Essence of a Woman When I think about the essence of a
woman the word that comes to mind is “Ethereal”. A being so strong, empowering, and resilient, yet so graceful in ways many can’t understand or fear to do so. Now add a dash or two of melanin and you will see the creation of cosmic proportions - the Black Woman. Black women are the mothers of civilizations. Throughout history, told and untold, black women have been the backbone of families and societies.
I salute the woman who cries after walking into her
I am proud to have been ordained a member of a
I salute the woman who desperately battles with
group who, no matter what they’ve gone though, have walked with their heads held high, and fought
house and releases the pressures of her day.
self-confidence and dysphoria because she feels as if she is not as pretty as the girls around her.
for the rights of their family and communities to just be. Today, and everyday, I salute women of color for their perseverance over the adversities and obstacles this world have placed before them time
I salute the woman who orders pizza for dinner instead of making it...because she's tired or depressed.
I salute the exhausted woman who showers a few
I salute the woman who feels alone, even in a crowded room.
minutes for the water to hide the tears she sheds.
“You're worth it. You are important. You are enough. and you are loved!”
I salute the woman hidden in the bathroom just to get a moment of tranquility.
I salute the woman who is so tired that she feels she can't continue. Willing to give anything to feel like herself again.
Until next time, this is your girl Javannah saying, “Be good to You”
Ask ~SPEAK-OUT With Marshay Dominique~
I hope life is ﬁnding you all well as you read these words. My personal goal every month is to share a li9le something that helps to further each and every one of us in some random, yet poe<c way. This month, I’ve created an acronym exclusive to us inspired by our theme of ending the silence.
yourself in this journey. Express! Don’t be
I know many of us can relate to mu<ng our true selves out of fear or concern for the responses we
afraid to learn how to control AND express your
would receive if we lived out loud. I wish I knew then
feelings in a safe and eﬀec<ve manner. Its one of
the unpleasant truth that I know now which is,
the precious giOs we were all given and for great
whether you follow the guidance of others or not-
they will not approve! They’ll talk either way and it
3. Explain Nothing
will never be favorable to you. Why crave the
I ﬁnd that the older I get, the more I ﬁght to
acceptance of lost souls who haven’t ﬁgured their own
release this terrible, old learned behavior of
thing out? I want you to understand that keeping your
always feeling the need to provide an
truth inside is so detrimental to your own health and
explana<on for why I want what I want. If you
well-being that I believe it can actually shorten your
tell your boss you’re taking the day oﬀ, that is
life. Stress-induced traumas that we don’t face head
YOUR preroga<ve. I used to waste days deciding
on always come back to bite us, am I right?
what I would say and how I would say it just to get ONE day to myself out of 4 or 5! That same
energy carried over into friendships and da<ng
We men<oned living out loud- but what does that
so fast that before I knew it, I was apologizing for
really mean? For me, it means the sa<sfac<on I feel
saying “no” to people for NO REASON AT ALL!
knowing I heard myself, healed myself and fought for
This immediately downgraded my right to opt
myself every <me it was needed. Its called living
out and made me feel less than in many
passionately! You were not put here to silence any
situa<ons and was totally unnecessary. Don’t fall
version of yourself and your emo<ons. You were
into this trap! Be good to yourself and explain
created to emit and emote on the way to discovering
Marshay 4. Ac;on- Oriented Energy
toxic. When I educated myself on this topic, I
This is perhaps my favorite sec<on of advice. In
looked forward to going out alone. I turned people
order to end any silence, you must be prepared to take
down so I could go out alone (of course with safe
ac<on at any given moment. It’s always infuria<ng to hear
protocols in place). I realized how much strength it
about something terrible happening to someone and not
takes to be alone and that can never make you
only were there several people standing around but they
had enough mind to start recording yet refused to step in.
Be prepared to make people uncomfortable and challenge
I absolutely live and die by the saying, “if you’re
outdated views, thoughts and belief systems that promote
going to come in the room, come ALL the way in
exclusion and even violence against others simply because
the room!” Don’t be afraid to set major goals for
they’re diﬀerent. Be prepared to promote change by being
yourself and try new things! Its really the spice of
viewed as problema<c simply because you SPEAK OUT.
life and a great way to ﬁght depression naturally: with
You’re not alone in making these bold choices and there
curiosity. Take whatever you’re good at and be great at
WILL be <mes that you feel like it. Trust me, you will ﬁnd
it! We s<ll have so much <me to experiment/prac<ce
people on your wave eventually because we’re certainly
as we’re all mostly s<ll at home wai<ng out the
coronavirus pandemic. When you reach that new goal
Knowledge Is Very Literally Power
or those new goals, celebrate them OUT LOUD!
Fear is natural. Fear of the unknown is even
Post to social media, text everyone you know and brag
more natural. The only way to combat this fear is to
on yourself because you’re doing it. Be your own biggest
educate yourself. What are you afraid of? That party
coming up this weekend that none of your friends will
Up & Coming
be at? Are you afraid of going alone and being seen
Think of your life as a permanent roller
as a weak, ineﬀectual loner because you don’t have
coaster ride. Just as there have been downs, there
the vapid support of familiar faces surrounding you? If
will be ups again. There HAS to be! Its physics,
you’re laughing, this was me at one point in <me. I was
science… its been realis<cally proven that this is
so afraid to go out and be seen alone. Then I started to
how life works. Never ever allow yourself to
study the behaviors of these so-called friends of mine
become stuck in a low or lull. I know it can be hard
and saw real jealousy and disrespect right in front of
to shake yourself out of so never close your heart
me the en<re <me. There’s nothing wrong with
to the idea of reaching out to someone to help
wan<ng the genuine support of your tribe but to crave
break this mental pa9ern if you should ﬁnd
it more than you crave self-growth and reliance can be
yourself in it. It can actually mean life or death to
keep these thoughts and feelings to yourself as selfharm can usually stem from these dark moments of
available. Know that you have op<ons and most of them ARE within your reach. Please con<nue to love
nega<ve thinking. I am with you! We’re all with you and
and respect yourselves and others, as Iâ€™ll be doing
your life is always being wri9en by YOU. You decide what
~Eternally & Truly Yours, Marshay
A ﬁnal thought: as you may have no<ced, my
strongest theme has been how important it is to take your journey and mental health seriously. This will likely never change in any forms of advice I give because its the key to self-improvement. Self-reﬂec<on! You must be able to take a healthy look at yourself and introspec<on of your life to see what can be corrected to improve your quality of living/being. We may not be able to do that all on our own
Need Advice? Email your questions about love, life & entanglements to: AskMarshay.BlaqueOut@gmail.com & you might see it answered in an upcoming issue of Blaque/Out Mag!!
so on your path to ending the silence you’ve kept within, you may need to seek counseling. I advise you to contact your insurance company and also research online for aﬀordable sessions either virtually or in-person, if
Hello, Friends! I missed you all last month when I missed the magazine’s deadline because yes, I was reading! Let me tell you. Any good habit can become a vice if you’re not careful, y’all. I have two very diﬀerent books for you this month. I loved both of them; each gave me a sense of wan<ng to start the book again immediately aOer ﬁnishing. As always, be aware of your own capacity to read about the struggles of others. Drop me a line at Reviews May Vary@ gmail.com with your thoughts and comments about these books as well as recommenda<ons that you think I should read. Follow along with my bookventures on Facebook, Instagram, and youtube.com/c/reviewsmayvary.
more and more of herself to “the woman in the dream house.” It is a short book, but does not feel like a quick read. It is well worth the time.
Here's a book quote for you:
In the Dream House by Carmen Maria Machado (Memoir) This book is a memoir that is rich in metaphor and lyrical language. Each chapter is short and explores the author’s experience as a young co-ed involved in one of her earliest roman<c rela<onships. The essays take you from the exci<ng beginnings through the increasing emo<onal abuse and manipula<on of their <me together. Each chapter is short and thoughnul. Interes<ngly, Machado oﬀers references in footnote to classic literary and movie themes that are reﬂected in her stories. You know that Machado is eventually free of this rela<onship, she assures the reader several <mes and currently lives with her wife in Philadelphia, but you s<ll worry for her as she loses
“We can’t stop living. Which means we have to live, which means we are alive, which means we are humans and we are human: some of us are unkind and some of us are confused and some of us sleep with the wrong people and some of us make bad decisions and some of us are murderers. And it sounds terrible but it is, in fact, freeing: the idea that queer does not equal good or pure or right. It is simply a state of being one subject to politics, to its own social forces, to larger narratives, to moral complexities of every kind. So bring on the queer villains, the queer heroes, the queer sidekicks and secondary characters and protagonists and extras. They can be a complete cast unto themselves. Let them have agency, and then let them go.”
Carmen Maria Machado,
In the Dream House
heard of. The children’s caretaker, Arthur, is a mysterious cutie-pie who would do anything to make sure the kids stay safe. They’ve been living isolated from a town that fears them. Arthur helps Linus connect to joy and not be so stodgy and Linus helps Arthur consider a longer term approach to parenting and living an authentic life. You get the idea. This book was so cute and I loved every slightly- cheesy minute of it.
Here’s a book quote:
“Humanity is so weird. If we’re not laughing, The House in the Cerulean Sea by TJ Klune (Fantasy) This book is completely diﬀerent from the other one! Linus Baker is a caseworker for an agency that oversees orphanages for magical children descended from mythical creatures. He’s a pushover, he doesn’t have any friends, and he’s oOen being mistreated by his co-workers, his boss, and his neighbor. He has no ambi<ons. However, he is very good at his job and he is proud of that. One day he gets assigned to check in on a secret facility on an island that he’s never
we’re crying or running for our lives because monsters are trying to eat us. And they don’t even have to be real monsters. They could be the ones we make up in our heads. Don’t you think that’s weird?”
The House in the Cerulean Sea
Love your body. Get tested.
E. (she/him/they) Photographer - Writer - Sex Educator Rochester, NY Queer Women are beautiful and passionate but often overlooked. I chose to shoot them (lesbian, bisexual, coupled and not) to simply show, we’re HERE.
End The Silence AAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH HHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH HHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH! Whew! Sorry, we had to let that out real quick. We thought someone said (S)top (H)aving (U)nfiltered (T)houghts (U)nexpectedly (P)lease. We thought someone was telling us that we had to stop talking because our voices are too powerful, too sensible, too convincing that you can be healthy and happy in this life. We started speaking up and speaking on the real issues in raw form and they began to shake. Our voices speaking soul truth, have been diminished to a whisper for decades.
and you should never feel invisible, especially in a room full of people. We haven’t forgotten about the brothers. The endless times as a little boy you were told “shut up, boys don’t cry”, “boys don’t show emotions”, “man up”, “toughen up” , “You can’t” present as a strong masculine man with tears running down your cheeks. ”The people aren’t going to take you seriously if they can see and smell the fear you possess.” “No woman would allow a man like you to lead her.” Imagine being told at 5 years old you can’t cry after scraping your knee, because “that’s not what men do.” The pain we feel for the little boy in the store that wants the pink toy, or has found interest in hair and cosmetics and wants to explore, but will never get the opportunity to because
Thinking back to the countless times we’ve heard "as a
its not masculine enough. The parents will never allow
woman you should be seen not heard." As if you had
such girly activities to be done by their son. Despite
nothing more to contribute aside from cute looks and
this mentality tarnishing their son dreams and talents,
prancing across the room. Universe forbids you to have an
despite it being a passion, he won’t dare express how
independent thought, and it is a good one. How dare
much it means to him because it has been forbidden.
someone with a female embodiment have something more
Drowning silently because he isn’t seen in the light
to offer than a stroke of the male ego. For so long those
that shows his brightness. To that unsatisfied little boy
who identify as women have never been considered to
buried deep within, let out your scream and end your
have a valid thought, they are nothing without their man.
Oh she has a loud mouth, ain’t nobody been able to put her in her place yet. Because the ability to confidently speak up and say how you feel must mean that no one has taught you how to “respectfully address typically a man. We call bullshit from the highest mountain top. As a woman you should be seen, felt, heard, understood, communicated with, respected, valued, and everything else your heart desires, just as a man is expected to be. As a woman, no parameter should be created for you that you have not created for yourself. Your voice should never be silenced
To my non-binary people that simply want to be seen and accepted. Continue to be yourself and go against the standard. Be loud and confident in everything you do. Break and curse gender norms. Let the world know you are here and won’t be quiet for the satisfaction of anyone else. Love and appreciate yourself, be yourself unapologetically, and scream across the mountain tops that you will not be silenced. We Love and respect you all!!
I want you to take a moment and just breathe. I want you to feel how your neck expands and gently comes back inward on the exhales. I want you to truly begin to feel how light the breath lands in the body whenever you truly are connected with having a moment of stillness. Fill up your lungs for 3-5 seconds, hold the breath for the same, and then exhale on that same number you choose. Gently begin to open up your eyes and begin to exam the body. You may choose to continue the breathing exercise or just allow the breath to land naturally in the body.Take a few seconds to read this excerpt from treasured ancestor, poet and author Toni Morrison from their famous work Beloved. In this here place, we flesh; flesh that weeps, laughs; flesh that dances on bare feet in grass. Love it. Love it hard. Yonder they do not love your flesh. They despise it. They don't love your eyes; they'd just as soon pick em out. No more do they love the skin on your back. Yonder they flay it. And O my people they do not love your hands. Those they only use, tie, bind, chop off and leave empty. Love your hands! Love them. Raise them up and kiss them. Touch others with them, pat them together, stroke them on your face 'cause they don't love that either. You got to love it, you! And no, they ain't in love with your mouth. Yonder, out there, they will see it broken and break it again. What you say out of it they will not heed. What you scream from it they do not hear. What you put into it to nourish your body they will snatch away and give you leavins instead. No, they don't love your mouth. You got to love it. This is flesh I'm talking about here. Flesh that needs to be loved. Feet that need to rest and to dance; backs that need support; shoulders that need arms, strong arms I'm telling you. And O my people, out yonder,
hear me, they do not love your neck unnoosed and straight. So love your neck; put a hand on it, grace it, stroke it and hold it up. and all your inside parts that they'd just as soon slop for hogs, you got to love them. The dark, dark liver--love it, love it and the beat and beating heart, love that too. More than eyes or feet. More than lungs that have yet to draw free air. More than your life-holding womb and your life-giving private parts, hear me now, love your heart. For this is the prize. A part of decreasing the silence and neutrality of social injustice, is first reckoning you're worth and the worth your body and breath have. I often tell myself that my breath is bigger than the bs going on around me. That soon begins to bring a true transformation that I must not only be aware of myself, but of all that is spinning in my head and in front of me. I know we often feel like this, especially when we are navigating the difficult relationships of work, friendships, family, but most importantly the relationship we have with self. The important understanding one should take away from this piece is the nature in which self love causes us to really begin to change how we engage with others. By becoming in-tune with our true realities, we often may see how we have been an active silent partner in how people interact with us. Silence amongst people who have learned do deal with daily trauma only generally leads to more daily trauma to face. I know, its hard. We are all trying to aim for a better life and sometimes that reality does not seem as clear as taking a few simple breaths does. So how are you breathing now?
We live in fear of not being nourished or validated. Often these
rapidly as a bird's wings. Your body is awakening to a new
measures to silence us deal in past generational trauma of trying
understanding of what breaking through silence can be. It
to save us. But when has silence ever saved anyone. If you do
can be an appreciated stillness of recognizing how loud life
nothing else from this space. You have learned that even your
can be. So when you return from breathing, your voice will
breath is loud. Even your food steps when you touch the ground
ring louder than any cathedral bells could. Stay hydrated y’all! -B
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