzzled about its benefits; its beneficiaries. What good does our absence do when, tomorrow, we will have to work even harder to make up for today?

Absence, like quitting, is easy. The real work of the movement is in presence. The real work is in inviting women into your space who do not look like you, who do not worship like you, who do not live like you do and certainly not where you do. It is our presence that builds, that grows, that lifts. We are beyond the point of ABSENCE.

Resistance cannot only be about what we’re “not gonna do”. Resistance is and always has been about breaking barriers. INSISTING that your child’s school celebrates women’s history; INSISTING that Black history is everyone’s history; INSISTING that a girl’s/woman’s body is her own to control; INSISTING absolutely and on every available platform that Black Lives Matter; INSISTING that your coworker not be unfairly treated simply because her skin has been forever kissed by the sun.

Now is the time to be PRESENT

Now is the time to STAND

Now is the time to SPEAK

Now is the time to FIGHT

Now is the time to ACT

It is wonderful to have a national platform to showcase “solidarity” but the truth, for many/most of you is that the real platform – the place where the real work needs to be done, is WITHIN.

Copyright © 2017 Tamika Brown and


handle with care

Choosing to love

Having love choose you

Perfectly imperfect

Always moving

Always changing

Always growing

Evolving or devolving

Handle with care


Even if not by choice

Even if not given in the way we anticipate

If not received in ways that we hoped

If not shared

If not multiplied

Handle with care


The divinity of love is really unmatched

There is nothing quite like it

We all want to feel it

We all want to be bathed in it

We all want



But when it comes and it is not in the form that we so desire

That we’ve prayed for

That we’ve wished for

That we have determined is the ideal


Then what?

What happens to that love?

What happens when we stop handling it with care?

What happens when we stop appreciating it, take it for granted?

When we decide that it is not enough?

When we make those decisions and not focus on what love is

what it is meant to be

what its true divinity is



We tear down

We tear up


Hurt those around us

Especially those who love us

in word and deed

Handle with care



It is not for possession, to be possessed to be given as a possession

it is merely to be

It is to teach

It is to behold

It is to celebrate

It is all these things

It is none of these things

It is everything


To anyone who has ever wanted it

To anyone who has ever thought they had it

Anyone who has truly achieved this divinity

It is hurtful

It is painful

It does not have to be


That is what we make it

Because we cannot



We want to get high

we want to stay high

And for anyone who has ever dabbled in things that get you high

You know, those things, don’t keep you there

The same is true with love

Handle with care


If you are unable to handle it with care

Then surely, you shouldn’t handle it at all.

Copyright © 2017 Tamika Brown and

Image: blamethedragon 



she toiled 

she labored

she was snatched from her home land

she was torn from her children, 

and they, away from she

she was stolen from her own body,

dispossessed as nonchalantly as you please

she birthed

she buried

she grew angry

she grew weary

she fought 

she {somehow} held fast

she prayed

she cried

she empowered, even those who only love her when it suits their best interests

she screamed

she sought vengeance

she listened

she learned

she grew

she took flight

she keeps pushing, even though they keep yelling, spitting, cursing her to stop

she forgives

she loves

she strives

she teaches

she brings forth

she hands down

she lifts up

she persisted. 


even before they ever thought that it was a righteous thing to do.

Copyright © 2017 Tamika Brown and

Image: tijienenetalks

… gone

what is it with this thing
this thing between you and me

this thing that keeps growing 

keeps changing



driving rivers and driving wedges 

firmly between our shores

caught within the clasp

of a million minutes past

bringing it up

sinking us down

leaving not even enough room for light

much less love

rushing ever swifter towards a calling that cannot be denied

but a calling that leaves me

not by your side.

Copyright © 2017 Tamika Brown and

many splintered thing

the saying goes that love is a many splendored thing,

the fine print though is that it entirely depends on the person dispensing said love

there are those who seek to be air,

breathing life and laughter so deep that you have no choice but to grow, to fly

there are also those who seek to be splinters,

slashing you just a little bit with words, actions, dismissals, doubts

some of us have grown so accustomed to the consistency of the pain that all we do is quickly acknowledge it and move right along 

paying no mind to the number of scars that have accumulated 

bearing no witness to the need for change

until it is too late

until those splinters – with every tug, every rip – change the very fabric of who we are 

Copyright © 2017 Tamika Brown and 

stock image



where is your crown

why have you tucked it away

have you locked it away forever

do you ever take a glimpse, wonder what happened

do you believe the lies they tell you

do you believe the lies you tell yourself

do you truly believe that you are no longer king

is that why you don’t treat me as


Copyright © 2017 Tamika Brown and

Image: Basquiat

love … lost

I should not have said I love you

It was perhaps the most wrong thing I could do
Those words, so powerful, so true.

Those words can raise spirits that are strong enough to receive them

But for those that are not, those words come back as broken glass

Cutting ever deeper the vulnerable flesh of the one who dared utter them

I should not have said I love you

It was perhaps the most wrong thing I could do

You were not ready to receive them

You were not ready to hold them, to keep them safe

You were not ready to return that love

Only, broken glass.

Copyright © 2017 Tamika Brown and

The Diagnosis

If we’re completely honest with ourselves, there is always a sign. There is always that very first instance that makes us aware that something exciting is about to happen or that something is wrong. Oftentimes though, we ignore it, we put it to the side. We shrug it off as if it’s nothing.

Towards the end of December 2014 I had an itch on the side of my boob but thought nothing of it. I just thought it was some bumps. I thought – “now that I have some real insurance, I should go see my GYN for a checkup and schedule my mammogram since I’m on the verge of my 40th birthday.”

**It should be noted here that for the previous 4 years I had been in varying states of self/under/un-employment.**

Anyway, fast forward to January 2015 and I finally made an appointment because the small patch I thought were just bumps were still present but felt like they were moving when I would touch them. The PA who did my breast exam in early February described them as “peas”.

She scheduled my mammogram and denied my request for a new birth control prescription … “let’s wait and see what the mammogram says.”

Two weeks later I’m in for my first mammogram which includes a diagnostic. For those who don’t know, this means that in addition to the awkward, super squeezing boob machine there is an ultra-sound type test they do. {there’s a lot more to this part of the story but more on that another time} The results came back and there were 2 suspicious areas.

I got a call from both my GYN and the breast surgeon she recommended me to. Needless to say I was already going nuts — internally of course. NOBODY wants to hear from 1 doctor in a day, let alone 2 …

The very next week I was in for a core needle biopsy, which also has it’s very own story.

My surgeon had decided to biopsy the second area first because of its location. This was not “the peas”. This was an area only detected by the mammogram. She was less worried about this area but wanted to biopsy it first because it would be a little bit more involved than the area of “peas”.

Two weeks later I was in for the results. I was as nervous as nervous could be. But, I consoled myself with this thought while I was waiting for the doctor. Don’t laugh.

I was sitting in the exam room, fully dressed, waiting for what felt like an eternity and thought “You know what? It’s fine. Everything is fine. In all the movies and tv shows the doctor takes you into their office if it’s bad news. I’m not in her office. I’m in the exam room, fully dressed to boot! It’s fine. I’m fine”

The doctor breezed in, with 2 interns in tow, said hi, grabbed her little stool, rolled over to me, put her hand on my leg while simultaneously saying:

It’s cancer.

For those keeping count, in the span of roughly 5 weeks I went from being just Tamika to Tamika-with-a-cancer-diagnosis.

Copyright 2016 Tamika Brown/The Fyne Prynt