Positivity and Optimism | BetterTogether3

Read: The Poetry of Warsan Shire

Warsan Shire was born in Kenya in 1988 and is a London-based Somali-British writer. She is the author of the collections Teaching My Mother How to Give Birth (flipped eye, 2011), Her Blue Body (flipped eye, 2015), and Our Men Do Not Belong to Us (Slapering Hol Press and Poetry Foundation, 2015). Her work has appeared in a range of journals and anthologies, including Poetry Review, Wasafiri, Sable LitMag; The Salt Book of Younger Poets (2011), Long Journeys: African Migrants on the Road (2013), and Poems That Make Grown Women Cry (2016). Shire’s poetry was adapted for singer Beyoncé’s album Lemonade in 2016.

“Redemption” by Warsan Shire

Take one pint of water, add a half pound of sugar, the juice of eight lemons, the zest of half a lemon. Pour the water from one jug then into the other several times. Strain through a clean napkin. Grandmother, the alchemist, you spun gold out of this hard life, conjured beauty from the things left behind. Found healing where it did not live. Discovered the antidote in your own kit. Broke the curse with your own two hands. You passed these instructions down to your daughter who then passed it down to her daughter. I had my ups and downs, but I always find the inner strength to pull myself up. I was served lemons, but I made lemonade. My grandma said “Nothing real can be threatened.” True love brought salvation back into me. With every tear came redemption and my torturers became my remedy. So we’re gonna heal. We’re gonna start again. You’ve brought the orchestra, synchronized swimmers. You’re the magician. Pull me back together again, the way you cut me in half. Make the woman in doubt disappear. Pull the sorrow from between my legs like silk. Knot after knot after knot. The audience applauds … but we can’t hear them.

Listen: To the Music of Beyoncé including Warsan Shire's lyrics


Practice: Reflection & Visualization

One way to be more optimistic and positive in life is to practice! Just like anything, positivity can be cultivated and increased in our lives. Practicing optimism can be as simple as ending each day reflecting on what went well, and starting each new day envisioning your goals playing out exactly as you desire. The more you visualize success, the more your mindset will become accustomed to that success when it occurs. You may find yourself less prone to feeling undeserving, or like an imposter. In the morning, write down how you want your day to go (how you want to feel, what you’d like to occur, and how you’d like to behave) as if it has already happened. Familiarize your mind and body with the feelings you’d like to have. That way, when they inevitably come along, you won’t have to battle as much fear and unfamiliarity.


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