#SWAAYthenarrative

An Open Letter to Nicki Minaj

6 Min Read
Culture

Dear Nicki,

I do not know you; I won't even profess to knowing your music. But, that Queen album made a believer out of me. Yes, I've liked songs here and there in the past but my overall exposure to you had been limited. These days, however, "The gonads on this nut," is something that I periodically intone! Fun fact: I am writing this while "Barbie Dreams" is on pause on my television screen. From time to time, I play the video for comic relief and its overall good vibes — and anyone who is wondering why I refer to Nicki as a "nut" can soak in its screaming ardor of "I don't give a shit" — six different ways — for clarity. Today though, I find myself reflecting on you, your presumed plight, and your recent absence from the spotlight.

Before we go any further, some things about me: I am a master's level, forensic psychologist amongst other things, with distinct taste in music. I like fervor and attitude, as music is where I let loose. Thus, it is through these traits that you, Ms. Minaj, tickle my fancy, as I have a passion for words and a mean delivery, and I resound particularly when a woman speaks her ever-loving, (and hopefully evolving) brazen, mind.

You impress me with your depth, transparency, and your ability to firmly hoist those gonads while simultaneously correcting the masses with an authentic feminine persona. You do all this with charm, audacity, and oomph that keeps the boys dizzily afloat and the girls conscious and obsessed with more. You are both an open book and a mystery, and you have successfully penned your way into our history books with your brutal sass.

Yes, others blazed the trail but you lead us through the forest, into a clearing, and then you built us a grand lodge. Now we're all housed and seated — waiting for you, expecting you to deliver the wine, the cheese and the grapes--the telltale signs of our giddy arrival.

Yes, it is unrealistic and sadomasochistic to wait in expectancy, but this is the culture that we have collectively honed and hustled and you're its chic maven. It is your fault that you've pushed the mantle thus far; you've done it all, and it cannot be finessed or repeated. There truly is no way to top you, so I hope that you seat yourself in the conscious satisfaction that you have nothing more to prove.

So, Nicki, this is an important question… How are you? You are human and "being human is hard, on the boulevard!" You must be tired. What you have done is no small task, so you must be weary of the press and the sometimes merciless throng. Plus, you have left us on the edge thinking a lot of things: she is a new wife, a potential mom…she's finding out that it all leads to nowhere…yes, I said it, nowhere.

As the world gasps and grapples with the imperative that Black people should be living unbothered and carefree in this time and age—many are wanting to bother you to juxtapose on their front — on their terms — oblivious to the fact that you're a woman that is smarting and in need of your own intervention.

You've peddled the fantasy of a self-driven fairytale and of girls having "coral pink" fun, and as a woman that's staring down the barrel of a for-two-and-forever situation, I have a strong feeling that you're on the beginning side of finding out that the thing entails very little fun. Plus, with a husband with baggage that requires TSA handling — your life my friend, is not an easy road.

Do not get me wrong, I think marriage is the ultimate sacrifice that bodes the promise of unspeakable reward, but on its face, it is a sacrifice — a difficult and daily one at times — which is why some of us run around before getting sucked into its irresistible and inevitable realm.

You know, with God being a male and all and the toe under which we all profess to marry, there is a specific role for the female that immediately becomes a requiem for us to imbibe — which leaves you, my dear at the door of a wicked conundrum: pivot and flee or admit that it is not the fluffy pillows that you dream on — and soberly carry on in its, sometimes jarring, dimension.

See, ideas of marriage are often incomplete to the reality of marriage, and I see this moment as time to publicly normalize the ill-fitting crux that we women can find ourselves in — especially when we've shown that we can do it all. Many women enter marriage with their own plans of forward movement — as if marriage is a bucket at the store and life is the bathroom that they are anxious to scrub clean. Oftentimes, women see marriage the same way a man sees an attractive woman — as something to own — with no consciousness of the fact that it entails a whole human being with its own mind and muscling motivations.

Women are often anxious for a man that satisfies their desire for intimacy and companionship and they are frequently ready to lead the way in their marriage when this happens — without taking into account the terms of the agreement that they have entered into. As much as women can see miles above a man's head, sitting back and allowing him to discover and lead the way is its own challenge — a necessary and meaningful one when you know that you've picked a partner that you trust — or else, your constant intervention would likely turn him into a churlish and feckless child — and your marriage into a joyless, suffocating logjam.

Marriage is a realm that is always unknown for those who embark on it, as no two marriage is alike. Thus, there is no real script on its success; a person just has to be willing to recognize his/her role in it — which varies from time to time — and be true to its calling of unyielding commitment.

It takes a lot of holding back and letting go to build a successful marriage; silence and mental restraint become your best friends as you learn to build a new persona that is now the "wife," as wifehood is a role that is separate onto itself. The point is that it necessitates a new way of thinking and being, which is only upheld by an acceptance of its role.

The deal here Nic, is that you need us, the public, but not in the way that you have before. In the past, you have stunted on us, dropped bars on us, left us whipped and wussed and agreeably anxious for more and the fact is, we are your mess to clean up — while you are our mess to witness.

We are ready to see the softening up of your steely nerves, as you wilt and cocoon into a being that is self-assured yet, unsure of herself — and able to don a new pose. Regardless of what is next, my hope is that you are able seat comfortably in this new phase — fearless of the prying eyes and the sordid details that may seek to keep you chained in discomfort. Although you may be conscious of some of the losses you must now tow, I am looking forward to you shattering stereotypes, fitting molds and soldiering on glibly as you model for us the obvious rewards of a woman that is tied down and befitted for marriage. We are waiting, Nicki, 'ronaed up in this grand lodge, thinking of grapes, wine (if you have any), and extra cheese because, this is America and all eyes are — mistakenly — on you!

How to Learn Much More From the Books You Read

It is one thing to read and another thing to understand what you are reading. Not only do you want to understand, but also remember what you've read. Otherwise, we can safely say that if we're not gaining anything from what we read, then it's a big waste of time.

Whatever you read, there are ways to do so in a more effective manner to help you understand better. Whether you are reading by choice, for an upcoming test, or work-related material, here are a few ways to help you improve your reading skills and retain that information.

Read with a Purpose

Never has there been a shortage of great books. So, someone recommended a great cookbook for you. You start going through it, but your mind is wandering. This doesn't mean the cookbook was an awful recommendation, but it does mean it doesn't suit nor fulfill your current needs or curiosity.

Maybe your purpose is more about launching a business. Maybe you're a busy mom and can't keep office hours, but there's something you can do from home to help bring in more money, so you want information about that. At that point, you won't benefit from a cookbook, but you could gain a lot of insight and find details here on how-to books about working from home. During this unprecedented year, millions have had to make the transition to work from home, and millions more are deciding to do that. Either way, it's not a transition that comes automatically or easily, but reading about it will inform you about what working from home entails.

Pre-Read

When you pre-read it primes your brain when it's time to go over the full text. We pre-read by going over the subheadings, for instance, the table of contents, and skimming through some pages. This is especially useful when you have formal types of academic books. Pre-reading is a sort of warm-up exercise for your brain. It prepares your brain for the rest of the information that will come about and allows your brain to be better able to pick the most essential pieces of information you need from your chosen text.

Highlight

Highlighting essential sentences or paragraphs is extremely helpful for retaining information. The problem, however, with highlighting is that we wind up highlighting way too much. This happens because we tend to highlight before we begin to understand. Before your pages become a neon of colored highlights, make sure that you only highlight what is essential to improve your understanding and not highlight the whole page.

Speed Read

You might think there have been no new ways to read, but even the ancient skill of reading comes up with innovative ways; enter speed reading. The standard slow process shouldn't affect your understanding, but it does kill your enthusiasm. The average adult goes through around 200 to 250 words per minute. A college student can read around 450 words, while a professor averages about 650 words per minute, to mention a few examples. The average speed reader can manage 1,500 words; quite a difference! Of course, the argument arises between quality and quantity. For avid readers, they want both quantity and quality, which leads us to the next point.

Quality Reading

Life is too short to expect to gain knowledge from just one type of genre. Some basic outcomes of reading are to expand your mind, perceive situations and events differently, expose yourself to other viewpoints, and more. If you only stick to one author and one type of material, you are missing out on a great opportunity to learn new things.

Having said that, if there's a book you are simply not enjoying, remember that life is also too short to continue reading it. Simply, close it, put it away and maybe give it another go later on, or give it away. There is no shame or guilt in not liking a book; even if it's from a favorite author. It's pretty much clear that you won't gain anything from a book that you don't even enjoy, let alone expect to learn something from it.

Summarize

If you're able to summarize what you have read, then you have understood. When you summarize, you are bringing up all the major points that enhance your understanding. You can easily do so chapter by chapter.

Take a good look at your life and what's going on in it. Accordingly, you'll choose the material that is much more suitable for your situation and circumstances. When you read a piece of information that you find beneficial, look for a way to apply it to your life. Knowledge for the sake of knowledge isn't all that beneficial. But the application of knowledge from a helpful book is what will help you and make your life more interesting and more meaningful.