“Owning our story can be hard but not nearly as difficult as spending our lives running from it. -Brené Brown

“Adulting is the persistent act of taking responsibility for one’s life.” My imagination uncovered this definition while procrastinating on my couch, preparing to enter a water-slide like parade of dark descending thoughts about how unproductive I’ve become. I was fascinated with adulthood and how my peers and I varied in the way we approached life. I am silly, goofy but on paper I am a responsible adult. I own adult-like things, I have an adult-like career, I travel and so on. So why didn’t I feel entirely like one?

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Revivals

Adulting

Adulting. It is not an age notifying the world when we can vote, drink, drive, have sex, rent a car or destroy our bodies with nicotine.

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Small things from Big things, Uncategorized

Going Through It with Jesse Williams

“You cannot control your own population by force, but it can be distracted by consumption.” Noam Chomsky

Going. Through. It.

A Syndrome?

These days, it seems simple to fall into a “woe is me” state of mind. People who are routinely unaware of their privilege love to Go Through It.  It is a syndrome of some sorts.  They (me included) love to wallow in the sunlight of their first world problems. What is Going Through It?  Going Through It, is a disease.  It spreads throughout your body and mind like weeds. It can be passed on through nurture, acquired from ill-chosen company or learned from watching too much reality TV and forgetting it’s not reality.  Going Through It is when your car breaks down the same day your mortgage is due and your toilet is usurping gallons of water causing your water bill to sky-rocket and your check didn’t come in the mail and you have family coming over from out of the country and you forgot to pay a small bill but now the past due surcharge doubled your bill and… and and all bullocks, bull-crap.  I like to repeat myself.  It’s an old habit that can stay.  Anyway, the aforementioned clusterf… of annoying things is all privileged stress.  A stress that only people fortunate enough to own cars, homes, have checks coming in the mail, have room in their place for visitors to stay experience.  I am not here to diminish any person’s strifes or my own. I want to place some perspective on the nature of some struggles. I’m writing this in attempts to begin to understand privilege in a world where Jesse Williams’ masterful acceptance speech on the 2016 BET Awards show highlighted how much value is placed on getting  “stuff”.  Let’s be clear that is not all he said I didn’t miss a beat, it is all I am touching on this month.

Lets take a look at what he said:

TalkingJW

Wait a minute; I’m talking now

“Now the thing is, though, all of us in here getting money – that alone isn’t gonna stop this. Alright, now dedicating our lives, dedicating our lives to getting money just to give it right back for someone’s brand on our body when we spent centuries praying with brands on our bodies, and now we pray to get paid for brands on our bodies.” Jesse Williams

 

Judging?

I don’t need statistics to see although we have high poverty and unemployment rates, (several) people in the United States have a strong need to collect large quantities of frivolous items. Is it to prove status? Or pseudo-stability? I don’t know why. Am I am being a little judgmental here? Hopefully, Im not. Surely don’t want to be.

So What’s the Link?

usconsume

buy, buy, buy and buy some more

How does this connect to the Going Through It Syndrome? Well, let’s see those of us who are consumers: What are we consuming for? What is the goal? What is the aim on the board? What do we need to consume less? Who or what entities benefit from mass consumption? And consequently who is at a disadvantage? Will less consumption help us Go Through It less? I find the more stuff or brands I have the more complicated life becomes and the more I fall victim to the Going Through It Syndrome . When I simplify  I allow myself to focus on more pressing matters like social injustice, climate change, completing blog entries on time and etc.

So maybe, the goal isn’t so much to not go through it, perhaps a component of my life’s journey is to go through it with purpose. A purpose that surpasses consumption.

“Privilege is not in and of itself bad; what matters is what we do with privilege.” bell hooks

Privileged,

TWD

 

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Working With The Seasons

“Just when I think I have learned the way to live, life changes.”

Hugh Prather

May Magic…Sometimes I have to write at the beginning of the month and other times the very end. Considering I haven’t been doing this for long, I’d say those times are undetermined thus, I have no idea what my preferred blogging pattern is. One thing I did notice this May are the changing temps in NYC. In one week, I wore tall boots with a raincoat, a light denim dress with some skips, sandals and a skirt then back to tall boots. Moody weather at it’s finest along with a moody moi in response to some meticulously-annoyingly-moody days.

Yes, there were days, I was on cloud 9 armed with life-affirming quotes and a positive attitude. Then there were those semi-bitter days where I’d step in gum with new footwear that was solely, meant to be worn in the car as in door-to-door service not sidewalk-stomping. That’s no big deal at all right? It does not merit the “everything happens for a reason” or “everything has it’s season” clichéd remarks we say during a crisis? But these little things kept happening and I was done, spent, worn-out, tired of it all!

MeanFran

Arghh! Must get through this… F-bomb F-bomb F-bomb

Again, the May seasons I experienced were not the big “oh my goodness” moments but instead they were the ones where- I missed the bus, caught the next one, believed I forgot my phone, went back home only to learn I had it on me all along, got to my destination late, my tardiness is frowned upon, I’m hungry but don’t have time or money to buy something and oh yeah, it wasn’t my phone I forgot it was my favorite breakfast bar, lunch and dessert; I finally make amends with the morning then a series of unfortunate events part two takes place in the afternoon-moment! That’s the season. The season of little things happen.

I own one too many books about dealing with life’s bigger issues such as tragedy, depression and sickness. Yet learning how to cope with the little things is what was missing from my arsenal. However, May had it ready to teach. Not to mention, balancing sleep, job, career (not the same), home repairs, relationships, and relaxation was not to far behind in the educative process. The seasons were encroaching on my style. Something had to change. I changed.

I did. Well a little. Rule #1: Change a little for little things! No, that’s not real I think. Don’t follow that rule. Don’t you dare do it. I did change. I am not sure how it happened. Somehow the end of April to the end of May created less time for me to brood. I stopped believing I could control the outcome of each day with preparation and discipline. Instead, I maintained order (preparation and discipline) and adopted the attitude entitled: Get through it smiling more, whining less.

So, I practiced quickly finding the good in the meticulously-annoyingly-moody days. Instead of contemplating getting off the grid and finding a cozy island to reside on for the rest of my life I searched for something good. Sometimes it’s like searching for a tiny clear button on the floor and sometimes it’s easier. I vow to keep looking.  That’s the magic. That’s my magic. It’s the trick behind being able to flow with the seasons. While simple it is not, it is worth a genuine and consistent effort.

“I have always been delighted at the prospect of a new day, a fresh try, one more start, with perhaps a bit of magic waiting somewhere behind the morning.”

J. B. Priestley

Note: This May blog arrived in June due to a mini-flood from the ceiling over a portion of  my living room right where I keep my laptop! Yes it was drenched. I was tested and passed. No freak-out, no tears. Onward…

 

Love & Change,

TWD

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Revivals

April lesson: Get Your Weight Up

Early April

Recently I found myself at an impasse. Yes, an impasse, also known as a mother-f’ing breaking point!  I received an email from a coworker detailing their frustration at recent changes that were made for an upcoming event.  This cohort of mine was livid.  This person could not understand how the plan, I guess… their plan not mine could not go on as scheduled. I suppose the fact that I create and direct the event has no meaning. Whatever right? I digress. Anyways…

I looked at the email and immediately gave a “what bih?” eye roll followed by a few other savory cuss words that make my heart smile. Mmhmm, so there’s no confusion, cuss words are savory, rich tasting verbal treats that excite all my active senses.  The heart-smile quickly transitioned into questions. Several questions: Who do you think you are? Why didn’t you speak to me in person instead of cc’ing the world and all the gods? What made you feel as if you had the right to address me with a domineering tone? Who gave you the green-light to be my boss? What made you confidently speak with confidence?

Not hurt. Shocked. Blinded. I couldn’t believe this person whose ineptitude I had covered for years had the gumption (gumption tickles my soul) to be upset. After rereading the turd-mail I let out a good:imgres-1

“Haaan!” in my French Montana voice. Not really but I try to imitate it; in my mind it sounds like him. Back to the email sender. Person, your assisting skills for ALL of these events have been first class bull-kaka for ALL the years and I cleaned it up.  I shined your shit/then added armor oil on it/Haaan (I secretly want to be a rapper, don’t judge me). Had your work sparkling like Cinderella’s slipper and Paul Wall grillz. And, AND, ANDDD, I allowed you to take credit for the clean-up in aisle 3!

snowhiteclean

Over here singing and scrubbing dirt with birds…

Who gave Snow White credit?

Mid-April

Ok, all right, what was I really mad at? An email? Weren’t my actions routine? Wasn’t I accustomed to allowing others to take credit? And consequently making space for the same credit-snatchers to believe I could be controlled or manipulated?  Yes I was. But why did it bother me now?

All the times I covered for folks are all the times I was not growing in my own craft but consistently making someone else look good.  Really, truly and seriously, the email was a gem dropped on my complacent lap. The gem said: Girl, get your weight up.*

Late April

So, so, so I learned: Protecting another’s ineptitudes only makes way for you to cover-up/hide your own.  Yes, I’m good at what I do. But according to my personal standards, I am not great, yet.  The theory I have:  I covered for my coworker not out of humility but necessity, survival.  I think, my subconscious decided on my ego’s behalf, if I don’t highlight the cohorts lack of efficiency no one would highlight mine.  It’s deeper than rap people.

While I see nothing wrong with upgrading my coworker’s efforts, that same passion was not placed into my own ambitions.  I was not refining my decisions, my work ethic, myself.  I was submitting the first draft as if it were absolutely the final. I was behaving subpar. Not below outsiders. Below the sites I envisioned.

April lesson: Get your weight up girl and get on the level you desire. And maybe those around me will be inspired to do the same.

“Don’t ask yourself what the world needs, ask yourself what makes you come alive. And then go and do that. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.”

Howard Washington Thurman

Alive

 

I am alive and full.

TWD

 

*Weight up: increase your worth*

 

 

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Figured it all out…for now

“Layer by layer I removed all I thought I was, all I thought I had to be in the moment…” Lenita Vangellis

Do you sometimes get an “I figured-it-all-out” moment after you’ve recovered from some major event like a heartache, tragedy, job-loss, stubbing your toe right after warning yourself to watch out for the couch’s leg?  No!?  That’s not you? Must be me right? Liar.

Well now honey bunnies, years and years and years ago, I was seeing a man who lied about everything but his place of residence.  BTW, I learned of his lies only after breaking-up with him. I broke ties over his lack of support for any goal I had that did not include him.  I realized my insistence on improving my life like going back to school -I mean!!!-triggered some sort of complex in him then boom, war! After the breakup I had all of these epiphanies about life, relationships, self-love blah blah blah. And I talked about them. All of them. All the time!  I was that chick as a little girl, full of insight but no real confidence to speak up until the split set me free. Yes, what I am saying is I have had the pleasure of being that person to come out of a bad break-up or huge humbling experience and read the first 20 pages of tons of self-help books on the floor of Barnes and Nobles with some whiskey in my water bottle to later share my findings. PhD level findings! LOL!  Like I was the authority, quoting quotes like some Young Vanzant, New Angelou or Baby Marianne Williamson in the making.  Seriously, my new knowledge granted me access to some high priestess world called: She Has Life Figured Out And She Will Help You Do The Same. Look, I saw myself as a walking living breathing app for that.

beendoingthis

Don’t look at me like that! I am not the only one who has survived life-changing experiences followed by fresh wisdom to share using old clichés. I was that baby that kept falling and finally figured out how to stay upright and spread the gospel to the crawling babies telling them we gon’ be alright. But ahem, clearing my arrogance, I lacked the  capacity to see there was always new information on the ship. The babies continuously replace the old with new science. But little ole me thought: Nope I now know what I need to know for the rest of my life.

Life can at times feel like some sort of arduous ongoing process of an I-figured-it all out attitude with each perceived milestone…tragedy…life-altering event. However, being present to right now and accepting I only know this thing these set of things right now because the next minute carries the next lesson the next experience the next epiphany is less work. So while I cant hit crontrol-Z or Apple-Z, for the pomme mafia, for my past know-it-all preaching, I am allowing space for what is to come. Yeah, I figured it out…for now. And now I know nothing…

“To be fully alive, fully human, and completely awake is to be continually thrown out of the nest.”
― Pema Chödrön

release_bird.gif

See you next time,

TWD

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Revivals

Formation: How Beyonce Revived the Deceased

I was dead.  Flatlined. No line. Believe it. Dead. Check the date of my first and last entry before this one. It was two years ago.  I wrote an introduction, a “Hello all, this is me” letter entitled: Third World Diva Part 1″. “The Haitian girl born in Canada and raised in Brooklyn” letter. The , “Im labeling this part 1 because there will most certainly be a part deux next month” letter. See, in my mind I had this all planned out: I’d submit a new topic each month to keep the verbose- witty-silly bitch in me satisfied. But then I died. I was creating in other ways but the talkative- I got a lot to say about a lot- chick died.  I gave up before putting in any effort past the first submission.  Not a quitter but didn’t finish the race.  Feel me?

Then, it happened.  On a random Saturday afternoon (random for me not for Bey) some spectacle entitled “Formation” (Dirty) by Beyonce appeared on my timeline and like any Black woman of my generation you obediently watched the video.  Then you watched again to process what you just witnessed.

Watch it here, again.

 

Mine Blown

The video rocked my brain.  My world shook, earthquake, seismic shifts took place in my toes.

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My toes twitched bitch.  I contacted my sister immediately.  She would do the same for me. We, the collective we, do not keep good information to ourselves people, we share, we must spread the gospel. How could you not call up a friend then another, then another and type endlessly on Twitter or FB about Formation?  I mean even Melissa Harris-Perry had a panel ready to discuss the Bey-Formation impact a day after the video dropped. Stop.  She was ready to discuss dissect reframe and be revived.  See people, even if you weren’t dead like me something in Formation woke you up, pushed you, motivated you, touched you made you FEEL.

The Slay Revival

Beyonce revived Messy Mya, New Orleans 11 years after HK, Trayvon and his hoodie a day after his would be 21st birthday, hot sauce in your bag, the Jackson family’s original noses,  a mini-documentary about Bounce music, Red Lobster, the magic found in the South, me and other closeted dead folks masquerading as woke. Spirits. She conjured the spirits.  Not only with the images of beautifully embedded New Orleans Voodoo deities but with the spirits in all of us to be bad asses, to be magnanimous to SLAY. She evoked something in me with the line, “I dream it, I work hard, I grind til I own it.”  I’m here writing this entry all owning my ish.  Catch me next month. I’m in formation.

Beyonce-Formation-Ride

TWD

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Uncategorized

Third Worldness in America Pt. 1

Welcome to Third World Diva. Diva? I sing so there’s that.

What is Third Worldness in America? It is being born in Montreal, Canada, raised in Brooklyn  and at home hearing three, sometimes four languages in a day. It is accents, spices only sold by old ladies on Nostrand Avenue, thinking in a different language and traditions that are hard to explain. Third Worldness is the lens from which I see the world.  But,  I am not Haitian. I am not American. I embody both.

The merger

With all my American schooling sometimes I still say, “I’m going to do the market” instead of “I’m going grocery shopping”. I love Haitian food except for fried chicken, leave it to the Americans.

But where is the golden crunch?

This is what I’m talking about.

But don’t mess with Haitian rice. It’s fail proof!

You know you want some.

Third Worldness, is like making a new smoothie everyday, I’m blending ingredients from two cultures while deciding what to keep and what to save for tomorrow.

Served hot.

TWD

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