on traditions: fakedeep express

this Christmas wasn’t at all like the others.

for the first time, my family stayed in and we spent the day resting. we ate breakfast for dinner and did our annual screening of the Polar Express, except this time we managed to drag my dad into watching with us even though he’s not a movie type of guy. i knew this time would be a different experience because my parents love to make commentary throughout movies. and it was hilarious. it had only been about 3 minutes when my dad asked “what kind of animation is this? It looks like a hybrid with real people.” we laughed and hushed him and told him to pay attention.
halfway through the movie, my mom asked us why we like this movie so much and i didn’t know how to answer other than that it’s tradition and it wouldn’t be Christmas if we didn’t watch it. this was about the 5th year my siblings and i were watching this movie as part of our tradition, yet this time we decided to pay close attention to try to catch things we may not have noticed before. and boy were we catching them. maybe it’s because i’ve become more of a critical thinker since being in college, but while watching it dawned on me that there has to be a deeper meaning behind this movie because it’s lowkey a little bland and it’s appeal for me comes mostly from the beautiful visual art and the smell of the hot chocolate we always drink while watching.
so we decided to put on our fakedeep thinking caps and tried to decipher what each character and scene symbolized. by the end of the movie, we’d come up with a masterpiece analysis. we concluded that the Polar Express train represents a spiritual journey on which you discover more about yourself and the journey on the way to believing. the conductor could be Jesus because he recruited the passengers on board through giving them the power to choose whether they wanted to join or not. at the destination, which is where the main character finally believes, the other passengers receive tickets on which there is a single word which represents their true gift — we took this to resemble the spiritual gifts you receive as a believer. it took us longer to figure out what was going on with the weird ghost on the roof of the train, but G thought he was suppose to be the holy spirit since he saved them every time someone was about to fall off the train. but i personally think it wasn’t executed well if that is true. maybe i’ll figure it out next Christmas lol.
while we did the dishes, my mom asked us whether we still planned to continue with our tradition now that we have deciphered the movie. and we looked at her like she was crazy and responded “but of course!”

e.

Self-Care

Philip Moss

For me

Self-care is curling up into a ball and allowing myself to cry

Self-care is listening to Bossa Nova

Self-care is buying myself an Orange Fanta even when I know that it’s not healthy

Self-care is dancing

Self-care is remembering that my family loves me and is proud of me

Self-care is getting under a blanket

Self-care is petting a dog that probably doesn’t know English

Self-care is talking to friends

Self-care is calling my mom

Self-care is taking a Friday night for myself

Self-care is calling my dad

Self-care is praise dancing in bus seat on the way to Potosí, because I didn’t know how else to talk to God in that moment

Self-care is singing Gospel songs

Self-care is reading my Bible

Self-care is being silent and making time to be alone

Self-care is watching “A Different World” or “Al fondo hay sitio”

Self-care is taking a…

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on love and logic

if you asked me what love is about 5 years ago i’d have told you something along the lines of it’s that feeling you get in your stomach when you lock eyes with that person who you’ve been getting to know. i’d have told you testimonies of a warm flood in my veins and a fluttering heart beat. i’d have told you it’s a mutual feeling.

if you asked me what love is about 2 years ago when i was in my first year of college, i may have answered with a laugh, giggled at your obsession over something that may or may not exist because we live in socially constructed realities, i may have pulled out my philosophy text book and flipped to the index to find the word love.

if you asked me what love is a year ago, i’d have asked you to be more specific. which kind of love? capital L or lower case? i would have asked you its root word, its origin, asked you to use it in a sentence because love is not one thing but everything. i’d have told you love is contextual.

if you ask me what love is right now, i’ll tell you it is seeing with your heart. it’s replacing your eyes with mirrors and seeing your self in them. it is a verb. synonymous with choice. it is an adjective. synonymous with unconditional. it is a noun. God.

e.

on the healing properties of music: my seat at the table

let it be known that on september thirtieth of the year twenty sixteen, Solange Knowles dropped an album that resurrected my faith in the healing powers of music. in the last couple of weeks i almost reached my breaking point of balancing being a student and being in pain about what’s going on not only around the world but in my own backyard in Charlotte with police brutality and the ignorance of those who refuse to wake up and acknowledge a broken system that perpetuates the cycle of white supremacy and hate. let it be known that my weary heart was hugged by the soft tunes of her voice which sung lullabies of peace and self love and revolution. each song sounded like the manuscript of my thoughts and feelings. she evoked how we try to absolve our pain in Cranes in the Sky and affirmed my crown in Don’t Touch My Hair. she talked about gentrification in black neighborhoods in Where Do We Go and reclaimed ownership of our narratives and creative voice with For Us By Us. each interlude featured voices of people spreading black positivity and truth and straight up bars on the current issues of today through their lens. the overall album theme of reclaiming our selves and protecting our spaces and spirits in a world which tries to leech our joy is one that i don’t feel is present enough in art and i am grateful. thank you Solange for welcoming me so gracefully to have a seat at the table and for serving me pure conscious lyricism on a platter of beautiful instrumentals and breathtaking vocals.

sincerely,

your biggest fan and spirit animal,
e.

on coincidences: milk

i don’t believe in coincidences so i’m going to write them down for those aha moments that will surely surface for why these things repeated themselves.

so i was browsing the web and i saw an image of a mother who was breasfeeding her child who has a full set of teeth. As I read the comments section, there was a whole debate on the mother having agency to do what she pleases and feels best, and the other side was worried for the effect it would have on the child’s development and future because the child was too grown to be breastfeeding. one guy brought up that the child has reached the age where memories become concrete and that a boatload of problems will arise with that remembering when the child is older. the mother had a caption detailing the benefits of breastfeeding for the child. some of the facts were that it gives the best nutrients and the physical touch regulates bodily temperature and blood pressure and reduces stress and depression in mothers post-birth.
that same day as i was reading my favorite blog, i found an interesting blog under ‘similar blogs’. so i started reading some of her posts, which were mostly about motherhood. to my surprise, she wrote about how she was having challenges when it came to the weaning of her child. she’d tried different methods and nothing seemed to work to get the child to stop being needy.
whoa.. right?
but that’s not all.
later that evening i decided to stop procrastinating to do my research project on black women in 18th century England colonies for my Blacks in British North America course. i remember getting frustrated as i used every advanced search option possible to find a woman that had enough information about her to use as my subject (a task that has proven to be much more difficult to achieve since black women in those times were mostly slaves and didn’t have the privilege of writing their own narratives so a lot of their stories were what we can gather from the writing of white males.) and that was when i stumbled across an article that discussed the practice of extended breast-feeding among black women slaves as a form of resistance to field labor because the rule was that they were permitted breaks to tend to their young. so these women would often breastfeed for as long as they could, sometimes even past 19 months. they also used this as a fertility suppressant form of birth control since they were perpetually subject to rape by their white masters. as i kept reading, i learned that extended breastfeeding wasn’t merely for resistance, and that it was first drawn from cultural norms in African countries.
it’s wild to me that this theme repeated itself to me so many times in the same day. in the first scenario, the mother was embracing the extended breastfeeding. in the second, the mother was trying to make the child stop breastfeeding. in the third, the mother was using breastfeeding as protection. i can’t help but think of this from a spiritual lens. perhaps there’s a message in there somewhere. perhaps we can figure out this coded message together.

what are your thoughts?

e.

an honest prayer

dear lord it’s 3:46 am and i miss you. i know i haven’t talked to you in a while and i feel like that fake friend that only waves at you sometimes but is quick to ask for something when i need it. earlier this week in class i know you were watching when my professor asked the class to make a list of 10 descriptions of our identity all beginning with “i am” and i wonder if you were as astonished as i was that i did not mention that i am your child. i wonder if you sighed a little that that wasn’t the first thing on my list and that that wasn’t the first thing on any of the people around me’s lists. the topic of the day was whether who we are is mostly shaped by our culture or whether we are simply who we are even if we were taken out of the context of this culture. my response was that i am naturally made up of the culture in which i am a part of. in hindsight i realize that my response is equivalent to saying that i am of the world. dear lord i know that you did not call on me to be of this world and that as your chilld i am not suppose to be living by the standards of this world but by your standard of love and fellowship. i don’t know where to start in getting to know you again. i wasn’t even aware that i had allowed my surroundings and busy environment to drown out your voice. teach me to hear your voice again and to know the difference between your voice and my voice. teach me to trust in you. immerse me in your presence and anchor me to your word even when everything around me tells me you’re a concept rather than an ever present force. dear lord it’s 3:46 am and i miss you but i know you’ve been here the whole time.

e.

on where i’m from

i am from
where the sun loves the earth so deeply
our skin glistens a hue of its rays mixed with melanin

i am from
where the glass is half full
yet if your glass was empty
i’d give you my last half.

i am from
read your bible
it will cure your depression
i am from
yea though i walk through the valley of the shadow of death
he restoreth my sole.

i am from
a womb that housed
3 bodies,
i am from
the folds of stretched skin etched with love
i am from
a mom that prays for me
more than she prays for herself.

e.

on being back: triple consciousness

“you know that isn’t going to do anything here, right?”
i stared down at the white letters on my black shirt that read “NO JUSTICE NO PEACE.” it was the day following the murder of Alston Sterling by police officers in Baton Rouge. when i heard the news the night before, i retreated into a state of silence. the usual question “again?” didn’t touch my lips. i was simply quiet. and i slept in hopes of escaping. i slept not because i was tired but because i felt the weight of a thousand pounds on my heart.

it was different this time. it felt different this time around that i wasn’t in the midst of the turmoil. Continue reading