The snow is gone. The trees are still bare. We survived without losing electricity. And the kids only have two snow days to make up at the end of the school year.
The culmination of a week and I had an incredible one with writing. I am consistent in writing everyday and this comes simple when I have nothing else to do. For example, turning my television off! Listening to music with no words so I don’t have to focus on someone else’s verbs. I remember space like this when I lived solo in LA. And I didn’t take it for granted but I did have something different back then. I had a fierce determination. A different kind of vicious.
Disregard the cliché, but I lived in a place with no space and time. I lived in that kind of confidence everyone has before you share with someone and adopt doubt. To me it was about a matter of opportunity. I had the body of material. I had the body of emotions. And I had the body. (the body body…36,24,34) I had a vicious overall outlook on art like my predecessors. I had a library to waylay me into the Harlem Renaissance and Black Arts Movement. I was indicative of significant worth. Period. I was perfectly positioned for success. And from what I prepared, I received.
There is a difference with reverence and support. And my spirit told me I didn’t have enough of the latter but I hoped I could muster enough to maintain humility. My solution when I couldn’t differentiate the two was to simply stop. Pull away and not perform. Get a job that demanded an early bedtime so I could not perform at late venues or the Sunday hot spots. Me trying to supply my mental with sustenance brought about a negative implication and it confused me.
And then poetry became political with the performance form of slam. And I became even more confused with how we can skip from the spiritual formula of creating to wanting an instant result of “winning”. I stopped.
I am in the present of creating a body of work that needs an opportunity. I am clothed with a fierce determination. A different kind of vicious. And I appreciate this cycle of not being caught up in a space or time. What will the outcome be this go around? Very different! Because I know differently.
I have been inside of my head for almost a month now. (translation: my nieces and one of my nephews are visiting with my sister, their mom, and their dad.) When I came to the realization I would move down south to get custody of them, I made conscious decisions to listen to the silence of my Inglewood apartment. I would lay in the bed and watch the sunrise chase the stucco across the ceiling. I would pull my bedding to the couch and then lounge upon rising from my slumber with a cup of coffee and a movie from my dvd collection. Time would be timeless and my day would plan itself.
Fast forward to five children: my calendar is full of their appointments and activities. Waking up to their breakfast requests, me needing to be judge for who can watch their tv programs first. In many ways I am more involved with my breath (purpose) versus chasing my daily goals. There is nothing wrong with ambition at all but I suppose when it’s yours, you don’t see the immediate results. Now, with the children, I can see daily the effort of my breath.
I can see smiles of accomplishment on their faces. I can see their sweat overcome defeat. I can hear their laughter break through their fears. It is immediate gratification everyday. The current silence of my home is nostalgic to my creative life and purposeful meditation. But I must admit, I look forward to seeing “the efforts of my breath” soon.
I always knew the day would come. From his entrance in 1993. His in 1998. Then she came in 2001. 2004. And 2006.
2008, I packed up my single life in Los Angeles and made my trek to Atlanta to get custody of my sister’s children. Her five children.
I made this privy decision after the second girl was born in 2004. When “it” was now apparent in my mother. I could hear “it” in her voice. But “it” was loudest in her silence. The flat breath that would catch happiness and linger trapped between her sighs. My mother not being able to enjoy the fruits of being a grandmother because she was in a position of subordination to being a mother all over again. Her angered disappointment, which is different from both anger and disappointment. Her thanksgiving needing to be a holiday of receiving. Our conversations gave guilt to the quiet jazz filled afternoons in my LA apartment. Our conversations consistently robbed Roy Hargrove and I of the enjoyment of our new bottle of chilled riesling. I needed to resolve. The options: the kids become wards of the state or raised by my mother, who had become quite lenient with her home rules and expectations. Foster care had already been in the picture. The kids had already been split up before. The boys stayed together but the oldest girl, only five months old, was sent to be cared for by another family. Stories formed with the youngest boy being mistreated by another child in a foster home. Stories of the kids crying at the end of visitations upon not being satisfied with the answers they received to their inquisitons, “can I come home yet?”
I wanted to create another story. Help write another ending for them. After all, intergenerational family rearing is nothing new to most cultures. Even my grandparents’ modest three bedroom home had ever revolving doors to their nine children and 17+ grandchildren so this decision seemed natural for me too. But like most, I presume, who choose this, we do not see the stories that await us. The stories of the hard adjustment to living in a new city, the demands of your time (or what used to be), the depression, the anxiety, creating a personal/social life with five kids, dating, finding the “mommy button” and the arduous task of re-membering who I am and re-inventing my self as a woman, artist and active aunt of five. Some stories are funny and some are serious. From journal entries to day to day tales, this blog is about me going from zero to five in 32 hours.