39 things i learned by mistake

1. i’m good at facilitating. and i love it. which means i can make a living doing what i love. focusing on black liberation has made this the most rewarding period of facilitation in my life.

2. i am of my mother. i use exclamation marks because i am genuinely excited. i play scrabble every day. where love is concerned, i know no rules.

3. very hot things will burn – fingers, tongue, heart. but no one believes this when they’re reaching. (burning myself is my most common injury.)

4. i love unveiling my truth.

5. i love love. falling in love, seeing people through eyes of love, loving against all logic, time spent on loving.

6. grief is gratitude.

7. i’m really funny. not always on purpose.

8. i rarely enjoy famous people in real life.

9. i’m gullible and trusting.

10. pleasure makes me feel powerful.

11. fear is a story i can change.

12. i am of my sisters. i know laughter is a path forward. and i know what it is to be flanked when i’m being brave.

13. emergent strategy.

14. my body is incredible.

15. i’m a writer. and i love every part of writing.

16. one at a time. one step at a time, word at a time, being-present-with-another at a time, book at a time, change at a time. one step toward liberation. one day at a time.

17. if i’m not meditating and centering, then my life is pure reaction to others. so i focus on my breath. i center. i live on purpose.

18. time is everything. time is sometimes the only thing i have.

19. i like marijuana. i really like it.

20. people who are bad for my health will most likely not experience me as being good for theirs, not in the long run.

21. i learn and work things out in my dreams.

22. i am a tarot reader, a healer and a witch.

23. i feel alive inside complexity. and i feel alive inside the simplicity of having no plans. my life needs a balance of these two extremes.

24. i am of my father. i am charming. i love to work, to be challenged, to be of use, to serve. and i am gifted with blackness.

25. auntie is a sacred, wondrous task. i just want to be excellent at this task.

26. i am practicing and learning and growing, even when i make mistakes. this is why i have no regrets.

27. i am not enough for some people – they want more. but not all people.

28. i am too much for some people – they want me to shrink. but not all people.

29. i love being alone, my company and freedom is precious to me.

30. i have two ancestors in particular who roll with me so hard that i rarely feel lonely.

31. i can’t control anything outside myself. not anything.

32. the worst things in the world will happen, day after day. i survive by putting my attention on what nourishes me and my loves.

33. i must practice the way i want to be. all the time.

34. the universe will help me, but only if i move towards what i truly want. (and not always in obvious ways.)

35. i’m beautiful, in my own way.

36. asking for support/collaboration from capable people makes my life worth living.

37. i need boundaries to feel free.

38. i doula, birth and parent so much. and it’s enough.

39. i’m magic. magic multiplies.

that would be enough

i ended 37 writing, i began 38 writing. here’s some of what came forth.

where i have certainty at age 37:

– we are not meant to suffer.

– my creativity thrives in space – emotional, physical, ideological space. in a window seat on an airplane or in the ocean or under the sunset or on a day with unscheduled hours i feel the scale is right, to create requires imagining at such a scale. clouds were imagined, and dusk, and waves. what i really want is that vast. total, beyond words or description or even the assumption of common experience. something like inner and outer total love as a life default.

– the way i love is unique, (and just right for me). i didn’t learn this anywhere, i am using my ‘no’ as a scalpel to sliver it out of what currently exists, cutting through everything that weaves love tight with hurt, work, entrapment, dishonesty and limitation. i am using my ‘yes’ to practice and conjure and affirm the abundance of love i feel and have to offer.

as my nibbling máiréad once sang, dramatically: “we want to go up or down in our heart. we can do it in our heart.”

– i can trust my instincts and my heart, even/especially when they aren’t being logical. things are rarely what they appear to be, and almost always precisely what i feel they are. virgo: ruled by the gut.

– singing, alone or with others and especially for children, always takes me directly to god, and there’s simply no denying it.

– we are not alone, humans, in the realm of sentient and spiritual existence.

where i have doubts as i cross the threshold to 38:

– i may not figure out this sugar thing. and i may lose years to it. i love indulging it as much as i love giving it up, and that duel has no clear winner.

– perhaps it is more important to be in community, vulnerable and real and whole, than to be right, or to be winning.

– i am less and less convinced of the usefulness of haters. no and yes are a balance, and those who actively seek out in the world their NO, that which they hate, and then spend immense time and attention on enumerating and describing that hatred…from a surviving-the-apocalypse standpoint, what are y’all bringing to the table? (“ugh this bunker is wack. the children we saved are ugly and need different hair. i want to build a wall around my penis made of taco trucks.”) what if hateration is a waste of time? (the only real exception to this is The Read, which makes it an artform to hate the worst shit, with wicked humor)

– maybe i should write a book on the politics of pop culture. or a cook book. or a series of children’s books. or make a children’s album full of humorous lullabies. or an album of love songs to my body and pleasure. or a poetry collection. or do a high podcast.

points of surrender:

– what others want from me, i can not intuit, imagine or embody.

– i am fundamentally sensual! being me is a pleasure. (and i can also be safe and have good boundaries.)

– grief walks with me, i might as well make beauty with it.

– i love hamilton. and upgrades. and the obamas. and the knowles-carters, and rihanna. and massages and spa experiences of all kinds. admitting this to myself, and to others, each of these loves have taken surrender.

– i cannot change others. i no longer even want to. others, and the otherness between us, is the interesting part.

what i long for:

– liberation for all living beings, beginning deeper than the root of oppression, being “so absolutely free” that our existence is “an act of rebellion”.
– black joy, as much and as often as possible.
– right relationship with the earth.
– to meet more soulmates, and continue loving them all with curiosity and creativity.
– increasing compassion, patience and ferocity.
– to feel free and at peace in my skin, in my joints.
– to continue to tweak and rearrange my life over the next two years so that i am writing/creating 75% of my waking hours.
– to love my nibblings and as many other children as i can, to support their self realization, to earn their respect and improve their futures.
– to be my best at giving and receiving love.