From me…or Hang on

August 3, 2019 -5:23AM 

“I think we all struggle with that unreasonable guilt, E***a, and it is unreasonable, isn’t it? Certainly, my Dad who loved me so well my entire life would want me to live whole and free, right? Of course, he would. It’s just all part of this gut-wrenching process we all have to suffer through. Be thankful for those sparks. Fan them into flame. Live that life to honor your loved one but more so for yourself and the world who needs your particular gifts.”

-Response to a post I wrote on a grief board

Grief amidst a worldwide pandemic mixed in with addiction is not pretty in any colour. 

But the body and mind can longer accept alcoholic as self-medication to make the world seem right. Grief chased down with bourbon needs to rise up and be dealt with. 

So, I …

Hang on for a day
The past is acknowledged, the future not ruminated on. The present? Front, Center and Back.  Because that is all that matters.

Hang on for another day
“An alcoholic in his cups is an unlovely creature”-Big Book
Finished the twelfth steps, now what? 

Hang on
The desire to run, do a gym work out, bang on the piano or even write has faded for Anger and Hangovers no longer fuel, mi alma (soul). 

Hang on for yet another day
Sobriety dulled my creativity or rather my creativity refuses to emerge through a clear thinking alma (soul).

Photo by EMC

Hang on for a day
I have yet to print out those medical records, afraid of what may be revealed, afraid I’ll gain more truths into my inadequacies fueled by alcohol into how I was not there for you-figuratively.

Still hanging on
Have not attempted to finish my piece on “One year without you” for one year has now turned into three years without you.

August 30, 2019 -12:10PM 

Hang tight-you will fly once your wings unfold. You will find a place either in this realm or another where you are loved & appreciated for being just you with all your quirky talents, flowing forth like glitter. Be Strong!”

                                                                         -Note from me to me

Intertwined…or No Drink

Isolated and the deaths of my felines, a brother and sister, two days apart was the ‘woke’ to my consumption of alcohol. What went from drinking after 5pm morphed into drinking at 10am. Half bottle of vino to full bottle. Full bottle thrown in as a chaser for bourbon. 

Bourbon and wine intertwined.

Sobriety literally began as one day at a time. One day drinking, one day not drinking, repeat for two weeks. Get the wine from around the corner, then go four blocks over for the bourbon. Next day wine from two blocks up to bourbon two down and four over. Then repeat every day, seven days a week.  “Silly rabbit…!” Buying one day reserves instead of a grate and handle make me a control drinker.

Bourbon and wine intertwined.

July 1st, 2020 arrived and no drink that day. Or the next, or the next. Reached out for help on week three of no drink. Completed a ninety day program of no drink. Met others who no drink and others who gave up and drank falling off the continuum of no drink.

Bourbon and wine no longer intertwined.

Three months, six months and now 9 months free. A mind not terribly wasted in a hangover pool brings hope to the present.  On occasion I’ll jaunt down memory lane in my mind to remember all the gains with no drink. The future is not for me to see. Hoping no drink will follow me.

Bourbon and wine no longer intertwined.

The glasses made to hold wine sit on the top, top, shelf of the kitchen cabinet. Shapes, colours, pieces of artwork not to be tossed. The bourbon glasses now hold plants swimming in water, toothbrushes and pastes of the human and greyhound kind.

Remnants of what once and is no longer. 

Las Estaciones De Mi Alma…(The seasons of my soul)

Invierno (Winter)
Mi Alma duerme 

My soul sleeps
For winter
Happy in the cold 
Warm in the body
Embraced at night with furs that live
Wrapped in a sheet with feathers dead
Bring comfort to a comatose mind

La Primavera (Spring)
Mi alma baila

My soul dances
For the air is tinged
With energy and rebirth
Resetting my soul to sync
Within nature at its most
Obvious time

Artwork: Marvin Piqué

El Verano (Summer)
Mi alma se sienta con el sol

My soul sits with the sun
Moving in slow mo’
Jiggly with passion
Humid, Heat, Hotness
Because she can

El Otoño (Fall)
Mi alma duele con recuerdos de Perdida

My soul hurts with memories of loss
Diá de Muertos
The altar once filled with marigolds and 
Bits of food, pictures of the elders 
Sits in a cardboard box in the closet
Because I cannot, love cannot
Add you to them

Wood and paper come from trees
Heart and lungs rule the body
Loss and love nailed in the alma
Scars deeply 

Daydreams or…Mini Vacations of the mind

Daydreams are mini vacations of the mind
I carried this flower throughout the first hour of my shift at work
It was cumbersome as only one hand could stock

Messages Image(1163073376).jpegBut…
This once vital and youthful inflorescence
Deserved a final romp through the Co op grounds

Daydreams are mini vacations of the mind
My determination of being present in the moment
Was disrupted by the fragile flower in my hand
And I thought, ‘Oh my, you are dying’
And then I thought, ‘I am too’
But…
Your life lived was way shorter than my life living

Daydreams are mini vacations of the mind
You started as a seedling, plucked when mature                   IMG_1951
Roots guillotined leaving sap to seep
Thrusted into cold, cold and so cold water
Transported from one state to another in a cardboard box
Bunched up tightly in a bucket with others from your tribe
No room to droop, only to stand tall and upright
But…
You survived the journey

Daydreams are mini vacations of the mind
Unloaded from a cool truck in the daylight hours
Of a hot, hot and so hot NYC morning
You and the others made your way into the Co op
Where unpacked by produce workers
You were put on display on top of a wooden pallet
Above your head the sticker price of $1.25 per stem
But…
Still standing strong, almost defiant, your blossoms raised high

Daydreams are mini vacations of the mind
So your journey towards dying continues
For the next day when I returned to work
The bucket was half empty and not half full
And to be honest I couldn’t tell from the wilted flowers who.
Stayed behind for another day of sale
If you were gone or not
Because you all do look alike anyway
But…
My mind stayed in that moment of the day before
Of knowing that all
Must die in some way IMG_1949

The Way We Were…Revised.

The way we are is no longer

as it has become the way we were.   13239981_10209784571076766_1160742976535298713_n

One day here next day not

the way we were was ever changing.

Changing in unexpectable ways

until it became the way I am.

Here today and gone tomorrow.

Fleeting bits of reality we wish didn’t exist but are here to stay.

Nowhere to run to, nowhere go to

we struggled to swim in what was then

only now the struggle to swim does not have you.

We swam in waters familiar, trusted and predictable.   10399703_1208262172476_2654700_n

the way we were then was in the present

and not the past as it is now.

October 7, 2018

will never be just another day,

another October,

another year,

for it was the day,

the way we were

ceased to be

and the way I am

continues

without you.

Statues or…Being Black in America

“Imagine being Jewish, walking around a public park, seeing a statue of Hitler, and someone proudly saying, “my great-great-grandfather was a Nazi, and we should respect our history!’ Of course, that doesn’t happen, because it’s INSANE!

 Now, imagine how a Black person feels seeing confederate monuments in America”.
—Sarah Guilford

Sheltered living in NYC, as the only statue getting complaints is Christopher Columbus.

Statues don’t bother me.   IMG_1861

Nigger is a mischievous word which presently means
something different than it did in the past
based on who says it and to whom
The first time I was called nigger was what it meant in the past
in catholic school so long ago
during that Channel 7 series premiere of Alex Haley’s book “Roots”

Statues don’t bother me.

Took a long time to forgive Alex Haley
as it did to shake off the nicknames of Kizzy and Kunte Kente
Got revenge though.
Converted to an Episcopalian (Catholic light without the constant guilt or repentance)

Statues don’t bother me.   IMG_1859

I remember attending a photographer’s party in San Francisco
The only person of colour snacking on lox and cream cheese
Whoopi Goldberg was the Hollywood flavour of the month back then
and can’t count how many people said I looked like her while laughing
Snacking on lox with cream cheese while being black

Statues don’t bother me.

I went home angry
and festered in being compared frequently to looking like Whoopi
since I moved to San Fran
Why Whoopi?
In NYC I was compared to Halle Berry at the swimming club
where I swam laps while being the only person of colour

Statues don’t bother me. IMG_1858

Had to reassess my opinion on Ms. Goldberg
and what beauty represents
Did some research
Can’t say enough about
the perseverance she possessed
to get to where she’s at
in the entertainment world
Respect of the highest
Adoration at her legacy
and I was never a fan of Halle Berry!

Statues don’t bother me. IMG_1864

On a camping trip in Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains
I refused to visit a plantation that was turned into a museum
not run by blacks
But my camping buddy wanted to partake in the tour
I stayed on the tour bus
sitting in the middle
the only person of colour
that at one time would have been sent me to
the back

 

Statues don’t bother me.                                 

My buddy returned from the tour
visibly upset
I did not offer compassion
Was I compelled to?
NO
He is white
I am not

Statues don’t bother me.  

And they never will for the pain of being black in America left its mark from birth. The confederate flag and those so called statues are a reminder of what was and what still is. Dismantling the statues, chopping of their heads, defacing them with graffiti will never erase what they stood for and what they remind us of now.

The statues should not be discarded but placed in a museum because we should never erase the symbols of our past but remember…where we’ve come from.

IMG_1860

In The Time of Coronavirus…

Resigning after working 3 years at a job I thought I would retire from. Moved up the ladder every year but alas, through internal transitions, resignations and new hires, I hit the glass ceiling of the most uncomfortable kind. The glass is thick and stunts my growth.

My wings are clipped like a bird trying to fly as its’ owner tries to bend self-determination into submission. I would like to blame this on the time of Coronavirus, but no, it was happening long before.images.jpeg

So, I’ll be unemployed like millions right now trying to survive financially in financial uncertainty. My unemployment is of my choosing, for at times it is better to be sane than having anxiety control your life and taking meds to undo the control. Those who are unemployed due to business closures in the time of the Coronavirus had no choice.

It makes me laugh at times how I planned to do some soul (alma) searching after the resignation to find my new path in life but, “life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans”. In the time of Coronavirus with isolation and working remote from home, I have plenty of time for alma (soul) searching.    

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Daily routines, like the gym, trotting in Prospect Park, taking long walks with Katie (greyhound) no longer exists. Instead the routines are replaced by unhealthy eating, Doritos, Chardonnay and…BACON!!!

If we make it through this, I will reap the rewards of gaining unwanted pounds of fat. This I will blame on the time of Coronavirus.

As there is always positives in negatives, I picked up my knitting needles, got frustration and picked up my crochet needle. I am reading while eating, watching CNN as if I own stock and breaking up daily cat fights.

As the Game of Thrones, cat style has yet to be resolved. I wonder which of my four cat owners will sit on the throne?

Unknown-1.jpeg

Is it okay to go just a bit crazy in the time of the Coronavirus?

Death Be Not Proud or…Get busy living or get busy dying

It’s so easy to live and so easy to die

Picture2

You can live, take in air, eat, go to the bathroom, physically healthy on the outside and dying inside of a broken heart too weak to fight depression

When you die, you die, no air, no food, at times a final bathroom break, sick on the outside all while the heart fights desperately to live on the insidePicture3

It’s so easy to live and so easy to die

Living is a struggle, learning and navigating through a ‘new normal’ one did not ask to have. I want the old normal where stuff happened the way it should, predictable and expected

Dying is a struggle, learning and navigating through a final stage of life you did not ask to have. Death had no right to disrupt all that was normal, true and kind

It’s so easy to live and so easy to diemom 2

Life is a given.

We live our lives day to day, hour to hour, not thinking once about what it means to live. We take life for granted until we realize it’s gone

Death is a given.

For after the life we’ve taken for granted is gone the aftershocks of raw emotions will be unpredictable, coarse, sneeringly painful and at times forgetful until you wake up in the morning and realize death is not bringing back the one it took recently or those in the past. Your mom, tobias and pi patel are never coming back

It’s not so easy to live when the ones you so loved have died

Death be not proud Picture1.png

 

Neighbours… or sometimes it would be nice not to have any

After a week of grey rain, gray clouds, grey people and gray dogs the weekend came with sunburst and starlight. Warm days, warm nights and people acting stupid drunk at 2am on the stoop next door on Saturday night.

 

With their annoying whiny loud voices discussing earth, movies and fake friends, the drunk and stupid woke me at 2am.

An engaging discussion it was not, so I turned on a Spotify’s white noise selection.

Ocean waves and hypnotic rain drops blended with annoying whiny loud voices and the not engaging discussion, pushed me over the edge. The edge of my bed that is.

Obviously, this did not help.

311 did.

The cops arrived on the scene and off the stoop went the whiny loud voices along with their not engaging discussion.

Good riddance, good night.

Alas,

hanging with Sandy (Mr. Sandman) was not to be.

Fine…

got up at 7am and ran 10 miles around Ppark.  Afterwards came home, showered, dressed and dragged my reluctant Greyhound, Katie out the door.

Reluctance on her part because if she had it her way, she’d sleep for 14 hours instead of pounding the pavement! (Some bad habits must be broken)

We walked.

Up the block, past Ppark, past Brooklyn Public Library, past the Brooklyn Botanical Gardens to the Brooklyn Museum.

Wowza.

(Brooklyn surely in the house with this writing)

We sat, or rather I sat on the steps of the museum, as Katie refused to sit or lay down or just about follow any command coming from my mouth.

All good.

“Neighours…or sometimes it would be nice not to have any”.

On our return home I ran into a neighbour I have not seen in a long while sitting in a chair outside her home. She did not attend my mom’s prayer service. (Not good, so not good)

I listened to her wail over the loss of her own mother, how my mother loved me very much, how she should have come to visit my mom when she was at home, how her son treats her bad, how her daughter treats her bad, how she’s suffering from Dementia, how her hair fell out, how she’s not feeling well, how she’s glad my mom listened to her lawyer advice, how the world is against her…

Enough.

But, at least she asked me how I was.

As Katie and I stood there listening to the never-ending misery of her life (wanting to trade this encounter in for the whiny drunks on the stoop at 2am) another neighbour joined the one-sided conversation. He was on his way to Target to buy a present for a co-worker. (He did attend my mom’s prayer service)

(Thank goodness, my escape excuse to get away from drama and go home).

Neighbour on the way to Target, walked down the block towards where I live, with Katie, and five cats.

Neighbour on the way to Target: “Well, you know my birthday was this month?”

Me: “Oh really when was it?”

Neighbour on the way to Target: “June 5”

Me: “Oh”

Neighbour on the way to Target: “Well don’t bother taking me out to dinner as I’m all dinner out. **** and her husband****took me out to dinner on Wednesday, then I invited them to my student’s recital, and now I’m just dinnered out. Have to buy a gift for a co worker and don’t know what to get her. I’ll get her a vase. Gift certificate you say? No, that’s not a real gift. She’s an older woman and would appreciate a gift than a gift card. Now I don’t mind gift cards but other people really want a gift.”

Enough…

And, he didn’t ask how I was.

That’s okay.

Just another day in the neighbourhood…

with neighbours you wish you didn’t have.

 

 

*****This post is dedicated to quotation marks and I’d like to thank the ellipsis for being accommodating.

Driving That Train…or Vacation!

Driving that train…

No. Not the Casey Jones’ song as I wasn’t driving any train and LORD truly knows I don’t do cocaine!!

But…

I was on a train, an Amtrak train.

Rolling, rolling, rolling up to Massachusetts to Arlington.

To be exact en route to visit my niece, my adopted niece who I consider family as my mom considered her to be.

It’s all good…

It has been a while and let’s be transparent and say years since I had a vacation. My vacay buddy, mom (who will forever be 91 years) could no longer travel and I decided to stay close to home near her. Mind you, she didn’t agree with my decision but felt comforted knowing I was just upstairs.61060119_10219548377085814_932831570585190400_n

But onto traveling for the first time in so long.

As I mentioned before, I was on an Amtrak train, not driving but here’s a look at what a driver might have seen:

giphy

For the longest time I planned to visit my niece and mom’s upcoming birthday, oh better yet, first birthday without her here on earth, seemed appropriate enough, to get on that train.

And I did…

Rolling, rolling, rolling.

Amtrak rocked and cradled my bod as green trees and concrete buildings passed by the window. 200.gif

Leaving NYC…

so exciting, when the mind is in the present.

Returning NYC…

not exciting when the mind is in the present.

Ease of transportation had avoided my niece for a while, regulating her to trains and buses. Luckily, she inherited her mom’s used Toyota Yaris!

So, she drove…

and refused to let me drive through turn arounds, round abouts’ or whatever you wanna call them.

All good because…

on Mom’s birthday we drove.

We drove to Gloucester and walked along the cold sandy grey beach with dark clouds floating over our heads. The cold sand massaged my feet and grounded my soul.IMG_0814.jpg

So needed…

with grieving and missing you.IMG_0822.JPG

 

 

 

 

IMG_0819.jpg

The Fisherman’s Memorial, the picture I took of the names of the fisherman lost at sea and portrayed in the movie; ‘The Perfect Storm’ stirred in mi alma.
IMG_0820.jpg

 

 

 

 

 

 

The families of those men and myself share the final ending of knowing a loved one will not be returning.

At Lexington, I learned more about the Revolutionary War than I cared to absorb but…IMG_0840.jpg

I was grateful to have the history told to us by a volunteer dressed in clothing of the time. IMG_0833.jpg

Harvard, yes, we went there.

Although the trip wasn’t to visit the photography archives of the United Fruit Company, a research project I was so into while aiming for my Masters, being on campus was a reminder of what is still attainable, still researchable.

We stopped at a GAP where I bought ‘boyfriend Chino pants’ and argued with my niece because…well that’s what we do and we do it well.

Vegan Galaxy?!!!!

Best Vegan joint I’ve eaten at. The place makes their own vegan burger which just may surpass Impossible Burger.

Along our driving we ventured to the quarry at Halibut Point. At that point I was tired and wanted to get the cake mom always had at our birthdays.IMG_0825.jpg

IMG_0829.jpgIMG_0827.jpgIMG_0831.jpgIMG_0826.jpg

We drove to Woodman’s and ordered two slices of Strawberry Shortcake which was mom’s favourite cake to have on our birthdays.

Once we arrived at my niece’s apartment we broke out the cake and I must say it was the best Strawberry Shortcake I ever, ever, ever, ever…

had.

Thank you, mom for I feel you had a hand in this day, your birthday and making sure I enjoyed it to the fullest with my niece, who you accepted as family.

Happy Birthday Mom, my mom!