Scout & Birdie
Scout & Birdie

1.   Wake up. Analyze your dreams. Not the steamy ones. Keep those as they are. If you dreamed about losing your teeth, you’re feeling worried and insecure. If you dreamed about a TV show, you’re just tired of it being on hiatus.

2.   Shower—you smell. It’s gone past a natural musk. Your twist out is now knotted. The plugin is overworked and has done all it can. Simply, you look like shit and your room smells like it.

3.   Get up.

4.   Turn on the shower.

a.   Water is good.
b.   The label on your soap says it’s nourishing.
c.   Wash and scrub, repeat if necessary.

5.   Get out of the shower.

6.   Oil your body. Shea butter and then a lil’ coconut oil. Remember oil all your body. Yes, there are extra pounds. Pounds that are making you stare longer in the mirror. Just oil and don’t think too much about it.

a.   If you happen to think too much about, if you’re eyes are catching scars and scratches, remember what bell hooks calls scars. They are marks, and yes there is a difference, she said so.
b.   If your mind has now jumped to your body being the reason why you are single. Shut the fuck up. You have a body that LITERALLY keeps you alive. You are complaining about some pounds while it is complaining that you never show it love.
c.   If a and b did not work, remember your saying that you want to become a Goodreads quotes, “Trying to find love without loving yourself is like going to an all you can eat buffet without a plate.”
d.   If a, b, and c did not work call BAE taskforce.

7.   Repeat steps 4 and 5 if necessary.

8.   Have a little you time.

a.   It won’t make your fingers hairy

9.   Put on your granny panties. Cry, yawn, laugh, fart—it doesn’t matter. Just release whatever is inside. Try not to scream. You’re second in line for designated apartment weirdo.

10.  After release, remind yourself that you are not a Lady Macbeth sitting in a window or any supernatural force for destruction.

a.   You’ve never read Macbeth

11.  Remember that while you are not a supernatural force for destruction, you do have monster inside your head. You’ve known her for sixteen years, but for the last two, you’ve learned ways to keep her chained. Some days it is okay to pet her. She may try to bite. She may try to give you pity eyes. DO NOT UNCHAIN HER. Just walk away. She will always be there.

12.  Take your meds. Don’t pour them down the toilet and record yourself doing so.

a.   The pills just end up sticking to the bottom of your toilet
b.   It’s a waste of your copay and $2.50 it takes to get to the doctor’s office.

Just take them. Open your mouth. Pop them in. Drink water, coffee, or whatever non-alcoholic drink is on your desk, and then swallow.

13.  Pick out your clothes and as you get dressed think about elementary, middle, and high school. Think about home and be grateful. It will not always be there. Your state is dying. Your parents are dying. You are dying. But for now all is alive. When that is no longer the case, your memories will live. Then after that it is your stories.


About the artist...

Jennifer Chukwu is a writer and visual artist based in Chicago. She graduated from the University of Chicago with a BA in English Language and Literature and Gender & Sexuality studies. She has presented her writing, art, and research at University of Wisconsin-Madison, National Louis University, and UC Berkeley. She is currently co-hosting “Connections” a reading series at Beans Gallery.

Overall, her writing is rooted in examining the everyday strangeness of race, gender, and class. You can find her contact information at

Want to see more of Jennifer's work?

Check out her piece, Notes on a Train, from Issue VIII: The Witching Hour.