“The spirit of God has made me, and the breath of the Almighty has given me life”. Job 33:4
There is nothing more precious and delicate than a life. Our breath is one of the greatest gifts that God bestows on us, the first and the last breaths are the most important ones we will take. We are celebratory at the birth of new babies, at the newness of it and the promise that life holds. However, as it begins so shall it also end; and death is seldom celebrated. More often than not it is mournful and painful. I can understand why. We mourn for the end of a relationship that can no longer be continued, fixed, remedied, nurtured and enjoyed. Its abrupt nature leaves us grasping for comfort outside of the memories we hold. If it is sudden or due to something beyond our control, we feel as though this person has been ripped from us and we were unable to process or prepare for this transition. Grief is a personal process, no two grieving processes look the same. A few days ago, I saw a post online that said and I am paraphrasing her…instead of asking why this is happening to me, as yourself what is it trying to teach me.
On December 15th at 12:45, my mom took her last breath. She was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer on September 3rd and the disease was aggressive and took her quickly. I am struggling with her passing. I don’t even think if I am being honest with myself that I believe it’s real. When I try to wrap my head around it, is when I break down. Today I am asking myself what is this experience trying to teach me? Cliché as it may sound…life is so fucking short. Logically speaking, we know our parents will no longer be around but then it happens it’s a hard ass smack in the face.
What am I doing with this one precious life that I have???? That is the question and the answer. This year for me is about living my best life, the life my mommy would have wanted me to live. I can get bogged down in how I feel and my anger or sadness about trivial matters and since my mom has passed all of that has fallen away. All of a sudden, I have a new purpose and mission for my life. Old goals have resurfaced and my focus is near clearer than it has been in a long time. My mother’s death has taught me, to do everything in the time that I have and not to take for granted each day that I have been gifted, to chase my goals, share the gifts that I have, love fiercely those who I love and never for a moment allow them to think that that I don’t love them, take risks, see the world, eat and be well, don’t succumb and get bogged down in lower feelings, they come and go and some of them are my own fears creeping up around me but to always push through.
I will forever mourn the loss of my mother but I choose at this time to hold onto the valuable things she left me with.
I purchased my journals for 2018 and got them in the mail today. I’m so in love with them. Shinola Detroit had free engraving and I believe free shipping for the holiday season. I had to have them engraved because… who doesn’t like personalization. The pages are lined and thick so when I go ham between the pages with colored markers it doesn’t seep through to the next page. Which is such a major plus to me. I like to write in color, staple, paste all sorts of things in my journal and the pages hold up so well. And then, for me the hand written thank you note….ahh the devil is in the details. I have had a few colors and these two are my favorite thus far.
My first Shinola journal, I purchased from a shop located close to my job and when I went back to purchase a new one, I was speaking to the clerk and he told me that he had a friend whose father had passed and his father had kept a journal before he was even conceived. When his father passed passed he read through all the journals. His father had chronicled 30+ years of his life, taking the time to write something each and every day, even if nothing spectacular happened. He noted it. He was able to see all the things his father went through, and their similar struggles and got lessons from his father even though he was no longer around. There is something so priceless and special about that. A written word is infinite and holds such weight especially to those who are bare and transparent between those pages.
I have been pouring myself onto the pages of my journal these days. More now than ever before and it feels good to look back and see all the things that have happened, challenges I have worked through and truths about myself….and the work I have been putting in. It makes me proud of myself, that I am always striving to be the best version of myself. Even if its not always in ways that can be quantified and qualified to the outside world. I have been working on my interior, the part of me that counts the most. And at the closing of this year I can honestly say, I am strong as fuck.
How do you journal? What do you write about? What do you explore? Chronicle?
I have been thinking a lot about sharing my writing, experimenting with form and content and playing with different methods of writing and sharing it. EEK the scare of it all. I have content that I want to share and ideas I would like to discuss and I want to be extra and add some flair to it. I am working on character profiles, on the idea of slipping into the mind of my character and speaking as though I was them. It helps me understand the character I am creating, their motivations and attitude towards life and then subsequently what action they would take. I am writing character sketches. I want to discover a character that I fall in love with and will want to weave into my work. How to describe them through actions as opposed to words and when and how to use those words when necessary.
Tonight, I feel like electricity is running through my veins; hot and bright it was zipping around and setting my skin on fire. There was a warm swirling feeling of air in my belly and I felt the energy of the eclipse all around me. The air was palpable, taut, familiar and comforting like a cloud lifting me to places I dreamt of. Where the dreams that live inside are peeking out into the sunlight and bursting with the fullness of wanting to share this journey called life. It was as if a doorway had creaked open silently and slipped shut as though something or someone had slid through and stepped out into the light. It is an awakening, the flames that lay inside smoldering but kept low by the winds of changing priorities and life but are always in the front of the back of my mind and were ignited. Today reminds me of how miniscule I truly am watching the moon blocking the earth from the sun. We are suspended in air floating in the ether grounded but yet soaring free and as a result I should mimic the earth and be in constant motion ebbing and flowing as well. Life is about movement and progression.
Painting was something that I loved to do. On the weekends, the easel would call my name, drawing me out late into the night and I wouldn’t retire until the sun dawned the sky. During real life, I have a 9 to 5 and it takes up all of my days, sapping my energy and not allowing me to commit time to the art that I love. The energy builds up within me and I feel the rush and the desire to breathe life into something because it breathes life into me. There is no greater feeling than to start with a blank easel and create something from the first line to the last dash of color. It’s never perfect enough, it could always be a little bit better, but when it’s done you can feel it. A slight feeling of gentle satisfaction. I started with my home, an old refurbish school bus whose appearance from the outside belies its size inside. I painted her green, purple, yellow and blues, radiant and dancing along the side. She dances with energy and spirit and it is a representation of me, my spirit and my energy in motion and tonight because I am moving, I parked my magic school bus for a while to sink into the energy alive around me.
My lesson this week is to get out of my own way. In one way or another this message has been presenting itself to me and it has been resonating with me on so many levels. I tend to be in my head about a lot of things. Thinking of different ideas and artistic endeavors that for the large part remain untapped or unexplored for varying reasons. The major reason, I am ashamed to admit is fear. Somewhere in the back of my head, I am fearful that my creation or expression will not be received in the right way or that I will be revealing too much of myself and my private nature cringes at the thought. I have been working through some content in my head, but for the large part it has been in my head. Which needs to change. It’s about to be a journey down the rabbit hole my friends; with with many twists and turns and seemingly unrelated topics, might just be plain random at times but there is a point somewhere.
I have been in contemplation about life. What motivates me? What do I want and need in my life? What makes me happy? What makes me sad? My mind constantly going over my life and putting events into perspective. What do they all mean to me at this stage in my growth process? My wheels are decidedly turning and I can feel a shift in my life…call it maturity, call it growth…but I am curious to know how many people ponder on these things and what their outlook is.
I have recently rekindled my interests in one of my old passions. I used to crochet all the time and last week I picked up a needle again. Only to discover to my chagrin that I have forgotten everything! I was trying to work on an a pattern and I could remember simple stitches and how to read the damned thing I was so frustrated. I have a huge basket of yarn and I wanted to make my niece a blanket but felt like I was floundering. So I decided to go back to basics. Go back to practicing my stitches and then building back up to reading patterns and give myself some patterns to work on. So for the moment I have shelved the blanket and I will going to find a stitch pattern I like better to do her blanket with. Also I have a friend who is having a baby in the summer and I want to do a couple of things for her. Last night I did two swatches, simple and easy. I did single stitch and a double stitch. I will do triple stitch and I want to do a stitch that has some nice texture to it, haven’t decided yet and then do a granny square pattern (fingers crossed)
There are so many things that I can complain about. I am not where I want to be in a few areas in my life but I have to be grateful for the things that I do have. I met with my writing group last night and they are one of the biggest joys in my life. We are literally the UN of writing, various cultures and backgrounds but we click on so many levels, meeting with them is like medicine. No matter where I am mentally, emotionally when I leave them my energy has shifted and I feel renewed. It feels good to be a part of a community of writers who go beyond just the writing and are legitimate friends. If I am being honest, I am surrounded at this point in my life with people who want the best for me and vice versa. I have nothing but an abundance of love and support and people who are encouraging me to work towards being my best self. That was not always the case and it feels amazing.
Reminds of a a text I once read: Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 (NIV)
9 Two are better than one,
because they have a good return for their labor:
10 If either of them falls down,
one can help the other up.
But pity anyone who falls
and has no one to help them up.
11 Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm.
But how can one keep warm alone?
12 Though one may be overpowered,
two can defend themselves.
A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.
So my mood today is grateful. What or who are you grateful for today?
I got my first rejection letter yesterday and of all the things to feel, I felt excitement. I usually write for myself and I am very sensitive about my work so I rarely share it with anyone. This year I decided that I was going to submit work to writing and essay contests and put myself out there and I submitted a piece to Creative Nonfiction. The topic was “The Dialogue between Science and Religion. I enjoyed writing it and I bummed it wasn’t chosen but it has sparked an interest in me to keep going. You lose 100% of the chances you don’t take as the saying goes, so I’m gonna shoot my shot!