Reconnection

Reconnection

A co-worker told me she rented studio space recently to begin doing her art again and it reminded me that I had let several weeks go by without writing.

I have added quite a bit of new work to my schedule which (predictably) sapped any creativity from me. There was also a death in my family which despite great sadness brought us together.

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Spending time with my cousins again was such a gift.

But with this death came reconnection. Not just with my parents, cousins and aunts and uncles who I sorely missed. We had the pleasure of staying with Hubby’s cousins in Georgia on the way down to Florida. We stayed with them almost 5 years ago on an anniversary trip to Savannah. They welcomed us with such warmth and exuberance I immediately remembered why I loved staying with them so much the first time around.

After coming back from Florida to their home, they took us out, fed us well and made us feel right at home. I even shared some of my writing with them and I got to read work one of them wrote. They gave us a surprise the night before we left. To honor my Haitian heritage, they gifted us with two paintings and a wooden piece purchased in an artist square on Port-au-Prince in the 90’s. I was and am incredibly moved.

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Our amazing cousins who gave us lovely Haitian art and made us feel right at home.

On the way back home, there was another reconnection.

A completely unexpected one.

Hubby and I reconnected. Between work schedules, doctor appointments and life in general, we haven’t spent enough quality time together. I am not counting time spent catching up on TV shows.

The long drives provided uninterrupted time full of conversation, laughter, 80s and 90s music sing-alongs and random comfortable silences.

When we finally came home, he went back out to run a quick errand while I started dinner. While pasta was cooking, I sat back down and an intense feeling hit me.

I missed him. We just spent almost 8 hours in the car together and I missed him. I hadn’t felt that way after just being around him since we first got married.

Although the trip was born out of a painful experience, I recognize and honor the blessings that came from it.

 

Pages

Pages

Spending time with my family has proved to be a form of self-care and self-awareness. I love being with them but I now realize how much it takes out of me to engage with people I love, especially after having a rough couple of weeks (and who am I kidding–months). I wanted to be there for all of it but I found myself crashing pretty hard in the evenings. I even dealt with feelings of guilt for not being able to put on a more exuberant and fresh face but everyone understood.

Artist’s Way update: I didn’t really start The Artist’s Way but I read the Foreward and the Introduction. I also started writing my morning pages which is supposed to be 3 pages of stream of consciousness journaling with no expectations attached. I plan on diving into the first chapter tomorrow. Just like previous journaling practice, I feel more centered after doing it. It’s as if my brain believes it has accomplished a great feat first thing in the morning.

I was looking forward to seeing if morning pages would affect my anxiety level throughout the day. I can confidently say I was calmer right after but since I wasn’t in my usual environment, it is hard to gauge if it made much of a difference after that.

Today, I wrote and prayed and walked and worked and trusted.

Trusted that I left on my heart and my most hopeful, erratic, loving thoughts on the page.

Trusted the process.

 

Tap Tap and the Unknown

Tap Tap and the Unknown

For the past few days, Hubby and I were in Florida to celebrate our anniversary and to visit family. Our schedule was jam-packed but we did make time to stay spend a morning at Ft. Lauderdale beach and go to South Beach. I fell in love with the water, as in kicked off my sandals, hiked up my dress and waded straight into the warm clear blue. After a long walk, we made it to be to Tap Tap, a famous (and delicious) Haitian restaurant in South Beach Miami. We indulged in Diri Kole, plantains and legim (vegetables). I forgot to ask if there was a meat-based broth they cooked anything in but it was wonderful. I especially loved the decor. There were murals everywhere, a lovely and vibrant tribute to the people, music, rituals and food of Haiti.

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South Beach
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At Tap Tap
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Hubby and I with my grandparents

I also found out that I have the opportunity to go to two events over the same weekend in different parts of the country the night we left. One event is a known. I know (and am excited about) the type of people attending and the speakers. My second choice is full of unknowns and whether or not I deem the experience a success, I have no doubt I will be pushed to grow as a creator and a writer.

I have been told and have told others if you have the choice between two choices like that, you go with the unknown.

I understand part of life is about stretching yourself in order to know who you are and what your limits are.

I hope what I choose allows me to find out more about who I am and what those limits are for me.

So much more…

So much more…

While I was at Whole Foods today, I ran into an old co-worker. There were the regular pleasantries but then the inevitable question came: “Where are you now?”

And I had to think about it. I knew what he meant and I mumbled something about trying to freelance and we soon parted ways. Not that I had to pour the whole and complete truth out with all the details but after I left, I realize I am probably not sharing enough with my closest friends and family about the doubt I do feel along this journey.

I don’t doubt whether I want to write or that if I continue to write, at some point in time successes will come. I have moments where I let the frustration take over or the uncertainty of the “when” consume me. I know better but in those moments when I am asked what I am up to now, I want to be able to say so much more.

After I think that, I realize it’s up to me to make “so much more” happen. It’s up to me to approach vendors for partnerships with my E-book, pitch more publications and devote more time consistently to the completion of my novel. None of this is news. Just because more effort doesn’t guarantee more success immediately doesn’t mean I should stop being as aggressive with my other goals outside of blogging.

I believe our psyches crave instant gratification especially in our social media age. Patience is a discipline I struggle with the most. I have to remember to revel in the journey and look forward to the time when I can look back and ask “Remember when?…”

Maybe I should take comfort that I am in the same boat with millions of other creatives.

We are all working and waiting for our moment in the sun.

Sometimes we are impatient, insecure petulant children and at others, we are hardworking, giving people who are humbly anticipating the chance to let our art be seen, for the message we are communicating to the world to be heard.

Until then, I will write and wait.

Write and Wait.

FACE

FACE

Who are you without your “face?”

I never thought about it until psoriasis came for a visit and never left.

I barely ever wore any kind of powder or foundation and rarely got pimples.

I basically had the luxury of rarely thinking about it.

But then psoriasis came to visit and never left.

Even though it came slowly and didn’t seem threatening at all, it did eventually ravage my body. And no steroid could fix it and I am not fond of exposing my body to biologics. In fact, I have spent most of my life scared of all medications outside of OTC and antibiotics.

So after fielding multiple questions such as “What happened to your face?” I started to delve back into plant-based healing and learning about the devastation inflammation brings (for me, psoriasis and PCOS). So even while I waited for the flares to become less frequent, I had to figure out how to cover the pink and red flaky patches on my face. Of course, it was makeup and if for some reason, I didn’t have my makeup brush and Dermablend with me, my spirits would sink. I remember on one particular day not wanting to get out of the car when I parked at church. I drove away and found somewhere to cry.

I felt like a monster without my “face.”

The pain of an itchy scalp, raw thighs and a scarred face sometimes felt like too much of a strain on my mind, let alone my body. I often smiled through a lot of it but I felt like I was wilting on the inside.

As we all know, we can’t escape our own mind or body.

It took a long time to start to see some improvement and I don’t have flares as often as I used to but damage was done.

People who meet me now will never know what I used to look like and it seems like a small thing but it was a real adjustment. I believe my smiles are more genuine now. It’s funny that I am actively pursuing a profession that puts me front and center when I can remember feeling like that’s the last place I really want to be or should be.

I think it took blogging and writing classes and prayer and fruits and vegetables and talking it out over and over again with my husband, family and friends for healing to start taking place. I know I have a long road ahead of me but I think I found a formula that works.

I think I know who I am without my “face.”

 

 

 

 

 

Keep Calm and Write On

Keep Calm and Write On

I wanted to say a few words about support. Last week, I was under the weather at my writing group meeting at one of our member’s homes. She was such a gracious host, providing us with snacks and each one of us was gifted a journal. She said she thought of me because of my travel coffee mug my sister gave to me for Christmas that says “Keep Calm and Blog On.”

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My new writing journal given to me by my friend and writing group member, inspired by my sister’s Christmas gift!

This past weekend, I went to Charlotte to visit family and was greeted with two gift bags on the bed. One was for me with a gift and card from my mother and father, congratulating me on the publication of my E-book, “What I Love About You: A Guided Journal to Writing Your Proposal and Vows.” The other was a cute mug and a card for my husband for being an amazingly supportive husband.

It’s so easy to get caught up in the smaller things when you are trying to live up to your full potential. Who is really supporting me? Am I promoting it the right way or enough? Has my book helped people with writing their love letters, proposal and vows? There are about a hundred other things I could worry  or stress about.

But when I read her card, I knew all of those other things really don’t matter.

Like my new journal says, all I have to do is Keep Calm and Write On.

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My new E-book “What I Love About You: A Guided Journal to Writing Your Proposal and Vows” is now available for purchase on the home page of my website. Thanks for your support!

My First E-Book!

My First E-Book!

Tonight, I had the distinct pleasure of being interviewed by Sharvette Mitchell on her radio talk show (www.sharvette.com) to discuss my writing and blogging journey AND…..to talk about the release of my new E-Book Journal!: What I Love About You: A Guided Journal to Writing Your Proposal and Vows.

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To say I am excited is an understatement. I have waited to make sure everything came together before announcing the release. The whole subject of vow writing, writing words that are meant to be spoken and helping others have been swirling around in my head for years now. It wasn’t until I was in a coaching session with Sharvette herself did I realize that I was writing a journal all along. My notes were full of questions and prompts and once the connection was made, I was determined to see it come to fruition.

I am incredibly grateful for my husband who ultimately planted the seed, my family for encouraging me and for my God who steadied me when I wasn’t sure if I was doing the right thing. My faith keeps me lifted. It allows me to see things through and to realize the support I was seeking was there along. I just had to see it through.

So please join me in celebrating the release of my first E-book baby to the world! It is available for purchase on my website only. It is for so many people-men or women writing vows, those planning to propose or those wanting to rekindle romance by taking that all too familiar and hopefully joyous stroll down memory lane in a love letter for Valentine’s Day or anniversary anytime of the year.

 

She’s Still Here

She’s Still Here

On Saturday, I was back at Afro-Caribbean dance class. It had been a few weeks because of holiday, cancellations, illness, etc. I was ecstatic to join the group of smiling faces for the last class of 2017. Towards the end of every class, our instructor has us gather in a circle. Some people get out in the middle of the circle and dance while the rest of us clap and cheer them on.

One of the fabulous dancers settled next to me at one point during this time. We were both smiling and clapping at this gorgeous little girl who couldn’t stop herself from throwing herself in the middle and jumping around with her parents. Nothing but pure joy. The woman next to me leaned in and said “We all have a little girl inside of us just like her.”

And that’s when it hit me. I have learned not sit on the sidelines with my writing in 2017 but the woman who used to embrace the center of the dance floor has not made an appearance in a long time. Anyone who really knows me remembers that I may not have always been the first person on the dance floor but I was certainly never the last. If I was feeling the music, that was it. All she wrote. I don’t know if it’s my island roots (Ayiti!) or the fact that my family was never shy about burning up the dance floor when I was younger. Til this day, watching dancers makes me tear up. The type of dance has never mattered to me-belly, ballet, modern, African, jazz, hip-hop. The fluidity, the sharp and precise movements and the grace of the dancer has always spoken to me.

Anyway, after she leaned back and the music continued to pulsate throughout the circle, I found myself drawn, not all the way to the center but away from the sidelines and let the beat find me.

And even if only for a few moments, the little girl inside of me made an appearance.

Not Waiting Until…

Not Waiting Until…

Today, we came back from visiting family. After breakfast and gift opening yesterday morning, my parents set off for Texas. Neither of them have ever spent any real time there so they decided to try something new. Hubby and I are the same way. I realize I get that quality from them. Since they have been empty-nesters, I’ve observed them enjoying their life together by taking trips, running races and going to festivals and conferences.

Partly because of their example, it will always sadden me when I hear someone say.. “I’m too old for this.. or I should have done (fill in the blank) when I was younger and now it’s too late.” As long as you have breath in your body, it’s not over. I’m not saying anyone I know lives up to this perfectly but I have been inspired to live this way, even when I have moments when I am full of doubt and fear.

And when those moments come, these questions must be considered: What if the experience presented to you was just for you right at this time? What if you never have the opportunity again?

As we are all aware, tomorrow is promised to no one. So why not now? Book that trip, start that business or blog, write that book or try that new restaurant. Sometimes (and I have been guilty of this as well), it feels like we are just waiting until the next time we choose to put it off. It’s as if we are waiting just to kick the can down the road again so to speak.

I am excited for 2018. Not because I can’t wait to see what happens but I want to see how I make it happen. And that starts now–no waiting for an arbitrary date, no cans to kick down the road.

Meatless Monday Christmas: Chickpea Flour Omelette

Meatless Monday Christmas: Chickpea Flour Omelette

This morning our family gathered for breakfast and opening of presents. I decided to look up vegan breakfast options that aren’t smoothies/oatmeals. We found the Chickpea Flour Omelette recipe from strengthandsunshine.com.

INGREDIENTS

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INSTRUCTIONS
  1. In a small bowl, mix together all ingredients except the greens and optional veggies.
  2. Let stand for 5 minutes. Add more water if too thick. It should be pancake batter consistency (but not too runny).
  3. Meanwhile, heat a lightly oiled non-stick pan over medium heat. Once the pan is hot, pour the batter in the pan like you’re making a pancake. Cover the pan with a lid and cook on low heat for 3 minutes until the edges dry and bubbles form on the surface.
  4. Now add the greens and/or veggies to one half of the omelette and take a spatula to fold the omelette over in half and cook uncovered for 2 more minutes.
  5. Remove and transfer to a plate before topping with ketchup, salsa, hot sauce, etc.!

We used the Follow Your Heart brand for the egg replacer and used salsa on top. Next time, a little more salt and green peppers will be added. The consistency reminded me more of a Southwestern chickpea flour cake than an omelette. I was happy to have this option and will cook again soon.