Soul Cry

Soul Cry

Inspired by Charlottesville:

When you woke up that day

You picked the best shoes to slide your feet in

So you could march

Put your outrage in motion

No one could accuse you

Of sitting idly by

You became an ally.

I only wish you didn’t become a martyr.

And to those beaten because of your hue

My heart cries and sings for you

Skin sweats and my arms

They want to hold you and ask you

Not to go back outside

To the “out there”

But then

I know I am asking you

To die slower

And let fear become your master,

A not so benevolent God.

And that cocoon

I want to wrap your

Pretty brown in

Doesn’t exist.

Does it?

 

Again

Again

I was on the track walking and then I began to pick it up and jog. I heard myself breathe. Hard. Nothing polite about it. I always realize how much I miss this feeling when I start over again. And again.

To give you some background, in the early 2000’s I lost 70lbs. I ran 3-4 miles a day and I eventually became a vegetarian for two years. After a period of loneliness and depression post-undergrad, I gained all the weight back plus more. I have been fighting this battle ever since then. I have been on tons of diets, adopted a myriad of short-term lifestyle changes, only to let the old habits slide back in again. One thing I have never done or even allowed myself to think is this:

I am just going to give up. This is how I am suppose to be.

20170721_172708-1
In 2004 with my Mom.
Outside on the track
2017-Outside on the track

And when my face and body started to flake, peel and scar and the dreaded fibroids were found in my body, I began to pay less attention to numbers on a scale and more to the quality of what I was eating and imbibing. It has been an imperfect journey to say the least but I know one thing for sure. I am never giving up. I am saying yes to the whole foods, the sun, the joy that writing brings me, and hearing myself breathe hard.

Again.

And without a doubt, I hold dear the memories I have of myself in my early twenties. But that Kristina had her moment in the sun.

It’s my turn now.

 

Epiphany

Epiphany

I was invited to their inner sanctum, a darkened dance studio with poles and lush fabric cascading down from the ceiling. I sat on a leather couch, An Untamed State lying in my lap. For two hours, I watched as a group of women twisted and flexed their bodies to pop and trap, swung their figures to melody and bass. I observed women opening and closing their palms, clap clap. Lifting each other up, there was no collapse.

I spied the sinewy, willowy, muscled, curvy Beautiful slick with sweat move in and out of time.  And then my eyes burned and there were tears edging its way out of the corners of my eyes and gliding down my cheeks.

And it wasn’t about them. I think this had been coming on for a while, the tide coming in. I felt it coming when I walked out of my sister’s house and kept moving for an hour drowning the world out, even the wind whistling through the trees. And then when I held my nephew’s basketball in my hands, palms covering the leather and I raised my arms and shot over and over again.

I missed doing something just for me and my body knew it before I did. The ache went deep and as those things tend to do, it arrived on the surface.

I welcome anything else my body has to tell me as I continue on this journey.

The Dust

The Dust

I wrote about knowing what I need to do and committing to myself last week. I had to take a hard look at myself at week’s end and ask if I lived up to the commitment with everything I have in me. The answer was No. And then I asked myself what do I do with that? I can be as self-aware as I’d like but without execution it just fades in and out, coming to the surface until I tuck it back underneath again.

With my look back, I took action. The last couple of days, I embraced nourishing myself the right way consistently, with whole foods and imbibing green smoothies and taking myself outside and letting the sun brush my skin. I have no crystal ball nor do I want one but I am hoping I am leading myself towards a total healing with bountiful energy. The exhaustion of worrying about psoriasis and all the many scars it leaves, visible to the eye or not, redness and raised bumps that ravage the brown on my face and arms and feeling ill at ease will be long forgotten memories in time. I am counting on it because I am not just closing my eyes and wishing.

I do not live in a fairy tale.

The dust I sprinkle on this beautiful mess is sweat and stillness and emerald-colored concoctions and prayer and oh so much love and forgiveness for this body.

It’s to Put Flowers In…

It’s to Put Flowers In…

Another challenge from my Pens Up, Fears Down writing workshop: Write a 2-page story with the prompt about an uninvited guest showing up early to a party.

I am standing in front of my dresser, silently cursing myself for not being a grown-up yet. Why don’t I have a decent jewelry box that holds everything I need? I quickly picked up earrings and a necklace that was spilling from the box. I surveyed myself in the mirror and nodded, pleased at the way the jewelry sparkled against my black dress.

“Sean, can you zip me up? I call out to my husband. He jogs up the steps, secures me in my dress and doesn’t even wait for me to do my obligatory spin and “Well, how do I look?” before jogging back down to continue watching his game. I shake my head and follow him downstairs.

I was arranging the hors d’oeuvres and asked Sean “Do you think we have enough food?”

“Yes, and if there is anything else we need, I can go out and grab it.” he reassures me.

“I know you’re right. I just want everything to be perfect for Mom. She is going to be so surprised!”

“I know. And she deserves it. You know what? I do think we need more ice though.”

“Hurry back, you know my sister will be right on time. “

Sean left and I paced the floor. I started fluffing pillows and refolding throw blankets. A couple of minutes later, I heard a frantic knock on the door.

“I bet you that is Ash. She just had to be early.” I muttered aloud as I raised up on my toes to look into the peephole and then I stumbled backwards. Definitely not Ash. It was our father. Why is he here? I huffed to myself…And how did he know to come here tonight?

The bell rung and there was another loud knock. I could not bring myself to wrap my hands around the knob. My fingers were shaking. It’s like he has a radar for when things are going well for her, well for us. Even through  the doubt and wishing Sean was home to deal with him, I decided to push through the hesitation. I can’t just leave him on the doorstep, exposed to the whole neighborhood. He probably would just stand there and wait to shuffle in with the throng of guests. I turned the knob.

“Hi Daddy.” I said softly.

“Hi Sweetheart, he replied, tucking his gift underneath his arm and stretching the other out for a hug. I received it reluctantly.

“So, you just stopping by?”

He just stared at me instead of answering and then proceeded to walk right past me and set his gift down on the table.

“Ash invited me. And I wanted to come. I haven’t seen your mother in two years. I just want to say Happy Birthday. This has gone on too long.”

“Daddy, I don’t want any trouble tonight. You can leave the gift. I’ll tell her it’s from you. You are free to call her if you want. No guarantee she’ll pick up. But just call her. I only want to see Mom smile tonight.” With that, I took his hand, hoping the sting of the door I was now holding open would be softened.

“Zora?”

“Yes? I bought her a vase. She always loved them, it’s to put flowers in. I never gave her enough flowers.”

I nodded and watched him as he walked into the night, his head down. I picked up the box, felt the weight of the vase.

“It’s to put flowers in.” I repeated aloud.

 

 

 

 

The Addition

The Addition

I don’t know if writing and wellness are inextricably linked but I am on a mission to find that out for myself. A fog has invaded.  I cannot say my body has to land at a certain number for the fog to dissipate. I do know that instead of subtracting from my life, there is much I need to add to it: feeding it the right things, moving more frequently and taking time to quiet the noise I invite in on a daily basis.

All of this addition will take discipline and structure. I need the clarity that discipline will bring. How can I expect to meet my goals if I am too tired to remember them on my best days? Though I have never really been able to call myself a shrinking violet, I do think my voice has become somewhat muffled. I am not consistently and aggressively pursuing all that I want. I know fear has held me in a vice grip. I yearn to loosen its hold by doing the work. The addition. When circumstance attempts to throw me into a tailspin, I will have a steady foundation built, brick and stone, sand left behind.

I commit to nourish, move and quiet myself and watch the effects unfold. I may walk a little taller and carry with me an air of peace or watch my skin glow with health again defying what doctors said about my psoriasis diagnosis. What I am ready to see is focus and determination blossom as I scribble and type and submit and hit Publish, over and over again.

Have you discovered a link between your writing and your wellness journey? Comment below. I would love to read your thoughts!

Tribe

Tribe

What does it mean? Tribe? Have I found mine? Have I found several? Have I always belonged?  One told me my skin, along a continuum of brown was beautiful. My Black is Beautiful.

Another tells me that lakay means home and Aux Cayes bears almost forgotten, almost sanded off imprints of my DNA.

Attached myself to a tribe of people who call themselves Greats and to another who picked up the Pen and put the Fears down.

So many names I have gone by:

Great, Black, Brown-Skinned, Haitian, American, Haitian-American, Writer, African-American, Christian, Woman, Wife, Sister, Natural.

I am a member. I fell in. I joined. I paid. I listened. I spoke up. I have shouted. I have risen. I have sat down. I have dreamed. I have cowered. I have fallen down. I have kneeled with purpose. I have prayed. I have cursed. I have written.

I was born.

Within this tribe, these tribes, I am human. I have found my humanity and I find myself extending my hand to touch yours.