I woke up this morning to a beautiful sunny day.
It seemed a perfect morning for coffee. So I made a luscious cup and went to my living room to sit on my leather sofa recliner and look at the unfolding of life around me. My windows are almost floor-to-ceiling and are everywhere in my home, giving me a view of the street, the foliage, the trees, the seasons.
As the warm creaminess of my rosemary brown sugar latte made its way past my lips to coat my throat, I inhaled deeply, closed my eyes, and appreciated my space.
I've moved and am still settling into this house and finding my way around. Hanging the masks from Ghana and the artwork has been one of the last big things we have been doing to make this feel like home. In so doing, I've had a few months to contemplate place, space, and being.
I walked down to the basement to bring up one of the bags of art and gently touched each piece, thinking about what was musing in the minds of the artist before pencil or paint met canvas. The space they considered on that blank white space and what they would do to fill it.
They could have chosen beauty or they could have chosen chaos.
That made me think of the space the past four years, and in some instances, the entire century, has taken up in my mind. Being, since the 2000 election and most certainly since 9/11, in a body that is still unwanted in this America, has been a quest of choice.
Like the artist, I could have, and sometimes did, chose to get mired up in the fray of chaotic behaviors happening around me. My heart would become gripped with the tight air-stealing hold of fear. I could not breathe.
Moving has given me a different perspective.
I've had to consider how I want to exist in a space where I am frankly not known. I am being and becoming. I needed to breathe differently and air that was not toxic to my soul.
That is a hard choice in an America where the existence of those who do not value the beautiful diversity of life are taking up frequency and mind space of so many.
This has been since the November election and the vitriol, denial, and outright crazy that has ensued, all the way up to the insurrection that happened almost two weeks ago. It is on every news channel and every social media.
I had to step out of it.
My cousin talks about my heart, soul, and mind being valuable space, real estate. He often tells me, "sista cousin, why you letting those crazy folks take residence in your day, rent free?" At first, I would be a little upset about it because paying attention to the crazy is literally part of my job as a public theologian and social justice associate in a non-profit that centers righteousness as tangible, justice as possible. I had to pay attention.
His words resonated with me as I took a day to enjoy my sorority's founding and just be present with my daughter as we celebrated the day. I paid attention to how I was breathing and being. To just exist in joy, Black joy, for a day, was renewing and replenishing.
The new year is taking shape, a new administration is preparing to step into chaos and make some efforts to find our collective humanity possible. I am choosing to consider space as precious, not commodity to be consumed, but gift to be treasured.
I am not sure what this year will hold, but I am sure that I must choose how to be present and appreciate me in my space.