Joy

Joy

I was writing a quick bio for a website this week and the woman said she loves the sound of children’s laughter. I agreed and she said it was because of how innocent it is. Of course, she was right. It’s never phony or rehearsed and it comes from a place of pure joy.

Take my 3-year old niece. When she reaches over, grabs my nose and I pretend to shriek, she giggles uncontrollably. The happiness in her eyes and voice–I could experience it every day and never grow tired of it.

Even though the days have long passed since a simple gesture could make me laugh like that, there are many things that bring me joy.

Here are 10:

1. Sleeping on freshly laundered sheets. The warmth and the smell are so comforting!

2. Knowing that my husband kisses me goodbye every morning–whether or not I am conscious enough to remember it.

3. Sharing exciting news with my parents!–I may be in my 30’s but it still makes me feel good that they are proud of me.

4. Writing a piece I am proud of. It’s definitely not all about how it’s received. I love the way it feels to finish and know I left nothing to be desired in my eyes.

5. Watching my sister perform. I have never seen her more confident and radiate more joy (outside of being with her family) than when she is at her studio.

6. Having in-depth conversation with my brother. He was my first best friend and when we have the chance to connect that way, I can’t help but fondly reflect on our early years together.

7. Taking long baths. The next place we move to needs to have a ridiculously huge tub so I can enjoy it more often!

8. Being in the middle of a book that I never want to end. The feeling of not wanting to let the characters go.

9. Being in tune with my spirit during prayer. I can’t always get there but when I do, it’s like I am blooming.

10. Feeling in sync at a dance class! There’s nothing like feeling like you are flowing with the music and letting the struggle go.

Your turn:

What brings you joy?

 

Joy

Joy

I just came back from writing class and I wrote and read a piece aloud that made me laugh aloud. I could barely get through it. Now that I am at home, it reminds me how much joy there can be in the writing process. I think it’s as easy to forget as it to remember the deadlines and the pressure that can also come with writing. I am not sure if it’s because the class fosters openness and inclusion but I felt as if I could have said anything, anything deep and true and anything ridiculous and flighty and all of it would have been received the way it was intended.

In addition to other things I am taking away from writing workshop tonight, I am taking the joy. I need to be able to feel that while I am plotting a story line, writing a blog post or scribbling a heartfelt piece in 10 minutes, I am in the midst of a joyful experience.

I am creating joy.

 

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.

The List

The List

When I was single, I heard many women talk about writing a list of the things they wanted in a husband. Two or three times on New Years Day, I wrote my own list. I  saw it as writing down a prayer for what I wanted and clearly defining who I thought I needed him to be.

I did not spend much time on physical characteristics. I was attracted to many kinds of men in the past so I just wanted to feel an attraction to him. Even though the physical part of his description wasn’t outlandish, other characteristics probably could have used an injection of reality.

For example, I knew my ultimate partner would be Haitian-American like me, well-traveled and well-read with a love for books that I would strive to match. He would also care about lifting up the community and volunteer as often as he could, probably with his church. He would also be an amazing dancer and get along famously with both his and my family. He would love multiple genres of music and be able to express his feelings without me having to prod too much.  He didn’t have to command attention as soon as he walked in the room but he should be able to if the situation called for it. He also had to have an appreciation for the arts.

So what kind of person did I end up marrying? In many ways, I could easily check off the wishes from my list like healthy familial relationships, kindness, faith, varied taste in music and when I asked for patience, the cup overflows. I am in awe of his patience. It showed me where I needed to grow.  However, he has a quiet nature, his family is American and from Virginia, he can’t dance,  and doesn’t love to read as much as I do. He also hasn’t traveled the world yet. If my memory serves me correctly, I forgot to write down one of the best qualities a partner can have: willingness.

One of the things that continually surprises me and keeps me happy is his willingness to try new foods, go to more cultural events, travel and support me while I was determining I wanted to commit to writing for the rest of my life.

I didn’t anticipate the joy that came with exploring it all together, at the same time. Sometimes, we are meant to learn and experience an event, trip or restaurant for the first time with our partners. In my single days, I had an expectation of my partner taking on the role of teacher. It isn’t that I didn’t expect us to teach one another but I subconsciously set up an expectation for a potential partner he did not ask to live up to.

But then there are times he stepped up to the plate that I never saw coming. At the height of my psoriasis which came over 2 years into our marriage, it had covered almost every part of my body and it was torture to wear clothes. I often wanted to tear them off and scratch. Many nights before settling into bed, he would lovingly paint my body with steroid cream and tell me he wished he could take the pain and scars from me.

I often think back to those nights and say to myself: I may not have gotten every little thing I wanted on the list but I got everything I didn’t even know I needed.

 

 

Water-Workout-Write 21-Day Challenge Day 2

Water-Workout-Write 21-Day Challenge Day 2

All I can say is that I am glad that I am writing about this challenge or I would have stayed snuggled up under the covers this morning. Not a single drop of sunshine would have seen these cheeks before I had to go to work if it were not for that.

But I am doing this challenge and committing to writing about it so I threw those covers back and got going. I thought I would be sore but maybe my will to “feel the pain and do it anyway” masked whatever would have sidelined me. I am so glad I got out there. It comes as no surprise that there were no regrets about not just exercising but keeping my word to myself.

It was a little bit of bliss. My energy was elevated. I love when my mind shuts down and I allow whatever I am listening to wash over me. I also find that’s when realizations come to me. Yesterday, while I was working out to Afrifitness the words “Water-Workout-Write” came to mind. I knew I was going to be doing this challenge and out of nowhere W’s started appearing while I was dancing.

Today, it was Les Brown’s words floating in my ears that brought forth words I had started to let slip from an unfinished post a few weeks back. I was writing about roads not taken. He was speaking about how inaction in and of itself was a choice made.  Roads not taken in my life are not full of regret but I would be a liar if I claimed I never wondered how different my life would have looked if I had not moved to Tidewater post-undergrad or chose not to buy a home and travel more instead.

But I don’t dwell in what ifs because so many blessings came through those choices.

Doing this challenge means wonder will not occupy space in me. No inaction.

Just motion.

Watch out for my Day 3 post tomorrow!