Rock A Bye Marriage

In the third episode of Scenes from a Marriage, Jonathan reads his therapy assigned morning pages, written in the third person to his ex-wife Mira in the characteristically calm, low and soothing pace he uses to sing to their 5-year-old daughter before bedtime in the third act. He reads to her about discovering the source of his inability to be truly present in their marriage. When he describes Mira as one of the first people whom he feels truly sees him, it works on her like a dysfunctional aphrodisiac. She is then moved to initiate physical intimacy with him on the carpet of the living room in the house they once shared. In an overhead shot where Mira rolls over on top of him, we see Jonathan’s eyes open, revealing his internal emotional struggle as they writhe together on the floor, overcome by this reignited passion. It’s consensual for a brief nail biting few seconds. And then Jonathan tells her they need to stop, that this is not good for him.

For Jonathan, formerly a strict orthodox Jew for whom the better part of his formative years as a young man were spent being separated from women and who appears to take ritual, commitment, and parental responsibility very seriously, the sustainability of his marriage to Mira and the thing that held it together never seemed to just be about sex and physical passion. But this is just my read from having only watched the 3 episodes available. It’s hard for me not to adore and want to cuddle every bit of Oscar Isaac’s screen performance. He never rises to anger without reason. He’s giving. He’s responsible almost to a fault. And are we supposed to not notice that Jonathan is hot dad central? I mean that man is settled as fuck! He’s not going anywhere! LOL! But maybe this is part of why Mira felt like she couldn’t take another second with him. Perhaps his steadfastness and emotional repression, shed too bright a light on her selfish, unstable and self centered behavior.

All I kept thinking about was how she said she wasn’t attracted to Jonathan anymore in Ep2 just before storming out to spend 3 months in Israel with her lover, Poli. And now here they are rolling around on the floor together and she tells him she never stopped loving or wanting him. Sooooo…try as I might I really can’t find a shred of empathy for homegirl. She’s messy af. And if Mira is written to be a deeply frustrating character then Jessica Chastain is doing a hell of a job.

Levi Hagai is not a director I’m familiar with but I do like the way he takes the viewer through a series of shifting and intense emotions in such a short amount of time. Whenever it feels as if Mira and Jonathan have made a solid and intimate connection somewhere, everything crumbles again under the weight of tremendous, unresolved pain.

In the scene near the end of this episode we see Jonathan singing to their daughter who wakes up in the night while he and Mira are arguing. We watch him walk her back to her bed while asking Mira to hold on until he comes back. He’s really asking her to hold on to the hope that they can salvage their life together. All I can think while watching him sing, is how present he sounds, how fully present he is for his daughter, while his relationship with her mother balances on a precipice.

And for Mira…I feel nothing.

Not yet anyway.

Really Love: Intimacy and Art

When Isaiah (played by Kofi Sirboe) first meets Stevie (played by Yootha Wong-Loi-Sing) at a solo art show for his friend Yusef, they stand together admiring a beautiful large-scale portrait of a Black woman’s face, originally painted by Ronald Jackson. After discussing their interpretations of the piece, he reaches over to touch and hold a medallion that lays majestically on Stevie’s chest. She never stirs, never recoils as he admires it and asks her if it is from West Africa. She looks at him and confirms that his guess is correct. They seem, from the moment we first see them together as if they are already connected by an invisible thread, something immediate, intimate, powerful and fragile.

Gerald Lovell

When Isaiah paints the portrait of the man on his cellphone sitting outdoors and gazing out at the viewer, (originally painted by Gerald Lovell) then has it shipped to Stevie as a gift, this is his first grand gesture and offering of himself. When he comes to her home for the first time and he asks her where she wants the piece to be hung, she suggests a spot out in the main area of her home. He then begins to talk about how where you hang a piece depends on how you want it to greet you when you first see it each day. It is a continuation of the intimate foreplay that began when they met at Yusef’s solo show. And nothing about it feels performative. He knows how to hang a painting and what it means to love a piece of art and the energy of its placement in one’s space. For him, creating art and sharing it is way of making love.

Pandemic Reflections in a Pandemic

You have any favorite clothes that used to fit you but they don’t anymore? And do you still hold on to those clothes out of sentiment? Yeah? I used to do that as well. But here’s the thing, I took a look at those clothes last year and finally realized there was no point in holding onto them anymore. I don’t want to fit into them anymore, and I doubt I ever could or should fit into them. I’ve outgrown them, not just because of weight gained (pandemic pounds are real asf) but also because I’m not that person anymore. I held on to them because I missed the memory, the time and the relationship I had with the world then, when I fit into those clothes. There is no going back.

That’s what it’s felt like for me, being back at work in the office part time. And nothing is going back to “normal.” A year and a half of working from home has turned the majority of my immediate focus to home life, my husband, family and my cat. So many of the devices I used to employ to distract myself have fallen away and to be honest, I’ve no desire to have them back. It’s actually a bit scary. Eerie.

There’s been all this space to process and see clearly what mechanisms I’ve employed to hold myself back from really evolving. And those mechanisms have become useless and unattractive. All I want to do when I’m in the office is hurry back home to my apartment with my cat and my partner where I feel considerably safer and much more comfortable.

This morning, I sat at the desk I work from and I felt like I couldn’t breathe. Naturally, I couldn’t rip my face mask off so I made the decision to just unhook my bra. Then I just took it off and chucked the thing in my tote bag. No shade to anyone who needs one, but after a year of working from home and not wearing one, my breasts feel nothing but oppression when it’s on. 2020 made me hyper aware of how bras, aside from understandably needed support are really just meant to hide nipples away from the patriarchy.

I HATE IT.

MY BREASTS WANT FREE.

So my bra is in my tote. And I’m thankful that since I’m surrounded by zero people and this liberation is possible. I also toyed around with unbuttoning my jeans but that seemed to be the deal breaker. I’m pro-breast liberation but I’m not tryna go all Al Bundy in public. That’s just disrespectful. LOL!

But in addition to shedding old clothes, old modes of distraction and…my bra, I also seem to have shed a deep longing to reconnect with old colleagues.

You know timing is a thing.

Distance makes the heart grow fonder for sure but too much distance makes you binge watch shows on a bunch of streaming services while the memory of what used to be normal in terms of a social life gets dimmer. At first I missed the fuck out of people. Then I got used to missing them. Then I got used to the idea I might never see them again. Then I stopped feeling like I actually needed to see them in person since we have social media, texting and still know we’re alive.

Now, I’m like…what-else-is-there?

I’ve outgrown what I thought I needed from these relationships…

Work is not life.

What-next?

It’s a weird feeling place to be. I see my physical therapist more frequently than I see my close work colleagues or friends and all we do is talk about TV and film while he’s stretching out my arm. That, I look forward to. LOL!

But this strange we’re back in business, back to normal, shove the toothpaste back in the tube mess is giving me extreme pause. I look around me and I see nothing is back to any kind of normal and never will be. And that’s fine. But I need a change. I feel like part of me has already moved on from this and is just waiting for the rest of me to follow.

My Period Cup Has Made Menstruating Exciting Again?

No wait, that’s not what I mean. I mean, my period cup has made me feel like I’ve found a new club to belong to. Like having my period feels cool. LOL!

Why didn’t I purchase one sooner? I can remember Khalilah reaching out to me about the Diva Cup when it first came out. I remember her telling me excitedly all about how it worked and how close and personal you had to get with your vagina to use it. And at the time. I just couldn’t wrap my mind around how it worked. Also the thought of a cup of blood grossed me out. And also the cup looked so small to me and I always feel like I bleed like so much during the first couple of days of my cycle. I couldn’t imagine something so small catching all of my flow. For 12 hours?

That lil thing?

Cut to a few months ago when I hear a Friend Zone Podcast where Fran talks about how the P cup is more environmentally sound than sanitary products that create a ton of waste. And that just completely clicks with me. It makes so much sense and I decide then and there I’m getting one. Besides, who wouldn’t want to just deal with one cup versus changing a tampon or napkin every day that you menstruate? Not to mention the money you save buying more sanitary products every month.

I’m in “The Scented Candle” Phase of My Pandemic Experience

I’ve never been a particularly huge fan of scented candles. I don’t hate them but in the past if I’ve burned a scented candle it’s usually been gifted to me. I love scents and really do believe in aromatherapy but until recently, scented candles are not my preference for incorporating scent in my home. However, like many of us, I’ve been working at home since last year so my surroundings there and the ambience that I create there have become more important than ever. I never thought scented candles would become so much apart of that but it has.

It started when one of oldest and best friends texted me asking if I knew of any Black owned candle companies. It was something I never even thought about before. So when I went to search Black owned candle companies I was surprised to find a pretty impressive list. My first purchase of a scented Black owned candle was from Posh Candle Company, which I learned about on Youtube. I love the fun, smart, and Black culture affirming names they have for their candles. That’s definitely what pulled me in. I mean how was I not buying a candle called Black Girl Magic with notes of brown sugar, coconut, honey and spice?

GURRRL!!

That candle has become my staple scented candle. It is so warm and familiar and comforting and delicious and it’s not too cloying, at least not for me. I loved this candle immediately. I’ve bought it a couple of times now in addition to a few of their other candles but Black Girl Magic is hands down my favorite. It’s also a high quality hand poured soy candle, which is important to me and is radically different than the corner store botanical bodega candles, which I have purchased for many years. They burn evenly, and don’t darken the glass like most cheap mainstream candles. My husband also has several favorites from Posh Candle Co, like Birthday Cake, Do Nothing and Chill and Allergic to Bullshit. We both ordered a bunch for ourselves, friends and family over the holidays last year.

I like to burn Black Girl Magic in my bedroom on my night stand/altar even when I’m not in the room because I love the way the scent welcomes me when come in. It inspires me, makes me feel good and is more than just a moment for me. I burn it, listen to music, sit and write or clean or declutter. It’s a whole love vibe.

Another one of my oldest friends turned me on to candles made by friend of his in Brooklyn where all good things come from LOL! Neatly Nestor Cleaning is a small, Black owned family affair, a cleaning company which includes scented candles as a part of its cleaning service package. I just purchased two candles for them a few weeks ago; Zen with notes of jasmine, patchouli and lemon and Zest (one of their most popular) with notes of lemon peel, orange and lime.  Zest is the one I’m burning now and it just raises my spirits and makes me feel joyful and lifted. It’s just a joy to smell Zest, even when it’s not burning. If I keep the top off I get brief wafts of it throughout the day. I [personally love citrus notes. They have a very energetic and calming effect on me. The smell of fresh oranges, is also deeply tied to the childhood memory of having my parents make fresh orange juice for my brother and I every morning as kids.  The fresh small of lemon peel (I use a lemon peel pad exfoliator in my skincare routine) and lemon oil is also a scent I love. And lastly lime gives just the right amount of sweetness to make me feel like a cold margarita might be on the way. LOL! It’s just fresh and clean and wonderful. .

Lady Day Harlem Candle Company

The next candle company on my list to try is Harlem Candle Company. I mean the website alone is just dripping with Black Renaissance excellence and sophistication. They truly seem to fit the bill of a luxury candle and I am here for it. I love how they honor Black Renaissance artists like Langston Hughes, James Baldwin Duke Ellington, Lady Day and Josephine Baker in the names of their candles. Because I believe in the ritual of honoring of ancestors while burning candles, I can just imagine that burning them is like honoring each of the incredible artists and giving thanks for what they contributed and still contribute to culture, art, civil rights, style and much more. It occurs to me that Black people and candles are kind of a no brainer combo in terms of spirituality, creation and commerce. My mom burned and dressed candles with oils and glitter since I was a baby so candles as a form of spiritual practice and a symbol of divine presence has always been around me. However, scent in candles is something I’ve only just started to appreciate and love as a result of sheltering in place. Scented candles have become very central to making our home as cozy, inspiring and soothing as possible for as long as this goes on. And while it does seem like a phase at the moment, I do hope to continue adding more things to our living space that make our home a source of comfort, healing and restoration no matter what happens.

“Sing a Song: It’ll Make Your Day…”

During an informal teams meeting yesterday I found myself humming Earth Wind and Fire “Wanna Be With You” very quietly.


I’ve been listening to my EWF playlist for weeks since the Flowerbomb gathering for EWF on Clubhouse. I take small breaks to listen to other music but I keep coming back to my EWF playlist on Tidal. It has such an immediate soothing effect on me. I just become loose and comfortable and…transported. I listen to it while I put on my make up, when I clean on the weekends, when I go for walks. I mean I generally use music in this way and have for aged but this was the first time it popped up in a work situation. I definitely attribute this to the increased level of comfort I’ve experienced working from home where I do my best to surround myself with things that make me feel light and inspired.

The humming happened almost unconsciously and it was low enough that I don’t think anyone noticed. It was just for me really, a kind of security blanket of sound, something that cut through my stress and helped me to be present, to feel all the beauty of that tune, while we waded through tedious, nerve wrecking hypothetical re-opening plans.

Music, particularly EWF music that reminds me so deeply of my childhood and my family, has this power of making me feel a kind of nostalgic safety. For me, their vision of love, soul, joy and liberation, still hold up the same way to this day. It is at once a going back in time but also feels totally timeless if that makes sense. EWF’s ideas about the transcendent power of love, music, dance and spirituality seem bound up eternally in a heart centered place that can never be destroyed. This is a great relief to me at a time where so little is stable, and no one really knows what will happen from day to day. It also makes me realize that there’s rarely ever a time when I’m not listening to music. My music playlists are as much about sacred healing, grounding, releasing and connecting to the divine as they are about having fun and letting my body slip into a spontaneous dance groove. A solo dance party can start anywhere. A connection to the divine through music and sound is possible everywhere.

I am so thankful for it.

“If you like that, you’ll love this…”

“Can’t Get You Out of My Head” grew out of Curtis’s response to the populist insurgencies of 2016. Curtis was struck by the fury of mainstream liberals and their simultaneous lack of a meaningful vision of the future that might counter the visceral appeal of nationalism and xenophobia. “Those who were against all that didn’t really seem to have an alternative,” he said.Adam Curtis Explains it All

I’ve been watching this terrifying docu-series made by Adam Curtis lately and I’m always watching it late at night and it is terrifying but I can’t stop watching it. The most recent of his films that I just finished viewing is “HyperNomalisation.”

I feel like I’m learning something I’m not supposed to. Which is probably why I keep watching, because, like many people, I get off on defiance and anti-authoritarian behavior but according to Curtis, revolution and uprising may just be another long way back to the old models of power we have no alternative to. This seems to be what he is suggesting using uniquely disturbing editing devices and a deadpan voice over that at their most brutal simply state the truth about power and society that no one wants to know.

It’s a hard pill to swallow and yet the way Curtis strings together alarming connections using footage and rarely seen before rush cuts of violent political coos, wars and upheavals spliced with popular film and television clips and scoring them darkly and ironically with a range of songs that accent and emphasize the hard truth, it’s hard to press pause. And each of these videos, narrated by Curtis himself are about 2 hours or more long so that’s saying a lot for me. Raoul Peck used a very similar editing device of disillusionment using jarring visual juxtapositions in his film “I Am Not Your Negro” which I’ve watched multiple times and highly recommend.

HERE I AM

How long has it been since I wrote here? I mean I write everywhere else. In journals, on the backs of envelopes in my living room, on social media posts, in my head. But not here. And there’s been a lot going on. And a whole lot of nothing as well. All at the same time.

Lets start with the fact that that I submitted one of the last pieces I wrote here to be published in a collection of writings by over a hundred talented souls of a writing workshop that I began attending last year when there was some really rough shit going on in my life which I never talked about.

The writing workshop itself was announced by Kevin Powell, a writer, journalist, activist, filmmaker, publisher and more whom I’ve been following forever, like since before “following” was a thing. I saw his announcement of the workshop sponsored by the Nuyorican Poets Cafe on his IG feed. It was free. I, like so many of us have been shut in since the beginning of the pandemic, employing various means of not losing my mind and when I saw the announcement I just thought, why not? I mean, I do write. I’ve been writing forever. My friend Cece who is friends with Kevin also joined the group so I felt that at least I would know someone there. I know it’s ridiculous to require peer support at my age but then again, maybe it’s not. What’s ridiculous is we’re all on Zoom in our PJS. How much more comfortable do we need to be? LOL!! But I’m still nervous, still want to be on time, still want to challenge myself the way I would if we were meeting in a physical classroom or space.

HAPPY 2021! What’s Been Working for you?

I was just in the bathroom attending to my skincare routine, which consists of daily cleansing and serum treatment application both morning and at night, when I noticed that the fingers on my right hand have been eczema free for months now. If you saw them, you would never know that I even suffer from random eczema breakouts or that the dry cracked skin that once lined the web of the two middle fingers sometimes hurt so much I had to distract my thoughts so that I could focus on other things. Treating eczema is a process. It doesn’t go away overnight the way a pimple sometimes does. 

Several months ago I dedicated myself to drinking water with a splash of ACV every morning before anything else and rubbing castor oil on the parts of my skin where eczema was raging every single night before bed. I did that for a couple of months. And I saw changes. I kept seeing changes until one day I nearly forgot why I was following this regimen.

When the things I do to treat my issues, physically, mentally or emotionally actually work, I sometimes forget to celebrate that. There is so much that is broken in our world right now that it can be overwhelming, not to mention depressing and useless to take stock of it all.  I look at myself in the mirror each day and try to be gentle and positive with myself in my varying degrees of progress. I try not to be upset when fall back, eat too much sugar, oversleep or lose my temper over something small because underneath it all I’m actually anxious and pent up and not addressing those root causes. 

Instead, I try to focus on doing things I know what will make a difference. I have to remember how powerful that is. It’s proactive and loving and self-affirming to care for yourself. And I’m all about using social media and online resources to find those people who have similar challenges and see chat has worked for them and then intuitively gauge my capacity and or willingness to try it myself. I’m not saying the ACV and castor oil will work for everyone’s eczema. That’s not even what this post it about. But I learned about it online and I tried it because I just knew I had to try something. I had to tune in to what my body was telling me.

 Drinking water everyday when my skin is starting feel inflamed and acne starts popping up works for me. Going for walks in nature to get my blood flowing and clear head works for me. Dancing as a form of exercise and going to therapy works for me.  I actually made a video for my YT Channel last week on the theme of surviving 2021. I’m certain I’ll be carrying a lot of those things over into 2021 and adding more along the way.

A focus on what works and also showing gratitude for having anything in your life that you can rely on to work for you when you need it is a bigger priority these days than it ever was. So when I look at the fingers on my right hand, I have to remind myself to be grateful that they are smooth, blemish free and pain free because I committed to healing myself. I was vigilant, patient, consistent and determined.

Being forced to shelter in place has also forced many of to learn about how to care for ourselves in a whole new way. Take stock of what works, what’s been serving you, and honor it.

White America is Eating its Tail

“We thought that we had hit rock bottom and then we heard a knock from below.”


The host of one of my favorite podcasts repeated this quote in the introduction of his latest episode to give context to the conversation he has with an artist about her theatrical piece on the constitution. And I thought, what a perfect analogy for the way I feel about this election and about this entire administration actually. I began to see this in earnest immediately after 9/11. I witnessed hatred and xenophobia emerge and concentrate in groups and chat board discussions that scared me in ways it never had before. And when I’m scared, I usually try to escape by surrounding myself with what I believe to be common sense people, discourse, informative literature and lectures. However, no amount of immersion in common sense and facts on my part will ever change how a large majority of White America feels about Black and Brown people in this country. And it’s not lost on me that racism has been alive and well in America since before I was born. What does shock me is the lack of concern reflected in a vote for 45 by people who espouse values and morals of any kind.

A large majority of women in this country voted for a man who is on record joking about assaulting women on an Access Hollywood bus. Just let that sit for a moment.

Women voted for this man. Women with daughters. I did not know self hatred could run this deep and in such staggeringly high numbers.

And, I don’t think that it’s necessary to look two steps ahead of what was said on that bus to begin to understand how far a racist White majority will go to maintain their undeserved privileges while still daring to uphold some perverse pretense of decency, morality and humanity, none of which they ever truly understood ever. A democratic process, it seems, is only working fairly, when it works to their advantage. They would have us all destroyed just to hold on to the last decaying pieces of an illusion constructed through indescribable violence, swindling, suffering, fear and hatred.

And as Eddie Glaude stated so eloquently on MSNBC this week, we cannot place this blame primarily on 45’s shoulders. He is a manifestation of the sick, ugly, pathological truth about what this country has been built on. A crumbling foundation of theft, lies, genocide, rape, false narratives and standards of acceptability tailored towards White mediocrity in ways that have taken ages to disengage from.

But the process of disengagement has never stopped. The fight for injustice has never stopped. The seeking of truth has never stopped. The call to serve all vs some has never stopped. The strength to confront the darkness without allowing it to contaminate the soul has never stopped. In the lives of those who are committed to the struggle for human rights it doesn’t stop. In the spirit of our ancestors, it doesn’t stop.

So I try not to spend too much time frozen like a deer in headlights, gaping down the barrel of the bottomless, fathomless, danger that is Whiteness and listening to the knocking from below. So many of us have tried for so long to be what they said we needed to be in order to not die, to not be tortured, to not be murdered, to not be raped, to not be decapitated, to not be humiliated, to not be kicked and spat upon, to not be turned away. But you can’t make deals with madness without becoming mad yourself. And there are a great deal of us in that number as well.

Instead, I choose to proceed playing my part to reveal the light of truth in this world with the knowledge that I am worthy without even trying. Yes. Worthy without the struggle. That I am a divine manifestation of the love I choose to accept within me. And that struggle of this nature only exists in a system bent on constructed illusions of measurement, comparison and selection based on superficial identifiers that define not one of us as human beings. Not one. I’m not saying that struggle isn’t necessary but all we have ever really known of struggle for the most part is what has been forced upon us by oppression, opposition, deception and a lack of self acceptance.

Who the fuck would choose that kind of struggle? Who would choose to normalize and accept it?

I don’t think that Eddie Glaude was asking us as Black and Brown people to shoulder the blame that many of us put on 45. I think he was clearly indicting Whiteness as a device which was not only conceived explicitly to motivate through hatred, fear, racism and division, but which has also unraveled, undone and inflicted nameless damage on those who have wielded it.

Whiteness wants to be rescued by that which it has attempted to enslave. It is an abuser that wants its victims to absolve it of its constant assaults in a cycle of violence with no end because White America refuses, as Glaude states, to acknowledge its sins; to stop the bullshit and look itself in the eye so that the rest of us, and generations to come might be saved from Whiteness.

And see, Whiteness, you can’t have it both ways. You never could.