“Excuse Me… Did You Pack Everything That’s In Your Baggage Yourself?”

Have you ever not known where to begin? Been at a loss for words? Well, that is truly where I am. When I think of how to begin to express just what is sitting on my heart, in my soul, I admit to being overwhelmed. But, I am committed to sharing with you, so here goes… let’s address this.

As this year is quickly packing its shit (not in the “shit” kinda way; but just in the “packing its shit” kinda way), I realize that many cannot wait to see the backside of it. So many are done with this here year – and, there is good reason. The losses – personal and iconic, the struggles, the still head-scratching fiasco of an election and the subsequent rush to get the next four years quickly over with feeling, the anticipation of having three hundred and sixty-five new days to make plans and resolutions, break them, excuse ourselves, make new ones, polish up some oldies, fall in love, renew some love, trade in some love, new jobs, exciting careers, moving, staying… yes, a lot can happen in 2017.

But before you rush into there, I caution you to take just a few last-minute minutes with this year. You see, for as tough, disappointing or painful as it might have been, unless we scrutinize it for our foot/fingerprint, culpability or lesson, 2017 could quite possibly look like the fraternal twin of 2016. Take a minute. Appreciate the blessings of this year and learn from the lessons.

I thoroughly enjoyed 2016. It wasn’t all good. At times it certainly wasn’t pretty. But I damned sure was here for all of it! Every day my God got me up, dusted me off and set me loose on this unsuspecting world. He sat back, watched and allowed me to do my thing; only stepping in when absolutely necessary. He observed as I made plans, signed off on the ones He blessed, changed my course for the others. My decisions revealed friends and enemies alike. My choices soothed old hurts and unrolled the foundations for a beautiful future.

But…

2017 is going to be the start of a period that will test most of us – our patience, strength, resilience, wisdom and courage. But, we have it in us. You have it in you. Promise. As we go through what may be the day-to-day annoyances of our political idiotsyncrasies, let us vow to not lose sight of the forest because there are some ugly trees in the way! We got this!

My God… I wish you all a spectacular year ahead. I am over-full with emotions right now! Promise me something… Promise me you will never lose your excitement for life. Your wonder at even the littlest things. That you wake every day not only grateful, but greatful! That you remind yourselves every day to make great dreams! Great plans! Have great desires! Great expectations! Do great things!

HAPPY NEW YEAR, to you all! Thank you for continuing on this journey. Wow, I am in tears… be well.

Love.

Jangle All The Way…

This morning while waiting on the train in the subway, I was made aware (actually, everyone was) of a woman’s distress. She was standing with a man and alternated (she) between crying and yelling. There was also some incoherent (in words; but the tone was evident) begging. This went on for quite a while (the train was quite tardy), so after a while I turned off my music to better hear. This desire to ascertain exactly what was happening was not born of nosiness; instead her level of distress was so palpable I desired to know if I could have been of service.

I am still unsure what relationship she had with the gentleman; and this went beyond the obvious fact of race – she was white, he is black. My confusion stemmed from his body language as she loudly emoted. He was rigid and seemed unmoved by her level of distress. At one point I thought he was transit or some other personnel. At another, because of the intimacy of her garbled distress, I convinced myself they were much better acquainted. Their relationship may be questionable; but what bears no doubt are her emotions. She is in trouble.

There is something about this time of the year that can take us, tie us up in knots then, when we are good and twisted, suddenly release us, spread us out on the pavement and leave us there… bare. The holidays and especially this one evoke so many emotions in us that many of us struggle to handle. Sometimes, we can ill catch our breaths. The timing of Christmas, so very close to the end of the year seems to be the stuff of a bad joke – it sits there at the gate, ready to stop and pile-up everything that has happened from January to then, causing a cluster-fuck. It seems to say, “Only those who know the password get to go through. The rest… oh well.” The not-so-funny thing is that where our pain is concerned, there is no damned password!

… And then, there are the jingle bells! Everywhere we turn we are bombarded with (contrived) images of people having fun, being lovingly wrapped in the bosom of their families, being showered with excess – love, acceptance, nurturing, the material manifestations that exist at this time – bombarded with a (fabricated) comparison that highlights our lack. The smiling faces and evidence of success and wealth leave little room for our realities – the pain of rejection, abuse, loss, fear, poverty, homelessness, depression or hunger.

I felt this woman’s distress. I felt it for her today. I have felt it within myself in days gone past. I too have cried the cry from the soul – the one that sees no one – not those standing in front of you, next to you or above. The soul-cry that only sees the widening chasm within that threatens to win dominance over your fight without. I listened today in fear for this woman because well, I was her.

I did not go to her. I comfort myself thinking I did not do so because I refused to intrude on her pain. Truthfully however, I wonder whether I was afraid it would take me back to my dark places. Now, I ask the Universe to please watch over her. To wrap its arms around her as it has me. To place below her a cushion, so she has a soft place to land. I ask you to please join me in being mindful of all around us, names known and unknown, who may be struggling… at this time of the year. Because of this time of the year. Let’s all remember that pain and hopelessness never take a vacation and, they are no respecter of persons.

The holiday season can be magical. But sadly for those in pain, those without hope, those in despair, the only magic they may be interested in is the one makes them disappear…

 

Found My Panties, Yall…

Thirty years of self-discovery later…

This journey through parenthood that begins hopefully and innocently (despite the naughtiness one indulges in to become a parent!) enough and ends… well, I suspect it never ends, is one that undoubtedly is one of the most fulfilling, toughest, innards-revealing journeys I believe we will ever take. Whew!

I had a conversation with my daughter last week. Now, we have conversations often; but this was one of those conversations, the type that requires you not only “put on your big-girl panties” but that you make sure it’s clean, comfortable and ironed too! Here we go… let’s address this.

I went home last month to watch as my daughter crossed the stage to receive her BSC diploma for some fancy-thing. And while she was crossing said stage, she decided that as long as she was already up there, she may as well pick up the plaque for Magna Cum Laude and a ribbon for top of her class as well. I mean… as long as she was there J So that bit of fabulousness happened with me (and her father and grandmother) watching with infinite pride.

Not to be outdone (ha-ha), I decided that I would go for her graduation, but stay for my birthday; it was a blast! But what also happened however, was an occurrence that sparked a thought that led to a feeling that prompted a conversation. The big-panties-clean-ironed conversation. The conversation I am sure is not yet finished; but one that I now believe has been the most important to date.

I do not have a good relationship with my mother. She does not “get” me; nor do I believe she wants to. In large part I am too much of a reminder of a man she no longer loves (my father) and for as long as I can remember, that reality has fueled her rejection of me. At age fifty-one, I can finally say the reality of this non-relationship no longer stings. I accept that a parent-child relationship is just that, a relationship and oftentimes… relationships just don’t work. And, we move on.

But what growing up under this lack had solidified in me was the certainty I would strive to be a different kind of mother. Somewhere inside of me, in a very quiet way, I pledged to “give away what I wished I had” and be to Aneesa the mother I thought I deserved. One of the very interesting aspects of pain is that it teaches us what not to have another person feel. So, I steered clear of anything that remotely resembled my mother’s actions, expressions (or lack thereof) and behavior. I showed up for my child, physically and emotionally and I let her and the world know how very very much I love her. How proud I am. How much I dig her.

I forgot to tell her how much I liked her.

Big-girl-clean-iron-business.

I thought I was showing her. I thought that tucked into all my showing up, declarations, support, conversations and noise she knew that none of those would have, could have happened if I did not like the hell out of her! I am flabbergasted that this beautiful young lady does not believe when I say, “You are the reason I wake up and go everyday” that that is because I dig the crap out of her! I am saddened to know I missed empowering her for this long with that feeling.

This journey… My God! How ironic that the things we seek to run from at times catch up to us, attach to our DNA and alter our footprints. That incredible conversation with that awe-inspiring young woman has opened my eyes. My panties are on, full-coverage and functional. The past is the past – my mother’s, my daughter’s, mine. I will learn from it, but leave it there. Nothing more to prove. No more running.

I am my mother’s daughter. But I am my daughter’s mother.

Happy 30th birthday my darling daughter. You are an incredible young woman. I continue to be proud of you. I respect and value your decisions, actions and dreams. On this day and always I give you the gift of my mistakes. My commitment to correct them. My support. My admiration. My infinite love.

20161209_120453I like you BIG, Aneesa Adele Hinds.

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