Thursday, September 26, 2013


Courage to accept the things that I can not change and wisdom to know the difference.

Acceptance is not easy, it is brutally hard, in fact, deeply painful - at times.  It does not happen over night and is not something entered into willingly.  Acceptance, courage, wisdom, change often come as a result of something else, that something that disrupts and causes disarray.

I was sitting in my office the other day, thinking about the turn of events of the last few weeks, getting over my disappointment, trying not to seek revenge or vengeance, and hopelessly trying to let it go.  My head and even my heart wanted them to pay, to cause some hurt, I was human, I felt the wrong that was done and the helpless feeling of not being in power to do anything about it.

Then I was assailed with a week of news that made me feel angry and furious at the state of affairs in our country that even rendered the wrong done to me possible.  I despise bullies with every fiber of my being.  I literally hate those who do nothing more than try to ruin the lives of and deconstruct the existence of someone who is not in a position greater than them - especially when they use someone's livlihood, money, food, and health as the battering ram of their abuse.  That was the state of our political life the past week with attacks against the ACA, the Cruz stunt without realizing the true message of Green Eggs and Ham, and even within families.  Financial pressures have a way of bringing out the school yard bully in some people and they taunt, knowing they are destroying someone, but doing it for their own sick pleasure.  Like the Republicans and their fat-on-the-hog all-out-assault against the American people because they do not like the color of the President' skin. Like the Tea Party that is literally other way to describe them.

Sometimes it is enough to make one want to scream and shout, which I have done in my writing and posts and talking to people because I do believe there is power in rhetoric, in dialogue, in making people aware of the world around them.

But, there are some things I can not change.

Hearts and minds.

That seems odd to me, in a way, to write that, but it is true.  I can not stop the addict from ingesting whatever is their vice - sex, porn, drugs, alcohol, or food.  I can not stop the racist bigot from gorging on hate of me because I am a black woman and fear of my sons because they are black males.  I can not stop the bosses who bully their employees to the point of nervous breakdown, unfair treatment, or unwarranted termination.  I can not stop the spouses who dominate their mates because of money or position or religious dogma.  I can not stop those things or change the minds of those who do those things.

And for a while, the realization of that made me angry and a bit sad.

I am a good person, a brave person as someone once told me, because I have spoken up and out.  I have attempted to use my gifts for change and hope that even one heart would accept the humanity in another heart.

But there are some things I can not change and like the prayer they pray at those anonymous meetings people go to, I have to accept those things.

There is also a line in their prayer that says and the wisdom to know the difference.

Even in my acceptance, I am also using wisdom for the things I can change, like making sure I go vote in ever election and encouraging the people I know to do the same.  I speak out and up about injustice when it is in my power to do so.  To say that it is not right to bully someone just because you have a little more money or a little more position.  I can change some things.

Acceptance is not easy, it is painful at times and brutal at others, it is also peace-filled.

Sometimes, it really is what it is.

And that has to be a moment of serenity.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Broken Fingers and Relationships

A broken relationship is like a broken finger.

You remember the impact, that one thing that caused the  pain and then you ignore it, thinking, no, it's not broken, just hurt it a little.

Then there is that constant throbbing and crocked shape that is a result of the break that you ignore as just your imagination.

It is not until you really look at it and realize that it is broken and decide to mend it that the real pain comes.

You bind it together to fuse back the broken bones, compressing the outer to join back the inner, and it hurts.

Shock waves send signals to the brain that there is pain, throbbing, the kind that wakes you up in the middle of the night demanding attention.  It is concentrated in that one area, the part that caused the break, and the nerves are on edge, attempting to heal it causes more pain than the dull throbbing of just leaving it alone.

You know it is better to mend it, there could be longer term implications if it is not healed, the least of which is never getting a ring on again.  So you sit up straight in bed, hold it in the air, and let out a silent scream that this feels like your heart and mind are being sliced through with jagged edges.

But then it lessens, the throbbing will subside, the need for medication to mask it or cope with it diminishes, and it does heal.

It will never be brand new again, never straight again, after all, it sat there for a while before you realized it was broken, but it will mend and in the process, it will hurt, it will tear at your heart, it will feel like being stuck with a thousand needles and jagged edges, but it will mend.  It will work again.

The slight leaning to the left of the once broken finger is like the slight leaning of the once straight appendage. During the healing process, you learned to write with the other hand and it looked like something of morse code instead of your smooth handwriting, but it was legible, you communicated.  The same is true for a mending relationship, it is slow, steady, unsure at first, but then you persist, get the hang of it and adjust.

It sometimes takes bravery to endure a broken friendship, relationship, or even a marriage, but that bravery, that inner strength to keep going while the bones heal, is worth it in the end.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Saturday, September 21, 2013

I Have To Keep Talking About It

I speak it and scream it and scribe it because it needs to be communicated.

It is the fact that another unarmed black man was gunned down for the simple crime of being black, being injured, and wanting help.

I'm tired of it, exhausted really, but will keep on screaming it, even if it makes someone uncomfortable.


Because I am a mother of black males - four of them - and the three that are alive are black men who will be judged by the color of their skin before anything else.  Because the opera vocalist could have been gunned down before his beautiful bass could have sounded out a melody, before my Navy veteran could have saluted - never mind that he was a Petty Officer or that he served admirably in a time of war; before my lyricist and entrepreneur could have offered you lines from his hard lemonade and asked you to buy his CD; before any of that, they would have had their bodies riddled with 10 bullets from a cop their age who saw their race before their need for help.

This is why I will keep saying it, even if relatives in multiracial relationships tell me I am talking too much about race, even if friends think I am too bold, even if because what if it was your son? What if it was my white friend's 18 year old son who is about to graduate from high school in May? What if it was her son that had a car accident and was staggering for help and rang the bell of a black woman who called the police and the police was a trigger happy black cop?

Just imagine.

So, there is a reason I keep talking about it, writing about it.  Same reason my Jewish friends still remember the Holocaust, because if we stop talking about it, it will be forgotten, brushed under the rug, brushed over.

I keep talking about it because it is necessary and I have to for the sake of my sons and the sake of my daughters who will one day be black mothers.

Monday, September 16, 2013

You Read What I Write, I Invite You to Dialogue
It never ceases to amaze me that the one with the addictions is always the one bullying and attacking the supposed mental problems of the one who has to suffer through their chemical imbalance whether it is drugs, alcohol, food, gambling, shopping, whatever.  Exactly when does the 12 step of owning up to one's own addiction and the destruction left in its wake kick in?

Most abusers in any place have some mess in their lives they are busy trying to blame on someone else.

No one else told you to put that chip in your mouth or swig that 40.

Only in America.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013


I think this day always leaves me a bit numb and reflective, stunned and shocked, still.

Twelve years ago today I was sitting on my bed in my master suite, holding my newborn daughter.  My husband was in the shower.  I had just showered moments before, a reprieve from nursing a newborn, still lethargic in my new mommy...again...state-of-being.  He was going to the university a little late that morning, our lives just settling in with the boys recent return to school and me just being home a few days from the hospital.

"Whoa!" Shock. Called out to my husband who was getting dressed our master suite the kind with the bathroom open to the bedroom.  Him still kinda wet taking the four feet from there to my side, both of us looking at The Today Show in disbelief.

The images are indelible in our mind.  The news reporters were trying to figure out if it was some kind of crazy plane crash, normal television viewing interrupted for this breaking report.

Then, disbelief and a collective gasp.

A second plan.

Right into the Twin Towers.

Smoke, billowing clouds, me holding the newborn, my husband's massive frame standing in protection of the women in his life, disbelief.

We sat there, not sure if we should go get our three sons from their respective schools, should he go into the university? I was on maternity leave, called my colleague who was also the coordinator of my consulting projects.  Disbelief.

The rest of that day was a blur, a daze of watching the news, holding the baby, holding the children, wondering what happened, planes going down in fields far away, fear gripping our collective hearts.

My daughter is twelve now.  Fully involved in middle school as a sixth grader who is the fashion plate and smart girl, who plays instruments and has a diverse group of friends, my girl has grown up with 9/11 in the shadow of her existence.  Her baby sister, born twenty months later, has never lived a day of her almost ten yeas of life without the United States being in a conflict in the Middle East.

I wasn't in New York or Pennsylvania.  I know friends who have lost loved ones on 9/11 and in the resulting wars.  I am the mom of a Navy Veteran who was barely thirteen when 9/11 happened, his birthday twin the babe in my arms back then.

Our collective lives are forever changed.

Have we changed for the better? Do we love more? Appreciate more?

Or do we still walk in the grip of fear holding tight the reins of our heart, causing us, the collective us, to fear anyone who is Muslim? Syria news ringing in the background, The President just speaking yesterday, the nation weary of war, my heart torn.

No, we will never forget, it is etched in the story of our life.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Open Letter To My Children

I woke up this morning, preparing to celebrate with our family, wearing purple to honor my elder aunt, thinking about my children.

We, as women, are the carriers of our history, the nurturers of our promise, the holders of collective dreams.

As such, we, me, I am passionate, emotional, sensitive, and sometimes naive.  I love my family, hold them all dear in my heart, know that my yesterday, today, and tomorrow is nothing if I was not defined by them in my life.  My career and my degrees do not define me, when I take my last breath, it will be the people I have loved and who love me that are the legacy.

With that in mind, my children, here is a letter to you...

My olive plants around the table, my hope, my dreams, my promise, my children

There are not enough words in my mind to begin to tell you, each of you, how much you mean to me.

Each of you came to me in a different way, beyond my dreams, and into the reason why I was chosen to carry your spirit and nurture your essence.

Different and alike, all of us together sharing genes that ties us to our ancients and binds us as kin.

You are the breath of existence that decided that through me, from me, you would come and share your purpose in life.

My princes, now kings, you carry within you the majesty and honor that was my father's passed down in wisdom to you.  Each of you touched by his massive helds and the hearers of his booming voice, the receivers of his unending fountain of love.  Remember and honor him.

My princesses, still princesses, later in my life, in another life, you emerged through the universe to enter our space and bring with you the lace and lillies that brighten up the atmosphere.  Still growing and while living in a space different than the brothers and not carrying the wisdom of my father, you hold the name, the face, and the essence of my mother.  Makes me stand still to see how the Divine brought what mattered most to me in fruition in the six of you.

From my angel baby to my resilient last one, you are the reasons for the deferred dreams and unspent hopes  The waiting years and the promise of fulfillment yet to come.

You will not understand completely what I am saying to you today, you have to live to have the story, to  hold the words, and to read the lines.

I want you to know that I, your mother, will and have walked through fire and held back lions to protect you, that I will stand like the unmovable tree against any force that tries to harm you.  That I have made choices with only you in mind and that you are living the promise of my reason.

When I look at your pictures and remember your years, I stop and thank G-d for blessing me beyond what I could ever know.

Today, you may not understand, I was you once, not that many years ago, and never understood the choices of my late father and the choices he made for me and my brothers, but I can tell you, that today, all these years later, sitting months away from the dawn of my Jubilee, I understand.  And you will too.

My dear ones, I love you.  All of you, beyond today and into tomorrow.

Cory, Jamar, Jared, Joshua, Kiden, and Keziah - you are my sunshine.

I love you forever and even then, when my forever has come to an end, I will love you still.