About Me

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Philadelphia, PA, United States
I suck at bios. Am horrible at telling interesting things about myself without embarassing myself at the same time. So I stick to the basics: My mind is forever active; always thinking and asking questions. I enjoy reading. Love writing. But if it were up to me, I'd love for a lifetime because love, is an animal that as untamed as it is, it's perfect.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

The {every-year} Holiday Battle

Holidays with my family are always full of good times and the laughter of children. And of course, good great food. If you ask me, no one's cooking could ever rival my mother's. Which is why I was so excited this past New Year as we ushered in 2010 when I cooked cabbage for the first time and it tasted just like my mother's. Women, I believe, spend our lives trying to perfect our cooking to taste just like Mom's. My next task: the baked mac and cheese (my brother and I return home everytime she cooks it.)

But off of the topic of food.

As joyous and exciting as the holidays are, they're also secretly saddening. It's during these times we look back and reflect on the lives that we wish were present physically, and not just spiritually, or in memory. It's during this time of the year, that I get particularly sad about my grandfather, my Bay-Bay, no longer being with me. I can't speak his name, or think back to then, or what could have been for now, without becoming flustered and teary-eyed, voice crackling, and tears eventually falling. There's never been a man I've adored or loved as much as him. No man's memory has ever bought tears to my eyes but his so easily. His smile and laughter, his denim blue hat and staple white button up shirt, tucked into the waist of his pants and it sat snug over his protruding belly - are missed more than I could possibly express in words or in actions.

I was 9 when he passed. He died of a massive heart attack, and from what I'd been told, on the steps of a friend. He was and has always been my favorite man. And it's because of this, my mother, step-father, and the rest of the family, had chosen as a collective, not to tell me about his passing until after the service. Until after the logistics had been taken care of. I've always felt some type of way about that collective decision, because I'd never been given the chance, the opportunity to say good-bye. Granted I've said and say it in my dreams, whisper it to the skies above when I think about him, and when the tears fall so easily down my cheeks - it's just not the same.

It's due to his death that writing became my safe haven; the safest place on earth. But it's also due to his death in particular that holidays just aren't the same. Nor are birthdays. Or graduations. Or life-altering moments like the birth of my now 2-year-old sister or when my Grandma had to have brain surgery, my elementary or high school graduations, acceptance into college, or when I moved into my own place. Granted, he's everpresent because that's just how Bay-Bay is, it's never been the same.

As a child, I recall sitting on his back while we watched Star Trek or V (he loved Sci-fi flicks, and I've never been able to watch them since) while I dolled his hair up with barrettes and ballies. We'd take random trips to the ice cream parlor on Ridge Avenue. He'd let me help him clean out his white van with the burgandy interior. Or, he'd just sit, with me on his lap. It's because of him I fell in love with Red Lobster's cheddar bay biscuits and with Red Lobster in general. He was my Bay-Bay, and I was his Nurl-Nurl (and forever will be).

Courtesy of he and my Grandmother, I was spoiled, rotten, and there wasn't much of anything to do about it. The first grand, the first girl, I was lavished with gifts and candy, movies and late nights watching sci-fi flics with my favorite, main man. My squeaky cackle and his rolling, bellowing laughter always filled up whatever room we were in. My mother always says to me "Just imagine how much more spoiled you'd be if he were here". Unfortunately, just like we don't know how many licks it takes to get to the center of tootsie pop, the world may never know the full extent of my spoiled rotteness. From birth, when doctors deemed my life to be over before it had even began, this man, held and nurtured me from birth, daily. There was never a day that his love was not shown.

I was a little girl being shown what love was all about. What it felt and sound like. Was being taught as a child that when love is gone, however it departs, there's no replacing the void left behind.

It's been 14 years.
And holidays, life has never been the same.
That void, that hole in my heart has never scabbed over to heal.

As children, we're taught "I Love You" as a part of speech. But we don't understand the action, the feat, what it looks and feels like until later in life. And if we're lucky enough, someone pivotal enough, important enough, loving enough, like my Bay-Bay teaches it to us in simplistic ways that are easily digested for us as children. And as we age, it becomes clearer to us just what they were teaching us. And that's what hurts the most: we've known love since before our birth, but somewhere between that first breath and adulthood, we lose or have lost the language of love.

Lucky me, I had a man who as big, black, and chunky as he was, taught me just what love was and what love is so that as an adult, I could understand it, I could digest it just as easily as I had when he let me style his coily, soft black hair or say his nickname for me: Nurl Nurl. That, is love.

Lucky me, from birth to age 9, and even now at 23, that man to whom I hold so dearly and so tightly to my heart and my memories, loved and loves me the way love is supposed to be done.

So while you stuff your face this holiday season with turkey, stuffing, and baked mac and cheese, sweet potatoe pie, cheesecake, and egg nog, realize, that this is all about love and nothing else. While death is promised, life isn't guaranteed, LOVE, sits cradled somewhere between the two - and it's up to us, to recognize it, and be willing to share it with another.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Letter to a 2 Year Old Me

Little Girl, Little Brown Girl-

What to say to you, I have not a clue as I'm still figuring this thing called life out myself. What are the facts of life and how will they benefit or hinder you? Wish I could tell you. But, your life will be one that when you look back on it, you'll be satisfied with the strides you've made.

There's much for you to discover and anticipate in this life. The journey though, is and will be rough and rugged; it's parched and dry. But you will learn that nothing is given to anyone who doesn't want to earn it. Who doesn't want to work hard and effortlessly. Not to spill the beans, but you'll grow into a hard-working woman who's tone and demeanor is endearing and passionate. People will gravitate to you because your smile is soft and gentle, it glides across your face with ease, and comforts the troubled spirits of many.

You've been born into a situation that you have no control over, but you, being the little girl you are, and the woman you'll  grow into will make the best and better of it. You will use it not as a crutch, but as a stepping stone. Your current situation, are the bootstraps that you'll pull up tightly and hold onto as a woman.

You're mother, to many right now, is a little girl herself. But to you, she's the world. And she'll always be that to you. Like the relationships of most mothers and their daughters, the two of you will go through rough patches, but only because a mother's love has no limits and because a child has to figure out who they are. Your love for her, limitless. You'll inherit many of her traits and take on her personality. Her laugh will become your own. Her sarcasm, willingness to lend a hand to those in need, and "pull no punches" attitude, will all wrap themselves around you to become yours.

Your favorite color will be purple. Your truest and best friends will be girls named Ashley, Brittany, and Deahna. It's from these women you'll learn the meaning of friendship. With them, you'll go through life knowing you're not going through it alone. The four of you together, will learn to love and nurture what it means to be women.

You're an artist. A writer to be more specific. You're a Pisces too, so the arts is something that's ingrained in your identity.  This, will be one of your greatest accomplishments. This, is the outlet that you carve and make for yourself. It is the place you go to in order to escape. It is a trait, a practice that will allow for you to understand the complexities of life.

I don't have all of the answers for you. I can't tell you what things you should and shouldn't do, but, do what makes you happy. I know this is I'm sure years too late, but it's best to do what makes your heart content - I've watched you spend years trying, attempting to make others happy before taking yourself into consideration first. But, that's life: it's about nothing else but learning how to make it and yourself better.

I speak to you candidly now because I've been where you're going. But there are places that we'll visit and things we'll experience together.  Life you will learn, is full of roller coasters and when they come, my best advice to you is to buckle down and face them head on with eyes wide open because there's nothing in life that you ever want to say you've missed out on. Have fun, because you only have one time to do this. Life is no dress rehearsal, no do-overs, or repeats.

I feel like this is nothing but a collection of cliches and quotes from famous and unfamous people. But it's not. It's all original. And new. This, is for you and for all of the little girls who will come after you. This is to tell you that though you'll worry yourself crazy because life is going to stress you, there's nothing to stress about. As you get older, you'll garner a relationship with God and strengthen your faith that will allow for you to weather any storm. You'll learn and come to understand the power of prayer. The importance in patience. You'll learn that it is OK to put yourself first.

I apologize to you now for putting others before you. And for holding grudges that weren't worth holding onto. I apologize for learning what it means to forgive later than I probably should. I tell you these things now because things may have turn out differently for you, for me, had you been given these facts of life earlier. But you'll learn that life is about learning. Every waking moment is a chance to learn more and be better.

I'll tell you though, there's a little girl you'll meet in about 20 years who will teach you just how beautiful life is. And she, is the inspiration for this. She is the little girl who's made it easier for me to not only to look back to then, but to look forward to and anticipate what's to come.

Live your life because God gave it to you for a reason.

Love always,