Half-Mast

I’m tired of mourning for strangers
Not keen on grieving my friends
Can we please stop with the sacrifices
So violence no longer trends
The flags that hang at half-mast
Are symbols of our shame
That we gave complacent permission
For murders to happen again and again
Though we take to the streets with our horror out loud
The lords of our lands style burial shrouds
Arming themselves with thoughts and prayers
Rejecting the corpses by forgetting they’re there

We are together

I have felt your heartbeat next to mine

as we embraced with warm affection

I have seen your face wet with sorrow

as we witnessed a loss together; hand in hand.

I have heard your laughter boisterously exposed

as we shared humorous stories and jokes

I have never loved you more thoroughly

than when you shared your human self with me.

You are my treasure I carry with me in my heart

You are the reason I smile when I’m alone

You are my collective spirit cavorting in this

one wild, ridiculously chaotic life.

Vote because

I woke up to the sound of a leaf blower screaming outside my window. As I awakened my senses with coffee, the scream of first Wednesday of the Month sirens warned me of what I’d find as election results, but I didn’t understand. I feel so mournful as I think of what was lost yesterday (Thankfully not in the precinct I worked because I still had hope for Tennessee when I went to sleep). I watch, now, the rain drizzle down and my emotions reflect it.

I mourn for the people who have bought propaganda at the discount price that was sold at the dollar general tree. I mourn for those unwanted, un-adoptable, hungry, sick, rejected children who will be born into a world that claims ownership but rejects responsibility. I mourn the education of these invisible children because what can’t be seen is clearly absent of life.

I mourn for the uterus that just turned inside out for the world to see but heaven forbid you see a child being fed at the breast of their mother. I mourn for the women who no longer will have a say in what happens to her own body but, in truth, am grateful that my body rejects the rooted seeds so my children will never know that I lived in such a horror movie of a state.

I mourn with my friends and thinking people who are wrenched with grief over the return to a time many of us don’t remember but are grateful to those that do and fought so hard to create a better place that was blown down by the Big Bad Wolf. I mourn in the form of dreaming exodus claiming political asylum in my own country which has returned to Jim Crowe against women and the LGBTQ communities while holding the marquee for next election saying that the brown skinned people don’t matter enough anyway so we’ll eliminate any aid so we can fill our fields with their broken backs and dreams.

I mourn for the prisons being built as plantation houses for the next generation of slaves that this election has purveyed onto the citizens of the United States. I mourn for those souls who are told from their conception that they’re wanted and loved only to be born into a world where those promises are broken. “May as well learn to live with disappointment, sons and daughters, because you ain’t no kin to me.” I mourn for that mentality being accepted as fact.

But most of all, I mourn that so many of my kin, my brothers and sisters of Light, are caught in so much darkness that they’re afraid to shine too brightly. I encourage you, my beautiful friends, to not give up even while the mourning strikes your heart with the righteous shame of indignities served on our hearts, minds, and bodies. Without us, that margin would have been far greater and the obvious ignorance would spill farther into this world.

We are the vessels that contain hope. We are the steps the future MUST take or we, as a free society, will fail. We are the eyes that see the changes that MUST be made. We are the hands that MUST NOT fail to act in the name of justice. We are the voices that MUST be raised repeatedly against ignorance. We are the backs that MUST bear the burden of challenging each defeat with a solid stance of support not only for one another but for those who are and will be victimized by these misguided amendments.

The warnings have blared at us, like my alarm clock of despair outside our window. It’s up to us as a people to determine whether we hit the snooze button on our kin, or whether we rise to the challenge that they’ve again faced and forced upon us. Me, I’ll put on my top hat and rise because without hope, there is no way I will survive.

Things I’ve learned this year

Change is constant, perception is everything

This year, for me, has been filled with a ridiculously large amount of changes both welcome and refuted. For most of it, I’ve lamented that the Universe was out to get me. It really felt like that because of the volume of changes. Each day seemed wrought with catastrophe, a dread that caused me to question every decision to the point where I felt frozen (I’m a freeze in the fight/fight/freeze/fawn/flop). Every step I made seemed like I faced another wall, another miscalculation, or another difficult navigation. I truly felt put upon by the world.

As I near the end of this year, however, I’m coming to understand that the oppression I have been feeling has been a repression of my feelings of inadequacy. My lack of trust in my own self-reliance contributed greatly to my sense of belonging. I had been clinging to what I expected to happen instead of rolling with the flow of my life.

I’m reflecting back, I realize how much I’ve overcome. I am becoming resentful of the labels of survivor, warrior, or victim. I’m gaining a power I didn’t even know I had. Even though I kind of did, confirmation of my successes has been liberating. My perception of life events is shifting. I’m allowing the events of this year to nurture my spirit, allow growth into new frontiers, and to realize I’m totally worth all the hard work I’ve put in to get to this point in my life.

No. It’s not ideal or how I expected things to be, but this is MY life. I love who I’m becoming. It’s taken me a long time of believing myself to be unworthy to finally understand that I am, at this time, my largest critic, but also my own biggest fan. It’s up to me to continue this journey, come what may.

Death and Loss are part of the chaos of living

Grief has been a hallmark of this year. The inevitable cycle has continuously run its course like a proverbial bull in the China shop. It has submerged me in baptismal tears. I’ve been looking out through tear-stained cheeks so frequently that I, again, felt frozen in time. It felt as if it would just never end, but that’s, in part, because it doesn’t.

Grief isn’t something to get through. It’s not a journey with an end. It’s a massive migration to a new way of alien being. It’s a daily reflection on how to manifest the support and love of the dead and dying. It is a constant companion that reminds me that I don’t know what’s going to happen or even when. It’s a revolution without resolution based on the depth of love that I carry forth from the impact they had on my life.

It is said that grief isn’t a place to dwell which is true. But it is a constant acceptance of what was in the here and now. It is okay to be messy in the emotions. It’s okay to lose sight on the future because that is no more promised than the next breath. It’s okay to sit with it, even indulging in the howling of the soul.

Grief transcends time. It allows acknowledgement that my fellow beings once lived, breathed, and also grieved. While at the same time reminding me of the joy, happiness, and sacred holy moments we shared are just as valid. They no longer walk with me but they are never absent from my heart which is deeply comforting.

Document everything when facing challenges

Awareness of any problem is already a step towards a solution. At the first realization that things are amiss, write it down. Write what happened as if you were giving a testimony. If you make a phone call seeking resolution, write it down. Write down who you spoke to, what was said, dates and times. Hold your temper even if you’re livid. Cool down if you reach this point before continuing. Take pictures of videos of what the issue actually is to help insure the accuracy of your documentation. Follow up phone calls with emails if possible. Save those emails in a folder specifically marked for that interaction. Social media? Use the tool to reach out to the offending party or even to make a public record to hold them accountable. Listen to others who have similar interactions and how they were able to reach a positive outcome. Whatever it is, making sure you speak to the offending party with respect is a key to integrity. Maintain yours until the result is satisfactory. DO NOT GIVE UP. They’re counting on you to not fight when you have been wronged.

Giving up isn’t really an option but walking away might be

I was married for 15 years, with him for 17. The last two years of that relationship were in hopes that things could still be resolved. Even up to the night before the divorce was finalized, I held out hope that he would want things to change. He opted out while, probably even now, blaming me.

It wasn’t about blame. It wasn’t about fault. It was about not having needs met that were crucial for my survival. I didn’t want the divorce. I didn’t move away seeking an ending. I walked away because it was necessary. It was an unpleasant task that had to be done.

As much as I loved him, I couldn’t “make” him love me back in the way that I needed. It was with regret that I had to let it go, but it has returned my life to me in ways I didn’t even know I was missing. It has allowed me an opportunity to rebuild a life that is mine. It has given me a gift that I didn’t, nor could I have known, if I’d stayed where I was no longer welcome or cherished.

Trusting those who truly love you is totally worth it

I’ve been in survival mode for so long that my self-sufficiency, or my “I can do it myself” way of thinking dominated everything about me. Where it lends me to be resourceful, it’s taken up SO MUCH time seeking work arounds for things I’ve been forced to settle for in my life. I could trust or depend on no one but myself because the people I chose to love in my past were unable to help me meet my needs.

That changed when I not only accepted my own compassion and love for myself, but allowing others to help and support me as well. People who have nothing but my happiness exhibited in their love for me have shown up. They’re doing the work to show me that I am a valued, trusted, kind, and loving human. It is through their commitment in my community of life that I am learning to trust. I’m learning to accept that I belong.

Having felt like an outsider with secrets so heinous I couldn’t imagine ever allowing anyone intimacy, the support and kindness I’ve found among my tribe have helped me to mature, succeed, prosper and thrive in such an incredible way that I finally feel nurtured. I finally feel heard. I believe myself to be seen which is proven to me time and again.

There are no hidden agendas. There aren’t back-handed compliments. There isn’t any gaslighting. There is only support, love, and most importantly to me: Love.

The Wisdom of Baba Yaga

Baba Yaga 

The Grandmother of angry repute, 

When she wishes to be found 

May grant three voices 

Likened to that of her same-named kin 

Each louder than the last 

Blasting as horns through the silence 

Of long disguised enigmas 

Concealed in shadowy cellars 

Her nefarious, grotesque face 

And carcass alike  

Wallows in the justice 

Of adorning her garden fence 

with the skulls of the unworthy 

She beckoned, 

granting me fortress 

At her whim, I unmasked for her 

The eyes of her distorted haven warily watching 

Her chicken-legged house  

settling noisy bones 

Baba Yaga, with her filed iron teeth  

Has devoured me  

with surges of bloody wisdom 

As ancient as she is 

from time unrecorded 

On written pages 

She ravaged me with mortar and pestle 

crushing me with catastrophe 

Sweeping up my granular remains 

Endowing newfound resolve 

To cultivate a bedrock authority 

Roots of my own power 

controlling the forces of my very nature  

and the singular destiny  

of my kaleidoscope purpose 

Perception

I am not responsible for the legends about me.

You are telling your version of your own history

A rendition that will make me a villain or saint

A little of what was and a lot that it ain’t.

I am not responsible for how you see me

You are telling your version a reflection it be

of how you’re made out as a villain or saint

A pinch of what is and a lot that it ain’t.

Trust

I learned to trust from untrustworthy people.

I based my confidence in their reckless care.

My expectation was being cherished.

I watered it with tears of faith & hope.

I gave assurance that my loyalty was a certainty.

My certitude was placed on an altar of conviction.

I gave credence to cruelty as part of my human credit.

My dependence was absolute in their disapproval of me.

My positiveness came from knowing they were right.

My reliance on the low-stock they placed on me

violated ME,

But their neglectful assurance was their gospel truth, not mine.

Grace within

Giving myself grace has been one of the greatest gifts I have given to myself. As I’m spending time alone, reaching out to people I love, I’m witnessing a transformation in my being. The solitude is granting me the restoration of what I lost under the yoke of responsibility. I’m beginning to witness the joy of creation again; fleeting though it may be.

A Path Considered

Consider that grief is the deep expression of love, then how can that grief return to or be transformed from pain into love again? Love that is joyous; celebratory of breath? Grateful for the life path walked in unity, if for too short of time?

Brain Cogs

I’m cleaning them out

Sorting arbitrary thoughts into emotional piles:

dirty laundry,

self-criticism,

several loads of frustration

Then:

I’m weaving in lose threads of hope

with the wisdom of my choices

guiding the warp and weft

creating a unique meandering pattern

by my own capable design