Tag: healing

Sun & Bells

You’ve heard the expression Whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee by the poet John Donne–and the Hemingway book of the same beginning clause. Check this explanation:

“…for whom the bell tolls definition. An expression from a sermon by John Donne. Donne says that because we are all part of mankind, any person’s death is a loss to all of us: “Any man’s death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind; and therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee.”

What is death except the ultimate change and and letting go. What we forget is the impact life, and its loss, has on us as individuals and humanity.

In the space of grief and acceptance, we have to be reminded to live. We must live and continue to live as best we can. Sometimes, this needs a reminder. There needs to guideposts and other people whom love you to continue to remind you life has not ended because one life is not present.

It is trite to say ‘live and do how they would have wanted you to live.” Death does not take or replace personal autonomy. You still own the outcome of your life.

So own the outcomes.

Own the uncomfortable places, the secret things, indeed every outcome. Do not be taken hostage to the dreams of people whom never voiced their own or could speak to yours. Do not be persuaded from what you desire in favors for what may have been hoped for in another person.

This life, and all is sorrow and boundless wonder, is yours. Do not live as if your presence offends people. Do not live your life for the dead. Live your life because it is yours, it is excellent, and it is waiting.

With Dead Wait

This year has been one of total preparation. It has been twelve months which have tested and confirmed the best and worst of all of us and for all of us. This entire year has either been a confirmation or preparation.

Flat out.

The country is being thrown into a meat grinder, the survivors into a Brazen Bull, and all witnesses to justice thrown from a cliff as the Emperor Caligula’s uncle, Germanicus, did:  for amusement.

This being one of last two blogs I shall write for this year, I write from the vantage point of vigilant hope. The woman I call Mother Oracle or Grandmother Oracle, Maya Angelou, said when someone shows you who they are, believe them.

Believe them.

This election, the result, the dismantling of legacies, the erasure of progress, the erecting of the resurrection of every demon conjured by Confederate ancestry–it has been enough to make one utterly give up. It is enough to make sure your heart remains broken and eyes more comfortable closed.

As you watch this year close and the year before you open–be mindful of these things, these people: the heart breakers, the liars, those whom left as swift as they entered your life. Those whom shunned your apologies, dismissed your purpose, challenged ideals you held, and thought nothing of what you would become after all had been taken from you.

When someone shows you who they are, believe them.

I am fond of saying this, “Anger is fruitless lest but towards a positive purpose.” You can be mad, but what are you going to do when you stop being mad?  Will you stop being mad, can you stop being mad?

There are times in this life where it is imperative to know what is you want, why you want it, and what you will allow to stop you. One of my favorite scriptures is from the Apostle Paul. He says this in the book of Hebrews, and in times of heartbreak and frustration, I gather strength from it:

As you determine your course along this life, you will be convinced and confronted to hold on to things and people which no longer suit you, aid you, profit you or add to you. There will be and are times where it is easier to carry what is bitter and sour than to let go of these same things in order to heal, be better and run faster. Being able to admit that which does not suit you allows you to own all what you will become.

Being able to allow into your life and limit negativity yields the medicine of peace. Releasing those whom desire to bring energy and situations to your life set to overwhelm and hinder you is a protection of your sanity.

These types of weights settle in your heart, these type of people bring you shadows where there was light to adequately see their intent. In times of transition, like the ending of a year, it gives you pause to decipher the motives of other people  as well as your desire to be what it is you desire. Do not be dissuaded from what you want.

Do not be dissuaded from what you want.

In not allowing these weights to persist, you make the decision to grow. You decide the formation of the self you shall become is worthy of torturous waiting. The dirty truth is,  beloved, it is work to become. You must work in the waiting. There is work to become, and sometimes–this involves waiting.

The year of 2017 has four days remaining. Take this time to consider what you will hold onto, let go of and need to find solace or more of in the year to come. Why? Not everything, nor everyone, is suited to accompany you on your journey. Don’t fear this. Even if you have only you to go–that is enough.

You are enough…rest in that.

I. Breathe. Fire.

I’m a writer.

A word alchemist.

I am well-read, with a hungering curiosity and the desire to continue to master this craft with these 26 letters. Make no mistake, I am fiercely protective of my gift, and don’t make that secret.

Which makes what happened to me all the more–infuriating.

In keeping with the theme this month about speech, words and voice, I would be dishonest not to share this. The situation has been rectified as of this posting, but I think it bares confronting for further edification of other writers and artists.

I was asked to write poem for The Awakenings Project , cycle 1 (A1) and I agreed. I wrote the first poem as favor to the artist,Marissa Southards. with the reception of that piece, which yielded the mantra for project: I Am She, She Are We, found in the poem First, Awakenings. It was most excellent to have my work well received. I am still in awe.

With the reception of that work, and the quoting of my work, I was elated. From that popularity, I got the invitation to write another piece for this project, this time for the second cycle, A2. I wrote a piece called *HOW I CAME TO BE, and read it at a celebratory gathering for A2. This piece was written from a hetero-normative, Judeo-Christian vision:  seeing as the author identifies as a Christ-believing cis-gender heterosexual woman.

Now, did I need to preface that? Nah.

But I did because I respected all those that were in attendance to the project, regardless of orientation or belief system.

During the reading, I was fine. The poem sounded just like I wanted. In the aftermath, however, there was coup brewing. There was participant, Marcia, whom identified herself as a queer atheist. Okay, fine. She told the creator  of the project, and I quote “she was a fan of my work, but she felt that my poem did not represent her, and she didn’t like how I used her word–Amazon.”

By now, y’all know that I am black woman.

Marcia is not.

She wanted me to change  my work, and she wanted to see the revision going forward.

Yes, I’m deadass serious.

She didn’t any make effort to speak to me personally, but the artist–whom is a dear friend whom happens to be white. Before I explain the resolution, let me tell you why this is a problem.

No one, and not NO ONE, takes my voice from me. If you take issue with what I said, or how I wrote something, come see me. I don’t need a handler, and I ain’t never been a mammy.

She pulled her white privilege on me, and circumvented me–with the same erasure that she perecieved she had been given. Marcia, I can only persume,  thought by doing that I would change my work, or be manipulated to change it. The worse thing? She said she was a fan of my work.

Really?

Aight.

Backhanded compliments do not work. I remember I was insulted and beyond pissed. I felt as if someone had watched me open my mouth to reach in and snatched my voice from my throat. With shock and rage, I called my husband and told him what happened with my immediate thought and quote  being:

Who does this bitch think she is?!”

 

I come from a people where everything we have and had is fought for–even the right to tell our own truth. So, I was comfortable in telling the artist, and I quote, “I am not changing a damn word of it. I can write something else, but I am not changing a word of that.” Some indignities go beyond, “How dare you!” This was one of them.

I was ready to fight!

As long as I have been reading–since 4, writing–since 8, you don’t get to dictate my imagination. You don’t get to pull offense as rank over something I wrote. I have fought too hard to get back to this gift to be punked to change anything.

I thought about that episode of Good Times, where Thelma won the contest but the contest sponsor wanted her to change the phrase black woman, and she wouldn’t. And because she wouldn’t change it, she lost.

I thought about how Phyllis Wheatley. I thought about how brilliant, versed, and enslaved existence– and how she died penniless when given freedom. I thought about Alice Walker, Toni Morrison, James Baldwin, Sallie Hennings, my grandmothers (Mollie and Arceal)  and my beloved Oracle Grandmother, Maya Angelou.

I thought about the women and men of and from whom I am descended and how they may or may not have even known how to spell their names. I would not change a word. It was my work. I made the decision to not be dictated regarding my work. Nall.

Resolution?

The artist sided with me. She put Marcia in her place (before I had to). As a result, Marcia pulled her photo from the project, and my work stayed in tact.

Marcia didn’t apologize to me, and neither did I. I expected what I got–nothing.

I snatched my voice from being stolen.

For my sake, and the ancestors.

*The poems listed are featured in a compliation book for The Awakenings Project–click here to order.

Gifting

The world needs its misfits. It’s magic workers. It’s conjurers.

From that, we get those with the blessing of being soft places to fall. The ever-present open ears and able shoulders. The open eyes that see and never say–unless asked. The healers of this world and work.

Those of us that see suffering and pain and loneliness and strive to stop it. Seek to understand what it is, why it is, and how to avoid it–channel it into better. That’s what those of us that are healers do.

We write. We emote. We sing of passions and callings. We tell the truth about this mortal experience, even when it hurts. We tell the stories that need to be told, even when they are our own.

We gift those we love with our own tears, spun gold and as medicine to give to those in need of that wisdom. That wisdom of that weight can only be given and used when it comes from experience. When we didn’t die after that first heartbreak, we can tell you that you won’t. We didn’t panic when trouble came, ran our of money or when our parents died. We go through to give you a map.

Sometimes this is the trouble of being one of those unique open God has opened to see the world behind the world–to see the trouble of mankind and a way out of it. Sometimes you have to be the first one to bleed to teach the second to follow how to heal.

#FreeBresha

I stayed away from the topic, the life of this young girl as long as I could. Until, it became imperative that I add my voice to her chorus of supporters.

Bresha Meadows was 14 when she murdered her father, whom was abusive to her, her mother and two other siblings. She shot her father while he was sleeping on couch with a gun he kept in the house. She has been in juvenile detention over a year, and as of this month, I believe this week, she has been released and now she can go home.

However, nothing is normal about this. Nothing. About. This. Is. Normal.

I could expound on domestic violence, the lack of resources to this family and the horrible predicament her mother was in, and why it took so much, and so long, and so wrong to get to this point. I could even focus on Bresha…but right now, I want to focus on the world by which both coincide.

We have a nation by which sexualizes, disrespects and utterly disregards women and girls. We are valued for what we have under clothes, and how well those attributes serve the male populace. Even the current, sitting president is quoted to have  you have to treat women like shit, and “You can do anything you want to do. Grab ’em by the pussy.” With that said, imagine what it is like to be a young girl seeing all this, and more and the man that is supposed to be your buffer towards that perpetuating it. Being an adult female affords your some defense, you can maneuver and speak–but a 14 year old girl?

In the maze of growing up, the changes that it involves,  it is hard and almost hell-bent to find a soft place to fall and regroup. Home is supposed to be one of those places. Its supposed to be where you can heal, be healed and breathe. You should not have to fight the world, and the people that live in your immediate world. This child, this young woman, thought the only solace could be, would be, to eliminate the source of that pain, that fear and contempt. The fact that it was her father is more egregious.

Bresha found that no one was able to help her, unless she had to help herself. Her mother was refused the help she needed from the law (she had applied for a restraining order, and we all know just how good those work, right), or anyone else around her. Or perhaps they knew and still couldn’t help her. There was no older sibling or superhero to help her. From that, Bresha chose to murder her father…to make it all stop. With that shot, her world spun off the hinges–and affected ever axis thereafter.

Bresha shot the man that should have been able to tell her that she was beautiful, valuable, and brilliant. The man that should have been able to take a bullet for her, and to remind her that he is the first and last man that will and would love her. He should have been the arms that protected her, wizened her to the world that desired to dismantle her.

As she squeezed the trigger, and her heart exploded in her chest and ears from its release, I can imagine the tears, the confusion, the rage and her collapse after. I could only imagine, and grief that Bresha realized the fairy tales where real, and there really are dragons. There really are monsters in closets and under beds, and you don’t need lights to see them. And that may be the scariest thing.

 

*-It seems to always take blood and strife for lasting change. Bresha Meadows is not just a hashtag. She is a young woman with a massive amount of healing to do, repairing to do, and it will indeed take a village to help her. That village cannot just be composed of hash tags, letters and proponents of attention. There is a component of therapy that goes beyond counsel and that is healing. This young woman and her family are in need of a safe space–at last. They should be allowed to regroup as a family without their pain prostituted. The remarkable thing about this situation is now, through virtue of voice, pain and action, we can discuss, indeed, what happens behind closed doors–and why it matters.