I am not one to observe this historical/controversial holiday... however the energies that surround this season are of THANKS and for that I will always participate.
For surviving and living from one year to the next... I am thankful.
For visiting with and connecting with family... I am thankful.
For food, clothing, shelter... I am thankful.
Many may argue with me about this - but for my sanity... I am thankful.
For my friends... I am thankful.
So I wish you all a happy and wonderful season of THANKS!
Wednesday, November 18, 2009
The other day I was in the 99 cents store . The same aisle that has the stationery items (I love stationery) also has the junk food items. So I decided to purchase a bag of chips. Now I could have exercised self-control and bought nothing but I settled on a bag of crunchy cheese doodles. That is after I put back the bag of puffed cheese doodles because there are less puffy doodles in the same sized bag than in the crunchy and I gotta get the bang for my buck!
So then I started thinking about other areas in my life when I settle for the puffiness over the content... like settling for a vanilla coke when I know I need to drink water, eating a dark chocolate Hershey bar instead of biting into the apple I brought from home, buying clothes from the cheap stores when I can save my money and spend it on items that will last me longer than one season or settling for relationships that leave me lost, insecure and empty.
False Fillers... those things that fill you up for the moment but leave you wanting... False fillers make you think you've got more than you really do... making you think that the empty voids are full... false fillers will leave you always craving more, never satiated, never content. You know... a lot of the foods we eat contain fillers. They bulk up the food. However, most fillers have little to no nutritional value...
I'm gonna be honest here... this here job I'm in... it's a false filler. It is a break off from the initial position I applied for 2 years before and didn't get. It wasn't the title nor the money that I longed for. And I can count how many days I've been happy or content... so I know it's time for me to move on...
This past weekend, I had some "me" time and when I woke up on Saturday morning I felt suffocated by the things surrounding me. Books, clothes, papers... things... and I knew it was time to clear out. So along with my belongings that simply filled up my space, I decided it was time to purge my closets and my dresser drawers... how many different black sweaters can I put on at one time? And how many do I need to look beautiful or feel sexy?
And purging always makes me feel good... the act of the and result after. So now my home is open, airy and spacious... and my life...
Well I no longer indulge in alcohol... a glass of wine here or there... but I don't drown my sorrows... I eat more whole & healthier foods... I read books with content... I watch TV shows that are entertaining and they feed my mind... I buy items that are worth their value and my relationships - my friendships and my courtships - bring me pleasure and satisfaction. I no longer desire the fluff and now that I've tasted the real deal, false fillers are recognizable and avoidable...
Friday, November 13, 2009
Eating is one of my favorite past times. I love bowling and the movies, museums and poetry spots but it's a grand time when a cool restaurant is also part of the itinerary.
I love good food... everyone does. Some of us eat more than others and that's evident by our varied sizes. But I experience something euphoric when I eat... I always bless my food and especially when I prepare my own meal, it is a spiritual event.
I don't eat meat. Ok, let me say that from time to time I will have fish. While no one believes me at first sight because I'm undoubtedly slim and trim, LOL, it is true... I prefer veggies and carbohydrates over meat. I always did, which is what made my transition to pescaterian easy.
Other than meat, there is no food that I will restrict myself to or from. I love eating foods from different cuisines. Indian food is my fave. Chinese food of course! There's a Chinese restaurant on every other corner... Mediterranean, Ethiopian... whatever it may be, I am open.
Eating is an intimate act. From the blessing of the food, to the opening of the mouth or the blowing on the food, the chewing, digesting and my personal touch spilling the food or sauce on my clothing... it's intimate! So while I am careful of what I eat, I am also careful about who I eat with. There is something that's part of a meal that makes it even more enjoyable... Good company.
One time I went out with a couple of co-workers for lunch. We went to a local pizza place and I ordered 2 delicious slices. Unfortunately one of my annoying co-workers blabbered and made racially insensitive comments the entire time. I do not argue or get angry over food so I ate in silence and I cannot tell you what I ate to this day. But I will tell you this, I will never eat with or near her again.
My grandfather used to say, "Watch who you eat with because unpleasant company will leave you with indigestion"... or in my case a bad memory and a grudge. And it's true that good food is always better with good company. With good company I can be paranoid about how clean my utensils are and ask for straws with every glass of whatever I order. Lemon on the side please... With good company I can request salad dressing separately and mayonnaise for my french fries. Good company doesn't question me when I order a simple salad because the menu is full of meaty meals or suggest that I pluck the meat out... I tried that :-(... unfortunately. I can accept when my company says K, K... and I know that that means to look for and wipe up the spillage on my shirt. But what makes me happy is knowing I can relax and enjoy every morsel of my meal so that at its conclusion, I am content, not needing or wanting more...
Monday, November 9, 2009
Four years ago, I went on a women's retreat with my church and one of the exercises that we took part in entailed us sharing an experience or a story with another woman and at the end of our sharing, giving... entrusting our heart to that woman. The cut out heart had our names on it and 4 years later, I still have Renee's heart.
Renee is almost 20 years older than me. I don't have too many friends in their 50s and if it were not for the church and this spiritual exercise we probably would not have even crossed paths. We have nothing much in common, except our church affiliation. Actually, if I tell the truth, Renee is someone I would have avoided at all costs and shunned if she bothered me.
For years Renee abused drugs. On Sunday mornings I would see her shuffling through the streets surrounding the church. She looked terrible. She had no concerns for herself or her family. She is now far removed from where she's been.
I have a cousin who abused drugs for years who just last week graduated from his sobriety program. Me and my mother attended. He was dressed to the 9s in a brand new suit, fresh hair cut and new suede shoes. Sharp! He even spoke at his graduation. He spoke of how he ruined his life, how God saved him and how proud his mother would be if she could see him now. I proudly sat there with tears in my eyes thinking of my aunt and how she prayed for years while he was incarcerated or while her furniture, food and money was stolen. My aunt attended Abyssinian Baptist Church back when Adam Clayton Powell was pastor and those Harlem church ladies wore some big ole hats. My aunt had so many... hat boxes on top of hat boxes and each and every one of them... gone. But now my cousin no longer steals but blesses back. When he brought my ticket to me, there was a $100 bill along with it. I know he deeply regrets what he did while abusing drugs and this was his attempt to give back.
I sit and wonder sometime about my church involvement. Am I going through the motions or does this "thing" really have an effect on me? Am I maturing spiritually or am I the same ole woman with the same ole issues? The fact that Renee is more than someone I share the pew with but a sister whose heart I hold, means that I have grown.
This coming Friday Renee has paid for my ticket and I am attending a "Clean and Sober" party with her. Last week, Thursday, me, my cousin and my mama tore the dance floor up at his graduation. I am so very proud of these two people... my family. They are stronger, wiser, better individuals and I'm so glad that I am able to see their turnaround.
We didn't all walk into the church holy and righteous. We all have our vices, some are just more noticeable than others. I know a lot of people are haughty and arrogant about their churches and their spirituality but it's more than dressy suits, shoes and hats. It's more than speaking correctly and sitting upright, pristine. And what kind of place would the church be if nobody had an past life or any tests in order to have a testimony? Even those who don't attend a church... we can miss out on great people and wonderful experiences but shunning those who lives don't mimic our own.
Tuesday, November 3, 2009
My friend and I share a love of go-go music. When he came to NY for my birthday, he popped in a mixed CD and I fell in love with the go-go version of Beyonce's "Flaws and All". After I listened the song about 10 times, he turned to me and said, I think that's another one of our songs.
We have a list of songs... "Sweetest Taboo" by Sade, "Been So Long" by Anita Baker, "Silent Treatment" by The Roots, "Whatever You Want" by Tony, Toni Tone, "Without You" by Charlie Wilson and "Easy" by Lionel Ritchie... and each of those songs holds a special place for us.
A couple of weeks ago while watching Desperate Housewives, the episode when Lynette's breasts we're swelling from pregnancy and along with every man who came in contact with her, her husband was excited about her new look. But the truth is after the baby arrives her breasts will deflate and so she asks her husband why did he marry her knowing that he likes large breasts and her normal size comes up short. His response was he's glad that she doesn't normally have them or she'd be perfect (I'm paraphrasing here) and he needs her to have one flaw so that it's ok that he has so many.
So while my friend has attached this song to our connection... feeling for each other in spite of our shortcomings... "Flaws and All" is a personal song for me. For me, it means that I give myself a break for not being perfect, for being more emotional than rational at times, for my cellulite, my coarse and curly hair, for the corns on my pinkie toes, for not knowing everything and my memory lapses.
I know that God doesn't make any mistakes... he created me as I am... all of my perfect imperfections... So who am I to not understand, accept and love all of me... flaws and all...