on hiatus until further notice!

i’m moving to another city.
it’s holiday season and i’m too busy hating my family’s guts to blog about anything.
i don’t really wanna blog that much.
i have blog anxiety. again.
& finally: i’m working on a new series of posts w/ a close friend of mine. we’re gonna blow the roof off these interwebs. those posts will mark the end of my hiatus. :)
(please note that full moon gratitude WILL be on schedule)

dulled my senses & blurried my sight.

& i used to love HIM . . . meaning god. as a man. because i was raised christian, and therefore any idea of a woman in the bible (from what i was taught in 2 years of christian day school) was never really positive. the first woman mentioned in the bible is eve. and eve instituted the downfall of mankind by eating the apple, etc. i was never taught, in my schooling (or my home discussions, or in church) about positive women in the bible, aside from the virgin mary — who was really just a vehicle for the christ. she was insignificant. she did not matter. and, it was implicit that she did not matter. i’m sure that in some situations, it was plainly stated that since she didn’t ‘save anyone’ that she wasn’t of any import. and mary magdalene was a whore — she couldn’t have possibly been an actual apostle or jesus’ wife. and so on, and so on.

so, being the me i was at 14-18, i had to think twice about all of that. every time i went to church and was told that i should feel the presence of god the father, i would feel numb. i would feel like i wasn’t getting everything i should have from that spirit. if it makes any sense at all to anyone besides me: i felt like i was getting an abridged version of god. like there was more to the whole experience, something people weren’t talking about or even thinking of in their own ruminations on the creator.

so, i strayed from that path i’d been told to follow. i went to a quaker school, participated in a guided meditation group (complete w/ chakra cleansing!) led by a former nun who worked as a teacher at my school, and read about religions that were not anything like christianity. i wasn’t particularly moved, but definitely intrigued. and i noted that i only felt connected to any higher power when singing or surrounded by music — secular or religious. i was concerned. because of the teachings i’d had as a little kid, i thought something was wrong with me. that something was broken. that god could not reach me because i was not right or pure.

per anyone i’d ask, or any research i’d done (by reviewing sermons) the alternative to feeling the way i did was throwing myself fully into a faith practice that never felt 100% right. that didn’t make sense to me, either. so, i drifted.

and then i read it: i found god in myself/ & i loved her/ i loved her fiercely

it meant everything all of a sudden. it meant freedom. it meant i needed to learn about oshun, i needed to research ishtar, and that maybe lilith wasn’t just the name of some music fair.

& then i learned that god isn’t male or female, necessarily. something a christian minister once told me was that the god of your own understanding is the god you serve. purely. truthfully. honestly.

& through orisha worship, through ancestor reverence, through living my life in a way that makes me feel full and right?

i saw the divine. she, the divine feminine. he, the father. the holy spirit. i touched it. it filled me up. i saw the balance, i saw both sides.

(this is likely going to be fleshed out later, to tie back into the title. but gimme some time, my laptop ain’t shit and i’m moving!)

the hierarchy of food.

i used to be a vegetarian. or, i should say, a pescetarian. i didn’t eat birds, cows, lambs, sheep, deer, or pigs. i ate lots of vegetables, lots of meat substitutes, etc. i drank lots of water. i thought i was healthier than meat eaters to some extent, but i was largely a veggie because i was disgusted by the idea of consuming flesh. it wasn’t that big of a deal to me. i went back to meat, cuz i love chick-fil-a.
i never really thought much about it, until sometime in 2006 when i became a vegetarian more or less by default. i couldn’t afford meat. and i didn’t like to cook it, then eat it. so, i very rarely prepared meat at home — i’d have pre-cooked, or somewhat processed (lots of stuff from trader joe’s, maybe a cheesesteak from a local spot) meat items. but one day, i started getting really sick. i was diagnosed with IBS and though there’s no real treatment for it, i did what i could to lessen its symptoms and impact. less stress, etc. but it got worse, especially when i finally returned to ‘regular’ food.

about 6 months after my first visits to the GI doctor, it really started to click: i ate a handful of pretzels. i was sick for two days and had hives on my arms. the pretzels contained wheat and soy. i assumed it was wheat, though i’d long ago suspected that soy was giving me lots of womb issues. so, bit by bit i had to eliminate things in my house. no more faux-meats (except for quorn products, which are often gluten free and soy free but not always vegan), no more bread, pasta, etc. i had to stop eating a lot of different prepared foods, as they almost always contained soy. soy lecithin, soybean oil, vegetable oil . . . the list goes on and on. i had to change how i ate. when i was broke, the cheapest things to eat were always pasta and baked tofu & veggies with some discounted tomatoes made into a sauce. i had to change that. i had to eat rice noodles. i had to use mushrooms, squash & zucchini when i prepared my ‘broke bitch’ food. i was cool with that. less food prep was involved, etc.  but the more i thought about it, the more frazzled i became.  why? because the things i could eat were very limited.  if i were hungry and on the go, i had to pray that i’d find something that didn’t involve eggs, soy, wheat, or dairy. because, of course, when you eat one fucked up thing there’s always another two or three or ten lurking behind. i am allergic to fish. i don’t eat eggs, because they make my stomach hurt (but i’ll eat something with egg as an ingredient, i.e. a gluten- and soy-free cake that has egg in it).  and so on.  i had to describe myself at one point as a vegan meat eater — that is, when i felt comfortable with my food restrictions enough to eat what i could, instead of what was available.  sometimes, the foods that i am most allergic to are the least expensive (see: ramen noodles — not that i ever ate them regularly — and lunchmeat & bread), depending on where i am (i live within walking distance of two supermarkets where i’m able to get what i need).  i wondered how this impacts folks who don’t have the same resources i do.  what if i come to a place in life where i no longer have those resources? and what’s caused these reactions? am i “lesser” for not choosing to be a locavore, vegetarian or vegan?

i don’t argue w/ the veggies/ vegans anymore on the animal cruelty tip. my reasoning is very simple. being who you are, in this country, in this place, in those clothes, etc. means you are dominating someone else on this planet. whether it’s a fellow citizen or a sweatshop worker, a child laborer, a kidnapped female sex worker, or war prisoner, you dominate with everything you do. if you desire to advocate for the lives of farm animals instead of human beings, i can’t stop you. but understand that it’s all connected. industrial farms are no different than puppy mills, no different than the factories that employ the people who make the nikes, et cetera. yes. i know this. but if you’ve never been allergic to fish, soy, eggs, milk, and wheat (possibly all gluten, including oatmeal), i don’t think you have room to talk shit about how someone chooses to get their protein. my sister, for instance, is allergic to mushrooms, tomatoes, soy, fish, eggs, dairy and onions, but can eat wheat.  tell her she needs to be a veggie, and she’ll laugh in your face. it’s her choice (as well as it is mine, and my mom’s, and anyone else’s) to get her protein from lean meats from locally raised animals, if from local farms at all. shit.   usually, people take care of themselves, the best way they know how and are able to.  we have to be equipped to do these things, right? 

** sort-of sidebar: animal cruelty is reflective of larger and deeply-rooted societal issues, in my opinion. how many ‘famous’ murderers first practiced on animals? how many people who are ill equipped to adequately deal with their own emotional shit pick on defenseless, smaller, or supposedly subordinate beings?  isn’t destructiveness of what can be broken down usually the result of a feeling of disenfranchisement elsewhere in one’s existence? wouldn’t that help to explain why dog fighting is so popular in working class communites and communities of color? **

so i’m saying, it’s taken me close to 12 hours to write this blog post.  and i don’t feel any closer to a conclusion.  i feel like choosing to be a vegetarian or vegan or locavore as a means of protesting big business farms/ food distro is a great idea. it is impactful when part of a bigger organizing.  i feel that by itself,  it falls short in some ways. no method is perfect. i also feel that it is classist, or at the very least excludes persons whose resources are severely limited. it is no secret that, in this country, the ‘healthier’ food options available to us are often more costly than the ‘regular’ food options. what do you do when you make “too much” for food stamps? what do you do when that $8 worth of antibiotic-free, free range, hormone-free, vegetarian-fed chicken is not enough for you alone to eat for more than two meals? i don’t know. i suppose it’s the same thing as understanding and implementing environmental justice instead of simply ‘going green’ in the hood.  you kinda have to see the bigger picture in order to even come close to knowing what your work is going to do.

and on another note, you can’t tell people how to live the best life for themselves without knowing intimately what their situation is. i’ll never forget the sideways look i got from someone for talking about how good bacon is. at one time, i didn’t eat pork or red meat because i was so thirsty for an identity i thought that super bohemian afro queen of the universe might suit me — and what better place to begin than with my food choices?  it failed. because i wasn’t coming from a place of my own understanding, but instead doing something that i thought would ally me with other folks.  i’m older, wiser, more traveled, and a lot more mellow.  i come back to the same thing i’ve said repeatedly to folks about my life: what’s right for you is not always — and sometimes never — right for another person.  we do not have the space to judge. we have the space to be ourselves, and live our best lives. and if we are truly concerned with that, picking on someone for eating meat (or not eating meat, or being homosexual, or being trans, or being a person with a disability, or WHATEVER) isn’t going to fucking matter.

before you go getting all tight . . .

know this:

my home internet service has been canceled due to lack of funds.

my laptop is sometimey. you remember having that ol janky wall-unit phone in your house (mine was in the kitchen) that would shut off if you moved too far in any direction? well, that’s what goes on with my laptop. the cord just isn’t stable. so, combine my need for internet with my laptop’s apparent jankiness and you have a bit of a mess. oh, well.

i’m not really in a writing mood. i’m in a doing mood. so i’ve been doing stuff. i will update this blog in a real way sooner or later.

in the meantime, i’m workin on some special projects and will be back from my summer blog vacation soon.

erzulie.

(cross posted from my tumblr blog)

“Erzulie continues to articulate and embody a memory of slavery, intimacy, and revenge.”–Joan Dayan, “Erzulie: A Women’s History of Haiti” (2005) (via kismetfour)

working with this imagery of erzulie (either freda or dantor), i am inclined to take this quote as a reminder. no matter what happens, yeye will not be silenced or ignored. the premature celebration of some of philly’s residents around the potential disappearance of odunde is not gonna change much. the city’s lack of funds (screw what that article says, they didn’t give the st. patty’s day or mummers’ day parades this much of a hassle) does not mean there will be an erasure of the traditions of black folks. it’s not just about fried fish sandwiches, earrings & performances. odunde started as a procession to the schuylkill river to venerate orisha oshun. to say “modupe-o, yeye” (thank you, sweet mother) & make ebo (sacrifice or offering) to her, followed by a chance to fellowship. for brown faces to join in a setting that was not about a funeral, a trial, or a wedding. & the very second there’s something reminding some folks about where we come from & who we are, there’s a problem.

well, that’s too fucking bad. we may migrate to new neighborhoods & let y’all pretty things up — that’s fine. that’s a blessing to all involved, as each city needs is revenue. but there will be no erasing us. some of us are generations deep in this city.

oshun is the source. she is honey, she is beauty, she is creativity, she is the honey bee, she is the one who sprouts honey, she is the one with ears to hear. oshun is love. there is no stopping the river.

mbe mbe ma yeye (exist, exist always mother)
mbe mbe l’oro (exist, exist always in our tradition)

oshun isn’t going anywhere. we aren’t going anywhere. things may shift and change, but when we leave something behind it’s to get to something better, bigger & greater. this is something the colonizers never understood, something i daresay is still part of modern western consciousness: destroying something in the physical world very rarely means that there’s an end to it in the other realm.

spirit is not to be played with.

dear potential future boocakes:

listen. i . . . i know i probably talk too fucking much. and i know that you might think i’m weird.  but i know you like me. because i just happen to know these things. so, if you wanna bake me cookies that’s fine. we have to work on some sort of dairy, egg, and soy-free kind (because that’s really the cookie i need in my life) and if you dare make me oatmeal cookies they’d ought to have craisins in them cuz raisins are just wrong. um. yeah. and i’ll make you iced tea, ginger limeade, and whatever else you want (within reason).  because i’m a doting kinda gal. i always felt like the gold star sticker was more important than getting the 100 on the spelling test, ya know?  let me be the good marshmallow in your hot chocolate; the garnish.  i’m that flourish in your signature that makes it slightly illegible but mostly fabulous. 

& also, potential future boocakes, you should really know that i’m not a huge fan of traditionally represented concept of  monogamy right  now. it feels confining, it feels like a social construct more than it does anything natural to me as a human being. i don’t much like the idea of being bound to one person indefinitely (or quote-unquote forever, the way that the marrieds tend to be).  so, if we start kicking it, understand that it’s not about any sort of loose-in-the-booty-ness on my part.  & i’m not out here doing any ho shit, either. i simply desire to deal with folk who understand where i am in this whole growing up thing. i feel very strongly that my consideration of polyamory is both a great thing for me and a potentially disastrous for you and any other potential future boocakes, depending on the kind of relationship you wish to have with me. we’ll take it one day at a time, though.  we’ll figure it out.

potential future boocakes, i know you are capable of being a great lover (or activity partner or cuddlejawn or whatever we make out of this thang).  i’d very much like the chance to explore that with you.  so, please remember that i am open. it would honor me so much for you to remain open, as well, to what’s out there.

(and by that, i mean willing to have rather serious makeout sessions and play scrabble with me while drinking lindeman’s lambic framboise, peche, kriek, cassis, or pomme)

indulgence.

lately, i feel like giving into my inner child as much as possible.  she wants to dress up, she wants to play with new kids, she wants to dance and sing and eat whatever she wants to. she wants cake at 3 in the morning. she wants fun, and music, and a trail of butterflies to follow her everywhere she goes.

and dammit, i am determined to make it happen for her. she deserves it. i owe it to her.  she deserves to live without fear, she deserves to live without being bullied, without feeling like she isn’t free to be herself.  

i don’t think anybody ever told me that it’s okay to acknowledge my inner child.  i don’t think anyone ever said to me, “sparkle, the inner child is the purest version of you,” so that i’d embrace her. my inner little girl is attention-starved, a bit expression-deprived, and still trying to make sense of the chaos that one day swallowed her up.  i suppose that reaching that far into my personal herstory is the one thing missing from my process. i know what damaged me three years ago, six months ago, two days ago. but the first break is foreign to me.  

the little girl wants to delve. she wants to hold this grown woman’s hand and take that walk down that slope, through that valley, around that bend and follow that creek to the source. the pool of water where i swam before entering this realm will hold everything. the reflections, the things i cast off in an attempt to forget me.

i must indulge her, i must indulge me. for the sake of my own journey.

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