My Uber driver careened around the curve….

…on the entrance to the highway that left PHL. Welcome home sis!

Yesterday was tough. I moved the remainder of my belongings out of the living situation I was glad to leave, then gathered my work luggage, and put on my uniform. I wasn’t going to work, but I didn’t have anything to wear to the airport besides leggings. Folks don’t realize that there’s a dress code when I want to fly somewhere. Yes, I get to fly “free”, but part of that means I can’t wear leggings. No one, however, complains when you’re in uniform. There’s nothing to think about, and that’s comforting in its own way.

As I put my work luggage next to the door for the last time, I did one more look over, gave my keys to rent lady, and unceremoniously left. I did get a hug from my favourite roommates before leaving. She gives a great hug. She also wanted to know if and when I got back to Philly. That’s how you know you’ve got a good friend.

I got on the brown line, which takes it’s time making its way to downtown, and it’s quite scenic. I started to feel sad. It’s true that I wanted to leave my living situation, but it doesn’t mean I wanted to leave Chicago. For right now, however, I guess this is how it has to be. I know it’s for the best, but it was hard for me not to be sad to leave a city I knew nothing about, yet have come to love so much. It was also hard not to feel like I had failed to make it on my own.

After a few inconveniences that felt like the end of the world (EVERYTHING feels like the end of the world when you’re tired and hungry), I was on a plane and headed back to Philadelphia. I’ll miss the Chicago skyline, and hopping on the el train to go wherever I want. I’ll miss all the great eateries and people I’ve come to know. Most of all, I’ll miss the lake beach. I believe it’s still closed to the public at this time, but man, I’m kind of sad to leave during the summer. It was hot and miserable yesterday which wrecked any hairstyle I might’ve had, but other than that, Chicago summers are gorgeous. Besides the wretched heat, I can understand why some people stay, and endure the harsh winters. The last two winters haven’t been bad, but that first one I experienced? I’m pretty sure my eyebrows had to defrost.

I’ll try to keep hope alive that this situation will be temporary. What’s nice is that I have flight benefits, and I’m based in Chicago. I can come back and visit whenever I like. It’s not the same as living there, but it’s sure better than no Chicago at all. Plus, I have people that want to see my face once in a while.

Let’s get back to this Uber ride: the car had a lot of stuff in the trunk, which the drive had to shuffle around for my bags to fit, there was a throw blanket balled up on the floor in the back of the car, the car smelled like alcohol (which I HOPE was because he sanitized, but it didn’t smell like any isopropyl I’ve smelled), and he was careening around corners like he was a Chinatown bus driver. It takes a lot for me to be nervous about someone’s driving; that did it. The last time someone’s driving made me nervous was last year. I was in a hotel shuttle, and I found myself gripping the seat. I praise God that I’m alive.

I arrived at my house, cautiously and slowly got out of the car, making sure I had everything. He removed my bags from the trunk. I thanked him, wished him good night, and stumbled toward my house with sore feet as he drove out of sight.

A woman danced near my car…

…while I was in the car jamming to a song with the windows down.

Friends, with everything going on, it hasn’t been too difficult to lose faith in humanity. On one hand, it sucks to know that people you know and that you thought were with you are not. It’s tough being bombarded by all of the injustice in this world. As a black american woman, there isn’t a sensible soul that would blame me for not having faith in people.

One thing I must say that has been good about the covid situation has been my Target runs. Some of the best interactions I’ve had with people during all of this have been in Target. The story I’m about to tell you is short, but it was a moment of connection with another human that deserves to be memorialized, even if it is only in a blog post.

I was going to the store, and was listening to music from my phone in the car. YouTube decided to autoplay, and the next song it played is one I haven’t heard in a long time. I normally shut off the autoplay, but I had to let this one ride. I’m a sucker for throwbacks, and this was a good one.

As I was jamming in the car, I arrived at Target before the song was actually over. Even though it was hot and I hate the heat, I loved the song even more. I loved it so much, that I rolled down my windows, and started singing the song loudly, and dancing in the car. I was feeling it, closing my eyes and jamming. It wasn’t until I opened my eyes that I realized I wasn’t the only one feeling it: a woman was dancing outside of my car! This made me excited, and I turned the music up.

I’ve been known to take my moment to dance in public friends, and I don’t just mean at parties and such. If a song comes on and I’m feeling it, I’ll dance to myself. Who cares? It’s a small moment of joy, and we need those just to make it through the day at times. I was pleased to not only know that I’m not the only one that does this, but that my parking lot dance party brought joy to someone else. This, in turn, gave me joy.

She was a lady with curly brown hair, and was wearing a red dress and sandals, dancing like no one was watching. I don’t know if she’ll ever see this or if I’ll see her again, but I hope she knows how much I needed that moment, even if I was in my car, she was in the parking lot, and we didn’t know each other.

She danced her way in front of my car and past it, and made her way into Target.

I forgot his last name

Life is tough. Relationships of any kind (romantic, family, friendships) are tough. Some relationships last, and others don’t. There are times when something seemed so important when you were in it, but now doesn’t seem to sting as much when you think of it at a later point. Well, that’s the hope anyway.

Last year, there was a man that was actually my roommate. I had fallen for him, as he was a nerd, wore a kilt, and I found him to be attractive. He thought I was attractive too, so yay for mutual attraction. We had a bit of a fling in the beginning, and it was tough to be told and reminded that he doesn’t want a serious relationship with me. I wanted something more exclusive than he did. While I understood, it was still tough to see him date other people. It’s even tougher seeing someone you like date other people, and you can’t escape in your own place of residence… because it’s his place of residence also.

When paying rent became a month-by-month situation, I was able to get out of there. I was still very hurt and felt broken. It’s difficult not to feel like something is wrong with you. I dated, but nothing really stuck. It was a tough time, and I at least learned never to live with anyone I was attracted to. I thought I was “mature” enough to handle it, but sometimes a sign of maturity is knowing yourself, and how best to care for yourself in a given situation.

It’s now a year later. I’ve healed quite a bit since then, and have been getting the help and support that I need. I randomly thought of him, and realized that I had trouble recalling his last name. At the time that I had met him and became attracted, I knew his middle name as well as the last name. I was finally able to recall it by the next day, and that was only through much effort.

It’s funny; when you like someone and it doesn’t work out, you feel like you’ll never love anyone again when you’re in the situation. Now though, I’m realizing that I’m okay, and will be okay. Life sucks sometimes, but it doesn’t mean you can’t make progress. Also, isn’t it a bit farfetched to say you’ll NEVER love ANYONE again? I’m certainly not trying to invalidate anyone’s feelings, but there are a lot of people in this world. That being said, there’s no need to be stuck on just one person. Now… if you love someone, and they love you back just as hard, and the relationship is a healthy one… love on, my friend.

But if it doesn’t work out, this is for you: it’s not the end of the world. Take space if and when you can. Cry it out and be upset. Also, get the help and support you need so you can talk it out. Holding it in is never helps (trust me, I know). If you make the effort to do your best every day to heal, you will. It won’t happen right away, but it does and will happen.

That’s it for me right now. I hope everyone is having a lovely day. I’m in my backyard in PA, watching the robins look for worms and bugs. I’ll be moving back to my beloved home state very soon, and that is a blog for another time. I didn’t realize how much I missed being surrounded by trees until it was replaced by bricks, concrete, and asphalt. Chicago does have a lot of parks for a city, but I missed the trees, the birds, the squirrels. I even missed the squirrels.

Happy Tuesday lovelies!

A stray cat came to greet me

…after I found out that a good friend of 20 years is racist. I found out through our mutual friend K, whom is white. K asked me and our other mutual friend Z (Z is biracial; one parent is white, one parent is black) if S had been saying certain things to us. Z and I hadn’t heard anything from her. She clearly felt “safe” to say that to our white friend. When K told me this, I was in disbelief. All I kept repeating was the same question:

“She knows she isn’t white, right?”

Because, in fact, S is not white. She is Asian. She was, however, adopted and raised by a white family, and is dating someone white and racist. This, my friends, is how racism is perpetuated. This is how deep it runs: POC that benefit from a screwed up system won’t raise a finger to help you when you’re suffering because it doesn’t affect them. At that point, you may as well not even claim to be proud of your race; erase it, and just call yourself white.

These feelings are still raw, so I’m going to be really honest: it’s going to be difficult for me to trust Asians. Asian people are the reason I hate going to beauty supply stores. They often own such stores, and stare you down the whole time as you browse, like they expect you to make off and steal something. It’s frustrating when POC, people that are also prone to experiencing racism, can be just as racist to you as white people. It hurts, especially when you thought that person might be an ally because they understand being a victim of racism.

There are, however, Asian people that I know only on the Internet that are for black people and black lives. There is one artist, Ken (on IG as @kennykenjiken2 and @kennykenjiken3). He has had his profile taken down numerous times by people that don’t appreciate him speaking out against racism. He specifically chooses to uplift black women. He continually makes mention of the fact that we really don’t get the love, appreciation, protection, and care that we deserve. I’m glad someone sees how messed up that is, and continually shines a light on black women, letting the world know that they deserve to be appreciated.

There is also a page on IG called @SouthAsians4BlackLives I just found out about this page recently. While these two accounts are people that I don’t know personally, I need this so I don’t start breeding the hate in my heart that some Asian people seem to have towards me, for merely breathing and existing in this skin.

I am hurt, saddened, confused, and angry still, and decided to shut off my phone for the rest of tonight. To live a life where people judge you for your skin colour, then to be bombarded with people having these conversations (that I’m glad are happening) is overwhelming. I needed to step back. I’ve had friends occasionally asking how I am. They mean well, but I just can’t. I needed companionship; someone that didn’t care that I was black.

In comes the cat. He was across the street (and is definitely a ‘he’. He likes butt scratches, and I could see he wasn’t at all neutered), and I called to him. He is a very vocal tabby cat with a cropped tail, and big golden eyes. I call him Max. I’ve seen him before and have called to him, but he paid me no mind. This time, he crossed the street, and visited with me. He meowed, rubbed against my foot and leg, and even purred! He flopped down and showed his belly (but I knew better than to touch it), and also showed me his butt. In cat, that means “I trust you”. He’s quite friendly, which means he’s a stray or an indoor/outdoor cat. He didn’t look skinny, and the cropped tail indicated that he perhaps had some kind of medical care.

In the way that only a cat can, Max made me smile.

It was nice to have some kitty therapy. It helped more than Max realizes. He didn’t care that I was black, and I needed that. He saw a human that seemed friendly and that might give him butt scratches. I happily obliged; I’ve been jealous of everyone that has pets since the covid quarantine started. I was desperate for kitty therapy. I think Max knew it.

As our short visit was reaching a natural conclusion, Max looked at me, meowed, and made his way back across the street. I waved and said good bye to him as he walked behind a car, between two houses, and out of sight.

Black Veganism

I first became a vegan about 2 years ago. It had more to do with health and the environment at first. As I continued to be vegan, I began learning about how animals were being treated in factory farms. That’s something that can’t be ignored once you’ve seen it. Let’s just say I will never eat pork or pork products again after I saw how pigs are treated.

I’ve always been a loner, living in a way that was true to me, but different from what others were doing. This was yet one other decision that felt isolating. I was very happy to be living my truth, but I also didn’t know any vegans besides me. I had a couple of friends that were vegetarians, but didn’t stay vegetarians. My sister was even a vegetarian for a while when she found out about hamburgers and chicken, but it didn’t last. It took years of research on what vegans eat before I made the plunge. Before that, I swore I would never be a vegan; in fact, I was actively anti-vegan. Now, two years later, I’m still vegan, and I love it. I’m eating those words I spoke years ago with a side of kale chips (don’t knock ‘em till you’ve tried them. They’re delicious!)

Once I became vegan, I was looking for others on social media that were also vegan, since I didn’t know any in real life. At first, I found a lot of white people. For someone just starting out, that’s fine. I still watch a lot of white vegans on Youtube, and love their channels; however, I still felt out of place. I already felt like I didn’t fit in with other black people, and this made me feel even more estranged.

One day, I was looking around on Youtube, and Jenné Claibourne came up from Sweet Potato Soul. She was black and vegan, and didn’t look like a stick figure! I was amazed to see someone that is a black vegan; up until then, it started to feel like veganism was a white people’s thing that I was just trying to make my way into. This is why putting the spotlight on black people is important, especially when it’s something as niche as being a black vegan. It’s also important to let people know about the origins of veganism, which wasn’t a white people’s thing.

According to an article I read, the earliest recorded vegans and vegetarians were from India, and an Arab poet was mentioned as being one of the first vegans. Britain and Europe supposedly wasn’t introduced to vegetarian/veganism until the early 19th century. In addition, a lot of African cuisine is vegan/vegetarian friendly because that’s just what they eat normally (probably because it’s cheap). This isn’t surprising, seeing as the origins of many things we enjoy came from people of colour, but white people are more recognized for taking to it. It’s funny (and also not surprising) how a lot of foods that start out as a poor man’s cuisine become mainstream and popular once white people got hold of it. Veganism is one such thing.

Like I said earlier, I have nothing against white vegans. I’m certain that’s where I got a lot of my Pinterest recipes from when I first started; it’s important, however, for people of colour (black/brown/non-white) to see that there are other vegans living this life also. Being a vegan isn’t just for white people. If I have to be the one to yell that in the streets, I’ll be that one.

Here are a couple of other vegans that are black that I enjoy following:

  • Tabitha Brown (she’s on YT and on IG as @iamtabithabrown)
  • Leah (on IG as @kitten.lady.leah) She’s a black kitten foster mom, and she’s also a vegan. If you love kittens (I love cats and kittens), follow her. I didn’t know black people fostered kittens until I found her page.
  • Dominique Henderson. She is a friend of mine that I met when I moved to Chicago. Her food looks AMAZING, and she recently started a YT channel, where she does vegan mukbang videos (find her on IG at @dc_cancook).
  • Kim. She is on YT, IG and Twitter as @thechicnatural. She also has her own website. She is vegan, and shares what she eats in a day on YT.

For a while, I thought I was by myself, thinking that black people didn’t do the things that I enjoyed; the truth is we just didn’t have enough respresentation. These are just a couple of women that I know of that I would like to shine a spotlight on. Black women are amazing, their voices matter, and this is why representation is important. Everyone needs a community. Even within the black community, each individual needs to be around like-minded persons. No one deserves to feel like they’re alone in how they think, or, even worse, feel like they don’t matter. Black lives matter has a lot of facets to it, and I will do my best to keep reminding people why we’re saying “black lives matter”.

So this is the word for today: black vegans exist. We get drowned out by the voices of white people, making it trying for other black vegans to find one another. Some white vegans aren’t supporting black lives matter, which is sad. Our lives are valuable and precious as well. If you’re quicker to protect the life of an animal than a human that is experiencing injustice, how dare you preach veganism! I said what I said.

Don’t be fighting to save ANYTHING until you’re being an activist for your fellow man. The life of a human is very valuable and precious, regardless of their skin colour. If one of us is suffering, we can’t grow as people. Your words mean nothing if you aren’t working to protect another human. This ain’t up for debate. If you come up with a “Yeah, but…” to what I just said, you don’t believe that all lives matter, let alone black lives. Shame on you.

Don’t even get me STARTED on feminism…

White Fragility

I’ve been extraordinarily fatigued lately, and I’ve got good reason to be. Black people are now being seen and heard. We’ve been crying out for centuries, and it’s finally being heard. However, it has also been overwhelming and fatiguing, even with all of the hope that I’m seeing that things could possibly get better. What was very encouraging was to see white people out chanting “Black Lives Matter”. We need their voices. We especially need the voices of white women. 

When I think of “white fragility”, I mostly think of white women. A great example was when a girl and her boyfriend posted something very racist, and she was pushing blame off on him. How he “indoctrinated” her or “retrained” her to think in a racist way. On the one hand, that is infuriating, as she is deflecting responsibility for her actions. On the other hand, society, especially American society, has taught her to be like this her whole life. 

When we think of the word ‘fragile’, we think of something that is precious, easily broken, must be handled with care. This is how white people are treated in America. I can’t speak for other countries, but that’s certainly how it works here. White women, specifically, are seen as precious, and to be handled with care. Oftentimes, great value is placed on things that are fragile, and that must be handled with care. I’m certain that many white women will try to refute this, but from the perspective of a black woman, high value is placed on white women. It doesn’t matter whether they are rich or poor; they are protected and shielded in a very special way. Any time people are still talking about Jon Benet Ramsey at least 30 years after what happened to her, we see how much value is placed on white women. Meanwhile, a black woman was slaughtered unjustly after police illegally broke into her home, and fired off 20 rounds. On a sleeping woman. How does one justify doing that to someone that was sleeping?? We had to fight for justice to be served for this unjust murder.

I’m not saying white men aren’t guilty of “white fragility”, but with white women, it manifests itself differently. There are usually tears involved. For those that don’t know how to decipher what different cries mean, you would assume that she is sad, and that you’ve somehow hurt her. This especially happens when discussing race and prejudice. A person of colour says something, a white person feels the need to weigh in on it to assuage their white guilt. Hint: it’s usually a white woman. When the person is called out for not letting the voice of the person of colour stand alone, she gets defensive and angry. Then she cries. 

White women aren’t accustomed to this kind of discomfort. It sits with you, and makes you question yourself. Maybe you aren’t as “good” of a person as you thought. You knew deep down you weren’t doing enough to begin with, and now you feel guilty. So you cry, hoping that you will be soothed by the people around you. You were taught to do this. You were taught to defense mechanism is crying, so that people would immediately jump to your rescue. “But I am a good person”, “All lives matter”. 

I was reminded of when my sister and I were young, and one of us had a birthday. If it was my sister’s birthday, she would get the cake and a lot of presents and attention, but someone would sometimes slide me a little something so I didn’t feel left out. “All lives matter” reminds me of that. White people are feeling like children that are left out, and not getting a gift. The difference is that we aren’t talking about something as paltry as gifts. We’re simply talking about being treated fairly. Trust and believe that no value is being taken from you by putting the spotlight on someone else. That’s how it always should have been. 

Once you realize and see that the way we’ve done this society has been unfair to begin with, you’ll start to understand why “black lives matter” is important. You’ll start to see that you’ve been trained all your life to play the victim, and that getting defensive against those who challenge you to grow and develop has been stunting your growth as an individual. 

Women (in general) want to shout “I’m a grown ass woman” until the end of time. Well, let me tell you what grown ass women do. When someone offers a critique, they sit with it. They weigh it, and see what about it might apply to them personally. If something does apply, they take that, and try to see what they can do differently. If something doesn’t apply, they just bump it, and move on. We don’t immediately reject and deflect it, and shout “all lives matter”! We don’t shut it out and get defensive. Sometimes it is hard to swallow when someone criticizes us, but it’s also a chance to change. In the bible, when it talks about Jesus judging our sins, it really wasn’t to make us feel like we were so horrible and beyond hope; it’s more of a gentle nudge that whispers “Now I know you’re better than that.” If you feel any sort of guilt when criticism rolls your way, it’s probably because you know you can do better than that, too. We need you to do better than that. 

You’ll hear this time and time again, but it’s not all about you, and it never has been. What you do does make a difference. The way you talk to essential workers and people in service work, how you spoke to or treated a person you sat next to on the plane, and what you teach your kids or kids that surround you, whether you speak or not. It all makes a difference. You might have off days, and that’s just life and being human. None of us are perfect, but please strive to be perfected. 

This is a huge growth opportunity for our nation and the world, but we need white women on board too. If anyone can pilot this change, it’s women. We’re much stronger than anyone gives us credit for. Our voices and narratives matter. We all have to work together, educate ourselves, then educate others. Racism needs to die. Women, let’s work together so that all lives can really matter.

I’m Not Okay Right Now

This is how my weekend went:

Friday, I was bombarded on social media by videos about George Floyd, protests and riots, and police brutality. Seeing all of it triggered personal trauma that I’ve experienced. I didn’t sleep much Friday night. All I felt was grief.

Saturday, my family went out, but I stayed home. I needed to be to myself. I recouped.

Sunday, I took a writer’s class. It empowered me to use my voice. It reminded me that my voice is important, and that I have something to contribute. It also reminded me to speak my truth; those that love me will still love me.

Now, I’m ready to speak.

Although I talk about the serious things going on in my life personally, I try to steer away from current events and not talk so much about racism. Unfortunately, keeping quiet is what is perpetuating racism. I haven’t experienced racism to the level that others have, but I still have a narrative that needs to be told. I’ve experienced micro aggressions: little racist or prejudiced things that people do or say that is “okay”, because they aren’t being outwardly belligerent to people of colour. They have black friends, or even relatives. “I’M not like that”, “I’M not racist”, they say. However, as soon as something like riots and protests break out, or if anyone black talks about police brutality, we suddenly become “you people”, or “blacks”.

And above all, more than anything, PLEASE don’t ruin what could be a wholesome moment with “ALL LIVES MATTER.”

Someone that I know posted a picture of a black guy with a “free hugs” shirt hugging a policeman. It was nice, until I saw “all lives matter” in her caption.

I didn’t have the strength to argue about it, but here’s the thing: it might have come from a good place, but the reason we’re out here shouting “Black Lives Matter” is because it is an untruth to say that all lives matter. All lives aren’t getting snuffed out the way that black lives are. THIS is why we’re saying that Black Lives Matter. All lives aren’t being incarcerated (sometimes unjustly) like black lives are. This is why we’re saying that Black Lives Matter. All lives aren’t having their culture stripped from them for profit, and their grief used for popularity with the masses. When we do what we do, we’re “ghetto”, we’re “thugs”, or somehow uncouthed. When other races do it (white, asian, other minorities that can pass for white), it’s cool and it’s an expression of their individuality, and worth spending money on. Other races have experienced cultural appropriation, but certainly not like black people have.

When you can appreciate the culture, but not the people of that culture, you don’t believe that all lives matter, let alone black lives. They only matter in so much that you can profit from them. That’s almost as bad as murdering them unjustly in the streets. I said what I said.

Sunday was actually a really good day for a couple of reasons: I found out how many of my white friends are really my friends. My best friend from elementary school gave me a call to see how I was doing. It was lovely to hear from her. We talked for an hour and a half, and we did talk about race. She mentioned how upset and distressed she was about everything happening, and how badly she wanted to be of help, but didn’t know what to do. That right there is a great place to be. I wish I could’ve directed her better, but things like that give me hope.

She wasn’t the only friend of mine that has been reaching out to make sure I was okay, and that said “I’m here if you need to vent.” Thank God for these white people; there need to be more people like them. More people that will call out racism, that will shout “black lives matter” because they get why we’re saying it, and that are there to listen to their brown friends without getting defensive. This is what we need: people that are willing to stand up and against the racism going on. That has been going on. That we’re sick of ignoring.

As far as the protestors? While I’m not out there smashing windows and wreaking havoc, just know that I am with them. I understand why it got to this point. We got tired. We got tired of seeing brown people being murdered by those that are supposed to protect the community. We are part of the community; therefore, we should be protected also… but we aren’t. Trying to go through “the right avenues” and all the peaceful protesting didn’t do anything. We still didn’t receive the justice for the atrocities we continually face, let alone access to the mental health services that we desperately need.

It got to this point because we got tired of being told to believe in a justice system that doesn’t serve justice to everyone. That’s how it is, and how it has been. And we’re tired of it. That’s why there are riots and looting. Now, I can’t say whether or not the looting was completely necessary, but I get it. I am with them, and I want to shout out the white people that are out there rioting too. The white people that are enraged by all of this, and that were the first to say something: I see you. Thank you. We need your help.

Until all of this stops, and until there is no more racist system, and until “Black Lives Matter” as much as white lives, THEN you can say that “all lives matter”. But right now… it’s not the reality. Don’t say that. You’re fooling yourself.

One-way tickets

If we were having coffee today, I would be enjoying instant coffee and a beautiful view, compliments of the Mojave Desert.

One of my roommates talked me into going, because we were both planning staycations anyhow. Neither of us is fond of our living situation. When we both found out we were planning to flee our bonds, M asked me “Well, why don’t we go out to Palm Springs? We can retreat, and stay separated out there?” I’ve been wanting to go to the desert for a year or two after I heard it was a wonderful place to star gaze. I know, the flight attendant is obsessed with staring at the sky. Surprise, surprise.

Soon, I was looking up my flight, and paying for the Air BnB. We arrived yesterday, and drank in the scenery, along with a glass of cool beer (just kidding, it was luke warm, but light). The place we chose has a wonderful view of the mountains (yes, there are mountains in the desert! I sure as heck didn’t know that!), and is surrounded by small trees, big shrubs, and lots of cacti. It makes the visitor feel isolated, which is a welcome feeling.

I fell asleep early, as I had been up for a long time without good sleep, but woke up with a start at 2am. I had missed sunset, but maybe I can still see stars? I got up from the bed, still wearing my clothes from earlier in the evening, and peeked out. Looking out, it was dark… until you looked up. The midnight sky was cloaked with stars. I had to go out and see for myself.

I stepped out into the brisk night barefoot, and stared upward. It was an enchanting and beautiful sight, but also a little haunting, as it was quiet and nothing was moving but me and the light from my flashlight. There was little to no breeze, so the shrubs and trees weren’t even rustling. It gets country quiet out here. Even though I’m born and raised in the suburbs, it doesn’t even get this level of quiet. The only other time I experienced this was back in college. A friend and I drove out to Illinois for a conference, and stopped at her grandpa’s on the way back. They lived on a farm in Indiana. When nighttime came, not only was there no light, there was no sound. I remember not sleeping well that night; that’s the type of quiet that horror movies are made of, and someone always ends up getting snatched. (Clearly, I lived to tell the tale. This is why I also don’t watch horror movies).

This is a very short getaway, and I’m already regretting having to leave. This is why one-way tickets are a great thing. If I ever get up the courage to start a new life, there’s no need to try to get a refund on a ticket that you will never use. I could easily see myself out here. Although I don’t like heat, the pace is slower, I’m surrounded by cacti, which I have become obsessed with in recent years, and I can have the feel of being to myself. Plus, there’s all of the natural surroundings.

I never expected to fall in love with the desert, yet here I am, wondering whether or not I really want to leave. I know I will, but I also know that I’ll be back. When one thinks of beautiful places, most people don’t consider desert; I encourage you to visit, and rethink that. Yes, it’s hot and dry, but also beautiful and welcoming for the wild soul. Although it is a dry place, it is very alive, and has watered my creativity, and my very being.

One day, y’all. One day. I shall live in the desert with the roadrunners and hares. But for now, I’ll enjoy this instant coffee, and maybe do some hot yoga. Why not? The heat is free. Then I’ll sit and let the birds chirp around me. Maybe a curious hummingbird will dare to come close and greet me. Maybe it will one day welcome me as a permanent resident before flitting away out of sight.

#weekendcoffeeshare

Letter To Self

I just took an amazing workshop through Pink Pangea, that was talking about a woman’s worth. The last thing we were encouraged to do was write a letter to ourselves. This is what came up. I’m sharing it because I thought maybe it would touch someone else:

Dear Rach,

You do see a lot of beauty in the world. In the midst of all your stress, and the things you are experiencing, to still be able to see the beauty around you is wonderful and extraordinary.

You are getting good about feeling your pain, but also experiencing the good there is to experience. Good for you! Please carry this with you, as it will help you through.

Can you do me a favor, and do one better? Share it with more than just your friends and yourself.

Sure, that’s the safe thing to do, but don’t you think others will want to see the beauty that you see? Feel encouraged and be uplifted? Try taking a chance, and help those around you. Show them that women are beautiful, strong, feeling, amazing creatures worthy of all the love and respect, and that their views are valid.

You just might be the voice that says things people didn’t think they had the words for.

You’re the best Sis!

Rachel

In No Rush

I may be alone on this, but I’m going to share it anyway. That’s what blogs are for, right?

I was laying in bed, and 2 out of 3 of my roommates were in the room with me. “I’m sick of being stuck in the house”, one of them blurted out. When she said that, I realized that I didn’t share that sentiment. In fact, I didn’t even see the lockdown as being “stuck in the house”. When all of this started and businesses began shutting down, saying that I didn’t take it well was an understatement; now, though, I’m enjoying the slower pace. What has happened to me??

If I had to guess, I would say that my life was too full and too rushed. I barely ever stayed in because I didn’t like where I was staying in Chicago. I have too many roommates, and live in the room with some of them. That doesn’t work for an introvert. Then, I was going to work, and around people constantly that needed things. In addition, I was going out to be around other people, because I didn’t want to be around the people I lived with or was related to. I was never really alone. Now that this forced situation has afforded me some solitude, I daresay that I’m reticent to relinquish the closest thing I’ve had to being alone in 2 years.

I’ve been jokingly telling people that I was semi-feral before all of this started; quarantine and social distancing has made me more feral by the day, and I’ll need to be socialized when all of this ends. The truth within the joke is that I don’t want things to “return to normal”. I love being alone because I love being with myself.

I acknowledge that I’ve had this whole thing pretty easy. Granted, I had my feelings about this when it all started, but I also don’t have to care for children, and don’t live with a partner. It has made processing my feelings easier. I also have not taken the route of being ridiculously productive, “because I must learn a new skill or have a side hustle when all of this is over.” Firstly, I think that negates the point of “slowing down.” Secondly, just managing how I feel about this new norm on a daily basis is work enough! Third, resting and slowing down has been shown to increase productivity in the long run.

I also acknowledge that I am still going to work. There are many people that have lost jobs and/or businesses by being forced to shut down, or they’re in danger of losing jobs and businesses. I think it’s messed up that people still have to pay rent at this time. It will take months for people to manage the financial setbacks this pandemic has caused; it’s wrong to have them worried about housing and food on top of everything. I am blessed to be an “essential worker” throughout all of this. I’m not making what I would normally, but I am making something. For this, I am grateful. It has afforded me the opportunity to take the occasional staycation.

Though people would find it irresponsible to even consider a staycation, it’s not only for my mental health, but to be able to keep to myself as much as I can. I live with roommates who also have the same job as me. We’re in and out, and Lord knows what we’re bringing back to the apartment each time. A staycation has been a way for me to not only manage my mental health, but to physically isolate myself, in case I or someone else has brought in something that could make us sick. I regret that I can’t stay isolated the whole time, but I’m doing what I can.

I’m saddened by the idea of this ending, and losing all of this alone time. I know things will have to go back to the way they were eventually. I would love to think that people and the way our society operates will be different at the end of this, but I doubt it. We’ll go on destroying the earth, being selfish, and caring too much about the inconsequential… but I can’t deny that I have hit a peaceful gratitude for this quarantine.

Perhaps I’ve found peace within the storm. It’s anyone’s guess.