This past weekend I went to a wedding. Outside of the beauty of watching them become husband and wife, it had me thinking about commitment. What happens when you go from flirting with it to have it living on the insides, this willingness to attach, gambling with your heart, betting you will gain more than you could ever lose?

Writing feels that way to me. When I left a career a few years back, I was betting that I would not only brush past my fears, but that I would take them by the lapel, throw them to the ground and proceed to kick them into submission. It needed to be that serious for me. I saw how easy it could be. I could have spent the next 23 years at a job that admittedly had more lows than highs but I could have scraped by. I could always look forward to being in my mid-50’s and starting over again from there.

But I didn’t want to wait until I was worn down by years of stress and lack of fulfillment. The need to commit to finding out if I had what it took to do this far outweighed staying in misery, even if there was a level of comfort in that misery. I realize I am blessed to put in the work, even if half the time I am scared I am doing this only half-right or not at all. Even when it feels like no one is reading.

I will (and have) made my fair share of mistakes but I don’t have to live with wondering what could’ve happened if I never took a chance on myself.

If I never decided to commit.

Your turn: What have you recently committed to? How has it changed you?

That Good Sweat

Since I wrote about it and I promised I would do it and I talked about it out loud where other people outside of myself could hear it, I went. I don’t mean to sound reluctant. It was just fear..fear of not being in good enough shape, not catching on fast enough, not being able to keep up.

So like I said, I went. I attended my first Afro-Caribbean dance class just as I declared I would in my last post. And it was exhilarating! I probably looked like a scared toddler creeping up to the door but there was no reason to fear. The instructor was kind, immediately asked if it was my first time and welcomed me with open arms.

For an hour, we danced and I felt that good sweat! If you have ever been so engaged in an activity, you don’t even realize you are drenched until it’s time to take a break, then you know of what I speak. I missed letting my body speak the words that have been muted for so long. I loved seeing my joyful, vibrant, moving reflection in the studio mirrors.  I didn’t even think about my psoriasis scars on my arms, not even once.

There was comfort being in a group of people of all sizes, shapes, colors, ages and skill level smiling and popping their bodies and bare feet to the beat. We danced in lines, mimicking our instructor’s movements and enjoyed the eclectic variety of music played. I was on a high doing African-inspired movements to the classic “Mama Said Knock You Out” by LL Cool J.

I guess there is no need to ask if I am coming back.

There will be no languishing in the dark, underneath the covers this Saturday.

Just dancing in the light.



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.

A Proposition


I’m taking a class that is stretching every fiber, tendon, bone, vessel in my body entitled “Pens Up, Fears Down.” We were assigned to write a short story using three words we randomly picked from a bag. I haven’t attempted to write a short story in a long time but was thrilled with the challenge. Here is “A Proposition”:

I’ve just returned to the house after running errands and start putting away everything from his grocery list: apples, bananas, chicken breasts, broccoli spears, oatmeal, almond milk and his one vice: thick loaves of French bread. I spill apples on the kitchen island and quickly pile them in the mauve fruit bowl. I fish a water bottle out of my purse and take a long swallow.

            There is a nook with a pillowed bench nestled underneath a tall and expansive bay window. I sit there and unhook the clasp of my leather-bound journal. I begin to jot down things I wish I had the courage to say aloud. After a while, I snap it shut. I go upstairs, gripping the wooden railing with one hand and his dry cleaning with the other. I hang the shirts up in the guest room.

            I tiptoe into the bathroom, as if anyone is home to be disturbed by a heavy footstep. I strip off my clothes, leaving my heap of sale rack wears on the heated floor. I perch on the edge of the clawfoot tub, watching it fill up before pouring the Mango Butter Bath Oil into the water. I like the alternating cool and warm streams of air disrupting my bare skin. I pour two capfuls and ease myself in, relishing the luxury and the silence.

            About forty-five minutes later, I grab a lavender towel and wrap it around my body, cinching it at my chest. I peer down, admiring how the color compliments my skin. If he could only see me, I think, pleased at the image I was conjuring up. I lift the stopper and watch remnants of me swirl and disappear down the drain. I spray a cleanser over the porcelain, rinse the tub, and wipe it dry. I focus on my reflection in the mirror and turn my face, inspecting my chin and jaw line. I could use a facial. I shrug my shoulders, grab a body butter from a woven basket and massage it onto my skin, letting it seep into my pores.

            Once fully dry, I set off for the closet. It would be a haven for any fashionista. Swaths of fabric and color delight and overwhelm me. I finally choose the floral print summer dress with the flouncy skirt, cotton blend and Italian silk. I slip it over my head and watch it settle over the curves and angles. I twirl over and over again, catching my reflection in the full-length mirror at each turn.

            I know I am daring to stay a little longer this time. But a single thought persists, feeding my tunnel vision: I belong here…with him. I hear a creaking sound which stops me mid-spin, my reverie interrupted. I put everything back in its place methodically, with deft movements I’ve perfected over the last two years. Jogging down the steps with the laundry basket and used towel in tow, I realize paranoia has gotten the best of me. No one is here. I shove the linens and detergent in the washer and start a new cycle.


            “Hi.” I’m back here in the laundry room!” I call out. He appears in the doorway.

            “I have a proposition for you.”

            My eyes widen, filled with anticipation and longing. “Yes?”

            “What would you think of increasing your hours Monday through Thursday and in return, we give you Fridays off?”

            “That works for me. Thanks, Gabe!”

            “It’s settled then. See you tomorrow! Oh, and tell Michael I said hello. I am sure he will appreciate having his wife home on Fridays.”

            “I think so, too. See you tomorrow.”

Can you guess the three words I was tasked to use? Comment below.  I hope this encourages you to take a leap and write a piece in a genre that is uncomfortable or new to you.