Archive for October, 2015

Why I’m exhausted every day – all day

Friday, October 23rd, 2015

Why I’m exhausted every day – all day – just in case you were wondering:

Tin “I’m starving! I need a snack!”
Mom “It’s too close to dinner time, we are having chicken salad and crackers.”
Tin “What!? Where’s my options?”
Mom “You can have chicken salad with crackers or you can have vegetable curry and brown rice.”
Tin “I want a third option.”
Mom “No.”
Tin “I AM NOT GOING TO EAT CHICKEN SALAD. I had it once at someone’s house before, you know.”
Mom “Did you not like it?”
Tin “I think I liked it.”
Mom “Well then you’ll love my chicken salad.”
Mom sets table, puts chicken salad and crackers on table with two plates.”
Tin “What’s this? AWWW! I told you I am not EATING CHICKEN SALAD.”
Mom starts eating.
Tin “I want a satsuma.”
Mom “Get it. They are in the fridge.”
Tin eats satsuma. Then starts eating chicken salad with crackers. Eats three bowls of chicken salad and the whole box of crackers.”
Tin “Have you ever entered a cooking contest with a judge who would give you an award? Because you would win.”
Mom “Thank you.”
Tin “Can I have a peanut butter sandwich after this?”

Revelations 2015: The Force is With You

Sunday, October 18th, 2015

Yesterday, we met an acquaintance and her son for a long overdue playdate in City Park. As our sons played, we chatted and it was interesting to hear her explain about the efforts at Bricolage to discuss racism amongst the parents and staff. Everything she was saying, I kept nodding and saying, “I address this in my book.”

I didn’t think about what I was saying until later in bed at that bewitching hour of 3am where I seem to be stuck these past few weeks with my insomnia – getting up and ruminating – not of necessarily bad things but of all things past and to come. I thought about a friend, Danielle, who is a massage therapist and a healer who told me at one session that she had great huge vision of me and Tin. She was effusive and glowing and said she saw me publishing my book and being in the limelight in a big way to push my cause (parenting and race) and that Tin would follow my work and grow up to be a strong leader because of the path I had laid for him.

This was lingering in my mind when this morning a Facebook message came from another acquaintance, Rose:

Glorious Good Morning. I had an epic dream about you a Tin. You won a national award for your writing and met Anthony Mackie. You introduced him to Tin. The intro changed Tin’s life. He went to Nocca. Tin went on to win an Oscar. He became the president of SAG. He went on to be an international business man and a global force for Good.

To quote Marvin Sapp – [They] saw the best in me.

Sometimes the FORCE is with you.

Photo by Peter Nakhid in Congo Square

Goodnight [Crescent] Moon

Saturday, October 17th, 2015

Over the last few days, I’ve been telling my friends that I’m not right, that I might need help, that the world, as Wordsworth said, is too much with us. What I’ve heard, seen, been told, observed, and digested over the course of this telling is that indeed, for all of us, it is this way [sometimes].

So I’ve had to find those cleats to get myself out of this rut, not Wonder Woman style, but with real honest to goodness grit and grace on the bottom of my soles to give me traction to keep moving.

And here’s what I’ve learned: Right now, there are a lot of horrible things going on in the world. My grandmother, born in Aleppo, would be rolling in her grave to know that she and her family might be among those who have left their country for the great unknown. Israel is in the midst of a horrid nightmare of a problem because they have convinced the Israelis that the enemy is the Palestinians when all along the enemy was within. Across the United States, if you are Black or Brown there is a good chance you are scared to even see a police officer standing in the same space as you because of all the tragic deaths that have filled the news reels. And if you live in New Orleans, well you have had to face the reality that gun violence is out of any person’s control right now. And if you hone in on my neighborhood, there have been home invasions, rapes, and armed robberies all within the last weeks.

That is the macro element of which I find myself contemplating if not here, where? If not now, when? And the result has been to ratchet this outreach down to a more modest undertaking. I’ve had to bring it way down. It’s been to sit on my back stoop in the sunshine and eat roasted peanuts as I watch the monarch butterflies land on the milkweed that is fecund. It’s to look at the angel’s trumpets blooming in rapid succession on the twig that I rooted and grew from my neighbor’s old place in memory of her. It’s to sit down to dinner and light a candle and speak to my son about his day and what we are grateful for.

It’s as simple as the book that I read to my son when he was very young – Goodnight Moon – a very simple story about saying goodnight to the things that inhabit our daily space and make us feel safe and certain. It’s about noticing the stars that I see through the top of my bedroom window, or the palm tree in my neighbor’s yard whose fronds let me know the wind is blowing, it’s about the routine of brushing teeth, turning down the bed linens, about crawling in with the book or books du jour and opening to the bookmark and picking up where you left off.

It’s about the dreams we have for ourselves and our loved ones, and about knowing that the ongoing desire for meaning in our work, the profound longing for love and connection, and the hope that we are getting it right is on everyone’s mind as they tuck in for the night. We are not alone.

So tonight, Goodnight Crescent Moon, Goodnight Crescent City, stay safe my dreams and desires, because tomorrow more will be revealed.


My heavenly body

Monday, October 12th, 2015

The brugmansia – angel’s trumpets – is blooming galore on the bush I planted in honor of my friend, Dina. The backyard still has milkweed and ginger growing and one fat almost orange satsuma on the tree. The grass is turning yellow and the basil is almost spent. Summer is waning into fall that will most likely be short lived as we segue into colder months.


My posts lately seem to flip between darkness and light, as if I were telling a tale of two women. Perhaps I am – there are many women who live inside of me, and each vies for the stage. I sat in my living room explaining to a woman who was offering me a project that I needed work, I needed additional income. She looked around at my living room and I turned to see my home through her eyes and suddenly I felt ridiculous. Then I turned down the project. It wasn’t going to push my agenda forward of a) a better steady income, b) publishing, or c) doing meaningful work.

A friend offered to turn me onto her life coach, she has two of them. I thought of calling Ellen. But I came to believe in the early before-dawn part of this morning is that I need an exorcist. Or I need an alchemist, someone who could blend my light and dark into one heavenly body.

Wait, it’s already been done. I am that heavenly body.


How to get unstuck?

Sunday, October 11th, 2015

A friend told me to look up what Louise Hay says about my injury to my right side, hip/knee/calf, to see what it says about my emotional health:

Your right side: Your right side organizes and moves you forward into the future. When you are experiencing problems on your right side, you may feel stuck or hampered in moving forward. Or you may be experiencing unwanted change that is causing fear or trepidation.

Hips, legs and calves are how you move forward in life. Your legs, calves and feet store much of your trauma, resentment, jealousy, and emotional pain, both past and present, especially in regard to your family. Problems in this area show a block in the root chakra, which makes you feel fearful of moving forward or making changes. You may be experiencing issues about your self identity. You may not feel any support in your life–as though you are the one supporting everyone else, or as though you cannot support yourself.

I’ve been thinking about this because it would be easy to chalk this all off to woo woo spirituality but honestly, there isn’t a word of what Hay says that does not fit my situation. I am stuck. I’m caught in this endless spiral that seems to spin backwards instead of forwards and keeps me in this state of Ground Hog’s day that I can’t seem to spring free from.

Three years of trying to organize a new career path for myself around the core of race and parenting has left me where I began. Yes, I have a book to show for it, but yet to have a publisher or agent to show up for it.

My volunteer work is in a perpetual state of neediness from the getgo. There’s no end to what Tin’s school, my book, blog, my community work need.

My trying to surmount the lack of energy that has become a way of life for me has resulted in two major injuries this year – both involving my right hip and leg, which means that I have gone forward and taken five reeling steps backwards. This has kept my weight exactly at the same point no matter how far I travel from setpoint, I bounce right back to it with the very hint of a setback.

Financially, I’ve got the ball and chain of debt I took on to start my own business when my job ended in 2011 and the only work paying me is legacy consultancy work that often feels as if it is the root cause of all of what ails me.

Let’s not even get started on my love life where I am approached almost weekly by married men even on my very own block. I don’t think I have met a single man in years except for Sty.

Even trying to get resolution to a situation that happened earlier has met with futile resistance.

I’m stuck. Stuck here in an eternal and infernal spin where I keep coming back to the same setpoint and even my age old desire to get in my truck and run off to Mexico is thwarted by my equal lack of desire to do much of anything at all.

It’s 2:34 in the morning and I’m writing about this because I truly do not have the answer. I’ve done most of my self work operating on faith and a belief that I can disengage from desire. No attachment means bliss, for some reason I’m resisting that notion with my entire being right now.

Floating up here in this bubble where the only incoming messages are trite expressions like “walk away or try harder” has made my bubble start to feel like a lead balloon.


Practice Random Acts of Kindness

Friday, October 9th, 2015

I had lunch with a friend today and she told me something that was going on in her life that brought me to tears. I told her something that had been going on in my life that brought her to tears.

We just looked at each other across the table, both of us crying, both of us with our hand over our heart.

She and I have been meeting up, seeing each other here and there, talking this and that, while our kids have been playing together, and neither one of us knew that inside we had come face to face with the worst that could happen.

I don’t know how people hold themselves together in the face of adversity, but life has sure been teaching me how for a while now – how to hold myself together when the world is falling apart.

Could I get my A+ and diploma now, and finally graduate from this helluva school of Hard Knocks? The lesson plan for this decade has been Resilience. That is Resilience 101, 102 and 202, 302, and upwards to 1002. I have become an expert in how to pick up the pieces and go on.

When I was in San Miguel de Allende I went to see The Treasures of the Sierra Madre – at the end, Walter Huston laughs at their bad luck and Tim Holt looks at him in disbelief and says:

You know, the worst ain’t so bad when it finally happens. Not half as bad as you figure it will be before it’s happened. I’m no worse off than I was . . . .

Remember that we are all living quiet lives of desperation as Hemingway said many years ago. So let’s all try to practice random acts of kindness to lift up all these weary souls and walking wounded who are around us.


Getting off the well worn path

Wednesday, October 7th, 2015

I’m hobbling through life right now and on my way to get a hip xray. What? That’s right, this is the second injury that I’ve sustained just trying to work out and be in shape, so I want to make sure there is nothing wrong with the structure – the bones – of this operation.

So many of my friends who are over 50 talk about the injuries and long recovery times, and yet none of us want to accept what is happening to our bodies. I struggle between settling into long walks and going for fast runs. Can I do it is my perpetual question. I still believe I’m spry and flexible and able to leap tall buildings in a single bound, and yet my body keeps failing to live up to that expectation.

I’m trying to come here – to be here – where this place is at 56 years of age. I was walking Stella this morning – hobbling to the neutral ground to head to the bayou – and I saw a young mother with her young son asleep in her arms as she carried him into the 24-hour nursery. I whispered thanks to the wind that I never had to drop my sleeping son off at a nursery. He had a magical nanny and he has a mother who works from home. This was a gift to me and to my child.

As I walked around the bayou, I thought of a trip I almost was going on. A friend and I have talked about heading towards Chicago for her to see her mother and me to visit my dear Flower and the organization of the trip fell apart. Just as well because I am overdue to go to see my family in Washington Parish. I crave the country and sitting in my aunt’s porch swing and seeing Tin run around with all his cousins. I need to visit my mother’s grave too because word has it that a strange man came and took the last flowers I placed there for Mother’s Day and replaced them with sunflowers. Which is odd, because i had put sunflowers.

My mind is cluttered right now and my body is reacting. Or even worse, the world is a hot mess, the city is a danger zone, my body is a hair trigger away from imploding, and it makes me crazy. The other night, I sat in my bathtub – with epsom salt – trying to heat up the hurt on my right side that has dogged me since I injured it while running the Crescent park three weeks ago. I was also trying to loosen the iron band that had me in a vice grip all the way up to my neck from being poisoned. A friend had given me a bowl of soup but neglected to say it had flour in it and I was wretchedly ill.

I started crying and couldn’t stop. I was crying because I was so mad about who I had become – a person allergic to food, the mother of a youngster, with all my energy zapped, a woman who felt as if my sexy and mojo were all gone and here I was starting all over again in a bath of loneliness and salt water tears. I ran from the tub and threw up several times and then dragged my sorry ass to bed. Disgusted with the cards I had been dealt.

A friend sent me a photograph of her gratitude jar the next morning.

I haven’t put one single note in mine in the past several months. So I thought about what I’m grateful for – and I started with hot water. How many people in the world do not have hot water? A woman my grandmother’s age when asked what she was thankful for in her life said indoor plumbing. My grandmother didn’t have indoor plumbing when I was a kid. When I asked my grandmother and my mother what they were grateful for they both said without any hesitation their children. And I am forever grateful for my child.

As I took each painful step walking Stella the next two mornings, I saw an ancient and wrinkled man walk out of the bank with a walking stick. I remembered that I would recover from this injury. That I would get back in shape. And I thought how fiscal health never matched physical health – or mental and emotional and spiritual wellbeing.

Like my father was want to say when I was growing up, it’s always the darkest right before the dawn and sure enough when I woke the next morning, I was a different person and able to reclaim happiness and most importantly, gratefulness. The world lately has been a hot mess and it can’t but seep into our pores and try to undo us. We need to remember that we are capable of great regeneration.

I listened to Sarah Lawrence-Lightfoot talk about the age from 50 to 75 years old with Bill Moyers and she said there are two paths open – stagnation or generativity, which in her definition meant creating to give to the world. The last six of my fifty years have been the most creative and generative – fiscally and otherwise. I am going to celebrate that – my Third Chapter as Lightfoot calls it – and I’m going to be thankful for the mornings, which always prove smarter than the nights.

And once these xrays are over with, and the blood work finished, I’m going to take that much needed walk in the woods to claim my own regeneration.