Resilience

My Post (2)The good thing about the COVID-19 madness going on right now is that many people, myself included, are finding ways to reconnect with long lost hobbies (or people). The long lost hobby that I have personally reconnected with, if you can’t tell from the dates of my last three posts, is writing.

Writing always makes me feel better. I have journalled since I was in first grade and in the past when I’ve been especially down, reading the thoughts of a 7 year old version of myself always put me in a better mood. It’s so lovely.

Today, I wrote the following poem about resilience. I hope that reading it makes you feel a little more strong and able to continue on while the world is affected by the coronavirus.

 

RESILIENCE

3/20/20     4:08 pm

I am wind,

Flexible and free,

Present, yet unseen,

Moving, yet sometimes still

I am an energy to be felt.

I am oak,

Strong and sure

Changing,

Growing,

Enduring,

Evolving,

Adapting.

Sometimes, I forget these things.

Sometimes, I don’t remember that I am capable,

That I am resilient.

Sometimes, the reflection in the mirror appears weakened, broken, and sad.

Sometimes, I cannot see because I cannot rest.

I am the whole universe,

Experiencing this tumult, just as everyone else, just as every other universe, just as you.

Together, we are changing, growing, enduring, evolving, and adapting.

Together, we can rest, and remember. 

3 Ways Being Hood has Prepared You for the Coronavirus

My PostI am coming to you, writing this, from the comfort of my home. I imagine many of you are reading this from your homes, too.

As I am writing this, it’s lunch time and because of the coronavirus and all its nasty impacts, I am now tasked to prepare yet another of my own meals. As of this writing, I have now prepared 100% of my own meals for the past two days. My will power is dwindling and has been stretched to its limits.

Trying to avoid having to clean YET ANOTHER pot, I have decided to eat leftovers. For what I have on hand, the fastest leftovers is the dish preferred by Baby Boomer Black moms everywhere: spaghetti.

As I prepare to heat up the spaghetti, I realize that right now, in these high stakes moments, I have turned on myself, doing to myself what I said I would never do, and that is to tell MYSELF: “Self, IT’S SOME SPAGHETTI IN THERE!” when I ask myself what’s for lunch. I have heard “It’s some spaghetti in there” from my own mother many times, but never, ever, did I think I would have to say those words to myself. I prepare myself to eat the “spaghetti that’s in there” and  long for the sweet embrace of Wendy’s chicken nuggets.

So, before I begrudgingly but somehow also thankfully, “go sit down somewhere” and eat this spaghetti that was “in there”, I wanted to share 3 other ways that “hood / poor / brown / insert your own adjective here/ ghetto” people are specially equipped to deal with the coronavirus pandemonium.

Hood Advantage #1: You Likely Have Leftovers

leftovers

Image credit: https://giphy.com/gifs/Bounce-TV-comedy-bounce-3ov9jEOwe82gUOm6D6

As I have already mentioned, you probably already “got some spaghetti in there.” You might also have:

  • Some Chinese takeout from a few days ago, before that RONA got you shook
  • Some fruit that is soft, but not quite old enough for you to be afraid to eat it
  • Some more fruit that can be thrown into a smoothie that you will drink and wish was ice cream
  • Some green vegetables that you can finally use to make that recipe from the New York Times that you definitely wouldn’t otherwise make unless you just had to (shots fired at myself)
  • Lots of sauce packets from fast food places you’d really like to go to right now

Hood Advantage #2: Your Momma Already Programmed You to be a Germaphobe

germaphobe

https://giphy.com/gifs/funny-star-trek-school-3ne4TnvHYegzm

My mom has been mostly healthy her whole life (so thankful!) and this coronavirus stuff has made me realize why my mom, and other Black moms, are seemingly super people when it comes to avoiding germs and viruses: they “don’t fool with them nasty ass people.” Having a hood momma has prepared you to avoid lots of coronavirus having ass people, places, and situations.

Your mom, like my own, probably does the following things to MAKE SURE they are not, in fact, fooling with them nasty ass people:

  • Hovering over the toilet in public bathrooms
  • Washing your hands before and after you use a public bathroombecause you had to touch that nasty ass door to get in there anyway
  • Opening all public doors with a paper towel, your sleeve, or jacket hem
  • Keeping *STOCKED UP* on cleaning supplies and hand sanitizer, 24/7, 365 days per year and not just cleaning “when this corona thang is going on”
  • Keeping community sized tissue boxes in their purses *all of the time.* My own mother has given tissues to complete strangers…and then washed her hands afterwards (because although my mom is a saint, she still ain’t “fooling with them nasty ass people”)

Hood Advantage #3: You Already Know How to “Not be Tripping”

oprah

https://giphy.com/gifs/oprah-bath-relaxing-MvZKiDJmB1XEs

Look, growing up in the hood and/or poor (rich people and scholars call this being “socioeconomically disadvantaged”) is no cake walk. Many aspects of hood life require you to be thankful, gracious, flexible, and resilient. These four qualities produce people who are not, in fact, “really tripping.”

Sure, you are likely taking the necessary health precautions, but if you have been able to somehow still maintain your mental health levels so far, your hood upbringing may be to thank.

Growing up in the hood requires you to learn to sometimes just accept things as they are. Learning to accept things as they are while simultaneously not being discouraged by them, is not only a Zen Master level type skill; it’s also the entire curriculum required to pass Hood 101.

Here are a few hood examples of things that are not easily or quickly change, but despite how much these things suck, hood people continue to live, laugh, love, thrive, and “keep it moving”…

For example:

  • The police might “always be around when nobody even called they ass.”
  • They got money “for all that other shit but won’t fix these raggedy ass streets.”also, “if these raggedy ass streets was over there by where them rich folks live at, they woulda BEEN fixed.”
  • Your next door neighbors may suffer from unwarranted feelings of superiority to you aka “Susie Q nem think she better than us because ole boy she fooling with done went and bought her that old raggedy ass Cadillac.”

You get the idea.

These are all things that just have to be accepted as they are for the time being. And, thanks to your hood conditioning and magma cum laude status as a fine graduate of the hood, you’re especially capable of getting through this coronavirus shit! For real, you ain’t even trippin’ off this coronavirus shit. You’ve got your ginger ale, saltines, and your momma’s prayers…what is there to be tripping about?

Now, if you or someone you know is not from the hood, disinfect your phone and call them. Tell them that you love them. Tell them that right now, it is what it is. Tell them to don’t fool with no nasty ass people. And most importantly, tell them that there is, hidden away, in the recesses of the fridge, already SOME SPAGHETTI IN THERE!

Proof that in my house, there really was some spaghetti in there:

IMG_5895

The Return Of Spring

I have to admit that I am a lover of all things Fall and Winter.

I was born in winter; Christmas happens in winter. Many of my several people were born in winter.

And also, I live in the southern United States, so it is unbearably and miserably hot for most of Spring, all of Summer, most of Fall, and sometimes even in Winter.

I’m not a fan of the warm months that fashion magazines advertise as “so amazing” and “can’t wait for” them to come. I call horseshit.

But, there are about four days that are absolutely gorgeous in Spring, here in the South, before it is hot enough to fry eggs on the sidewalk.

And I am so lucky to have had time to go walk around in this beautiful weather this morning.

It’s about 64F , bright sun, and a little breeze. People are out cutting grass, and the scent of the chopped blades fragrance the breeze.

It’s the Spring (or is it still technically Winter?) day of my dreams.

These little purple wildflowers were not here a few weeks ago, but now, here they are, reminding passers by of the colors just waiting to burst from the ground, when Mother Nature gives the OK.

The sky is so beautiful! I could just look at it all day.

Do cherry blossoms grow in Texas? I have no idea what kind of tree this is; whatever it is, it’s gorgeous.

What is going on in your part of the world?

What beauty have you seen today?

Until tomorrow my friends…

Having a Bad Day?

I lost about six hours of work this morning.

Tech support could not help me retrieve the file.

I took a wrong turn trying to get to WhataBurger (for stress relief chicken strips).

The drive thru attendant only gave me three ice cubes.

My tea was too sweet.

I’m on the way to a long meeting with a client and now have substantially less work to show (see reason #1 above).

It’s kind of a poo day. But, my car and body are still running and I didn’t break down in the drive thru lane.

Things can be worse and some days it’ll be your turn to be stuck in the broken down car.

Get your ass out and push!

And be thankful when it’s your turn to be in the car that is running.

How’s your day going?

Until tomorrow my friends…

Caring for Others

The most rewarding things that I’ve done in my life involved doing something nice for someone else.

Many times, the recipient has been not so thankful. But, I still felt good anyway. I think it’s important to not let other people’s reactions rob us of the joy of kindness and good deeds. This is VERY hard for me to do, but I’m working on it.

I thought about writing this today because I made some meals for my elderly uncle. I cannot cook like his late wife (my aunt) but I know that he will appreciate my effort.

Do you appreciate other people’s efforts without being critical or an asshole otherwise?

I think that’s easier to do than we think it is.

When I was a kid, I hated bananas. I’ve grown tolerant of them as an adult because I put them in smoothies and the potassium makes my old body feel a little less old.

But honestly, I could never see another banana again and be fine, even happy.

But, when I was a kid, one of my grandma’s friends used to love giving me bananas. It was her favorite fruit and perhaps she thought that she was really being kind to me by offering me one.

I still hated them.

But my grandmother, in all her wisdom, instructed me to not eat the banana but to always, always take it and be completely gracious and thankful.

Eventually, I went from kind of pretending to be thankful to having a better understanding of what grace is. Eventually, my thanks was heartfelt and not at all pretentious, even though I never ate the damned bananas.

I learned to be gracious when someone thought enough of me to do something. I learned to not take the joy from them for being kind. I learned not to essentially punish people for being nice. I learned a little bit of what it’s like to not be an asshole.

And now, when I do nice things for people, I get to learn how to be on the other side of the equation. Sometimes something that I do that I think is kind is met with welcome and enthusiasm. Sometimes, it’s not. But regardless, I’m working on not attaching my feelings to the behavior of other people. I take the pleasure and reward of kindness from what I can control: only myself.

What do you think of this topic?

Until tomorrow my friends…

It Doesn’t Matter

Do you ever feel like no one understands you?

How you feel? Your humor? Your off putting affinity for skulls? Your not so secret desire to live on an island?

Do you ever feel so alone?

Maybe you share some of those feelings and maybe you have some quirks of your own that make you feel ostracized sometimes.

I can relate. Some days, it feels like “Ostracized” is my middle name.

I don’t regularly do the two seemingly most common American activities: drink alcohol and watch tv.

If I had to guess, I would say that on average, I have about one martini every 8 weeks and watch about 1-3 hours of internet videos a week. I watch no regular tv shows, even though I do plan to catch up on “The X-Files” soon.

Do you know what these facts make me? Well, they make me almost a social pariah.

People are so strangely uncomfortable when I tell them I don’t drink much and I watch almost no television. They think that I’m odd, and technically, they’re right.

I feel odd and I feel misunderstood.

I use the examples of television and alcohol as somewhat light hearted examples, but I’ve also often felt deeply misunderstood, sometimes even telling myself that I will NEVER find someone who understands me.

Well, here’s the thing: IT DOES NOT MATTER. So the f*ck what?

Recently, I was listening to an Eckhart Tolle talk and he addressed the ongoing need that we can sometimes have to feel understood. And of course, when our version of understanding does not come, we make ourselves feel miserable. We tell ourselves horrible things, like no one will ever understand, or we are terrible for being so odd, so on and so forth.

But all of those things are unknown. Maybe you’ll find the jelly to your peanut butter. Maybe you’re just a singular, delicious nut spread.

Regardless, the better focus is on understanding yourself. There’s so much focus that we can develop on what other people are giving us that we neglect to give ourselves anything.

So, maybe your family thinks you’re nuts? You might actually be a little weird. Maybe no one does understand you.

SO WHAT?

Do you, who has the most access to you,understand you?

No?

Then you’ve already got enough things to do.

So many, in fact, that you might not have much time to watch the tele.

Until tomorrow my friends…

Thoughts on the Movie: “The Neon Demon”

Have you seen this movie?

I just finished watching it and I can’t say that I’m terribly impressed.

I’m sorry, Keanu. I know that you’re so awesome and you were in the movie for about 4.5 seconds, but I still am apologizing anyway.

But really, whoever wrote this story should apologize.

To all of us. Right now.

When I first saw the previews for this movie, I thought I wanted to see it because it looked visually stunning! I didn’t go see it in the theater, but even on the small screen, I can say that the visuals are gorgeous. The colors, the lighting, the moodiness…its all gorgeous. Absolutely gorgeous.

I even think the acting was good and believable.

But the story…honestly, I think it’s a little half assed. Sorry not sorry…

One of the main characters is in some kind of cult (I guess?) and that’s never explained either explicitly or even with a few hints! And turns out, the behavior related to the cult is the most shocking and most interesting things to happen in the whole movie.

Hellllllo? More details please, writers!

Not to mention, the main character is woefully under explored. We don’t get to find out jack diddly from her other than she’s been told she’s pretty a lot and her parents are dead.

I am not one for Hemingway levels of back story and details, but damn, at least tell us enough to want to care about her when her eyeballs get eaten twice by two girls.

Oops, spoiler alert up above, ha ha!

Have you seen it? What did you think?

I’m about to Google it and read an article or review from a more savvy person who can interpret to me.

If you’re looking for a gorgeous looking movie with a confusing plot and little character development and less than 5 minutes of Keanu Reeves, then this movie is for you!

Until tomorrow my friends…

I’m Tired Of This

Whose idea was it for me to write every day for a year?!

I haven’t made it through even 60 days of the challenge and I’m kind of sick of it!

Me and my bright ideas!

Maybe today I’m just feeling tired and a little burned out, but also, I know that almost no one is reading this,which is demotivating.

Is this important enough for me to keep writing just to keep the promise to myself?

Well, I suppose keeping a promise to yourself is the best kind of promise you can keep.

But today, tonight, honestly, I just want to throw the whole blog and promise in a big, shiny trash bin and light it all on fire.

Speaking of trash bins, I keep mine in the garage and I swept the garage early this morning. Have you ever swept a garage? After it was done and the floor was all clear, it was SO SATISFYING! My gawd! I actually stood there, still wearing my robe and bonnet, hands on my hip, and admired how nice it looked after I swept. It was amazing.

Maybe I should start writing about cleaning hacks? Just kidding, other than sweeping the garage once a year, I know almost nothing about being a super tidy person.

How was your day?

If you’re out there in Internet land, please like or comment on this post.

Let me know that you’re reading my weird blog and are enjoying it.

If you hate it, keep that to yourself. I have enough critical nature in my own mind and I don’t welcome it from outsiders.

Unless you mail me a snickers bar.

Until tomorrow, my friends…

Cheat Day

The past two weeks have been so busy. My candle wick has been burned down to a tiny little nub.

Here’s to a cheat day!

This is a poem that I wrote on January 8, 2018. Not that long ago!

Have a great weekend and as usual, see ya tomorrow, friends…

What’s in the sun’s rays?

It’s the boyish grin of a fella on a first date,

It’s the warm smile that a balding father gives to his kids,

It’s the delight of children who know that they picked the right day to play sick,

It’s the lonely eyes of the writer, the observer, who watches it all

7:03 AM

I slept a little too well last night.

I didn’t wake up until after 7! Oops! I have been cranking out lots of hours at work and I’ve been a little stressed. I see the late wake up as my body needing a little extra rest.

Today I tutored the elementary aged siblings and we played two riveting rounds of BINGO at the end of the lesson.

The boy child won and chose a pink necklace as his prize. The girl child looked on with a sadness and disappointment that I didn’t expect.

Having worked with children before, I knew that they can be REALLY overdramatic. Perhaps they get it from their parents.

The boy child gave her a devilish grin and put the necklace around his neck. She looked at me and said, “Can I have the purple one?”

I kindly replied, “No, he won, so he gets the prize.” She looked over at the pink necklace with longing eyes.

The boy child then takes it off, and slides it across the table.

“I got it for you! Duh!” He exclaims. Aww! How sweet! I just want to give him a hug for being such a nice brother.

She puts it on and coldly replies, “Thanks.”

I began to talk up the boy child, saying “Oh what a lovely brother he is!” thinking she would cheer up a bit. But then, I looked in her eyes and I saw a little piece of myself staring back at me.

Her brother giving her the necklace WAS a nice gesture.

But do you know what she really wanted?

The VICTORY

The DOLLAR STORE SPOILS

The BRAGGING RIGHTS

The HONOR OF BINGO CHAMPION

Him giving her the necklace was almost a slap to her perfect little face, which continued to remain contorted in displeasure as we played the second round of BINGO and he won again.

I didn’t laugh, and I managed to not make any faces while I packed up to leave. But, I really wanted to pat her on the head, in a loving, non-demeaning way, and say, “It’s going to be all right kid. One day, that’ll be life sitting across the table from you kicking your ass and you won’t know up from down. And life won’t pick the pink necklace just so it can give it to you later. Life is going to pick up the heaviest turd and hurl it at you. And you know what? In that moment, you’ll learn how to keep going.”

Those are the things I wanted to say, to her and her familiar feeling little ego.

My own ego is much older and maybe a bit more intense, but we, me and my ego, are learning to get along just fine.

Until tomorrow, my friends…

PS…do you have kids? Are the monsters? Kidding!