The Sisterhood of Kenya

It had been a long week of work. My body was exhausted. I canceled the tree removal and lessons for the afternoon so I could rest. There was an African Pop Up Market that I desperately wanted to attend, but only if I was able to get myself together. The long hours of the days had certainly taken a toll on me. My bed engulfed me whole.
Traffic was bad. The weather was not helping. Parking was easy to find. I sauntered up to the 8th floor and there they were. Three lovely ladies from the Motherland; Kenya. These business women create crafts along with others in their group, and they travel here to sell them. I wanted to attend for so many reasons. Women from Africa represent a part of me that speaks to a strong ancestral connection. I imagined that they would have many stories about life to share. An international circle made itself present in my mind. They treated me like family. There was singing, laughter, and lots of fellowship. When I saw the jewelry that they created, and the fabrics that were brought….my creative side took over. I asked if I could take nude pictures with their crafts.
We went into another room so as not to be disturbed by the sole male member that traveled with them. You would think there were little girls playing on the playground. Different necklaces adorned my neck. Pose after pose simply flowed from my smaller frame. Wine and Italian appetizers soon appeared to complete the gathering. My Friday night gave me inspiration for my entire life. My heart was filled with joy and gratitude for the experience that was now a part of my memory.

Feminist Hope: Brief Reflection

After teaching my two hour bellydance workshop, my body felt completely empty. I treated myself to a ginger shot and slinked home in the hopes of eating before passing out. The type of work that I enjoy doing is helping women to discover themselves. When a woman presents herself and voices her insecurities, more often than not, I see her a more divine version that she is completely unaware of. A woman that knows herself and what she can do is a force to be reckoned with. Unfortunately, too many spew their shortcomings and endless complaints about predicaments that entangle them. It is easy to say cut the cord or walk away when it is not you in the middle of the storm. This is especially true because true change only happens when the individual decides that it is going to happen; not a minute before. Such a transformation is not easy and often affects each aspect of the human psyche: emotional, spiritual, physical, and mental. It is not uncommon to lose friends and gain new ones or even to go into a period of solitude.

The Final Curtain Call

Thursday, June 5, 2014
There I was wrestling with the idea of spending the evening at my parents’ home. My mother was alone in the house while my father was in the nursing home. She was spending all of her waking hours attending to him. I had the idea of spending the night with her; however, I wanted to stay in my home and enjoy my activities. It was late at night when I graced her porch with my presence. The sofa soon comforted my sleepiness.

Friday, June 6, 2014
After a nice breakfast with my mother, I headed into work to wrap up all affairs prior to going on vacation. Why I even joined a friend for breakfast part II at IHOP. I told her how I wanted to get some friends to go to the nursing home to perform with me for my dad. Soon after this conversation, my mother called to inform me that my father was unresponsive and was being rushed to Jackson South which was next door to the nursing home. I had just left her home and now faced the task of getting back to the same area with traffic. As I entered the room where a team was scurrying, there were tubes inside of him and his eyes were closed. I hated to see how he just hung there being as if he were being tossed about but it was my intent to stay right there and watch.
When I was born, I was taken from my mother due to placenta previa. My father had to wait and watch helplessly as my life was in limbo. Insurance companies refused to insure me, and I was not expected to live. He said that my godmother continued to tell him not to lose hope because God would pull me through; that scene took place 37yrs ago. It was with this in mind that I sat there and watched no matter the circumstances.
Family friends soon pulled me away as it was determined that Daddy had suffered a massive stroke and would have to be sent to Baptist where a team was awaiting his arrival. I got in my car and drove. While we waited in a suite, groups of the church sister hood flocked in to surround my mother as they have from the day Daddy went under. The doctor informed us that the stroke did not take place that morning but approximately 9hrs ago based on the damage that he saw and there had been more than one. It was the same way that his father passed away. Daddy would be removed from life support 24hrs after being placed on it in accordance with his wishes. We waited. We prayed.

Saturday, June 6, 2014
I thought that my Daddy would die on this day. For me, he had already left us something Thursday evening. It was now left to the body to realize what had happened. Others left the room when the respiratory therapist finally arrived to remove the tubes. I shook her hand and thanked her for removing the very things that my father never wanted. I made myself comfortable next to a nurse friend of the family, as the therapist did what she had to do. The noises were not pleasant for me, but I would not leave. Daddy never left me.
It was another four days of painful limbo for everyone involved in the transition of my father. During this time, the overwhelming support of the sisterhood that envelopes my mother to this day stood by within reach. It brings tears to my eyes to watch these women support my mother as she mourned the loss of my father.
Daddy was officially pronounced early Wednesday morning. It was a great relief for me to know that he had finally expired. In the days that followed, I found great comfort in planning the music for the funeral and its associated events. The outpouring of love & support was wonderful. There were so many wonderful connections for me to celebrate and enjoy. People told me that watching me gave them a sense of comfort as they wondered how I was able to remain so composed. This is my response.
My father is not dead. The word dead insinuates a final period which simply does not exist for me. He has made his transition into the next lifetime where he gets to be with God and walk with his father; he loved that man more than life itself. While I am unable to speak to him physically, Daddy has never left my side. His body may be in the ground but his spirit is free. It brings me such happiness to know that now there are two strong male figures that support me as ancestors. Instead of being sad, I choose to celebrate his life and often speak of him as if he were right here with me because he is. He lived a long wonderful life and touched more people than what we knew as evidenced by the tributes and sacrifices that were made to be present as he transitioned.
As life continues to take its course, things will slowly resume to a normal pace. A life cycle has completed itself as another one will begin. It is a beautiful day. It is a beautiful life.

James W. Sawyer
Sunrise: 12/22/34 Sunset: 6/11/14
Well done, good and faithful servant!
You have been faithful with a few things.
I will put you in charge of many things.

SETTLING FOR HIM: THE ULTIMATE EXCUSES

THE LIST
1.) I have never really gotten serious in a relationship because of my children(please note that the children are college age).

2.) I have been with him for ten years. Who else would I date? I do not like being with a lot of people.

3.) Maybe one day, I will meet someone that will actually love me and want to get married.

4.) You should not turn him away. Don’t you know how many women would be happy just to have a man to talk to?

5.) Sorry that I have to cancel our plans today. He wants to spend time with me.

MY REACTIONS
1.) Children are not scape goats that exist simply to be used to cover your fear of rejection or attempts at being happy just for yourself. Children are happier when their parents are happy.

2.) You have been with a man for ten years. He doesn’t want to move in. He doesn’t want to marry you. There is nothing wrong with such things. Oh wait a second, you want to live together and get married. Instead of dumping this pattern that he has trained you for, you simply give up your dreams just to keep this bastard. Why? Because you do not want to be alone. In truth, it may do you some good so that you can analyze what you really want.

3.) You will never meet anyone that will love you because you do not love you. Instead of wasting your time dreaming that prince charming will suddenly spring forward out of the relationship that you have, get rid of him so that you can get what you really want!
My biggest problem with this list is that I have actually heard all of these statements.
There are women that want to be married so badly that they live with a man for years upon years awaiting a proposal that of course never comes. Sometimes, the woman receives an engagement ring only to be left in limbo that never concludes with marriage.

4.) I don’t need a man just to talk to just for the sake of talking to him. I don’t need a man to complete me(I HATE THAT SAYING!). I may want one to have compassion, passion, love, joy, and humor…an actual relationship filled with good components.

5.) If you are able to surrender yourself so easily for the minor whims of a man that may not be here tomorrow, you may not find your comfort in your friends when he finds someone else that has a backbone. I was actually asked if I would cancel at time with friends if my man wanted to hang out with me just the other day…let me pause for effect….I have never cancelled plans with friends to hang out with a boyfriend and have no intentions of doing so in the future. A man that is secure in his manhood will have no problems with his woman spending time with her friends. He will actually appreciate the time apart to continue is own self-discovery and perhaps a football game with his boys.

My biggest problem with this list is that I have heard all of these statements. I am sure that many of you have as well. Unfortunately, many women believe that they are in competition with other women for the attention of a man. I did not know a man was that important…well, to others. The only competition that should be in existence is the one between who you were yesterday vs. who you are today: was there an improvement? If a man does not want to marry you, why do you want to marry someone that does not want to be with you? Is this for the opportunity to wear the expensive white dress and have everyone stare at you? Throw a party!!!

Some of you will remember the episode of Sex in the City where Carrie cancelled on Miranda because Big wanted to see her at the last minute. This violates some sort of sister code for me. She took the time out of her busy schedule to bond with you because she felt it was important, and you dropped her for the shot at some guy. Ladies, how do you feel when you are awaiting your girlfriend only to be surprised by her and her beau?(no notice or consideration for your private girl time). What about the famous last second cell phone call, “Do you mind if he comes?” DON’T PUT ME IN THIS AWKWARD POSITION! If I wanted to spend time with both of you, I would have said so. What happens if I respond no or we can reschedule if you want to spend time with him without hurting my feelings; is that now going to affect our relationship?

More women have yet to reach the realization of the importance of their time with friends; other women. You can have a mate and friends without sacrificing either. All too often, the “Maggie Syndrome”(read The Olive) occurs and it is very sad. As I pen this post, my mind reflects on the last circle of sisterhood on the Aquarian Full Moon. A portion is listed here:

Each sister that attended received a message from me: I wanted to thank all of you for taking the time to come to the womens’ circle this evening on the full moon. It was wonderful to share and connect with all of you in our sacred space. Remember to build on such connections. Please keep in touch. No sister of mine is a stranger. I look forward to seeing all of you in the future. Stay blessed, and remember your time in the circle.

I urge all women to remember your time in your respective circles: family, coworkers, friends, etc. Seek the knowledge of your grandmothers and listen to the adivce of your mother. Your time in such company is important. Time with your sisters is important. Remember your sacred time in all circles. By doing so, you honor yourself.