Monday, July 14, 2014

Whole Foods Guy Pulled the Trigger

So....aside from being a student and a teacher, I have a little part-part-time job marketing for different health-food companies. That's a fancy way of saying that I push samples in Whole Foods. It's pretty much the lamest job I've ever had, but it pays well, offers 3 hour shifts and I get to make my own schedule. So there.

I work in different Whole Foods, and there is this one particular Whole Foods that employs this one particular guy that I've developed a crush on. It's his fault, really. Last summer he told me I had a smile that made his "heart flutter," and since men don't typically give me compliments beyond "you're sexy," his compliment (combined with a mild sweetness I don't often see in grown men) sparked a crush.

Alas, summer ended, school started, my apartment got flooded, leaving the kids and I homeless for 3 months, I quit my job and didn't see him until I started up again this summer. There was still chemistry but something shifted. Me, being stubborn me, was interested but refused to make a move. I flirt. I give eyes. I make it obvious enough for a man to step if he wants some-a-dis. If a man does not step and ask for a number or if I have a boyfriend or what not, I assume he is not interested enough. Move on.

So, naturally I assumed Whole Foods guy was not interested. There were no compliments or asking of digits, yet still I didn't know he wasn't interested and as a single mama, sometimes just having a prospect elicits some kind of hope, so I rode that crush wave and looked forward to going into work at his store. Today, however, I overheard a conversation he was having in which he was discussing his upcoming wedding (gasp!). Damn, was I glad I didn't offer my number, but on a deeper, more ridiculous, yet very real note, I felt kind of crushed. Here is this man, that I don't really know at all and was not even 100% attracted to, having me feel like the world's biggest reject. Well, him and the mayonnaise that nobody wanted to sample.

I walked into the bathroom, wondering why the hell I felt so rejected and marveling at the Universe's sense of humor in having the song "Going to the Chapel" come on the store's playlist within 5 minutes of my eavesdropping session. I was sad, yet still I laughed. I knew right away what was going on in this little tender heart of mine. This man, this situation, is simply a trigger. I'm not heartbroken over him. I don't even know him and I teetered on whether or not I even crushed him. No, it's not him. It's me.

Here I am, a grown-ass, kick-ass woman, and I'm still looking for someone/something else to complete me, validate me, love me, want me, honor me. The mere thought that it could be him, and then that fantasy proven wrong was enough to remind me that here I am. Alone.

As torturous as having a crush can be, it awakens some level of hope and faith that I will have a partner and that, my friends, is priceless. Oh how I'd love to have a man here to love on, support, encourage, eat with, sleep with, grow with, clean with, parent with, travel with and vise versa. There's nothing wrong with wanting these things. In fact, I'm pretty sure it's totally natural. The problem is when I make up a story in my head about who or what someone is and they don't fulfill it and I'm devastated. That is nobody's fault but my own.

I have full faith in the Universe; in God. I know that this man was not meant to be my partner and something better awaits. I also know that this rejected, painful, lonely feeling will pass...and return...and pass again. I know it's ok for me to cry it out for a minute and say ridiculous things like "I'll never find a partner!!!" and that I most definitely won't stay in this place of romantic hopelessness forever....or even more than 48 hours. I know this is a reminder that to attract the partner I want, I have to BE the partner I want and this is a work in progress. Constant progress.

I don't expect to be perfect when I find that partner; I don't even necessarily expect that I will find that partner. There are no guarantees in this life and I won't pretend to be the one who knows where I will be the most useful to this world. That is up to the big G and I trust that path. The point is that I can't and won't stop working on the areas in my life that need my attention. I'm here on this earth do some pretty stellar shit, and partner or no partner, I'mma do it!

Thanks, Universal Powers That Be, for the reminder of this path to walk that only I can walk, and if someone's path lines up with mine, great! If not, ok. The work is still here regardless.

Bless up.


Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Dear Ladies,

This post is as much for me as it is for you, my fellow single women looking for love... (whenever those three words are together, Eddie Murphy's role as adult Buckwheat pops into my head...'wookin' pa nub in all da wong places...wookin' pa nub'...you can watch it here). I digress.

I never dated in high school and I forwent college in my 20's to settle down and have babies. It's only the past couple of years that I have been in the dating world, and while I still have a lot to figure out about myself and about men, I have had some revelations.

*The easier we are, the lazier they are.

Sure, sure, our culture is different. Courting is not so much a thing anymore and we have grown up in an instant gratification society. There are so many factors that go into this, including sometimes we are all just down for a good time. That's ok, but I'm not talking about those instances. I'm talking specifically to the women who are out there looking for love (wookin' pa nub), not just sex. I'm just beginning to understand why this is such a big deal, and here's the thing: if a guy is just looking for sex and you give it up right away, he will not be attentive to who you are.  If you don't give it up and he still calls, maybe he actually likes you. I have seen guys on the prowl straight up hit on every girl in the place, making his way at one point or another to me. Sorry. We need to own that we are special, and if we allow ourselves to be treated otherwise, we send the message to ourselves and men that we are not. If we are looking for more than a sexual partner, it's important to get to know someone. It's important for them to show some effort towards getting to know us. I don't mean to be old fashioned, and I like physical attention and compliments as much as the next girl, but I want someone to see me....as a person, not a pussy. The ones who deserve it are the ones who show real respect and interest in the person that you are. If he wants more than sex from you, he will stick around to know more, ya hear? When we give it up so easily, he will try less, not only with us, but with the next girl. We are already in a downward spiral of men who don't know how to treat a lady. How will they learn if we don't hold a standard, yah??? YAAAAAHHHH!

*Ditch the expectations.

Guys are not the brightest bulbs when it comes to women. They are not supposed to be, and if he's too good at wooing you, he probably has lots of practice! While above I talk about higher standards, here I will talk about lowering them. Disney ruined it for us. Hollywood has us thinking true love is something that no man can live up to. You be damn lucky if he sends you flowers after one date (guys who read this.....if you like her, why the hell not?!). Don't expect it and don't jump to conclusions when he doesn't. Guys have as much insecurity as we do about shit..."does she like me?"..."is it too soon to call?" blahdyblahblah. Games. We get so caught up in our heads and tend to make it all about us. While I have yet to find a man who I wish to have a long term partnership with, I have learned that if I appreciate what I have for what it is and don't expect anything else, it's better for everyone. His actions may have nothing to do with you, and if they do....you'll know eventually! Chill out.

*Take a little time to study men.

There are some self help books out there addressing men and women's differences. It's worth a look. You cannot, I repeat, cannot treat a man like one of your girls. If you are about to send a text that is a paragraph outlining every detail....try to pair it down to a sentence. Men don't need or want all of the details. The simpler the better. The lower the pressure, the better. I'm not suggesting you pretend anything, just keep yourself in check. As women, we have a way of getting ahead of ourselves. That shit freaks men out. Just be choosy how much of yourself you share right off the bat, in the physical, emotional and spiritual realms. If this is your man, the one, then shit...you got a lifetime to get to know each other. There are whole books written on this shit and I'm a baby in this dating world, so I will just leave this at that.


*****Do YOU

Don't wait to make plans with ya girlfriends in case dude calls. If he hasn't called you by Wednesday, go 'head and make those weekend plans. If he's waiting until 9 p.m. Friday night to make Friday night plans with you, then I'm sorry honey, you are a last resort. I've been last resort girl, and it sucks. You know what sucks worse?.....being home alone on a Friday night because he resorted to something/someone else and you waited like a desperate fat kid for seconds. Boo. Do what makes you happy. Follow your passions.These will always be there to uplift you; don't neglect them! Hit up your girls...chances are they will be by your side for longer than he will, unless you get uber blessed and find you some husband material. In that case....he better love your girls, cause they still be filling needs no man ever can! The biggest part of doing YOU, my dear sisters, is LOVING you. You won't be so shaken by what he does or doesn't do, says or doesn't say, if you are confident in the amazing woman that you are. The right man will see that, and he will be attracted to the fact that you don't depend on him to know it. And, uh, men.....don't be shy. Tell her how freakin' amazing she is (it will help you to that punani a bit faster, I guarantee).

This last point is the most important advice I could ever give anyone, regardless of any situation. Our reality is shaped by our choices. No one else will go for our dreams and hand them to us. Sometimes this takes work....hard, painful work to overcome those boundaries we've set for ourselves. We need the confidence and faith to propel ourselves forward. No man can do this for us, and the kind of man we want is the kind of man who is attracted to the fact that we got our own backs; that we don't need them to feel a certain way about ourselves, but that we want to share ourselves with them. Be choosy! Love yourself! Go get it!

Monday, January 21, 2013

Studious and Silly


I study a lot. 
Sometimes my kiddos need more attention.


It can be demanding,
but I'm glad they are not afraid to show it.


It's good for me to take a break from
Civil Rights court cases
and get silly with my little character.


This boy has always been quite expressive.
No idea where he gets it from.... ;)


 He loves his mama, 
and isn't quite too cool to snuggle up to me, 
like his big, cool brother.


He's also not afraid to make fun of his mother.
"Mom! Mom!....who am I?"
Ha ha. Very funny. 
Is that what I look like when I'm on the phone?


Dorkiness runs in the family.
Hopefully so does maintaining a stellar GPA!

Monday, January 7, 2013

I don't want to wait in vain....

As I take down the lights and decorations from the tree huge house plant, alone in my house, the scratchy sound of a Bob Marley bootleg moans on in the background-Waiting In Vain, the long acoustic version..."From the very first time I rest my eyes on you, girl, my heart said follow through. And I know now that I'm way down on your line, but the waiting feeling's fine." I wish I could say that the waiting feeling is fine. Melancholy has its hold on me today, not unlike many other days, but it's been pronounced through the holidays. 2012 was a heavy one. So much has come. So much has gone. So much lingers in my heart waiting for me to embrace or release it.

I wrap up the baby Jesus and whisper a prayer for my salvation. Not from hell. I don't believe in hell. Hell is here; it's what we put ourselves and each other through as we stumble our way to find the light that is also ever present, if only we can just see it under all the masked pain. It's not even the pain I need salvation from. I need to be saved from these worries. I wish to be rescued from my attachments. Delusions and illusions, be gone.

This constant process of letting go is full of grief. I wish I could release these painful feelings, experiences and unmet wishes and just be done with them. If only it were that easy. It's not supposed to be that easy. Instead it revisits, requiring us to let it go again and again: that heartbreak that I can't seem to get over, leaving the comfort zone of a predictable life, the constant pressure of 'better,' the hard lessons my children face, maneuvering my way through single parenting them as they grow to be men, lack of understanding from loved ones, and my own painful reflections. I see the gifts in it and also how necessary this process is to my path in the world, but recognizing the beauty in the mess doesn't make it easier to wade through.

There are times when I just want to escape, and the only escape from pain is to constantly distract ourselves. So many of us do this. I do this. It's those times when I'm alone, with no distractions, that my heart can really feel all that it's been holding, and my goodness gracious, it hurts. Trust me, it's not always my choice to give up distractions, even if they are unhealthy. Thing is, when we don't make good decisions for ourselves, or are too blind by our own illusions, the Universe steps in and makes them for us. This can look like things going wrong, people leaving us, illness, anything to slow us down.

When we expect someone or something else to come along and distract us enough to allow us to escape pain and suffering, waiting in vain is exactly what we are doing. I've seen where I choose to wait in vain, because it's easier than letting something/someone go. More so than letting that thing or person go, it's letting our ideals go. We are letting our expectations and hopes go. Ouch. This leaves us with the raw unpredictability of life.

Good news: when we let go, we make room for something else.....likely something better. I'm brave enough to swim through the tears to make room for the joy. We can project our fantasies as far into the future as we wish, but the truth is we don't know how something would have turned out, or what will turn out for us because it didn't. Sometimes we don't even know why we want something we want, and sometimes we want it for all the wrong reasons. Sometimes it all gets so murky, that we have to throw up our hands and let the good Lord sort it out.

I choose not to wait in vain, but I will wait. I'll wait for the right timing. I'll wait for the right situation. I'll wait for the right man, the right job, the right location, and the right path to unfold as it will. While I'll experience pain and loss in intervals with faith and joy, I'll sit with it, knowing the impermanence of this life and these feelings. The winds of change are never still, and while I wait, I will strengthen my conviction that the more I allow myself to fully feel what it is that comes up for me, the more present, compassionate, passionate and real I can show up in the world.





Tuesday, December 25, 2012

The Night Before Christmas (my version...)

'Twas the night before Christmas
And all through the house condo
When I said "time for bed"
My creatures said "heck no."
I was falling asleep
Though stockings needed stuffed
That Guinness didn't help
Nor the spliff I'd just puffed.
I kept my eyes open just long enough
To stuff and stuff and stuff with fluff
Feeling thankful at least one son
Figured out the Santa bluff.
See, when they think it is Santa
They don't hold back
With no limits or price tags
Consuming is like crack
I want, I want, I want, I want...ack!

The holidays can suck,
As a poor single mama,
But to skip it all together
Would create too much drama.
So I try to stay centered
And focus my sight
On overcoming the darkness
On bringing the light.
The days, they get longer,
And my spirit gets stronger,
As I slowly overcome
My own personal warmonger,
Waging a war
Against my very own self
Who, without taking the steps,
Wants to reach the highest shelf.
These expectations I lay
They tend to be high,
As the time of transformation
Constantly draws nigh.
It's always in motion
Like the waves in the ocean
Stirring and churning
There's no special potion
To make it stop,
To make it good.
There is no "better"
There is no "should."
One day I'll stop telling myself so.
One day I'll know that I already know.
It's ok I have no material wealth to show.
It's ok the only bling is my soft inner glow.

My kids will survive
Without the iPhone five.
It's the non-material gems
That will cause us to thrive.
With a passionate anti-consumerist mother,
They will know all about the "other"...
Other people in the world
Other ways to celebrate
Other traditions to carry
That don't negate
The true meaning of these times.
We will read between the lines
And find that fruit
That hangs from our vines.

Jesus-
The radical spreader of love
Material wants
He freed himself of.
I know he wasn't really born on this day,
But his life is a beautiful truth of the way-
Of the way things can be
For you and for me.
Of societal pressure
We can be free.
Towards Divine guidance
We can faithfully flee.

So I'll say with conviction,
There's no wrong,
There's no right.
There's perception and intention
That does give flight
To decisions that are always a call
For love and for light.
And with that I say,
On this bittersweet day,
Merry Christmas to all
And to all a good night.



Sunday, December 9, 2012

7 years

It was 4 days after my due date that he actually came. I was ready. 

**********

All throughout my pregnancy, I had called him a her. I just imagined I would have a little girl, but somewhere deep inside me wasn't convinced. I didn't realize it until he was there: son number two, in my arms. Then I thought "Of course you're a boy!"
And, boy, was I in love!

**********

I learned to play the mbira when he was growing in my belly. I had just prior to becoming pregnant become passionate about dance, and danced my whole way through. I was healthy and vibrant, and he was conceived with intention. Our family was ready for him to complete it. 

**********

My labor with Elijah was so fast and furious, I had visualized this one coming on a little slower, giving me time to breathe into it. It did. At 1 a.m. I awoke with cramping. I tried to rest, but slowly they got stronger, longer, and closer together, so I got up. I sat in front of the fire and folded little tiny baby clothes, knowing that it wouldn't be long before I had a baby wearing them. I looked at the tiny socks and hats and onesies, finding it hard to believe that we all start out that small.

**********

Jacob was running around the house preparing, Elijah was sleeping, and I was by the fire, meditating with each contraction that came. I found myself stuck in the corner of the couch, in deep meditation and breathing, unable to move, until the midwife got there. She encouraged me to try and walk around and use the toilet. There I sat, trying to pee, for what seemed like an eternity. The contractions came one after another, making no time for me to actually go! After some time, I got back up and went back to the living room. Jorah Sai was born in front of that fire at 8 a.m. that cold, snowy December morning, seven years ago today. There he was, a perfect little spitting image of his big brother, who was there watching him enter the world. I pulled him to my chest, skin to skin, and he started to nurse. 

**********

We made our bed in the living room, by the fire, where we stayed for 2 weeks. In front of that fire, I watched him sleep in the day and wake in the night, taking it all in. Elijah was up on the couch and the family was in love with our new member. It was in front of that same fire place that I bounced him when he was a colicky baby, that I rocked him in the rocking chair and nursed him while I sang or played mbira. It was that same fire place that he learned to crawl in front of, where he played with toys, where he learned to toddle about, and where we read books. It was just in the past 6 months that we moved from the house he was born, and now it's a new fireplace we grow in front of. He has adjusted well to his new home and his new school. He is so easy to please, and for that I'm so grateful and humbled.

**********

My Jorah is quick to giggle, and quick to cry, like his mama. His spirit has always been so full of joy, and also so sensitive and passionate. He loves nature and can entertain himself all day long with dress up and make believe. He needs me to snuggle him and sing to him every night before bed, and when he falls asleep in the crook of my arm, his face still looks like a baby's. He gazes at me and often squeezes me tighter while snuggling. I want to give him all the security he needs. 

**********

I can't imagine not having him; I can't imagine not having them-both of my very special boys. While their dad is (thankfully) in the picture, it's always been my boys and I. We are a team. We've traveled, prayed, cried, fought and healed together. Here I am, a passionate feminist dedicating my life to the work of raising these men and fighting for equal rights for girls all over the world. These two things are so closely related. Equal rights is as beneficial to them as it is to a little girl who wants an education in Pakistan. I'm helping them to see the threads that connect us all, and they surprise me with their level of compassion. As a single mother, it can be hard for me.....and for them, but they get it. I'm real with them. Sometimes life feels like it's spinning out of control, but at the end of the day, we have each other. We are family. Our family would not be complete without our little Jorah Sai. 
Happy Birthday, baby. 

Thursday, December 6, 2012

What would men be without women?


Scarce, sir, mighty scarce.
-Mark Twain