In the wake of a recent national tragedy, I want to take the time to share something.
It is not often that I speak about myself and I especially do not write my innermost thoughts for others to judge. But, now is the exception.
I want to take this time to show my true spirit, to others and even to myself. I truly and honestly believe that people are good. Good hearted, good natured, and good spirited. It breaks my soul to learn of so many lives lost with recent shootings, and I take this time to reflect on all lives lost, taken far too early. And I think about the families, and the souls that are left without their loved ones. And then I begin to get angry. And yell at the Universe, “why?!” why must we live in a world with war and tragedy. Why must we have suffering?
I recently watched something that was talking about loss and death. “Death is the beginning of our souls journey, just as life is.” Now, I dont care what your spiritual path is; who your “God” is or what you pray for. I do care that you take care of and learn to heal your soul, your spirit, when it is aching; in order to grow.
Social media and news have glorified killers and I will not do that in this post. What I will do is glorify all those who have been had their spirit released without their consent. Whether domestic or internationally, I believe we can all set aside our differences and, for only one moment, just be. Just be with our own self. Our own spirit. Our own community. Our own world.
Put aside religious beliefs, political opintions, and.. just be.
And maybe we would smile a bit more. Wake up sad less days. Come home more enegrized. By simply taking the time, to be.
Namaste to all of you. Where ever you are. Who ever you are.
My first love was words. The sweet taste rolling off my young virgin tongue. The sound, the rhythm, the feeling of wrapping myself up in them. The way my body jerked in the moment of…writing..
It was like a love affair. A secret wispy and whimsical passionate love affair. Me, and my words.
I started young and never let go.
I’ve learned over the years to expand-grow and have a fond love for the writings of my culture.
But my culture is swirled. Torn between the rugged sweaty, ripped apart, war torn hills of Africa and the green, lush plains and rainy shores of England.
…I fall somewhere in the middle.
Walking down the street the neighbors call, “ay was dat light skinned girl doin dawn heah?”
I live down here, sir.
At school, I answer the arithmetic on the black board streaked with dry white chalk, reminding me of myself: ” yes ma’am, perhaps the answer is 25?”
My friends laugh.
“who dis guhl think she tryun ta be? She a walkin round dis area like she a damn white girl!”
Because of how I talk. Because I go to school. Because my hair curls a little different than the rest of the girls. Because my skin color falls somewhere between a deep rich mocha and a sweet sunny olive.
I turn and look down the street at the community that has abandoned me. My eyes squint with the falling raindrops and I shield my hand over my face to keep the water off.
I hold my head up but I know I don’t belong here.
I take a deep breath and walk on.
“go won naw, git goin back to yer white mama, dis ain’t no area for you lil girl”
This is my home. This is my childhood.
“ay you, what is you”
Is me? I don’t understand why you are asking what I am?
I turn towards the eyes burning through me, the young girls with crying babies on their hips and I look at my naked hip and wonder if I really am different from them. I see the sneers in their face and can almost feel their clenching jaw, hear their thoughts, feel the deep pulsating of disgust through their veins.
I block it out and keep going.
Mama, I’m ready to go.
I turn, back tall and eyes forward, take a deep breath and take that first step. That first step that made me never look back.
The voices trail off and the last bit I catch “don y’all pay no mind to her, she thank she bettah den us… What y’all lookin at?! Go make me sum money….”
My writing was inspired by a wonderful writer named Zora Neal Hurston. I never really remember when I stopped writing, but I remember when I was encouraged to start. I was such a little girl with so much to say. I have grown as a writer but I never forgot the way her words made me feel. Honestly, it wasn’t until this post that I was encouraged to emulate her writing style. This piece has given me chills writing it and re-lit a flame inside me that had died for such a while. Always be true to yourself, and never let anyone tell you that you cant.
It feels so good to be reborn as a writer.
Here is her piece
“The people all saw her come because it was sundown. The sun was gone, but he had left his footprints in the sky. It wasthe time for sitting on porches beside the road. It was the time to hear things and talk. These sitters had been tongueless, earless, eyeless conveniences all day long. Mules and other brutes occupied their skins. But now, the sun and the bossman were gone, so the skins felt powerful and human. They became lords of sounds and lesser things. They passed nations through their mouths. They sat in judgment.
“What she doin’ coming back here in dem over-halls? Can’t she find no dress to put on? — Where’s dat blue satin dress she left here in? — Where all dat money her husband took and died and left her? — What dat ole forty year ole ‘oman doin’ wid her hair swingin’ down her back lak some young gal? — Where she left dat young lad of a boy she went off here wid? — Thought she was going to marry? — Where he left her?— What he done wid all her money? — Betcha he off wid some gal so young she ain’t even got no hairs—why she don’t stay in her class? —”
When she got to where they were she turned her face on the bander log and spoke. They scrambled a noisy “good evenin'” and left their mouths setting open and their ears full of hope. Her speech was pleasant enough, but she kept walking straight on to her gate. The porch couldn’t talk for looking.”
– Zora Neal Hurston “Their Eyes Were Watching God”
I pay my taxes, donate to charity, volunteer my time and go jogging regularly with my dog.
My family is healthy, I have been blessed with wonderful opportunities and I always smile at those less fortunate.
But I’m not perfect.
I try to take a little time each week to meditate and reflect on that week, give thanks to those who have helped me and most of all be grateful for all that I have been given.
Throughout my life I struggled with communicating forgiveness, not just to others but mainly to myself. Being able to forgive myself for decisions that I may have made, people that I may have wronged or paths that I chose to walk down.
We have a tendency to wish others to forgive us first, a “you go first” kind of attitude. And admittedly, I felt the same for a long time. In my mind things seemed ok, but it was getting the courage to put yourself in the vulnerable situation to ask for someone’s forgiveness.
I usually post thought filled and inspirational posts on Sunday, respectfully named my ‘Soulful Sunday’ posts. I know today is Thursday but after coming across this letter, I did not want to wait. I was touched with the amount of courage and strength it would take to write this, and the strength that it takes for me to forgive sometimes. It actually brought tears to my eyes and reminded me of situations in my own life, and I knew I did not want to wait to post it. We all have our faults and this seemed appropriate for this topic:
I do not even know where to begin, but let me first start off by saying that I love you.
Throughout your life, you have gained an accurate portrayal of much of my life, although accurate, I can now say it is not something I am proud of. If I may, I would like to take this opportunity to give you a small window into my own life.
I was born in a small city to a poor mother and father who struggled to make ends meet for much of my childhood. I had minimal role models of parents. I grew up in a time when there was no such thing as hatred, now I know better. I struggled to find a place to fit in, find myself, understand why I lived on scraps and broken shoelaces for so many years. When I was in my early teens, the answer came from the brotherhood.
I now cringe when I say that word. Brotherhood. Looking back, I struggled to find acceptance and family. What I ended up getting was betrayal and bigotry. My whole world changed and I felt as though I belonged. It brings tears to my eyes now realizing the pain I caused on so many families, families just like yours.
When your mother was born, my whole life was consumed in being the father for her that I never had. Your mother is so much stronger than I could ever be. She rose out from the beliefs that I had and saw such beauty in everyone all around her. In so many ways I can see how she saved me. I was so in love with her, in my eyes she could do no wrong. Nothing about her was ever out of place. My life was complete with my little girl.
When you were born I felt so abandoned and betrayed. How could my beautiful, perfect little girl create something all for herself? Something that she loved and cared for more than me? Something that was against everything that I felt was right. I became selfish and self consumed. I vowed that I would never forgive her, for not only having a child but having a child with a black man. An act punishable beyond measure.
My hatred festered for 18 long years after that. Years that caused me illness, pain, grief and near death symptoms. Years that aged me threefold.
And then one evening, I woke up, in the middle of the night and started to cry. And let me tell you, your grandfather is not a crying man. But laying in the hospital I realized I had nothing. Everything that I had once had, was gone. I cried for hours realizing how selfish I had been to myself and how unfaithful I had been to others. It was at that moment that the pain and hatred I had felt for others had caught up with me, and turned on me. I felt gut wrenching pain and nausea, instant headaches and tightness in my throat and chest. Pain from all of the anger, loss and loneliness I felt from not only my own parents, but your mother as well. Pain from all of the unresolved bitterness and abandonment that I had felt since I was a child.
I thought I was going to die.
But, I didn’t.
It was that moment that I knew I had to forgive myself. I did not want to continue living the way I had been. If I did, it was going to kill me. I had to forgive myself so that I could forgive others and finally so that others could forgive me. The anger that I let build up for so many years was so entirely thick that it did not allow for others to forgive me or for me to forgive them. All that was around my heart was hate and anger. It festered like an infected wound, growing, festering larger and larger and more rancid each day.
And the infection of that wound had finally seeped into my soul.
But I had to let that go. I had to let that wound heal. I had to forgive myself so that I could allow others to be angry at me, ask for answers. To those who needed closure and to those who needed me to allow them to let me go. I had to forgive myself for all those that I had hurt and allow myself to be criticized and be vulnerable to those who meant the most to me.
My daughter. And you.
And I want you to know, that I have forgive myself for all the hate and anger I caused myself. It has taken a long, long time, but I have. I forgive myself for the anger I held onto, the guilt and blame I placed on others and most importantly And I forgive those who gave up on me when I would not let them reach out to me.
And with this forgiven, it allows me to apologize to you, wholeheartedly for any and all pain that I directly or indirectly caused you. You are my blood and a beautiful young man.