“Diary of a Mad Black Girl” the making of the poems

Indira Nzerue

Abigail Ndikum-Diary of a Mad Black Girl is a collection of poems that discuss the raw emotions of a teenage girl. Starting with “Blowing Dandelions,” and ending with “A Letter to my Future Son,” each poem explores different aspects of the speaker’s personality, focusing on how they feel about a certain topic. The collection deals with complex emotions many are able to relate to, such as lustfulness, vulnerability and depression.
In “Blowing Dandelions,” the main theme is desire. I grew up with a lot of my classmates owning curly hair and having the ability to do whatever they please with their hair. My hair is extremely kinky, so most of the time I have braided. When I did have my natural hair out, people would comment about it, and in class they would put pencils and pens in my hair. I coveted curly hair just so that I could fit in with my classmates. But coily, kinky hair represents what I wish to be: independent, different, and unique.
Winter term was really stressful and overall hard for me; a lot of the time I was extremely miserable and depressed, and it showed. People would come up to me ask if I’m okay and wanted to know what was wrong. However, I didn’t feel like explaining. “Anti-social Social Club” reveals my inner dialogue and what it feels to be isolated. Nowadays, I catch myself saying “I’m fine,” more often, even though I am far from okay. I’m a very private person when it comes to my feelings and emotions, so when people ask how I’m doing, I give clipped responses. A teacher told me that sometimes knowing when to take some time for yourself is beneficial, because you don’t always need everybody’s help.
“Empty Potholes” is closely linked to “Anti-social Social club,” but it’s more so talks about the after effect of me saying “I’m fine.” When I’m in a sad mental state, I usually express myself through tears, though I strongly dislike crying. Crying makes me feel as I’ve reached a bottom pit, and that I could do nothing but pity myself. I have so much I want to do, and pitying myself would do nothing but stop progress. So my only choice is to toughen up and keep moving on.
The last two poems, “A Letter to my Past Self” and “A Letter to my Future Son,” are meant to end the collection on a thoughtful yet serious note. In “A Letter to my Past Self,” I apologize to myself about everything I’ve been through, cause I have a hard time with forgiving and forgetting. Well, more so the forgetting part. I have all this stuff from my childhood bottled up on the inside and I’ve never truly let myself forget what happened in my past. “A Letter to my Future Son,” is a warning notice for my future son as well as a wake-up call for me. I was inspired to write this letter because my friend, Evelyn Wu, wrote and performed a monologue called “A Letter to my Future Daughter,” in which advises her daughter “to be the storm!” I also drew inspiration from a talk about masculinity lead by Mr. Perry, a former P.A. faculty member. I wanted to advise my son (I really want a son) of the dangers of the world, and that he doesn’t have to feel as if he has to fit into this mold that is set out for him.
The title, Diary of a Mad Black Girl, was inspired by the movie Diary of a Mad Black Woman, because sometimes life has you feeling crazy and pretty frustrated. It seemed to fit with how I felt through the process of writing these poems, and therefore a perfect title. Throughout this assignment, I learned that I’m stronger than I think I am, and that I need to place more confidence in myself. Additionally, I’ve learned that poetry is an amazing outlet to discuss your feelings and also current events. You have no boundaries and are free to write about what you want, whether it be to inform others or just to entertain yourself.