I just want to live in this moment.
Sitting on the floor of my Spiritual Mother’s home between the legs of this magnificent human being that I love while they oil, part and cornrow my hair.
They know the history in this hair
They know being yanked around by mothers on Sundays
They know the sound of grease and heat
They know the tests and trials and trying to tame something that should just be free
They know the secrets of how to pave pale roads from my forehead to the nape of my neck
Just like anyone that got passed the knowledge
But they are not just anyone so they touch it with same tenderness they touch my face with
The same sweetness they touch my heart with
They know that what others see as disastrous territory is actually sacred ground
I now get to add this story to my Black hairstory
Before it was the sucking of teeth, Trinity Broadcast Network and being told my head was too big, my hair too thick, my hair too much
Me too much? The child thinks
Not too much. I now know
Not too much tho very much loved
Had a friend
A gay man of color who came from a middle class family, made good money.
When Trump was elected he told me I was being silly for my fears He told me I was being over-emotional, the things I and other people were saying were not going to happen.
I’m horrified that we
Those who took to the streets
Those who started planning
Those who rushed to government offices
Those who broke in night and the weeks after are right.
I cut this man from my life on all avenues of contact.
I’m thinking of him now what his face looks like, what he feels if anything as these people and countless others are dead because of murderers getting fueled up under a false and blood-soaked banner of nationalism they call patriotism.
The white supremacist with the gun
The white supremacist with the bombs
The white supremacist who is your doctor
The white supremacist who is your lover
The white supremacist who is your teacher
The white supremacist who is your manager
The white supremacist who is your neighborhood officer
Killing you in literal ways quickly and slowly.
The entitlement of the white supremacist to our bodies, to our knowledge, to our history, to our lives
The white supremacist who expects to be met, told and taught about their present-day and historical impact by marginalized people with gentle smiles and open arms and love.
You’d be surprised how violent acts can be committed with a heart full to bursting of love.
I have a heart that has been broken by this, by the weeks and months before, by Tamir Rice and Sandra Bland, by rocks thrown at my head at a football game for being on the “wrong side”, from being denied access to a sleep over in kindergarten because of the color of my skin by the mother of a friend who was also the school’s counselor…
A heart so broken, enlarged by the size of it’s scars
And full to bursting with a violent love.
A few months ago I yelled at my birth mother.
Not raise my voice yelling
Lost my shit yelling
We’re Black and Southern and raised in the church and debutantes.
We don’t yell
We’ll Jenifer Jeanette Lewis each other to death but we don’t do yelling
I remember being simultaneously horrified and relieved. We said some pretty rancid and in hindsight hilarious things to each other.
I remember screaming “I’m so angry. We need space. This is just a moment mother. I love you Mommy Dearest but I’m taking my inner child and we’re leaving this conversation!” 24 hours later we were hella southern civil with each other even though it took weeks for us to come to center again.
As I seethed for a solid month I vowed to never be so idealistic again with her (that didn’t last 😂) I held tight to the child she stung. I told her I was her fucking mother now.
This was the best thing to have ever happened.
It has allowed me a way to give myself the gentle nurturing my mother, our single black mothers working two jobs and dealing with systemic oppression and the church didn’t always have the space to give.
We chat now
This child I was and I
Today she tugged on my arm and said “Am I too sensitive?” The response came swift and easy
You’re also asking if you’re weak. If you’re too soft. You’re not weak and softness is not a bad thing. Consider that some people are fucking ass hats and cunt faces and that’s their cross to bear. Instead of being decent and doing change work these punk ass bitches will make you think you need to change.
Your sensitivity has given us access to compassion
It is a double edge sword and we bleed but we feel and we have joy even if all we can feel right now is sorrow.
Wield your sword child.
I’ll always be there to punch the people who fuck with you in the throat.
I love you.
I love me.
TW: Eating disorder
I live with an eating disorder.
I don’t talk about it because I’m not sure if I can keep my slap hand off of people who will inevitably respond “oh that’s why you’re fat”
Depending on the trigger I’ll either stop eating or won’t stop eating.
I’m struggling right now with the world but today I’m reminding myself that food can be medicine and I can think of it like medicine instead of good or bad or shame or congratulation points
I’m reminding myself of how smart my body is
I’m reminding myself to breathe before and after every bite
I’m reminding myself to taste the sun
I’m reminding myself to take in wholeness and not stuff down or silence grief sorrow or rage
I’m reminding myself that I get to feel the full range of emotion, that I don’t have to fear it or worry about being seen as less than because I have it.
I’m here in it.
And I’ll be here after it.
I can’t smell
It’s fucked up but I’m like that dog in “Lady and the Tramp”. Flowers and farts go unnoticed but I can smell important things
Not that flowers and farts aren’t necessarily important…
I can smell the dead
I can smell how they died or lived
I can smell when I need to stay somewhere or leave
I can smell connection
I’ve straight up fallen in love over the way someone hit my nose. My first crush was the approaching storm and dust being heated in sunbeams on an upright piano.
My first girlfriend bathed in Tommy Girl and Vanilla but under all that was carnival candy apples and black pepper
My ex, the big EX was a box being opened for the first time and for all of his awfulness a type of innocence. I imagine Peter Pan would have the same scent. Together we were coffee.
The expensive shit
Until it got bad
We became sour, mold and acid. I smelled like burning flesh without the sickly sweet
He never noticed the change
After that I stopped paying attention to my nose
Until last night
I couldn’t stop sniffing the air or touching places I forgot were there. Our hands, our lips sent up our scent like smoke for a prayer.
This aroma is sankofa.
I follow it back to a time when I regarded this body of mine as a sacred wonder and wanted nothing more than mutual worship with an other’s sacred wonder.
Then became now.
as we floated down a San Francisco street
our fingers twined like legs, a couple walked past us.
One of them turned his head for a moment to look at us. “Ya’ll smell so good!”
His boyfriend agreed.
I think we laughed
I think we said “that’s because we smell like each other”
I don’t know… I don’t remember if the words actually made it out. But I do know they were correct.
We smelled of new earth, a hatching egg, a spark, the first page in a fresh note book, sunrise orange and Lilith making love to herself.
A perfume that should be bottled and labeled “thank god” and “finally”
We smelled like hope
and depending on your demographic
I was raised in your voice
Precious Lord on the ride to church while I tugged at itchy crinoline and tried not to mess the perfect plaits my mother made
Feet swinging off the floor in spinning salon chairs while Ms Reed scratched out my scalp… humming Until You Come Back to Me right into my head
We thought we were so cute
Angeline, Erica and I in our pink turtle necks lip syncing Respect in the elementary school talent show
When we finally moved into a house with a shower I would open the window, lock the door (the only door mama would let me lock)and sing Natural Woman until my brother’s banging became unbearable.
I’d wipe the mist from the mirror and stand there wrapped in a towel pretending to be grown even though I couldn’t even fill my bra.
Someday I was going to be a Do Right Woman for a Do Right Man
Nearly a decade later I realized I was just a fool.
I was washing dishes in the sink after Christmas dinner and I kept singing
You told me to leave you alone
My daddy said come on home
My doctor said take it easy
My heart would start pining
My brain would start questioning
My pussy would start aching
and then I’d be dancing around the living room screaming Freedom! Freedom! Freedom! Freeeeeedom! with my new roomies pitbull
I eventually found myself and that freedom ontop of black go go boxes, under a red and blue Hard French banner, in a tight dress with a belly full of El Rio margarita dancing to Rock Steady
You will always be rock steady
a rock steady bridge over troubled water
Like on the day they shot up that church
Or the day that baby saw her father murder by the police
On the day they drug her from her car over a signal light
And the day they marched in Charlottesville
The days I lost hope
Your voice reminded me that a change is gonna come
Rest in power Black mother
mother to a million black babies who were raised and raised up in your voice
We salute you and add your name to the list of our Magnificent Mighty Dead.