Saturday, December 19, 2009

Liquid Zen

I saw a documentary yesterday about the place you told me of. Your hand in the shower with its glow-- the universe flowering, infinite connectivity.

I want to go there, perhaps with you.

My left-brain has been threatening to take over my right brain. It has made me a whore to endless lists. I carry fears and anxieties never once materialized. Reservations clip my tongue when I go to speak. Chatter in my frontal lobe wakes me in the middle of the night.

I am OCD and schizophrenic 15 minutes past every hour. I must write fast and quick, for the hand is surfacing around the clock again.

Hurry.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Choices

I tried to quit my job last week. I fired off an email at 12 o’clock in the morning rambling about my needs, my wants, my needs, my wants—oh, how terribly constricted I felt. And then I waited for a response.

The next morning my principal came in to the office, sat down in front of me and said, “What do you want?” What do I want? What do you mean, what do I want? I thought. You are my principal—for goodness sake, tell me what I need. Tell me what I can’t have because of blue tape school district bureaucracy. Give me a reason to yell, “ I quit” and storm out of the building in a blaze of glory. This was not the way this was supposed to go.

Get it together—quick, think…but I was caught off guard. How was I to articulate an appropriate professional response? Like, oh, I want more professional development or more support as a new teacher. How was I to tell him the truth--that I wanted to leave not because I don’t like teaching—but because I want to check out of life.

I had it all planned out. Six months to myself. Six months to nest—take classes in sign language, photography, and creative writing. Explore the recesses of my mind. Dabble in the unknown. Conduct personal experiments. Document life furiously. I was finally going to have my black girl backpacking trip to Europe, without the backpack or the Europe.

Reality was my boss in front of me trying desperately to make it work. And for that, I couldn’t leave. I’ve got responsibilities and obligations and real world commitments. This feels familiar—going, moving, working, doing—because what else is there to do, strong black woman?

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Rumination

I had my first existential life crisis at 13. I was in the 9th grade and still wearing my favorite beige training bra. In English class, we read the likes of Dostoevsky and Salinger. I was so cool, I thought—chatting with fellow classmates about the meaning of life over sugar cookies. My full-blown anxiety attack was precipitated by the sudden realization that adulthood is so devastating tragic--absent of flights of fancy and childhood innocence. I read about the “phonies” and adult moral ambivalence. Before me stood the full measure of my life—finish school, get a job, get married, have kids and die—and oh yeah, be phony. I wanted to stop life right there, so deathly afraid of inching closer to the divide. But I was just a child.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Come...

Come away with me... come away with me. Happiness is a delusion—a collectively digested opiate designed to distract us from our petty existence. There is only pleasure, you see.

I'm ready, yes, I am ready to forsake delayed gratification for hedonistic indulgence. Life is much too short to keep wishing and dreaming. Give me unadulterated joy—naked bodies, red wine, warm massages, late nights dancing, sweet crepes and the freedom the move as I please. I'm preparing from my greatest act yet. Come away with me.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Antioch

Antioch is a little, white church on a hill. With aches and pains it welcomed us in every Sunday. It was a place for the weary—respite for tired hands and feet.

My mother, unwed and with another baby growing in her belly, sat at the back of the church with her head slump down—me, sleeping peacefully in her lap. It was the pastor who finally called her to the front of the church and gave her a reason not to be ashamed.

Old womens' arms and prayers held our little family together. During altar call, mommy would kneel on the stiff bench with tears in her eyes—praises flung up to the sky.

At Antioch my brother and I grew and flourished. We were the darlings of the church—the fresh dreams and hopes of barren wombs...

Years later, I returned to the little, white church on the hill. Antioch was still the same—but life had changed. This time, my brother was locked in a cage, and I was standing at the altar with my mother lying beside me in a wooden box.

I stood there, in front of the church, to thank my mother for her love and for her life.

Afterward, the same old women with soft and fleshy arms that carried me in to adulthood, were there to catch me as I fell. And Antioch watched—pleading to God, one last time, on my behalf.

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Quick Sand and Sinking

I’ve got this funny feeling that something has been nibbling on my…carving away at my…
gentle murders
silent soul assassinations
the kindest of body blows



Zora Neale Hurston said that for women, the dream is truth. I believe this —and I wonder whether this heightened awareness, this intense obsession with truth, is a blessing or a curse. This search the authentic self –oh gosh, I sound so new age, has left me fraught with insecurity and restlessness. I wish sometimes, to roll back my senses –to present as stone to the world. It’s so exhausting to experience life as I do—I am so f-ing porous.

The body blows are exhausting—one by one, I learn that my ambitions and expectations are overstated. Little by little, my hope in humanity dies. I am fighting against silent soul assassinations. Breathe—continue? Or stop?

Saturday, July 04, 2009

The Geek Squad

100 Things To Do Before I Die: #28. See Michael Jackson in concert (posted May 22, 2008)



Things break all the time. I recently moved to a new apartment and discovered that my toaster, printer, and microphone all expired in the process. What a strange phenomenon--me, running to Target to replace items that worked perfectly fine for years. It's almost as if they sensed change and decided that they were just too tired to go along for the ride.

When I think of how fragile things are, possessions, I can't help but think of how equally frail human life is--it is a subtle miracle that you opened your eyes this morning.

Take the toaster--not that complex, but when one part fails, let's say the lever or the heating mechanism, the toaster is well...toast. Our bodies are infinitely more complex than a malfunctioned toaster-- when we get sick, it dispatches agents on our behalf to fix, fight and repair. But sometimes, unfortunately sometimes, it cannot stop the war or jump start the kidney, heart, or liver that stops in the middle of life.

People malfunction all the time, all around us, yet we act as if we have a lifetime warranty. People are not like toasters and printers--yet we treat each other as if we are expendable, purchasable, replaceable.

Sometimes I think that I am soft and tragic, but I've come to realize that my self-induced, self-imposed darkness is a petty illusion. I am not alone.

I'm trying my hardest to step out of darkness and love fiercely before life malfunctions in front of my eyes again. I don't ever want to find myself standing dazed and confused in Target without a return receipt.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Amour, Adieu

I’ve been saying goodbye to lots of things lately. Some not by choice, others out of necessity. I’ve seen you from time to time since. You rush to me with warm smiles and soft arms. Always sad eyes though. Sad eyes as you feed me a lifetime of information in a glance.

You ask me if the number is still the same. Yes, I always say. It hasn’t changed. But everything has.

We have splintered indeed. Our lives indefinitely forked. You keep your distance…

How foolish of me to believe our connection existentially transcendent. It is the same as every other before. Normal. Recycled. How profoundly sad.

If I shall pass you in the street, in two months, or two years--catch a familiar scent, sound-- Will my fibers still remember you?

You are clairvoyant. You know that dream you had about my death—it has come.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Broken Branches

I don’t know where to start… is the beginning or the end?
I have exploded into a new world, a new energy, a new place and time. I am eager to peel away my former self. Standing at the edge of certain, ultimate and sudden transformation. I am dying. I turn to the left-- to the right and whisper goodbye…
I prepare for flight

The task of writing is daunting for there is so much history created in the space of two months. A few entries ago, I wrote of Saturn Return and the shifting sea. The universe has unfolded—aligned just perfectly to place me on a new path. I secured a teaching position at a progressive high school. I am beginning a new life of teaching and learning as an act of freedom—as an act of rebellion—as an act of resistance. I am consciously undoing four years of law school indoctrination to return to myself. I’ve got my mind back and it feels like water on my scalp.

I cannot remember the last time that I’ve felt so hopeful about the days and nights ahead. There is this wonderful convergence of mind, spirit and body—this calm rushing through me. I finally feel like I am working toward something that will bring me closer to self actualization—my highest spiritual self. I beam. I smile.

I am planning to mark my body at the small of my back, traveling toward my pelvis. This, of course, will be my most painful marking—the warrior mark.

XOXO: I love you

Thursday, April 09, 2009

I'll Fly With You

It’s 12:05 am in the morning and I am compelled to write. Seems like I’ve been writing a lot lately—research papers examining the intersections of race, class and sexual orientation in essentialist legal discourse—things that roll out of the left hemisphere of my brain quite easily.

What I have ignored is my right brain—the primitive highly emotional side driving my most personal writings. On this very new morning, I’m letting it out to feed again.

I’ll be finished law school in a few weeks. It brings tears to my eyes. The past 4 years have been devastatingly beautiful—devastatingly tragic. Divorce, death, self-doubt and disillusionment—self realization, acceptance, fortitude and freedom all merging, in this moment, at this time. It is so painful breaking into new wineskins. But guess what? I survived. I am tenacious and newly formed.

This law stuff is such a bore. I am afraid that I don't want to be a lawyer any longer. I've let it go. I’ve released my ego, the image of perfection, and my fear of disappointing others. I have nothing left to prove.

I started dreaming new dreams, quietly, months, maybe years ago—I finally have the courage to move forward. Because I can, because I am alive, I am reinventing myself. I am going back to school –my dream, to become a consummate learner, a consummate explorer, a consummate teacher. I’ve already been accepted into a teaching program and I will be interviewing for teaching positions in the upcoming weeks.

I’ve never been one for astrology, but a love of mine showed me its powers. At this time, Virgo is in Saturn. This is of particular concern to me for I am a Virgo—and I am in my Saturn Return. I looked all this stuff up online—and then I came across this, “You have become entrenched in a process that no longer fits your life and now you will have an opportunity to change it to your liking.” And of Saturn, even more uncanny, “Saturn is all about redefining how you appear to the outside world, even your physical appearance. Planets indicate new beginnings. This is your opportunity to reinvent yourself."

Saturn Return surfaces every 28-29 years to return to where it was when you were born. Saturn Return “is a time of endings and beginnings, a time to discover your authentic self and correct your course in life if it seems like you are headed in the wrong direction.” But there is a warning to all of this. If you do not re-evaluate and change course if necessary, you will be doomed to continue an inauthentic and painful life until your second Saturn Return at age 58.

I’m heeding the call.

Sunday, February 08, 2009

So this too is life

My brother, my only sibling, came home from jail on Monday. It’s been five years since I’ve seen him free and laughing in the sun. My baby brother became a man behind steel bars and brick mortar. I’ve lost a lifetime with him.

His “homecoming” was filled with excitement and anxiety. He arrived on February 2nd —my mother’s birthday. She was not there waiting for him with open arms and laughter in her eyes. She is gone. She slipped away just five days before she was scheduled to visit him. The sadness is no longer for me, but for him. For now, more than ever, it is real.

And me, the big sister that protected and guarded him as a child has failed again to protect him—this time, from death. I wish that I could ease his pain, but I am full. I don’t know what is planned for his life, or mine for that matter, but it seems to me that life can be cruel and obscene.

Friday, January 09, 2009

The L-Word



" And when the sun rises, we are afraid that it might not remain. When the sun sets we are afraid it might not rise again in the morning..." A Litany for Survival

I brushed up against this poem by Audre Lorde in my first Women's Studies class at Barnard. Although I couldn't fully grasp its intricacies--it moved me violently. When I read it, I wept. I felt Lorde's words so deeply, almost as if I had written them myself. The lines, I later tacked onto my dorm room wall and copied in my writing journal. And to every lover, I would recite the words from memory in private moments—imagery falling from my lips like sweet nothings—bringing our collective imaginations to orgasm.

But when I learned that Lorde was lesbian I put the poem away. Lorde was lesbian and that I knew her poem far too intimately could only mean one thing—that I too was gay. I refused to claim identification with her work any longer, for to do so was to fall from the trope of black woman suffering –to do so was to be undeniably and inescapably other.

Years later, on the road to de-marginalization, I picked up Lorde and loved her once again. This time, completely understanding the intricacies of her work and embracing the fullness of her calling.

Her litany was for me. The little girl she spoke of... “ at the shoreline standing at the constant edges of decision, crucial and alone...” The little girl... “imprinted with fear like a faint line in the center of our foreheads...” The woman loving “in doorways coming and going in the hours between dawns, looking inward and outward at once before and after...”

But. Not. Any. Longer.
And for that, I can never go back.

I marvel at the journey. With tears in my eyes, I thank Lorde for her life and her pen. I speak loudly, remembering that I was never meant to survive.

Monday, January 05, 2009

A New Year

When I turned 18, I tattooed truth on my ankle. It was a feeble attempt, I guess, to stave off darkness. A symbol etched into my flesh with blood and ink--a guidepost for salvation. I believed in truth so sincerely. I tucked it underneath my mattress-- folded it away in my sock drawer, even pinned it to the inside my bra when I walked the streets.

But one fateful day, I awoke to find truth gone. It vanished into the maddening mid-Manhattan morning. I cried and pleaded for truth to come back to me. I searched behind doorways, in alleyways, and beds until finally, one day, I forgot what I was searching for.

The forgetting was the blessing. If you've found truth then you are probably dead. I lived to tell.

I never knew that life could be so sensual. Everyday I experience me...and you...and you. I live in murky thoughts, unbound by artificial boundaries. It is pain and pleasure, pouring down all over me.

The path to truth is not on my ankle anymore, but on the soft spot of my inner thigh, the left blade of my breast bone, my finger tips marking this page.