If I ever have the opportunity to speak to young women, I would emphasize the importance of their self development. Save the love and relationships for a later time. Spend your youth developing yourself as a person. Travel the world. Try new food. Speak a foreign language. Explore a new hobby. Live your life on your own terms without outside influences.
We focus too much on love & relationships. In many cases, pregnancy happens before a woman is even sure of who she is as a person. It takes some time to figure out your boundaries and to understand your own ideologies. Family expectations along with the societal norms often dictate more than what makes us comfortable. You have the right to make decisions for yourself on your terms.
Try to avoid the trap of making sure other people are comfortable before yourself. Do not be so quick to run to the rescue for everyone. You do not always have to be available. There are users and abusers everywhere. Some are in your family while others call themselves your friends. Every now and again it is important to take a look at your relationships and question why certain people are present in your life. If you do not have a suitable response, it is time to do some housecleaning. The back burner is a perfectly acceptable position for certain personalities, blood or otherwise.
As I reflect on the last 40 something years, I consider myself fortunate to have had my thirties to myself. It seems as if the most chaos has transpired due to my private life. Other people bring their issues to relationships and they often spill over. Do not ignore red flags. At the first sight of the passionate color, take yourself hostage and run for the hills. Red flags do not stop waving; they simply become larger. If something makes you feel uncomfortable, do not remain silent. You are allowed to leave any situation that you find unworthy of your presence. Some people will not know how to treat you because they do not know how to treat themselves. You will learn not to take it personally.
Last but certainly not least, keep a variety of people in your cell phone. What do I mean by that? Therapist, cleaning lady, seamstress, and car wash guy are good examples. You need resources at your fingertips to help you in life. You can conquer the world but if you plan to enjoy it, you may want some support other than your tribe. When I think about my TED TALK for the younger generation, this is what I would discuss over a cup of chai….
Saturday Reflection This is a critical time in your development. You have major decisions to make regarding your life. Will you continue to take the same issues into a new beginning or will you choose to do the required work in order to face them? It is not easy. Dealing with your own truths, pain, and anguish takes sincere integrity. It is a healing process that is not rose gold. However, the alternative is staying stuck without any progress. Such a grim reflection in itself can bring sadness. Reach out to your resources. Chances are high that you have everything that you need to help you get to the next level. There is a new llc that offers the exact device that you need. A virtual workshop on fb has the content that would benefit you. It could even be that single conversation with the associate in the health aisle at your local farmers market. Invest more time and energy in your overall well being. You have made time to accommodate everything else that life throws at you. It is time to make you and your needs first on that long list. You have support. You have encouragement. Go for it. $ladyofharp
My New World
The reality of the hot season took on a new meaning this year. My glasses are always fogged. It is difficult to know which person is speaking. Facial expressions are missing. Lipstick and gloss usage are on a serious decline. We are in the era of the face mask.
Unlike the majority of my age group, I am single and childless. My sole household fear is based on my own health. FaceTime is an activity. Regular visits to the local farmer’s market are a major event. I became the hostess of virtual happy hours. Socializing and just being around people have been forsaken in the name of safety.
The large gaps of time without interaction weigh heavy. Frequent trips to the local park give a glimpse into a community of walkers. Green parrots squawk and talk in the trees as the sun gives way to my newly acquired jogging practice. Contactless coffee runs to DD round out the morning prior to another contemplation of the meaning of life.
Cooking and sips of water take place in between zooms. Daily afternoon naps get longer and longer. I text random friends to inquire about the phantom storm before yet another Netflix binge. Endless snacks run amuck in support of the COVID fluffy.
Gone are the days of the carefree travel and simple meandering. Everyone appears as a talking head. True connection now depends on your Wi-Fi signal. Hugs are banned. Thoughts of acquiring a Labradoodle pester me. This is my summer of 2020. A new world is forming, and I am learning how to move.
The Spiritual Ramifications of Systematic Oppression June 2, 2020
The entire world has cried out over the chaos that is the United States of America. The daily road bumps of systematic oppression have exploded lately, and people have had enough. One thing that is not mentioned a lot is the damage that is accrued on the other side.
Let’s start with the West Coast of Africa. This is where hurricanes are created. The Atlantic Ocean then serves as the catalyst and next thing you know, islands and a large part of the US are facing a natural disaster. Many people will say that it is no coincidence that this natural occurrence follows the same steps as the Atlantic slave trade. How very interesting. It’s as if an entire continent serves a permanent reminder of what was stolen from her.
Plantations. The atrocities that took place in such an environment are too many to list. Rape and violent beatings are simply a few. We are still discovering some of the explicit suffering that our ancestors endured. Slaves often died at the hands of tyrannical slave masters that cared only about the free labor. What ever happened to the suffering of those spirits? Did they receive a proper burial? Was prayer even allowed? How many became earth bound?
Let us move into the era of Jim Crow. Blazing crosses. Rampant lynchings. Bombings. Racial violence. Fire hoses. Attack dogs. Crying black mothers. Grieving families. Broken communities. All of that pain and suffering did not just vanish with the death of our people.
It could very well be that we are seeing those same spirits come back in the lives of Eric, Breonna, Have you seen the meme of Emmett Till next to Trayvon Martin? Does that not send a chill down your spine? Right now, is George Floyd standing over his deceased body confused? Have the candlelight vigils earth bounded him?
I keep waking up at 3am. Night after night. I’ve had to do several floor washes and probably need a rogacion. Others within our various faiths have similar complaints. We are convinced that the ancestors are quite present. If we can’t effect change now with so many upset people coming together, then we can’t do it.
There is an entire society of black mothers that have lost their children to racial violence. Is that sorrow going to become inter generational trauma? What are we doing as a collective to prevent that from showing up again in a few decades if not the next generation?
At the very least, all of us can agree that we have a very important role to play. There are some of us on the front lines protesting and going to jail because of it. I have seen lawyers offering free legal representation and chefs cooking to make sure that everyone is fed as they fight the power. New aspects of my role have taken shape in a short period of time which I feel the need to pursue.
Imagine that all of this took place in the middle of a pandemic and as hurricane season began. By the same token, imagine that this did not take place in the middle of a pandemic and as hurricane season began. It would have been yet another name on a very long list of a lot of black people that have died for nothing other than the color of their skin.
We are halfway through the chaos that is called 2020. No one seems to remember placing any of these atrocities on their vision board. We are wearing masks and appearing disheveled in zoom meetings. Appointments are required everywhere and long lines of people gather in front of shopping stores. Free food pop ups are everywhere.
Curfews and fires have lit up the country. Again. People all over the world are outraged. Again. Except something is different this time. This was not just another black man being destroyed by the systematic oppression that most of us would never mention in polite company. This was one of several viral videos that have taken over our lives and we as a collective human race have simply had enough.
This war has been raging since we were stolen from Africa. Here it is the so called age of freedom in the greatest nation in the world, and black people can not receive the most basic of human rights…..life. We can not live without being hunted and killed in broad daylight for simply being black. It is truly a crime.
Racial discussion have always made me uncomfortable. I know that is there. The history is in front of our faces. There is no denying it. Now? I have bombarded social media including my business accounts. I fully expect associates to turn a blind eye or for people to unfollow me. My attitude is to let them go on their merrily little way because I have to talk about this. I have to read about this. I have to post about this. Nothing else is as important as this. Why? I can’t keep up with all of the names of black people being murdered in cold blood as the police sit back and cool their heels.
There is no respect for the gift of life. How can you look at the color of another human’s skin and simply decide that he or she does not deserve to live? Are we not all created in the likeness of a created power? Are we not all members of the same human race? Covid has taken many people to their demise; but the one virus that has yet to be surpassed is the horrid stench of racism is the United States of Amerikkka.
Here I am. A childless black woman watching all of this. Emotional does not begin to describe the mere notion that a grown man cried for his mother and people were forced to witness his horrific death. Did the sun shine on the police officer’s badge as he posed with his kill? He was proud. He rid the earth of another one. Maybe the worst part is that he had help to do it.
If you or I commit a heinous crime, the law is swift to correct our actions. This man walked around for five days before anything was done. Fired? A man is dead….The autopsy said that he had underlying causes. What? You mean that is what you were told to say so that the killer could be allowed to walk and yet another death of a black man by a police officer could go unchecked. One more name for the long list of the dead. Well, this was the straw that broke the camel’s back.
Amish. Satanists. Black. White. English. African. Iranian. Old. Young. Middle. Gay. Straight. People all over the world are demanding change. Protests can probably be seen from outer space. Plans are being made and discussions are being held all day every day. The pain is increasing in the atmosphere, and the demands are louder.
I have taken to checking on black people. I post about black people. I speak to black people in the street. We are utterly disgusted at the same scene replaying itself over and over again. The blatant lack of concern for our lives is beyond excruciating. It is not safe out here. Is an entire police squad going to barge into my home and kill me as I sleep in my bed? This is our reality in 2020. White women feel free to call the police to kill us because that is exactly what happens.
Perhaps, my discomfort with the issue has also helped to enable it. The comfort factor has gone entirely too far. Well, let me welcome everyone to a new day. My name is Crystal A. Sawyer. I am a black woman that resides in the United States of America. My family is from the Caribbean. If you dig a little deeper, I am from Africa. My people did not come here by choice. They were stolen from their homeland and have suffered ever since.
In the land of the free, home of the brave, the black man suffers at the hands of his original oppressor. People wonder why hurricanes form off the coast of West Africa and demolish the same stops that existed during the slave trade. It is not a coincidence. We have paid a price for a greed.”
Delia knew that she would have to get a divorce. Her husband was obviously cheating on her, and she could not just stand by in complete oblivion. Her job was another issue. She was unhappy working from 9-5 for someone else without any hopes of making her own dreams come true. One lonely night, she grabbed her keys and drove to her mountain cabin for some fresh air. When she woke up, she took a stroll down to the river and made herself comfortable. It was to the tunes of the babbling water that she devised a plan that would change her life. She would return to school.
She had an undergraduate degree in liberal arts with a minor in African-American studies. She did enjoy working at the museum, but there was nothing that belonged to her. She did not make major decisions and was simply one more person on the staff. She wanted to build her own museum from the ground up and tell the stories of the local people. A graduate degree in Anthropology/Sociology would put her in a better place to do just that. Funding was not even a problem as she had already started her non-profit. She found a local university that had a wonderful program.
Her application was accepted, and she was invited to attend an orientation via zoom. Delia’s nerves were shaken. She was 50 years old. What in the world did she think she was doing? She had been away from school for well over thirty years. Was she out of her mind? She settled on the fact that she had been accepted to the program. Why not listen to what they had to say?
It was not going to be easy. There were many papers and presentations that would have to be completed. All of her free time was taken away. Weekends were spent at the library. Friends became FB faces instead of actual people. Her daughter continued to encourage her throughout her studies. Coffee became a new morning staple. Work became more interesting because she felt more dynamic. She was finally taking the necessary steps to truly do something for herself. One fateful night changed everything.
She came home late from class. She noticed that there was an Uber waiting outside of her house. A tall woman got out of the car in a trench coat. She went inside Delia’s home. Moments later a shot was heard upstairs. The woman ran outside to the Uber and sped off. She quickly took a picture of the license plate before it was in the distance. Afraid to go inside, she called 911 for assistance. The police and an ambulance appeared almost immediately. Her husband was pronounced dead in their home. In the days that followed, Delia learned that she was not considered a suspect. A midnight dogwalker saw the entire ordeal and reported it to the police. The new widow was at a loss. It was time to return to her cabin.
Instead of returning to physical classes, she opted to continue her schooling online. She was going through a terrible time. Apparently, her husband was killed because he refused to marry his mistress. She wanted him for herself and would no longer allow a marriage to Delia. It was easier for her to keep it together if she stayed in the cabin for a few months versus entering the place where her philandering husband was killed. In the evening, she would go to the river for meditation. It was such a comforting spot for her to gather herself. It was a special type of healing.
After three months, Delia felt ready to return to her home. She was almost finished with her degree. She wanted to prepare for her graduation ceremony in her primary residence. Her daughter offered to come stay with her, but Delia knew that this was something that she would have to conquer alone. The front door creaked as she pushed it open. Everything was in its proper place. The upstairs was properly handled so that she would not encounter gruesome memories. She turned the radio to her favorite station and made herself a cup of tea. She thought it best to contact a spiritualist for a house cleansing. There was no need to act as if her husband would not attempt further damage simply because he was no longer in his body. When she heard Prince on the air, she got up to dance. A slow smile crossed her face. It was good to be home.
Friends and family attended the graduation ceremony. It was such a good feeling to get that degree after such obstacles. A Moroccan dinner complete with belly dancing rounded out the evening. It felt good to experience fun. There was an odd fellow that caught her eye. Delia soon found herself chatting with the assistant director of a local gallery. They exchanged numbers and agreed to talk in a few weeks regarding potential collaborations.
As the resignation letter graced her former director’s inbox, Delia put together her board of directors. As the founder and executive director for her own museum, she was the boss. The final decisions in all matters were finally hers. She wanted to show the beauty of the African diaspora in the local people. It was a refreshing change to the community were diversity was often a misunderstood word. An opening gala would be in order complete with entertainment and catering. It was a special event that would be the talk of the town.
A complete change took over Delia. She hired a personal stylist that redid her entire wardrobe. Instead of dressing in a conservative manner, she was now a woman that was often clad in bold African prints. Her colorful frocks were complemented by large gold earrings and a bald head. The long expensive weaves were no more. Her feet used to find comfort in store brand sneakers. Now, they found style in Louboutin. Pilates and pole were both added to her physical fitness. A wonderful business coach attended her graduation party and was hired shortly thereafter. Everything was smooth sailing for her. It was well deserved. However, it felt as if something was missing.
She returned to the mountain cabin which served as the ultimate solace. Once again, the river welcomed her presence. As she closed her eyes, the answer came to her. How much longer would she be a widow as opposed to a single woman? The marriage to her husband ended long before his ultimate demise. At that very moment, her mind fell on the gallery director. She smiled and gave Harold a call. A small orange fish jumped out of the water at that very moment.
LADY IN WHITE
I can't believe that prom was just a few months ago. The strains of Pomp & Circumstance linger in the distance. It was hard for me to decide to go away to college at the last minute. However, I felt that it was the right thing for me to do. If I do not leave this place, my mother will never let me be my own person. She wants me to get a liberal arts degree at a local college and get married. I want to travel the world and experience different cultures. There are exchange programs in Europe and study opportunities in Africa. My academic scholarship will be transferred and Dad said he would get me a car. Of course there is the issue with my boyfriend or my former beau.
He went away to college last year and was sent home because he did not have time to study in between partying. It was then that I started to pull away from him. Now, he is here living with his parents doing nothing. He wants me to stay in town so that we can be together. We no longer want the same things. I do not want to be restrained by anyone or anything which caused me to say bye. There is such a big world out there, and it is waiting for me. He did not take the news well, but he needs to figure out his own life; without me.
It will be nice to make some new friends. Since graduation, a lot of us have just been doing our own thing. I miss hanging out with the others. Janet got pregnant and will start in a few years. Keisha left early for a trade program. Janet went to visit her grandmother in North Carolina, and then there is Melissa. She wants her own everything: car, apartment, and two boyfriends. The fights with her mom escalated, and she left the house. She has been living with her aunt, and working in the local strip club. She did not disclose this info to her family. I saw her going home one morning as I was walking in the park. We had a nice long talk about it, and I promised not to say anything. I did beg her to be please be careful and not to make stripping a career. It did make me wonder.
What type of a God would allow such a thing to take place? Melissa isn't perfect but she shouldn't have to twerk for a living just to get a decent dollar. Am I even worshiping the right God? I am saved. My acceptance of Jesus Christ came at a young age. It was simple for me. I did not want to go to hell. The baptismal pool felt like a potential drowning, but now I won't burn to death. I have questions about God; about Jesus. Everyone around me seems to be so set on their spiritual path. Part of why I want to visit other countries is so that I can see other religions. There has to be something else to suit me. Church does not seem to feel right anymore. I would not dare tell my mother. She would just tell me to pray about it. I do not want to pray about it. I want to take action.
I did tell Melissa how I felt. She shrugged her shoulders and took a puff of her cigarette. She told me that I had to follow my heart. If it did not feel right, go explore other things. She invited me over for dinner one night with her Aunt Maria. She was dressed in all white. The cloth looked so pure that it glowed. There were flowers and beautiful pots everywhere. She told me about how I was feeling. It was obvious that Melissa did not tell her because Aunt Maria told me things that I never told anyone. She told me to try meditation as a way to connect to something greater than myself. It was a great evening. For the first time in a long time, I felt as if someone truly understood my point of view.
There was no judgement. There was no listening to respond with her opinion. She heard me and responded with gentle guidance. Have I ever had that before? It was very comforting. The meditation really helped me. I felt so together. Aunt Maria began inviting me over on a regular basis for dinner. Her white clothes intrigued me. She said that she wore white to purify herself. It helped to keep negativity away from her. Apparently, she would do spiritual readings for people. They would seek clarity for issues in their lives. That was the first time that I saw a tarot deck. It was not long before I had to have my own.
At first the cards just stared back at me with their strange pictures. As I shuffled, a vibration went though me. One by one the cards began to reveal to me what was light and what was dark. Melissa helped me practice before working one night. She said that I was really good and should take them with me when I start college. Each day I would pull one to say hello to the deck. Each day, it would respond to me. The frequent trips to Aunt Maria did not go unnoticed by my meddlesome maternal unit.
She asked what I was doing there all of the time. There was no way that I could tell her the truth. Lying did not sit well with me either. I told her that I was learning how to meditate and clear my mind. She wanted to know what cluttered it. She questioned Aunt Maria's interest in me and implied that her time would be better spent on Match.com. Is she one of those women? She went on to say that she was single and childless. She is a stain on society. She felt as if poor Aunt Maria never got a real job and instead lived off the kindness of others. My eyes blinked.
It was then that I realized that maybe I should leave for school sooner than later. Daddy agreed to buy me a plane ticket and would buy me the car in a few months. It was time for me to escape my mother and her antiquated view on life.
August 9, 2020
The end of April gifted me with a vehicular accident. My days are filled with appointments and paperwork. It is a full time job and working from home makes it easier. The problem is that it does not take away from everything else. There is a leak in my garage which needs immediate attention and then there is the vendor that likes to take money out of my account with the consent of two banks.
A police report was filed earlier today as my home alarm chirped due to a low battery. It was not long before a glass found itself graced with the pink liquid of a no name champagne. I was stressed out.
After dinner arrived, the chips began to crunch. My eyes looked to the heavens. Because I can not get assistance from the bank, the police filed a report. Last week, I was trying to figure out which car was best for me. Now, there is a wonderful vehicle sitting in my driveway which can be covered by the employment that is still maintained during a time of high unemployment. The leak in the garage is covered by the insurance that is on my home. Adulting can be a nightmare especially since all of this is mine alone to face. However, I am grateful for the resources that are in place and readily accessible to me.
The better part of my life lay bare before me. As the confusion settled, and my mind pieced it all together, my head hung with a pained neck. The accident brought forth the many paths that I had walked. It was not settling.
It began with the turmoil of my twenties and meandered into the freedom of my thirties. While my forties began on an unapologetic note, it has been replaced with silence. Misery is not my song, but happiness is not truly mine.
There is much for which I must give thanks. In the face of a pandemic that has caused people to charter new waters, my steady employment helps to keep me afloat. There are resources available to me with a few good friends to say hey.
My remaining parent has entered her sunset. It is not even something that I can handle just now. While employment is steady, it is not what I truly want. My private life is best retold as a tragic comedy if that genre exists. The better part of 2019 found me delighting in large unhealthy meals with popcorn and ice cream in heavy rotation. It was not until I finally grabbed myself a few weeks ago and said, “Hey, how big are you planning to get? You look like a baby elephant.” Sobering statement to say the least.
While happiness is ultimately my responsibility, I do not know what that would take under the current circumstances. I knew how to make moves in the world prior to Covid. Now, I feel the need to lay low and not go out of my way for anything. My body has a new healing regimen which requires my focus. All I can do is hope that I will adjust to the new world order when it arises.
When you see a queen, it stops your heart. The notion of the divine becomes an actual entity right before your very eyes. Pray to it. Worship it. Be thankful for the interaction.