The Audacity of False Hope

Last night, my cab driver was terrified. He is of Middle Eastern descent with Islam as his faith in a country with “Christian” values. While stopped at a light, he checked the (very early) electoral votes as they were coming in. As he shared what he saw online, I could see the look of sheer panic in his eyes. Mohammad began asking me questions about immigration, wondering  if he and his family could be rounded up and thrown out of the country, even though they are here legally. He asked about american detention and concentration camps. I shuddered at the thought. His questions poured out like the levees of his mind felt safe enough to break. He saw me, a woman of color – an American, and felt safe enough to ask his questions thinking I would give it to him straight. He asked how will this new system work. I went through all the ways this couldn’t happen (man power, votes needed to make this happen, resources, logistics, etc). He was terrified of a particular candidate winning. I assured him that wouldn’t happen and quoted pollsters and rattled off battleground states to watch for. We even laughed at the supporters of said candidate as we drove by the hotel where this candidate’s election party was being held. We snapped their pictures through rolled down windows and mocked their stupidity. By the time, he dropped me off in Harlem, he wasn’t so nervous. He made a comment about how there are some crazy Americans with sick racial ideals but “WE Americans” know how to stand up to  those wackos. He thanked me for talking him off the “crazy ledge” and shook my hand before he handed me my packages.

But then today happened. I wish I could sincerely apologize for naively giving this man and his family false hope. By the end of our trip, he was smiling like I’d just handed him a winning lottery ticket. He believed me, believed in our system. Who am I to believe in the better parts of ourselves when the worst of ourselves rages on incessantly? Who am I to be so smug in my own ideals and confidence in the integrity of my country to not only put blinders on, but to also pass out a pair to this man? I never gave credence to today. Today is better left for dramatic TV show scripts and blockbuster Armageddon, dooms day type movies. Today is not the today I signed up for. Chappelle was right. America kept it real, and it went all the way wrong.

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Can you repeat the question? 

My mom has a terminal illness and I am her caregiver. I struggle with discussing it for many reasons – protecting her privacy, wanting people to remember her in the best way they remember; fear of the known; fear of bursting into tears on site; the list is long long long. Shit, the fact that I composed the first sentence is shocking (and may have produced a mini eye sweat during my morning commute).

How’s your mom?”

There are many aspects of being a caregiver for my once fiercely independent momma that I struggle with and truth be told, I often feel like my success rate is a crap shoot. (There goes those eyes sweats again) However, this question is both heart warming and heart breaking. At the same damn time. I fumble through it like the first contestant to go home from Dancing with the Stars, praying knowing notices all the mistakes I make in this routine, feeling like the world is watching my missteps and keeping score.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m touched when friends, neighbors, people who know me as Pam’s daughter, coworkers, clients, acquaintances, etc ask about my mom. I know it’s out of concern, it’s thoughtful because they either care a great deal for my momma (I’m convinced she has more fans than Kanye), care about me and therefore care about her well-being, or fall somewhere along that continuum. Of course there are those who ask just out of politeness and couldn’t care less than a certain orange wanna be politician about anything that isn’t money. Conversely, I secretly judge folks who don’t ever ask, especially if we are/were close. I recently ran into 2 exes. They both know my mom is ill. One asked about her and one didn’t. Guess which one got the side eye awkward silent treatment from me? #iaintsorry

It’s not the question itself. It’s my answer. Classic it’s not you, it’s me bull. In the 1.5 seconds I have to respond I inhale sharply and have to decide how forthcoming I want to be and how to frame my response. Do I say she scared to eat because she hasn’t kept anything down all day? Do I tell how she finally had the strength to do 2 loads of her own laundry but slept for the rest of the day afterwards?  Do I just dump all of this and so much more in the person’s lap then move on to discuss the latest episode of Queen Sugar/Insecure/ATL?  Of course not. So I tend to respond with one of the following:

She’s good.”

“Fine.”

“Umm she’s okay.”

Even when that’s not the case. Then I worry about my tone, my delivery. Did it come off with the cheery saccharine over ambitious weather reporter telling of sunny forecasts? Did I look them in the eye, make it believable?  How sincere do I sound? Did I pull it off? Will they probe further with a followup question? If so, what can I say to keep this convo moving? How soon can I change the topic without being an assclown to someone who is expressing concern for my momma? What’s a good segue?

All this in 1.5 seconds.

In 1.5 seconds, my mind and emotions have down marathon laps around my brain and heart to come up with “Oh she’s good. Still driving me crazy. ha ha”, praying it satisfies the recipient. Most times, thankfully, it does. And I breath a sigh of relief. My emotions are in check and I can continue wearing the facade.

Exhale…..

Until the next person with the next inquiry and my next 1.5 second performance.

I don’t say any of this to stop any one from asking about my mom. Please don’t stop. Just know the internal struggle that goes along with my answer. Know that some days I will spill the beans like a whore at confession and tell you what’s really going on. Know that some days, I need you to be okay with “She’s fine.” with a half smile and a half ass segue into some random thought about the Housewives of Fill in the Blank. Know that no matter how many times the question is repeated, I’m trying.

 

(it took me a week to write this, to publish this. it feels like I’m clearing cobwebs from an old familiar house. dusting off familiar terrain. I’ll get better at this. I hope)
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Reset

“I told that mother fucker years ago: Clear your roster, get rid of all the ho’s, all the dumb shit and hit the reset button. Start over. Clean slate. Reset all that shit. But he ain’t listen.”

Have you ever met someone that whenever you speak with them there is always some hard truth sprinkled in the conversation? Kind of like how a pinch of salt makes everything tastes better? The above quote came from said person.

Over the course of a varied all over the map conversation, this nugget came about when speaking of someone we know and knowing how different shit could be if he had listened to his friend. But that’s life we say. He made a choice and this is his life based on that choice. Not in a bad way either, just a life way.

I’m still unraveling the conversation but the reset stands out. Truthfully speaking, I am swimming in emotional entanglements. Former lovers entanglements, former friends entanglements,  all memories and emotions swirled together like the Christmas lights I never put away properly. Trying to extract one entanglement just leads to frustration, uncertainty and a bigger mess dangling in mid-air. And just like with those damn Christmas lights, I stick them back in the closet, all the way back in the closet. Out of sight, not so quite out of mind, promising to take the time to deal with it. One day. Maybe. Eventually.

So here I am. Ready to clear the roster. No hos in sight but definitely the emotional entanglements, along with the dumb shit. I want a clean slate.The past is not going to change. No amount of stew and reflection is going to change that. I feel like a reset is in order in a few areas of my life. Hit the reset button on my dating/love life. Re-calibrate my emotions. Reorder my thoughts. Funny, all of this just screams “bitch you need to be writing again.”

The motherfucker who started this may not have listened. But I did. I should probably thank him. If he had listened? Chiiiiiile…..there’s a story there. I’ll tell it one day.

Reset. Refocus. Write. Right.

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What is This? Happy?!

A couple of weeks ago,  I went to get my hair done. Color touch up, hydrating conditioning, pressed and yes curled – The Works. After the process, my stylist and I had a little photo shoot – just being silly, just being us. I posted one of the pics (gasp – a selfie) on my social media accounts to much fanfare I must say (thank ya, thank ya kindly), and continued with the rest of my evening.

me

A friend, shortly after liking the pic, sent a text:

This is probably one of my favorite pics of you. You look happy…

I was stopped in my tracks. Say what now?! Although stumped, I thanked him for the compliment, the compliment that has now been on my mind ever since I read the text.

There have been many adjectives and adverbs, verbs and nouns used to describe me. Lively, funny, outgoing, smart, smart ass, witty, sexy, flirt, bitch, generous, loyal, ride or die, adventurous, loving, realist, outspoken, lovable, lush….the list could go on and on like a first Sunday sermon. You get the idea. But….happy? Me?? Where???

I sat back and thought on this notion of happy. When was the last time I was described by someone as happy? Hell, when was the last time I described myself as happy? What does happy even look like?? Don’t get me wrong. I’m not walking around in a funk deeper the stench on a homeless person. I have happy moments. Happy moments strung together like Christmas lights to get me through this thing called life. That’s how I look at happy. In the moment, I was happy my hair was done. I was happy with the results. But was I happy overall?? Ask me what happy looks like? Ask me what happy looks like on me?……. Kanye shrug…I’m coming up short.

Returning to the picture, I studied it. Trying to memorize what I see to recreate this look of happy.  All I see is a woman enjoying the moment. I didn’t see what my friend saw. And it was driving me crazy. Until I started mediating. Again.

I know I don’t post much anymore but I know I wrote about how meditation saved me from insomnia and God knows what else. So I’ve found when I have these moments of foggy smog, I turn to meditation. When I first wrote about mediation, I let my mind wander to a place on forgiveness. I wanted to know what forgiveness looked like, what did it feel like, hell what did it taste like. Eventually my mind answered and I gained a lot of clarity on forgiveness and letting go to forgive. So I figured I’d employ the same tactic to get to the bottom of happy. I want to know all about happy – what it looks like, feels like, smells like, tastes like. I want to know happy intimately. Know happy like lyrics to my favorite Biggie song. Know happy like a child on Christmas morning. Know happy like the first bite of tiramisu from a long gone but favorite restaurant.

playa-blanca

So far, my mind keeps showing me water. The ocean specifically. Beautiful, tranquil, hundred shades of blue water. And I have no idea what the hell that means. Yet.

But hey, at least it led me here. I wrote this. And if you’re reaading this, I actually published this. I’m here. And the smirk I feel creeping up my face, tells me I’m happy in the moment.

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Blue Poison

One minute we were laughing at photos and memories from the weekend. The next moment my heart is racing, the laughter is gone. The reality of the situation killed the sunny haze around our mood immediately. I’m in a car on some nameless highway in the south. And we’ve just been pulled over.

I scramble for my phone. Do I post on social media? Do I text my loved ones? I need to let someone know right? Just in case.

Just in case. That’s the thought my mind is suspended on. I can’t bear to finish the thought but just in case is locked in and my emotions are now loaded. Just in case tell my momma I love her. Tell him I loved him. Yes, in past tense. Just in case.

I survey the desolate road. No one is driving past. The store to my right is long abandoned as evidenced by the tufts of weeds sprouting in places where the asphalt used to be one slab waiting for cars to park. Oh shit. Just in case turns to what if and what if turns to oh shit. There can’t be a passerby ready to record what goes down from this point on if there is indeed no one passing by. Do they use dash cams in this state? If so is his “malfunctioning”? Oh shit. Oh shitohshitohshitohshitohshit.

Focus. Right. I open the glove compartment to retrieve registration. Wait, maybe I should wait until the officer commands me to? Yeah that sounds reasonable. Wait. I can’t close the glove compartment now. Wouldn’t that look suspicious? Did he see me open it? Wouldn’t he see me close it? Is that considered “suspicious behavior”?? Wouldn’t that be probable cause for the what ifs and the just in cases?? Would CNN say that’s the moment when he deemed his life was in danger and thus more valuable than mine?

Breathe. Smile. Pray. Respond with less of a New York accent. Breathe. He’s here. I’m not the driver but I roll down my window anyway. Shrink in to my seat. Breathe. Pray. Pray. Breathe.

Wow. “He’s super polite” I think as he walks back to his cruiser. But we’re still on the most desolate road at the mercy of his perceptions. This could as they say “escalate” in a matter of seconds.

Why is it so damn hot in this car?? I’m sweating. Fear is literally seeping out my pores. Sigh.

“He’s super polite but still.” I text my friends. And wait. Wait for….the just in cases and what ifs and the ohshitohitohshits to go away.

I hear his steps in the gravel. I hold my breath. This. Is. It.

Wait. Did he just crack a joke about the college football game played yesterday? Are we all actually laughing? He, with the power, more heartily than us, but there is laughter breaking the silence on this long forgotten road.

Wait. Is he giving us suggestions on where to stop and get gas or grab a bite to eat in the area? Is he actually speaking with us like we are human beings? Is this really happening in the same state where I saw this picture not even 24 hours earlier?

when the billboard tells you where you stand. seen in a small county in the South.

when the billboard tells you where you stand. seen in a small county in the South.

After he explained the details of the ticket, he thanked the driver and walked away with a wish of safe travels and a “God Bless Ya’ll” for good measure. In true southern hospitality fashion. I turned to watch him walk back to his patrol car in disbelief.

As we drove back to the highway in silence, I couldn’t help but wonder if maybe he was being overly polite and gracious to put us at ease. Did he explain every detail so we’d never feel like the situation was going to escalate? Was this his way of telling us that none of us would be a Twitter hashtag by nightfall? Did he see the fear of blue poison in my face? Did he see the what ifs lurking in my facial expression? Did he begin to question the what ifs and the just in cases? Did he second guess a move so it couldn’t be misconstrued?

Forget all my respectability credentials. Forget the cumulative degrees and respectability in the car. History and recent events have proven none of it matters. At any given moment I can be perceived at a threat. At any given moment I can feel threatened. My life, my dreams, my goals, my next vacation, my next love, all are suspended until further notice. Waiting. At the mercy of blue poison. I can no longer imagine the next five minutes of my life. Blue Poison just pressed pause.

That’s the problem with blue poison. We’ve all swallowed it, accepted it, and it has made us all paranoid as fuck. Unfortunately, I didn’t realize I’d been poisoned by blue until I  came down with a case of JustInCaseWhatIfOhhhhhShit on the side of a desolate road in the heart of Dixie.

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408

Nine thousand seven hours (approximately).
Five hundred eighty-eight thousand four hundred twenty minutes (give or take).
408 days to be exact.
January 9, 2014. I made the decision to take my mom to the emergency room. What I initially thought was a case of the blues over her recent retirement, quickly escalated to something …..different. She was sluggish, off. One look at her that Thursday morning and I knew. The alarms in my heart were screaming at me.
“Ma. Get dressed. We’re going to the emergency room.” I said plainly as if I were taking her to the grocery store. Truth be told, a trip to the emergency room with my mom has been a routine of sorts. At least one or 2 trips annually. My mother has been in and out of the hospital for over 10 years. Little did I know there would be nothing routine about this particular trip.

Five hospital stays
Three stints in intensive care.
Three nursing homes for rehabilitation.
Six surgical procedures.
134 days in a relative’s home out-of-state.
One hundred eight dialysis treatments. And counting.
Countless prayers.
Countless tears.
Untold laughs.
Unspoken fears.
408 days.

Five hundred eighty-eight thousand four hundred twenty minutes (give or take) later, on Sunday, I brought my mother home. The day was not without strife, hiccups, and tears but the smile on my mothers face when she returned home to her own space and her fat cat was a moment of joy I won’t soon forget.

For many who know me, they had no clue this was going on. In the past, when I’ve had to take my mom to the hospital, I’ve posted some prayerful message on social media, sent a group text to a massive list of friends boos, semi-boos, and acquaintances, damn near took an ad out in the Daily News. This time, I chose not to do any of that. I decided to quietly deal with it on my own. The friends who knew were the ones who reached our for other reasons.

“Hey J. Wanna go to _______?”

“Hey booski. Can’t. Mom in hospital. She’s ok. Where she needs to be”

My own father didn’t know until almost 2 months later when he called for my birthday (which speaks more about my dad and our lack of communication lately; but I understand). Everyone has their own shit to deal with, why should I share my woes? And I didn’t want anyone contacting me who normally wouldn’t all because they feel like they should. I don’t want pity comfort. I have learned to bottle shit better than Pepsi.

So yes, the public me has gone to parties, events, board meetings, concerts, happy hours, vacation, weekend getaways, homecoming, dates, job interviews, walks in the park, shopping, hair salon, dinner, lunches, brunches, other people’s birthday celebrations (I didn’t celebrate my own day of birth last year. if you know me, you know that’s deep). All the while, the private me was a scared child suspended in the Land of What If. Every single one of those thirty-five million, three hundred five thousand, one hundred fifty-two seconds I’ve been living in limbo between the Land of Right Now and the Land of What if. Most days, I successfully balanced both worlds, feeling like a champion of sorts. Other days, I would successfully fail, often times flaking out and sitting at home with a bowl of my thoughts and a glass of my fears.

408 days.

This isn’t the movies where Kevin Costner swoops in with some miracle and making everything right in my brownish world. (Now if Idris swooped in…….heyyyyyyyyyyyyybooo………but I digress). I know the culmination of these nine thousand seven hours is just ONE leg of the journey. The journey continues with its own set of challenges, triumphs, and disappointments for which I need to be ready for, on guard for. At least that’s what I keep telling myself.  Am I up for it? Are we up for it? Only time will tell……….

Posted in family, Love | 3 Comments

Vision

A friend of mine had a vision board party this weekend. If you’re asking yourself “What the hell is a vision board?”, where the hell have you been? Seriously?? I mean Auntie O. endorsed them a while back and now everyone is supposed to have a board of vision. But I digress, a vision board is a poster board filled with images cut from magazines as reminders of your goals, dreams, intentions, heart’s desires. It’s designed for you to keep it on display so you can keep these goals at the forefront of your life. Remember when you had to make a collage on construction paper when you were five and you and the dining table were covered in Elmer’s Glue? Yeah, vision boards are kind of like that but with better magazines, better glue, and booze.

I’ve never bought completely into the whole vision board mumbo jumbo. I even read an article about throwing your vision board away. No judgement, but I just never got into it. However, the promise of wine, food and friends was hard to resist. So I showed up with an arm full of arts and crafts shit (I’m in the middle of a huge purge of stuff) and most importantly, an open mind and open heart ready to cut and paste, and drink. (what’s the keyboard shortcut for drink??)

As I flipped through magazine after magazine, in between sips of wine, I began cutting anything that inspired me, or caught my eye. This went on for a while until I looked down at my pile. No pictures. Just words. Yep. Single Words. Phrases. Terms. Quotes. Vocabulary. Palabras. A pile of distinct meaningful elements of speech.

Power Player
Bliss
Love
Your moment has arrived
Lessons learned
ignite your passion
Signs
“You are the finest, loveliest, tenderest, and most beautiful person I have ever known – and even that is an understatement. ” F. Scott Fitzgerald
Stay in Touch
I love you
Top Form
show your Sparkle
life made easier
i do
find your place,
“Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. ” Melody Beattie

This is just a small sample of the mountain of words I’d assembled in front of me. At the bottom of the pile, there was one lone picture I cut out. A garden of flowers. This pile of words seemed to grow out of the garden. The irony was not lost on me.

There is a movie I like called Fools Rush In. Yeah sue me, I like the contrived angst of romantic comedies. This particular movie has Selma Hayek and Matthew Perry falling in love, despite their cultural and socioeconomic differences,  after a one night stand (totally believable, right?). But anyway, one of the reasons this movie is a favorite has something to do with a line that Selma Hayek’s character says at the beginning of the movie “There are signs everywhere”. It’s a theme that plays out throughout the movie until – SURPRISE! – Matthew Perry’s character finally realizes that yes there are signs everywhere.

To some extent I believe there are indeed signs everywhere. Not with everything in life. I don’t believe a groundhog can predict anything other than it will live in the ground and be chunky fat. I don’t believe coming across an old birthday card from a former lover is reason enough to call them. Sometimes, running into a former boyfriend at a party is just that you like the same DJ. The subway doors closing just as you swipe your MetroCard only means your ass should have left the house 30 seconds earlier. Some things are to be taken at face value.

Yet, there are other times when the metaphors bloom right out of a garden, forcing you to stop, smell the roses and take note. Running into a former lover may be a sign that you haven’t truly dealt with the emotions you felt at the end of your relationship and it’s time to face them. And maybe finding that birthday card is a sign that it’s time you forgive them for the hurt they caused. And maybe the groundhog…..yeah, I got nothing for that one. The signs are sometimes so loud, you have no choice other than to acknowledge them. Like I did with my garden of words.

Why am I so attached to words? Why with so many visual elements to choose from did I ONLY select words? Why am I so in love with words? Why does my life seem to circle right back to words, no matter how many times I stop, turn my back, run away? Why don’t I trust myself with words when words seem to trust me? What the fuck am I so afraid of ? I don’t know…but yet there’s a garden here telling me otherwise.

 

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purging

“You’re going to have a new grandfather soon. You can call him Poppa or Grandpa.”
“No thank you. My Poppa is in heaven.”
“But this one will be here. What are you going to call him?”
“Why can’t I call him what I been callin him?”
“No!”
I don’t know but I’m not calling him Poppa or Grandpa. Mines is in HEAVEN!”

My grandmother and my 11-year-old self having a conversation about her soon to be new husband. I was adamant to the point of downright defiance that this man could not be, WOULD NOT BE, my “new” grandfather as if my “old” grandfather needed to be replaced. A little background story, my grandfather passed away when I was 5 and he was the love of my young life. He was everything to me. So nope. No replacement necessary.

Versions of this conversation went on for months leading up to her wedding. My young defiant stance was the same. My mind was made up. I even instructed my younger cousin that he “better not” call this man Grandpa (even though he was too young to have ever met our grandfather). The battle lines were drawn. I had an ally. I was prepared to call him “Mr. So and So” forever. Until one day, in the heat of the battle, with me, almost at the point of ass whooping disrespect, this man stepped in and said “Dottie, let it be. She can call me whatever she wants. James. Jimmy. Whatever. Don’t force it. Enough already.”

And just like that, my grandmother dropped it. Not another word. Ever. I never saw her just….relent and give up a fight. “How he do that?!” I wondered. I liked this guy.

Over the years, he became my grandfather. I could never love him the same as I loved my original but Jimmy grew on me and I love him. He was there for every milestone with his camera ready. He would chat with me about school and subsequently work, all the while telling me I had to do what’s best for me, even when his wife couldn’t understand me. He would joke that I should become a chef every time I stepped into the kitchen. He was gruff around the edges, like scotch. Lightweights couldn’t tolerate him because their feelings would definitely be hurt. But eventually, he grew on you. He wasn’t big on outward displays of affection or expressions but he made sure you knew he cared in his own way. In our brief chats; in his driving down to college for Parent’s Weekend; in his laugh; in the way he wanted to “do” for his family; in his yelling at his beloved but beleaguered Eagles; he loved in his own way.

Last May, on Mother’s Day, he drove to New York. He seemed a little frail. I asked him if I could drive back. He happily obliged and we chatted a bit about my upcoming interview that week. By Memorial Day, he was in the hospital. By 4th of July, he was gone. From May to June, I watched this strong verbose man whither away to an infant like version of himself in a matter of weeks. The first time I saw him laying in the hospital bed, I knew. When the palliative care nurse dropped by that day, I really knew. They don’t just come to a patient’s room for a social visit. We were to prepare for the end. Unfortunately, I was the only person in the room that picked up on that. I  began to grieve.

The last time I saw him was the last weekend in June, the weekend before my very first day at my new job. It was also the weekend I was transferring my mother to a rehabilitation facility after a 6 week stint in the hospital. And it was also the weekend Jimmy was transferred to hospice. By this point, he was completely uncommunicative but was in a lot of pain.
I sat by his bedside alone while my grandmother was filling out some paperwork. His breathing was labored as if he was fighting an army for every single breath. I was equal parts terrified that he would take his final breath in front of me and grateful for the time alone to say…..I’m not all Lifetime movie about this shit called life but let’s just say I said my peace. Probably one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do in life thus far. That’s not hyperbole. Straight fact no chaser. Same way he liked his Dewar’s.

Watching someone die is bittersweet. More bitter less sweet. I’m grateful for the opportunity to say goodbye, something I wasn’t afforded with my original grandfather. Papa was here one day and my guardian angel the next. But those few moments of goodbye come with a heavy bag of love, pain, and helplessness. A bag I’ve been carrying ever since. Disguised in smiling Instagram pics and amusing Facebook quips.

Eventually, the load gets too heavy or the strap breaks. I have to purge. And so I write. Again.

Rest in Peace.

Rest in Peace.

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Speaking a New Language

Note: I originally posted this on my Facebook page on 12.31.2014 because I forgot my login for this blog. Yep. Sure did. No clue what email address or username I attached to this blog o mine. Sad. But I remembered the password!! Yeah I know. Messy. I’ve been gone too long. Way too long. My next post will give some voice to why. And it won’t be 6 months from now either. Pinky swear. But for now (if you’re reading this on my actual blog, I REMEMBERED MY LOGIN INFO!!! WOOOHOOOO), here’s my end of 2014 thoughts.

Be well, loves. ~J


Above. By me.

Above. By me.

I walked in to 2014 carrying a lot of baggage. Betrayal. Hurt. Frustration. Disappointment. Resentment. Defeat. The works. Coupled with some life turned upside down and on its ass shit in January of this year, I began to suffer from horrible insomnia. As if my brain needed 22 hours a day to focus on all the shit that has gone/was going wrong in my life thus far. This went on for months. Sleeping for 15 minute intervals for about 2-3 hours a night. No newborn insight. Nothing was working and I refused to take any kind of sleep aid beyond a glass of wine. A friend heard my cry (on Facebook no less) and offered to help without knowing the whys. She simply wanted me to sleep. We met up and she taught me how to meditate, how to be still and breathe….and listen. After my first session, I slept for 7 hours straight after months of frenetic newborn baby like sleep. I was sold! (I don’t think I could ever thank her enough. I owe her.)

During subsequent meditative sessions, forgiveness kept bubbling to the surface in those still moments. What does forgiveness look like? What does it feel like? What does it sound like? Over and over, this is where my mind wandered until one day, like a mirage in the dessert, it appeared. I began to see what my mind, my soul, my heart picture as forgiveness. And it’s where my brain continues to go when I sit still and breathe.

“I started to see myself clear, the same way I learned to see you clear through your actions. That’s when my hate turned to empathy and I did the inevitable…I prayed for you. The moment I allowed myself to speak blessings unto your life, that was the moment my heart began to heal” – Mirtha Michelle Castro Marmol

I stumbled across this quote on Instagram and wanted to give it the fuck outta here side eye. Pray for who?!! Pray forrrr what?! Whatevs. But I kept it and read it a few times. And one day during a brief meditation on the subway, my mind wandered into that forgiveness territory and I started praying for someone who had hurt me. I prayed that he would be genuinely happy in life. I prayed that he would find the elusive “it” that he was searching for. The same image I see for forgiveness is the same image I saw during this prayer. I realize now that just like the quote said, this was the next step in my healing.

Some were easy to pray for blessings in their life. Those, I guess, I was over the hurt/transgressions more than I gave myself credit for. Some took a few attempts but eventually I was able to speak blessings unto their lives. And there are others I am still working on without start the blessing with “this motherfucker……” Look I’m not perfect. I am learning. At least this list is considerably smaller. Progress, right?

No question, 2014 has been THE most challenging year of my life – a considerable amount of loss and change in all areas of my life. I’m ready for this year to be over but I’m not looking at 2015 through rose colored glasses either. Truth be told, 2015 scares me a bit (ok. It scares the bejesus outta me. Kinda. But that’s a good thing, right?!). I’m walking out of 2014 still with baggage. But now it’s a lighter load, and with a fuller heart. And for that, 2014, I am grateful.

Happy 2015, loves! I pray this year speaks blessings unto your lives. xoxo

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A Muse: Cravings

I crave normalcy.
Like a flower craves a raindrop.
Like a fish on the line gasping for a swift return to the sea.
I crave it. Normalcy.

I crave healthy, independent parents. The parents who have rich lives and maybe 2 prescription bottles on their dresser. Parents who still make time for their baby girl. Parents I can chat about basic casual stuff like who I’m dating; what cousin so and so is up to; and when I’m coming to visit. Normalcy.

I crave a monogamous loving relationship where our biggest fight at the moment is over who ate the last of the mother fucking toasted oats. Normalcy.

I crave a career that I love with a paycheck that isn’t disrespectful to me, my education, or the fact that I like to eat, sleep in a safe place, travel, and, you know, basically live. Normalcy.

I crave the energy and mental space to write the story I live to tell.

I crave hot, steamy, toe curling, nerve tingling, sweat inducing, lip biting, sheet gripping, complete soul, heart, and body satisfying sex. On a random Wednesday night or a Monday morning. One raised eyebrow or one caress behind my ear and it’s on. Normalcy.

I crave turning my cell phone off for a few hours without fear or panic. Normalcy.

I crave a to do list of 2 items. And neither one is urgent. And delegate one to someone else. Normalcy.

I crave going to the movies without crying in the dark because it’s safe. Normalcy.

I crave relishing my return home after a super fun night instead of dreading the reality I face when I turn the key. Normalcy

I crave the dream life I long ago envisioned for myself and left behind for reasons untold.

I crave a slice of normalcy that, right now, just isn’t on the menu. I wonder if it ever will be.

Cravings on my mind.

Wait…..but isn’t that normal??

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