Monthly Archives: March 2016

I’ve felt very alone in crowds but never in nature

 

This weekend I dragged myself to the Central Park Conservancy to see Magnolia trees in full bloom as if my life depended it. Because it did. It was he first time since the Spring began that I have been there. I had all these plans to take photos and the first thing I did was just plop down on a bench, kick my feet up and let the sun’s hands cradle my face. It felt so damn good, just like love. If that was all I did that day, I would have been happy. I listened to the silence, the faint sounds of children playing (it was Easter Sunday) and the amazing bird calls from tiny feathered bodies in hidden places I never saw. I drank it all in greedily because I have been starving for it so long.

There are so few places where I feel like I actually belong but I have never, not as long as or as far back as I can remember, ever felt alone in nature. Whenever I’m in nature I feel as if I am with returning home. I let go. I rest. I recharge. I explore. I get inspired. It’s free and abundant and I thank God for it.

I also have no fear of tramping all up and through Central Parks’ isolated spots. For some reason, I never feel fearful when I’m taking isolated paths. I wouldn’t recommend it. But I’m crazy and this is just a fact that occurs to me long afterward. I follow my intuition about what feels sketchy and what feels safe but I never imagine the worst when I’m in nature. I really feel very protected and at home. I feel welcomed. If for any reason I don’t feel that way I know it’s because of some negative energy and I don’t question my intuition about that.  I just move.  Somehow that’s easier for me to do when I’m in the woods. I can remember walking from North to South Campus at night on a road with no lights, years ago when I attended Bard College. I rarely felt like afraid of the darkness among the trees. I don’t know why. And there were definitely real dangers at large there.

Like I said, I’m nuts. I’m possibly also very naïve.

I just know that there isn’t much that can keep me away from the feeling I get when I’m surrounded by tall thick trees or lush, lovely gardens spilling over with a festival colors, fragrances and textures. I can get lost for hours and never mind if I don’t see one person, because I’m not alone. In nature, I’m never alone.

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Womb Action: How Did We Get Here?

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So this weekend I found myself on youtube watching a nearly two hour video callled How baby grows in the womb during pregnancy-How Twins are made (Triplets Quads). It was so intimate and so descriptive that I literally felt as if I had made the journey from conception to development to birth with all of the babies that were studied. I was just stunned by the beauty of it, the risks, the miracle of nature. Did you know that more of us were born with a twin than will probably ever know but sometimes for reasons no one knows that twin vanishes before it can fully develop in our mothers womb. It’s called vanishing twin syndrome. I am endlessly amazed by the many incredible things I’m discovering that happen our bodies as women all the time, life beginning and ending and beginning all the time.

Can you imagine sharing a womb with three other siblings, not to mention one? I like that when the narrator talks about the ways in which some babies kick or push one another for space that it is a form of aggression which should not be interpreted personally but only as a natural reaction to space that grows increasingly limited as each baby grows. Oh I felt for the baby in the quad womb getting kicked in the head and laying on mommy’s placenta for comfort! LOL!

They also mentioned that this behavior could replicate itself in behavior outside the womb with the kicking baby exhibiting  more assertive actions and the passive one retreating more often. Oh my God. So much action in the womb! But there was something about having a womb mate that made me feel like the single fetus was a bit more lonely. Of course, single, twin, quad, etc, no one knows any different in the womb. Life is what it is until it’s something else. Most of us can’t remember that far back, before memory even necessary.

At the end of the video I read many of the comments left from a few months ago because after something like that you just want to know if anyone else felt like their mind was blown as well. What I discovered was a large percentage of women of all ages who couldn’t figure out how they ended up watching the video! LOL! It was hilarious. Women had come to this video by way of watching completely unrelated content! Kpop, a One Direction interview, Shane?  Anyway, we all wound up watching the video and the reactions varied in degree from awe to disgust to shame, fear and wonder. Some women expressed that they had lost babies in labor, others that they were expecting.

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Personally my only issue with many of these how babies are born videos is that they never seem to follow Black or Brown babies in the womb. Is it just me? I know there’s one out there and I’ll find it or have someone find it for me. It was also hard for me to stomach the cesarean births. I had to pause and make the screen small again for those. Thank God a lady doesn’t have to give birth and watch at the same time. LOL!! Vaginal births I’m good with watching. Seen a bunch. I can handle it.

Some women expressed being so terrified at watching the births and learning about all the risks (strangulation by umbilical chord, low blood pressure, suffocation, low birth weight just to name a few) that they never wanted to get pregnant. There was an 11 year old girl who commented that she was watching just to learn. I could not imagine even caring about something like this when I was eleven but I think it would definitely have stuck with me if I was instructed to watch.

I’m so glad that a new generation of young girls have access to such graphic, informational and intimate documentaries about how babies are made. I’m not sure what’s happening in schools these days around sex education but I know in my time the focus was on prevention and not on how our bodies work. I had to go to the library to figure that out. And teenage pregnancy was looked at as shameful, almost as bad as a contagious disease, like it was the end of the world instead of the beginning of a different one. Don’t get me wrong. I know that unplanned teenage pregnancy is often not ideal and that it can interrupt a young woman’s life in many negative ways but I also feel that as women, if we were educated about our cycles long before adolescence even, about how to love and respect the sacred within us, and about how to consider what we allow inside of that space and for what purpose, we would be better equipped to make the choices that would serve us best in the long run. Black women who are convinced at statistically higher rates to have abortions, single parent and to favor and focus career and hard work above all else would revere ourselves and our connection with life more deeply, in ways that allowed us to show up in our own lives with pride, understanding and love of ourselves in service to one another, instead of insecurity, competition, shame and self hatred.

 

 

Patriarchy is against Nature

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This week, at our monthly staff meeting, our director gave a presentation using the observation of seasons as it applies to gardening or growing anything natural as a way of looking at the ways in which we work. As an aside she mentioned the ways in which she is was aware that systemic hierarchy and patriarchy are obstacles to the ability for nature to flourish but that since we work within one, this model was mostly a useful metaphor.

Winter being the time of rest and planning, envisioning what you wish to manifest, Spring being the time to start planting those seeds and caring for the soil in which they are planted and beginning to see tiny shoots spring up from the earth, Summer the time when all of your dreams and visions start to bloom at their fullest, and Fall the time of harvest, when you reap the benefits of all your bounty and begin to evaluate what if anything went wrong or what worked the best. And then you do it all again. Women’s bodies do this all the time whether we are conscious of it or not.

Think about that.

Kushite

It really got my attention, since when I think of the observation of seasons I think of the ways in which they are utilized as tools of the divine feminine with regard to the cycle of life in the ways I began to be instructed when I started to commune with sisters who were about that life a few years ago.

Patriarchy is not patient, but fearful and violent, is not cyclical but lineal and essentially in so many other ways is against nature itself. Patriarchy, which I would like to make clear should not be equated solely with masculinity (masculine energy is essential for life to exist) is a destructive imbalance and misuse of power and an aberration which deeply afflicts women, particularly Black women. Black women are slowly dying from patriarchy in ways that can never be addressed by feminism, which I am really starting to feel is just this twisted offshoot of patriarchy. But  I will go into that more in another entry.

What I do know for sure is that most of the systems under which we live were not created with women in mind, because any matriarchal system would always incorporate the need for a woman to observe, support and learn from her cycle in addition to her chosen work/ career. A matriarchal system would recognize and institute ways in which a woman could do, both the work she was born to do as woman as well as the work she chooses to do. Any matriarchal society would recognize that a woman’s body after she begins seeing her period is trying to create a space in which the possibility for procreation is possible, that life is always trying to happen, and that a system has already been in place to maintain and manage the cycle of life since the dawn of consciousness. The matriarchal system is closest to the system of nature, of cycles and of seasons. And more often than not, we are in the way of that and have been for way too long.

 

Urban Eve’s Life Giving List for March 2016

Music: Rihanna’s “Anti” album

Not only have I been listing to Rihanna sing about whiskey making her feel pretty and how Sex with her is so amazing for like three weeks but my husband listens to it as well. In fact last week we were playing Scattegories while listening to it on Apple TV and we had to pause before “Desperado” started because we wanted to sing along after we got down our list of words. LOL! Some songs sound like country, others like pop, and some are a mix classic 50s ballad music mixed with just drunkin fabulous mess. Who else does this?

Beauty: Dior Nail Polish in Pandore

My friend and co-worker are up in Sephora literally like every week polishing our nails. It is our therapy in and in many ways it keeps us sane and color trendy at the same time. I was changing my color every week until I found this one color I can’t not stop using. i haven’t changed my color in a few weeks now. I didn’t even want to add glitter to it and I want to add glitter to everything! LOL!

Pandore is this flaming hot vibrant color that is equal parts playful and sexy. I would describe the shade as closest to the color of poppies. Incidentally Rihanna is wearing the color on her nails on the image above but it shows up much brighter and bolder in morre direct light. I may have to buy it but with nail color as with movies I always face the same problem, that once I own it, I may never use or view it again.

Movies: Finding Vivian Maier 

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I have a fascination with disturbed artists (which ones are not? Haha!) and as a photographer I’d been wanting to see Finding Vivian Maier since it was released years ago but never was able to catch it. By chance I found it on Netflix about week ago. This European born woman who was a nanny for several New York families took thousands upon thousands of photos which she never printed or developed or intended to share. And her eye was amazing. I remember looking at her work which consisted primarily of candid street photography when it was first discovered and thinking there was no way she didn’t want someone to see these. But she didn’t. She was brilliant artistically. And she was very troubled. In high school, these were some of my favorite kinds of people. Now that I’m an adult I just learn what I can by observing from afar.

Food

As you know by now, I enjoy food I love with my entire body. My emotional attachment to food is very real. Last week my Sephora sis took me to a Japanese place in our midtown work area called Kobeyaki. She ordered a dish that I can’t remember and some cinnamon buns with Black Sesame dipping sauce. Black sesame flavor is one my favorite things ever. Before these damn cinnamon rolls, the Black Sesame Frappuchino at Zaiya Cafe was my instant happy maker for a couple of summers. But these cinnamon rolls are warm, and covered in sugar and the sweet Black Sesame sauce is cool and oooooooooohhhhhhh they’re soooooooo good together. I just close my eyes and let it all wash over me and through me and….They kind of remind me of Churros when you dip them in melted chocolate the way they’re supposed to be eaten. Awww man! Now I’m thinking about getting some after work and that is so unnecessary.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I skipped my Morning Ritual this Morning and it didn’t work out for me

As a woman there are those days in my cycle just a few days before menstruation where I’m just flat out of it. And this morning was one of those days. My 5am Morning Ritual alarm went off and I was going nowhere. Just nowhere. Even at 7am I still didn’t want to rise but I did. And I was annoyed at the white guy sitting next to me in the outside seat of a two-seater. I was annoyed even as I listened to music and played Color switch. A couple of times I just turned and burned a hole in the side of his face because he was moving around so damn much because apparently he needed his seat and a part of mine as well.

When I switched trains I pushed through a bunch of people, you know the ones who insist on crowding at the door when there’s a fucking sprawling emptiness in the center of the car? I said excuse me the whole time. I even said excuse, me can I get to the center of the car just so they would know why they were being shoved aside. And it took all my energy to recompose myself and not feel bad for doing that.

And then when I got to work, my supervisor tries me by asking a gentleman who I was in deep conversation with if we could do anything to help him! As if he was not employed (he is one of the primary mail carriers in the building,) as if he was a threat. And as if she had not seen me talking and laughing with him tens of times before at the reception desk over the last year!

That made me angry. But quickly and with a smile on my face I said to her “Oh we’re just talking.” And then turning to her with a smile ” What do you want?” She told me what she needed. I complied and went back to talking with my friend.

It takes so much for me to bury my reactions to what I know to be the the treatment of Black men as threats even in situations where they are submissive, kind, polite, compliant and well mannered. I see it happen all the time and it fucks with me. It gives me flashes of what slavery and post slavery must of been like and I experience pangs of post traumatic slavery syndrome that I really don’t want any part of but which I know I can no longer distance myself from. And my buffer is non-existent. I hate that I have to protect a Black mans right to be having a conversation with me. I hate that I have to pretend to be okay working with people who feel like their good intentions are enough to excuse the same morally ambiguous behavior that they themselves complain about. I know I cannot resolve this through anger. I know my emotions are running high because my cycle is generating those hormones that make me extra sensitive. So I take a moment to feel my feelings and then try to do something that makes me smile.

I will not be getting up late tomorrow though, I can tell you that much.

Gemini’s are whoever you catch them being at the time

“I am two people, one you know but don’t like,

the other one you don’t know,

but you don’t want to.

I have two faces,

One of which you know,

the other one

for your sake

I never will show.”

Morrissey (Gemini)

 

The two men in the image above are both Geminis. In the televised money drive for the victims of Hurricane Katrina in 2005, Mike Myers stuck to the script. Kanye did not. Based on Kanye’s live and unexpected revelation that Bush did not care about Black people, many of us thought that Kanye would continue to champion the rights of under served Blacks, poor, underprivileged, and otherwise but alas now we can only speculate that perhaps even then he was only trying to get the infamous attention that he is now known for, for shooting his mouth off about bullshit, reacting and self hating and egging on petty squabbles in the media.

Lauryn Hill, another Gemini artist who spoke to our hearts about self love, relationships, and heartache in “The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill” probably one of the greatest albums of a generation if not all time in my opinion was rumored to have had a nervous breakdown soon after the massive success of the album. I had sympathy. We all go through these things. I was like take all the time you need sis. She came out with some sad depressing tracks where she cried. Okay, sometimes you need to work out that depression through your art. Time went by. A spattering of clever of slightly disjointed tracks addressing injustice and “Consummerism” were released. Live shows were announced and for each one there have been reports of Lauryn showing up late if at all, playing weak, heartless sets and just generally never seeming to have her heart in the music at all. I held on as long as I could. I love some Lauryn Hill like you don’t even know but after awhile of hearing all this news about her just not showing and being rude to her fans when she did… I figure she’s not the same Lauryn Hill we used to know.

For better or worse, Geminis do that often when you think you know them best.

Prince, as talented, unique, prolific, and dynamic as he is, used to be a totally paranoid, narcissistic, controlling, cruel, asshole. Again, I have loved Prince forever, so I’ve done my research. Remember when no one could get to interview him ever? Remember when he would get upset if anyone made eye contact with him?

LMAO!!! That was my favorite.

And then Rolling Stone got the first interview and afterwards others followed and he let down his guard more and started to reveal some discoveries he was making about the nature of reality, namely that fame was an illusion. And we started to see a different Prince both in his music and in his life choices.

Then there’s Donald Drumpf or as you know him Donald Trump, another Gemini who is literally the personification of a yo-yo. He will say whatever he needs to at the moment to serve his needs not matter if he said the exact opposite on the record with equal conviction a few years ago. Sadly, I am familiar with his stereo typically Gemini display of two-facedness.

Then there is Kendrick Lamarr, a Gemini I have never seen before who I am watching closely and trying to not raise on any pedestals. He just busted out and created an album unlike any rap album I have ever heard before and his performance at this years Grammy’s was like an electrifying excerpt from a full length revolutionary stage play/musical. Like a Gemini comfortable in their skin, he wears his multiple caps proudly and displays his talent and dedication to the cause with unapologetic fearlessness and passion.

At our worst, Geminis are self serving, isolated, tyrannical, gossip mongers, who say one thing and do another, trust no one, and our only out for ourselves.

At our best, we are generous, understanding, creative, highly communicative, friendly, supportive, imaginative, adventurous, and self inventive.

We are two people, and when fully conscious we are on a journey to strike the perfect balance with one another so that we can serve our relationship with the world outside of our heads to the best of our ability. Sometimes we fail miserably to live up to the expectations people have of us based on who they thought we were. But Geminis are never just one type of person. You can know them forever and never get to see every face because sometimes even they are aware of how many facets they possess.

I can’t say that I will ever like a Gemini like Donald Trump but I do think I understand his behavior and the behavior of a lot of troubled Geminis more than I am proud to admit. While  I don’t think one should ever lose sight of anyone’s ability to evolve, I also respect the right of anyone dealing with a negative Gemini to just be like, okay I can’t roll with ya’ll two anymore. That’s enough. Lord knows I’ve had to do the same with Gems I’ve known more than once. But one thing a Gemini can always do is surprise you. Whether or not that element of surprise is enough to turn the tide is sometimes also a mystery.