Category Archives: child rearing

happy muse/happy me

This is like seeing an evening rainbow after an afternoon of thunderstorms. Like, listening in a comatose stance to the radio hip hop mix and then coming alive when some old LL Cool J comes on!

This one is definitely a song to dance to with your children! My girls and I have claimed this as our summer song! We dance and sing in the car and we don’t care who is watching!

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This is perfect timing for me as I am being visited by my muse and this time around I am listening and taking care of her! Enjoy and have a good day!

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more memories to create!

Since I have made friends with other moms I learn of the little things they do to create sweet memories for their children.  Over the past couple of years I have had several friends tell me about “Elf on the Shelf.”  So you send a letter to the north pole and request  an elf or several stuffed elves to visit your house for a specific time.  Every morning your kids wake up and search for the elf in the house as it has done different “fun” things around your house.  I am planning for the holidays now and suggested getting one for my nieces… THEY HAD A FIT!

What was I thinking?  These are the same girls that flipped out about the tooth fairy coming in their room while they are sleeping!  And actually when I thought about it, who wouldn’t be afraid of the tooth fairy?  (Come on, the thought of someone sneaking in your room while you are sleep and reaching under your pillow… yep… I can’t blame them for being freaked out!)  I told them about the elf on the shelf and they were intrigued and interested until they heard that the elf would be doing stuff in the house while they are sleep.  ABSOLUTELY NOT!  I found this conversation to be so hilarious!  The oldest girl vowed a solid, “NO”, the middle girl is afraid but curious and the youngest girl is game to go because she knows her sisters will protect her.

It’s all about creating memories right?  RIGHT!  I went on amazon.com and ordered my elf on the shelf for the 2013 holidays!  Of course I’ll post the adventures of “elf on the shelf” when they begin in November!

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DC Dreaming

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I recently visited my grad school city of Washington DC where I attended Howard University.  I abruptly left the city in the middle of a semester and said good bye’s to a group of the most intellectually creative individuals I know.  It had been some 17 years since I’d visited the city and a lot had changed!

This southern city of Atlanta has not grown on me and it will be six years in January.  I know, I know… this is the new “black Hollywood” this city is “where it’s at”, well not for me.  I have lived in quite a few cities and fell in love almost instantly.  Even with putting into perspective this move was life altering with taking guardianship of five children, Atlanta has simply not settled in my heart.  It is the south… the dirty south with their own style of politics.  It is truly black OR white. NO gray or other colors in between.  Regardless of education or professional connections, this part of the south is black OR white… that is the determining factor.

Now, by no means am I saying there is nothing good about this city.  I have friends who LOVE living here and friends who come to visit every chance they get because they LOVE Atlanta.  The artists here are hands down some of the best writers I have met in my life!  They are exposed to some of the most beautiful landscapes, colors and family stories to document and/or perform.  The “family feel” that has a dominant spirit around the city is often missing from other major cities I have lived in.  And now with caring for children, schooling is important and I live in one of the best counties for education in Atlanta.  (they care for/about black children and their well being.)  But as far as my personal growth as an artist and my growth as a maturing single woman… the “A” is not for me.

I was curious what I would feel when I visited DC. I was curious if I would want to move back? What would the energy be? I took the bus from Atlanta to DC. (hey, when you have kids, any time you can have a long length of time to listen to your heartbeat and only think about yourself…you will buy that time whenever/wherever you can!) I slept most of the ride to DC and upon getting my rental car and driving out of Union Station, there was DC. I quickly remembered all the buildings and downtown with all the circles and parked cars everywhere… I was TERRIFIED! It felt like someone was watching me at every stop light! I didn’t know which lane to be in to get to New Jersey St while driving DuPont Circle! Why are the cyclist lanes so damn close to the cars driving?! Where are all these people jogging to at 9:30pm??! Why are there people with business suits walking? Have they really just gotten off work? I remembered… I didn’t like DC! Remember why you left so abruptly during grad school?…

Then there were my colleagues. We caught each other up on where we are in life. Discussed recent awards and credits to our art. Laughed about our yesterdays 🙂 Talked about our plans and immediate goals in our perspective art forms. They filled me in on the ever so obvious gentrification that has happened in the greater Washington DC area.  (It is no longer chocolate city, Atlanta is!) And we even discussed our fears… Now, I remembered why I stayed at Howard while I did. These minds. These perfect mixtures of left and right brain thinkers. I have an amazing circle of family friends in LA… but not like this.

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I remember everyone being so serious in DC. Everyone had a gym membership or therapist. No one laughing. Everyone had somewhere to go and they had to get there in 6 minutes! Fast paced!! That is not what I needed in my life at that time. I was moving from Louisiana, Grambling State “where everybody is somebody”! And DC was everybody for themselves. I was not comfortable, I felt out of place. Perhaps I am just thirsty for some type of artistic/progressive connections, but I was sold. Project Move Out of Atlanta began immediately! The kids will finish up this school year and we will begin new in DC or Philly August 2014.

I look forward to using both sides of my brain and being creatively driven in a city where politics live.  And if DC doesn’t make the cut, it is a short drive away from Philly, a city I have been wanting to live in for quite a few years now.  DC re-charged my batteries!  My goals have deadlines now!  Don’t short change a bus ride people!  It allowed me to do some DC dreaming…

what she had in her womb.

what she had in her womb was a surprise. a double breath and the joy of being her own friend.

what she had in her womb was her mother’s shame. but her grandmother knew the owner in the clouds and told her she was perfect.

what she had in her womb was a new conversation for him after games. a reason for him to be proud of his inventions and trust the shortcuts in life.

she can only hope he is a great as Mandela. how was he made?
she can only hope he is destined like Barack. what did his mother do?

what she had in her womb was a surprise. and she named him Trayvon.

and he became known all over the world.
and like Mandela he is impactful.
and like Barack people rally to support him.

her grandmother knew the owner in the clouds and told her she was perfect. he continues to be conversation after the games.

he did have a destiny. not the one she prayed on / not even the one he himself planned out. but he is impactful and known all over the world this surprise that was once in her womb. he just didn’t experience it.

Five Ways to Re-Member Yourself

The alarm goes off on your nightstand.  You hit the snooze button, stay in the bed and begin to race your entire day through your head.  ‘Take a shower, the iron is in the basement so wear something that doesn’t need ironing, wear sandals today (wait, how is your toenail polish?), gloss or lipstick today?’  All these thoughts come to the front of the day and then a knock on your bedroom door… ‘Can I come in?  Can we have French toast for breakfast?  Can I use your phone charger?  Do I have to go to swim class today?’   Now your priorities have shifted once again… and you still aren’t out of the bed.

This is the typical day for any single working mom.  And in my case, a writer/artist and newly active aunt of five.  My life became guided with demands and needs from other people.  I had to abandon my “in the spur of the moment” lifestyle and be more proactive.  I now had to plan meals (actually write a grocery list), wash loads of clothes, comb four heads instead of one, add teachers, guidance counselors and coaches to my speed dial and so much more.

I recall one of the first days a cousin of mine volunteered to get everyone out of the house.  I sat on the couch and couldn’t think of the first thing to do for myself.  I could’ve written two pages worth on what I needed to do for the kids.  Believe it or not, it actually took me some time to figure out what I should do with myself while the kids were away and I found myself writing some of my former past times in my journal.

So, when you get that afternoon or evening alone and want to clear your head and escape all of your “to do’s” for everyone else, try these five things to re-member yourself.

(5) Pay back to get back!  Be conscious and in the moment and give sincere compliments to total strangers.  Their immediate and genuine eye contact with you will be very connecting.  Additionally, on the back end you’ll get compliments in return when you least expect it.

(4) Get lost in a bookstore or even the local library.  Look through the pages of your favorite authors new book.  Pick up a magazine and be entertained with the latest fashions and/or entertainment news.

(3) Find a bench and people watch.  You still get a lot of motion around you but you are not involved.  Enjoy some ice cream while doing this!

(2) Take a long bath.  Make it aromatherapy and add your favorite oil.  Pop in your favorite cd to add to your relaxation.  And don’t be afraid to put your head under the water!

(1)  Call a friend and talk for hours.  Share what has been going on in your life and seek advice.  And don’t forget to laugh and drop the phone and pick it back up and laugh some more! 😉

The best of my Mom, I am taking with Me

She is a first generation city girl. The advantage is she is the beginning. The disadvantage is she is the beginning. No one ahead to show her how to make a sharp turn left or that stop ahead doesn’t necessarily mean to quit. This is the personal genius she created from Mounds City, Arkansas to Kansas City, Mo. The mistakes she hides behind stones in the garden. The best of my mom I am taking with me. Indeed, all of her.

There are parts about her that are silently me and other parts I defy loudly. I am her history and sense of being. We both long to feel we “belong”. She is avid in knowing the parents of her parents parents and when and how and why. I love history. I have always been intrigued with before, the first and alpha. She is an artist. She is a writer and singer. Characters and voices move about in her head. She can differentiate them into various connotations and dictions. She is the inner shell, poked and laughed at. Mocked at for “thinking” she could be a singer. However, she is my outer shell. Protected me from these family discussions that killed dreams and independent thinking.

She signed me up with free modeling lessons at the community center. She helped me with my lines for the black history shows in elementary. She went outside her budget and bought me stickers to visualize my second grade poetry book. She allowed me to pretend and be “Coco” when I needed to escape my reality.

I defy her silence. For never speaking out just keeping me away. Keeping me separate from courage or confrontation. Keeping me safe but not protected.

I am her fear of not trying again. I am her fear of “once burned” so don’t do it again. I live her fears because I was taught to follow someone’s example, literally. I live her fears because I was taught how to live religiously not religiously live. And I was taught how to cope and cover pain and carry brick buildings on my back. At 20 years old I vowed to “not be like her.” Now 20 years after 20 years old, I would be an insane person to not embrace all of what she is… for her to be whole. For her to know I love all of who she is.

With three nieces looking to me and two nephews listening to me, I pray I give them the tools to accept my duality and love me 20 years from now. Love me through my contradiction. Love me past my fears. I pray they continue to break shoddy family traditions, take the best of me and grow themselves closer to God.

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