I am currently reading “Becoming” by Michelle Obama. There is a passage in the book where she says she hates when adults ask children what they want to be when they grow up because it implies we all have to grow up to be one thing.
When I was asked that question, I remembered being nudged to say doctor or lawyer and I might have succumbed a couple of times. I only ever really wanted to be a writer. I just spent many years believing it could never be a reality.
I also spent many years believing if I didn’t make all of my money as a writer that I couldn’t call myself a writer, either. I am so grateful I adopted a new mindset. Even though I wish I didn’t live all of those years calling myself other things, it is OK.
I had to go through it all in order to claim what I know myself to be right now. If I become anything else, I will be content with this journey.
Because I am living, breathing and becoming it, too.
Last weekend, my sister invited us to workout with her trainer. I am ashamed to admit it had been a good two months since I worked out strenuously. Her trainer didn’t beat us up (although walking was a challenge for 2 days afterwards) but it was obvious to me it was about time someone did or at least come close to it consistently.
Between travel, doctor’s visits and hospital stays, I hadn’t realized I gave up on working out. Days really do turn into weeks and weeks into months. I am determined not to finish that last sentence with “and months into years.”
I can rationalize reasons to let the sentence head in that direction but I heard something else from Patrice Washington’s podcast yesterday. She calls rationalizing “rationing out lies.”
I could lie and say there’s not enough time or I’m too tired but why tell those lies? They are not fooling anyone, including myself. As for all of the other reasons that took my focus away from my healing these last couple months, I forgive myself and will move on. I have a tendency to stress about “where I would have been if only I had done this” but that never gets me anywhere.
The point is to start over right where I am. No waiting for the New Year or even my birthday in a couple of weeks. I am hoping the adage “when you know better, you do better” applies to me this time around.
So for anyone else starting over especially in the midst of a trial, I wish you luck, pray for blessings and send every ounce of positivity I can your way.
The last few weeks I have been absent from my workouts. It started off because of intense pain in my ankles and I slowed down because I knew continuing to push would only make things worse down the road. I was limping around the house and that’s never good.
But I have been feeling better and there has been no visits to the gym, dance class, videos or walks outside.
I am not sure why after being active for so many months that it has come to a stop. I feel static. I can almost hear myself make an excuse as to why I won’t workout tomorrow.
Tonight I was at writing group. We discussed if we fear what would happen if we make it in the literary world. I have to ask myself the same question in regards to my wellness journey.
Is there anything I fear about being on the other side of this struggle? Will writing about it now help me cross back over to where I was only 3 weeks ago?
I’m betting it will. If things are really going to be different this time, then I have to call myself out and pull myself out of the hole I sunk myself into that makes me feel stuck and scared.
I am hoping to look back on these past few weeks as a minor setback a year from now.
I can’t let it determine who I will be a year fron now.
Wedding season is officially here! As many of you know, I released my E-book journal “What I Love About You: A Guided Journal to Writing Your Proposal and Vows” to help people express themselves on the day they decide to propose, get married or even on an anniversary!
I had so much fun pondering over the prompts, finding inspiring quotes, writing poetry and recalling my own fond memories of the proposal and writing my vows that I wanted to share 3 prompts from my E-book you may enjoy:
1. What did he/she introduce to you? (A new hobby, special vacation spot, favorite book or movie, spiritual practice or sport etc.)
I included this prompt (and accompanying questions) because what your partner introduced you to may have changed not only who you are but may have changed the course of your relationship. It may have brought you closer together and that can definitely be worth including in your vows.
2. What is the most impactful thing they have ever done for you?
I encourage the reader to go deeper, beyond the physical with this one. Your partner wants to know the effect you have had on their life. Never underestimate the power of acknowledgement.
3. What are you looking forward to experiencing as a married couple?
This can be as simple as trips you plan to take, as challenging as the fears you plan to conquer or as life-affirming as the family you plan to expand.
I hope you enjoyed reading these tips. There are more accompanying questions and 12 other prompts you can use in “What I Love About You: A Guided Journal to Writing Your Proposal and Vows” available right here or at https://www.etsy.com/shop/WhatILoveAboutYou?ref=pr_shop_more
After speaking to a group of young writers, hubby and I visited Legume Kitchen and Bar in Fredericksburg, VA. We had meant to visit on Valentine’s Day but I wasn’t feeling well. We always meant to make the trip and since the restaurant was only 15 minutes away from the library, it was a perfect time to visit!
Although Legume isn’t a vegan restaurant, they had plenty of plant-based options available. We started off our meal with vegan nachos. For my entree, I ordered the Meatless Ball Sandwich and a side salad. It was a hearty sandwich made with garbanzo bean fritters, marinara sauce and vegan mozzarella. My husband ordered the coconut-green curry rice noodles meal with shitake mushrooms, tofu and bok choy. We ordered dessert, too: dark chocolate cake with rasberry torte and for him, a mango sorbet. Even though the chocolate cake wasn’t my favorite, I definitely indulged in a few bites. Everything was well-made and I am planning a trip back to Legume in the very near future.
The final spotlight for Haitian Heritage Month is on Michele Voltaire Marcelin. She is a poet, painter and writer. Her work has been published in French, English, Spanish and Kreyol. She also writes in three languages. Her artwork has been exhibited at the Art Museum of the Americas of the Organization of American States in D.C., the Cork Gallery at Lincoln Center and at the National Museum in Haiti. I saved her for last because Hubby and I chose her poetry to be featured at our wedding reception in 2012.
Here is one of our favorites:
what magic names of places
shall i whisper in the dark
while you hold me
so we travel at least through the night
what sweet syllables of cities
ancient or new
what bird-laden trees
in what gardens
shall i offer you
so that at last i see the world with you
walk with me
through streets i have loved
in buenos aires, aix, lisbon, jacmel
keep your steps aligned with mine
walk with me
there is an alleyway called paradiso
i want you to kiss me there
a church of holy wisdom
where we will on the altar light candles
there is somewhere in port-au-prince
a crumbling wall fired with hibiscus
where blossoms wait to be chosen by you
to flower my hair
or shall we go off on a barge
floating on the seine
when the city darkens and the bridges spread
across the silent river
will we be drunk with each other
or will it be the boat dancing on the water
there is a stretch of sand i remember
crusted with salt from the waves
we will leave our footprints there
drink pisco in a secluded bar in santiago
sit in pelhourino square in salvador
later i will giggle as you carry me
on the stairs to the capri grotto
somewhere there is a bed unmade
in a new york hotel
where we’ll return at dawn to make love
as sleepwalkers do
after seeing the ghosts of jazz musicians
at the blue note
somewhere someday we’ll go away
but tonight let’s recite as we would poems
names of places
that await our pleasure
hold my hands my beloved
look in my eyes
tonight let’s travel in our dreams
while we remain immobile in the dark
I hope featuring Haitian poets this month has opened you up to writers that you may have never had the pleasure of discovering on your own. I know choosing to celebrate my heritage this way has been a wonderful and educational experience for me.
Thursday wellness update time! This past week I lost 1.2lbs which felt amazing to me. I worked hard even when I slipped up and ate too much on some days. There were many reasons why this week felt amazing to me. For one, I rediscovered some belly dance videos on YouTube I used to do several years ago featuring the Bellydance Twins Veena and Neena. I spent many hours doing their workouts and learning routines which led to classes I eventually took years later. I had a ball doing their intense Arms & Abs video. It reminded me how much is available for me to do even when we don’t make it to the gym.
Another reason is that I just attended a networking event for women at an awesome juice bar this evening. I spent the evening learning about how to brand yourself led by a photographer and business coach. Their presentation was dynamic and interactive. We even got a chance to learn about the origin story of Ginger Juice, the venue where the event was held. It was incredibly encouraging to listen to this woman recount how she left the corporate world to take the risk to found a business where she is contributing to the health of her community and spending more time with her children.
I am grateful for rediscovering old joys and having the chance to surround myself with new, enterprising women.
Have you revisited anything you used to love doing lately? Or had any new experiences lately? I would love to hear from you in the comments.
Today’s feature is Kettly Mars, an award-winning Haitian poet and novelist. I wanted to feature her for a very specific reason, besides her talent. She worked as a administrative assistant for several years and didn’t begin to pursue her writing until she was in her 30’s. I love that she knew it wasn’t over because she started down one path and had the courage to go down another. She has written seven novels and several poetry and short story collections including young adult. She writes in French but her work has been translated into Kreyol, English, Italian, Dutch and Japanese.
My hand and the stone (as translated by Alexander Best)
My hand and the stone,
sage rebellion of noble particles
gripped in my palm.
I’ve made my own her reality:
grey, heavy, oval.
lays claim to nothing other than a
defiance of oblivion.
I came home from the movies yesterday and decided it was high time we cooked the Pho waiting for us in the cabinet. Any kind of soup or stew is Hubby’s specialty so I let him have at it. It wasn’t a traditional Vietnamese Pho although he did use the rice noodles and the seasoning packet that came with it.
He started by using a little oil in the pot. He then added onions, hot sauce, minced garlic, red pepper and celery with Himalayan sea salt and peppers. After they caramelized, he added 4 cups of mushroom broth and then 4 cups of water. He brought it to a boil and then added 3/4 cup of broccoli. Three to five minutes later, he added the rice noodles and let boil for 2-3 minutes. Cilantro was added to garnish the dish. The spice combination was fantastic! We are excited to eat it again, tonight. Sometimes, leftovers is what’s best for dinner and that is always alright with me!