ok i was told last night that i can tell people officially my new title, but i had to sit with it, sip a whiskey over it, meditate about it, lean into it, giggle about it and dance around. i had to tell my family and close friends, my folks at the league…
i’m going to be the next executive director of the ruckus society, in oakland!
i’m moving to california!
do you ever have the experience of standing in a room and someone puts on an album and the music is so tender and right that it feels more like coming home to a new sound than being enlightened to it? or is that what enlightenment is?
anyway i recently had that experience with emmy lou harris’ album wrecking ball – the sound of her voice and these songs. i heard it and felt faint, felt like i wanted to make those sounds in my throat, felt exposed. i love music when it does that.
that’s the only way to describe the experience with ruckus over the past year, going from a place of distance respect and awe to being invited into the family, joining the board, trusting my instinct as my instinct fell in love. hearing the values of the organization, the history, the challenges it has faced and the fearlessness of good intentions, the desire for order and stability. it felt like finding a home. the organization is 10 years old and focusing its resources in on people of color and poor people, folks who most need the capacity to act strategically. the biggest challenge is letting folks know what ruckus is now, and how it ties back to its enviro roots through environmental justice work in communities where that is priority – particularly indigenous communities in the mid-north and southwest…and they are doing peace work through the not your soldier campaign, which brings me to the root in many ways of where my need to organize comes from, my military childhood, my recognition of the impact poverty draft had on my life and that of my loved ones. can you hear me spinning about? how happy i am?
and, in what once seemed impossible, i am leaving the league on good terms. anyone who knows me knows it has been a beautiful struggle from the beginning, but what i have learned is that it is the appropriate struggle for a birthing process. it was like that, grunts and groans and bitter resentments and then ebullient joy at the sight of the beautiful thing you couldn’t have imagined, then the terrible twos!!, but now its walking and talking and has opinions and is making friends and being lauded as a genius child, and its so big you can’t believe it was once just in the hearts and minds of individuals. i recently got an email from billy articulating my role in the organization and it made me cry. its easy to forget how hard you worked once the pace picks up and the team grows, its easy to forget how it felt making space for that.
the enlightenment feeling also happened these last couple times i was in california, liking all the space, the pace, the emphasis on health i saw everywhere.
i have been in new york for ten amazing years, i chose to come to new york when i was 9 and we drove through to visit some of our displaced southern family in queens, and i saw all the people and a mcdonald’s with a grand piano inside it and i just knew i wanted to throw myself in. then i had to wait till college and my only choice was columbia cause i’d been told it was the best school in new york.
i love new york, and i miss it and i expect i will be back, but it isn’t the best place to transform your life towards health, that even sounds like a cali phrase. a true yogi could do it anywhere but i am a child in this effort, the energy here is so desperate for achievement, its so easy to find nights of joyless debauchery. this last little time here has been the best, hermited in my studio, having brunch, my sisters and close friends nearby and a weeky visit to jalen’s 5-year-old viewpoint, daily gym ritual and keeping plants alive for the first time ever. oh i’ll miss it…
but i’ve got my sidekick and very few belongings that i need and i am on my way. i feel breathless with excitement.
i even had drinks with my number 1 intellectual crush last night – how satisfying! the crush is fully intact, and if we can have drinks like once a year indefinitely then i’ll be able to maintain my faith in the charm and wonder of black power phd types.
fire – aren’t you in cali? can we kick it when we’re neighbors?
ok must run to the girls congress conference and talk about organizing and politics.