All posts by Kay W. Smith

Author, freelance writer and blogger. Follower of bliss. Believer in second chances. Connoisseur of fine wine, hot chocolate and overpriced organic lemonades. I write, I mommy, and I wife -- all at the same time. My debut novel, Lotus, is now available on Amazon, iTunes, BarnesandNoble.com, and GooglePlay!

For people who talk to God over cocktails…

I talk to God a lot. Sometimes he talks back. A week ago, over the ocean and caiprihinas, I reflected on a previous conversation we had and considered my friend who passed away, almost fifteen years ago to the day. Below me were fishermen who continuously tossed their nets into the ocean, and several times their efforts resulted in nothing measurable in return. Until it did.

(Disclaimer: I could have been drunk, but I wanted to share this all the same, just in case it helps someone else.)

We are vessels.
At an early age, we are inclined to know our truest gift(s). Be it empathy, resources, compassion, intelligence, humor, wisdom, or an ability to love, we have no preoccupation about using them. To give what we have is simply all that we know.

With time, and as life unfolds, we presume ownership over these things. Sometimes an experience may lead us into believing that our gifts are ours to disseminate at our will. An unfortunate experience may make us believe that our blessings are ours to stockpile and to share only at our own discretion.

The false notions of scarcity and conditional reciprocity take hold. We withhold good and love, when its in our power to share it, under the logical guise of self-preservation.

And for a while, we are preserved.
We feel safe.
But something usually feels off.

Perhaps, it’s because we forgot that we are merely God’s distribution system. What we have is not for ourselves.

The very things we want the most are usually ours to give first. I can’t be sure, but maybe this is why the ancient sages said: GIVE and it shall be given unto you. GIVE and you shall receive.

But God can’t do much with a pitcher that doesn’t pour.

If you want love, give love when its in your power to do so.
If you want money, give money when its in your power to do so.
If you want support, give support when its in your power to do so.

Your well will never run dry. No such monster exists. Give widely. Love freely. Hope abundantly. Keep tossing your nets wide. And there’s a good chance that you will find that your cup will always runneth over because your supplier has an overflowing storehouse just for you

2016: The horrible year that may have gotten a bad wrap.

We made it y’all! We made it! With full awareness that 2016 was the celestial, figurative, political, and psychological manifestation of the grim reaper for so many people, I contemplated putting my entire family on lockdown for the entire month of December 2016. Kids. Husband. Momma. Daddy. Sisters. Brothers. Teddy bears. If I had it my way, no one would have left the house until the last second ticked off of the 2016 clock. As a woman of faith, I usually resist against being superstitious, but when you see a year take Prince, George Michaels, AND the last wholesome father figure from an 80’s sitcom (to not be caught in a sex scandal), you are forced to acknowledge that anything can happen at any moment.

And maybe that was the point that 2016 was trying to teach us?

I believe in God more than I can wrap my mind around the concept of heaven. And though death will never fully make sense to me, I always believed that some of us…or maybe all of us…or perhaps just the lucky amongst us, will have a choice when that time comes. I imagine God revealing the door to eternity, full of poolsides, 80 degree breezy weather, endless french macaroons, and outdoor music venues and saying “Look, not so bad, right?” Then behind the next door is life as we know it with its finite number of days, long lines at Starbucks, and the belief that we are better at managing our lives than He.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I understand why, if offered the choice, one would choose this side of heaven. I would certainly ask God if I could take a rain check and hop the first ‘soul jitney’ back to the south-side of Chicago to be with my family. However, in the strangest of ways, it gives me peace to know that someone like Prince (or David Bowie) who had surely feasted upon every carnal pleasure, looked through the gates of heaven and glanced back on his life of white doves, diamond encrusted guitars, and vegetarian foie gras and said, “Beam me up, Scottie.”

And in the most unexpected of ways, just as I was ready to bubble wrap my kids to keep them safe, 2016 whispered in my ear, “You have nothing to be afraid of.”

In life and in the death, you have nothing to be afraid of.

In the ways that really count, I believe that even in its times of collective confusion and strife, 2016 was a profoundly important year. It was like the universal moment when the world affirmed to itself, ‘We are going to lose weight/learn Spanish/take up yoga/go to South Africa/go to Le Cordon Bleu to become a French pastry check.’

In all its uncertainty, it proved that only thing we can ever know for sure are the blessings that we choose to recognize in the moment we are currently in. The graceful, yet fleeting, passing of time forces us to honor this moment because it was not afforded to so many.

Maybe, just maybe, in 2016 God said, I’m less concerned about making you happy and more concerned about making you holy…and way less neurotic.

2016 was a good year. Despite Donald Trump, let’s not forget that Black women became the standard barriers for excellence in 2016. Between Michelle Obama, Ava DuVernay, Voila Davis, Zendaya, Zim Ugochukwu, Amandla Stenberg, Luuvie Ajayi, and the Godmother of Melanin Goodness, Oprah, the world finally confessed what it secretly knew since its inception: That God is a woman with skin kissed by the sun, shoulders broad enough to carry the world, with the perfect balance of wisdom and attitude to keep everybody in line.

Or at least his momma is.

So thank you 2016. At times you were good and at times you hurt. You held absolutely nothing back but now…we won’t either.

Square One

sqare-one

In the six years that I have written quasi-professionally, 2016 (by far) marks my least productive year. Though plenty of ideas swirl around in my head on a minute-by-minute basis, the actual act of putting pen to paper has often made me feel like Sisyphus. No, not the STD, but the Greek archetype who spent most of his fertile years trying to roll a big boulder up an even bigger hill.

After publishing my first novel, I was ready to immediately jump back into writing. Unlike what I have read about many writers who mourn the closure of their first books, I didn’t grieve over Lotus. I had been with her long enough, I had sat with her neurosis, conflict, humor, and impending pregnancy for many years. I was ready to move on. I was ready to explore the next part of her (or someone else’s) journey and it was going to be awesome and funny and gutwrentching and smart…all at once.

It also was going to be written, edited, formatted and published on August 15, 2016. It was all going to be so poetic. I was going to finally (and officially) be a real-real-real-real writer.

But you know how the story goes: Make plans and God laughs.

After months of trying to wrap up the first ten chapters of my manuscript, it finally came to me in a dream that the thousands of words on the screen were actually spelling out the message: THIS. IS. WACK.

I had been fighting it but I knew it was true. My internal voice, the part of my mind that wonders if Jesus and Buddha are friends, the voice that creates storylines from people around me in the grocery store, the voice that makes me wonder how to write stories that will make people cry, laugh, and think about the meaning of waterfalls, ice cream, and rainbows became muffled by life.

I would open my laptop, one of my kids would fall off of something. I would wake up early in the morning to write and my parents would call to warn me about the deadly hazards of arsenic in apple juice and the waffles that I feed my kids.

I would commit to writing around midnight, after the kids and my husband were sleep, only to wake up the next morning with a bowl of tortilla chips in my lap.

The only voice that remained was that of the naysayer. He, and he sounded a lot like Donald Trump, chided me on a daily basis for the act(s) of trying to write, not writing, sucking when I write, as well as for buying a box of chocolate chip cookies every week.

However, since Beyonce told me that ‘winners don’t give up on themselves’, my ego was determined to forge on. As God was my witness, I was going to meet my deadline. I spoke it. I wrote it down. I put it in my prayer box.

Then it happened.

One afternoon, after a few hours of looking at my computer writing, I walked into my kitchen and discovered my half-naked toddler standing on the counter (next to his potty) with a turkey knife in his hand. There was neatly cut chocolate cupcake on the counter next to him, along with a slice of turkey deli meat, a cup of water, and a map of the United States. The refrigerator door was still open.

When our eyes connected, he looked equally terrified and satisfied to see me. His eyes quickly darted to the kitchen door. He knew in my gut that he was contemplating a kamikaze jump off the counter so he could make a run for it.

I wanted to be mad but I had so many questions.  I couldn’t help but be impressed by his survival instincts and surprising level of agility.

I scanned the room to see how much damage had been done. The last thing I saw was the suitcase perched against the wall. Though he had been rolling it around the house for a few days, it wasn’t until that moment that I thought to look inside of it. Sure enough, it was filled with several pairs of pajamas. Where was he going?

This was the official start of my ‘stop’.

We know that there is a time to push in life.

Push doors open. Kick fences down. Push through rejection, push through doubt. Keep rolling that boulder until you get to the top of the hill.

But sometimes there comes a time to stop and be still.

This feeling is uncomfortable for most. Surely it feels like aspirational suicide for most. In an era that pushes for constant content creation or at least the perception of constant forward motion, stopping is not intuitive nor deeply embraced. Stopping is feared.

I feared it.

Nevertheless, as certain as I am in the universe conspiring in your favor, I believe it can bring you to a screeching stop for your benefit. The divine sign to stop and take stock of my life was right there, holding a turkey knife, staring me in the face. The challenge, as any woman who has experienced a compromised labor can tell you, is trusting when you are instructed to push and trusting when you are told to dig your heels in and wait.

I stopped writing because in that moment, it became crystal clear that the season to do so had come to an end.

Initially, I resented not being able to write. I envied people with greater success in writing. I longed for the Bohemian Dream of walking the streets of Paris with only my laptop, a beret, and a bottle of Bordeaux in my backpack.

But in order to achieve that dream I would have to give up my family, and no amount of French cigarettes or macaroons would make me do that.

So I had to accept that the dream had to change.

Time passed. My family was happy. My youngest child was no longer trying to run away from home. I began to work with teenagers.  With time, the gloom of not writing was no longer there. I wondered if God had finally answered my prayers. Perhaps, it was time to just move on.

Yet, despite the opportunity and logic of doing so, I haven’t been able to.

Despite my anxieties regarding his robust personality, my youngest finally began school (part time). In many ways, this milestone presents a challenge for us both to rise to. He has to learn civility and I have to build a new dream that fits my family rather than making my family fit inside of it.

So I am back at square one.  It’s a scary, yet familiar, place but somehow I completely trust that I am exactly where I am supposed to be.

A Letter To My 30 Year Old Self…

 

I woke up this morning to the most magnificent sunrise and looking up at the barrel of my 35th year of life. If I could be honest, I’ve dreaded this day for approximately six months because I knew that, as with most milestone birthdays, there would be a snowball effect of taking stock of my life thus far: The good, the bad, and those many areas where the jury is still out. Sure enough, with time came a daily assessment of everything I had and had not accomplished so far and the expected dread that comes when you realize that not only have you not lost all of your belly fat BUT you also have to cut your hair that you’ve been growing out for two years AND you haven’t finished the first draft of your second book AND you have to face your inadequacies by the time you make your yearly pilgrimage to see your in-laws. Yet, despite the grand plethora of things that I might do differently if time travel is ever mass-produced, I am more certain now than ever that our lives, or at least my life, is unfolding exactly as it should.

This declaration isn’t to be confused with a presumption that I believe that I’ve made all the best decisions up to this point, because that is the obviously the furthest thing from the truth. I should have definitely paid more attention to my Spanish teacher in high school because that would have kept me from almost failing Spanish my senior year of college. I should NOT have left my last health insurance-paying job before I finished that twentieth round interview with the Chicago Board of Education. I should NOT have eaten so many apple pies during my first and second pregnancies and I definitely should NOT have danced on top of that all those bars in my early twenties.

However, the residue of divine guidance is apparent. I wasn’t looking for my husband but I found him, right on the front steps of my college apartment. I deeply hated my career and God jokingly made me the world’s most impervious stay-at-home mom and aspiring novelist. I prayed for my children to know God and he gave me one who likes to chastise me for not going to church and another who likes to try to eat pages of the Bible. I asked to be surrounded by people who have my best interest in mind, and God has given me my fair lot, even if the group of people who keep me sane looks much smaller than it once did.

My life isn’t tied with a pink bow and I’m finally okay with the fact that it never will.

I’ve had to accept that there is nothing more disparaging in the educated Black people’s community than being a stay-at-home and pursuing a pipe dream that doesn’t come with a pension plan. In some circles it’s damn near sacrilegious and anti-feminist. But if there was one thing I know for sure is that no one else can live the finite years you’ve been entrusted with for you. And anyone who cares to think about how you are living long enough to form an opinion needs a hug, some sex, and some business. People will surely judge your life for you, but no-one else can walk the walk that is destined for you except for you….no matter how odd your two-step may look to anyone else.

In my twenties, I began to grew suspicious that I didn’t know anything…as far as knowing something worth knowing should be measured. I just felt that something was off — that I wasn’t living in a way that would ever bring peace to my soul – so I sought to change that. In fact, the crowing jewel of my twenties is that I did change that. In dramatic fashion, I entered my thirties with a somewhat clean slate, shedding many titles while gaining others, losing some beautiful, yet painful relationships of the past while becoming more discerning of new relationships that I would build in the future. In one full swoop, God gave me the courage to seek the things that I had prayed for but I never could have anticipated the arduous path that is often set before those who are willing to acknowledge that they need to change their whole direction.

But what I know for sure is this: Despite it’s ups and downs, life is good. God is love. Your happiness depends on no one else but your ability to find gratitude in the very things we so often take for granted.

So if I could go back in time to my 18 year old self, I wouldn’t. She’s a good girl and I trust that she will figure things out.

If I could go back to my 25 year old self, I would simply leave her a fortune cookie that said, “Keep going grasshopper. You are on the right path. Your confusion will lead to a worthy caffeine addiction and admirable tolerance of many types of alcohol.”

However, if I could go back to my 30 year old self I would, even if it was to merely tell her everything that she already knows: Be stronger than you have ever been, be more courageous than you think you can be, invest in Moroccan Oil, stop drinking Starbucks cause it’s pure sugar. Schedule a few marriage booty calls. Drink your water. Read your Bible. Love cops and Muslims. Learn the difference between intuition and fear. Hugs your family early and often. 

I would tell her to respect every decision made with good intentions, no matter the outcome.

I would tell her to be kind to herself always, because no one else has to.

I would tell her to get out of her own way.

I would tell her that other people’s discomfort or dislike of her is ultimately none of her business.

I would tell her that no matter how dark or lonely the path a head, to strap on her big girl panties and her breastplate of righteousness and to take every day one step at a time, because despite the sometimes overwhelmingness of life, today is all we really have.

And knowing my 30 year old self like I know her, she probably wouldn’t listen. She would probably still hoist everyone else’s happiness on her shoulders but her own. And that’s okay because I know that even she will be just fine.

Prince and the mystery of the freezing genitalia

 

For the past few days, fifty percent of the running dialogue in my mind has included the lyrics of a random Prince song. When I’m in the car, washing my hair, cooking dinner, speaking with my husband or on the phone with my mother, at some point in the conversation my mind takes me back to when I was four years old and first became aware of the majesticness of the amazingly danty, hyper-sensual pop star. Outside of my parent’s embrace, he was my first introduction into the wretched agony that could sometimes be known as love, showing the world in a way that only he (and Beyonce) could, that love can make you happy or sad, it could make you dance or destroy a room with a guitar (or a bat). That in it’s best and more purest form, love can manifest magic before your very eyes.

Every time I have thought of him since learning of his death, my mind takes me back to my paternal grandmother’s house, where I would sneak and watch Purple Rain with my siblings and cousins when I was a kid. Like all giants who have passed on, I still have so many questions: How did his feet move so fast? How did he gyrate THAT high off the ground? How did people make bootleg movies in the 1980s when camcorders were the size of a suitcase? Did my grandmother know that we were watching that movie (along with Coming to America and I’m Gonna Get You Sucka) every – single – time we came to visit her?

….I have so many questions.

Shaking off those thoughts, I think back to my favorite scene of the movie and suddenly have the urge to pick up my imaginary neon pink and leopard print air guitar and serenade myself with the epic and only real instrumental that comes to my mind when I think of the late artist. You know which one I’m talking about, right? That moment in Purple Rain when Prince finally liberates himself from his inner demons and played the song written, in part, by his abusive father (who had just tried to shoot himself in the head).

 

On-ly.
Want.
To.
See.
You.
Laugh-ing.
In.
That.
Purple Rain.

[Air guitar in hand. Bending back on one leg. Arched back. Eyes closed. Head rocking.]

I didn’t know what the heck any of this meant as a kid but I wanted to experience it. If Purple Rain would allow me to look at someone from across a very dark, smoked-filled room and make them know exactly what I wanted from them then it was apparent that it was a very good thing.
Even as a tot too young to know anything else, something deep within me recognized that his angst, his passion, his willingness to move through and use his emotions with otherworldly honesty was unique – a rarity to be marveled at because I would not witness it often.

More than with Michael Jackson and Whitney Houston, Prince’s death made me feel like a portion of my childhood had died. Not that either of the aforementioned artists were less significant, but despite his many rumored sexual partners and suspected (and assumed) drug use in the 80s, death was nowhere on my radar when it came to Prince. Like Yoda from StarWars, I suspected that 1,000 years from now, Prince would still be here — a bit smaller in statue but anciently wise.

 

 

The day after he died, I woke up only to be greeted by my distraught five year old laying on the couch, staring up at the ceiling in bewilderment. Did his little soul know that the world had lost a huge creative force? Did he sense mommy’s sadness at dinnertime, as the sweet melody of Prince’s songs rang through the air over my phone’s speakers?

“Mommy, something is wrong.” He said as soon as he saw me.

“I know. Something is wrong, Prince is dead. But what’s wrong with you?” I countered.

“Something is wrong with my penis. It’s freezing but it’s not cold!” He whispered worriedly.

Dammitttttttt! I thought as I shook myself out of my funk and my mind began to race.  Not today Lord, not today, I am not mentally prepared to handle this today.

His words were still suspended in the air as I began to rue the day I decided to talk openly to my sons about their genitalia.

I wanted to turn around and go upstairs. I wanted to pull the covers high above my head and turn on “1999,” as loudly as possibly and make the world around me disappear.

But I knew that I couldn’t. This was not a drill. I had to give him an answer.

I figured that I had two options: I could make him feel embarrased about a normal bodily function or I could make him know that everything was okay…that his non-cold freezing penis was just a part of life.

Thinking of Prince, I smiled and knew exactly what to do. I kissed away the creases on my concerned child’s forehead and gave him a big hug.

“I don’t know why your penis is freezing.” I told him. “Go ask your daddy.”

 

 

Rest in Power Prince Rogers Nelson.  

May heaven be filled with electric guitars and pretty girls.  

May it rain down purple in the presence of the sun/Son just for you.

 

For your viewing, listening and dancing pleasure…

Everyone won’t like your stuff and that’s why God created liquor.

Hello!

 

It’s finally Springtime in Chicago and the proverbial fog of random snow/hail/sleet/wind storms seems to finally be behind us.  I’m about 1/4 done with the first draft of my second novel, which I have recently decided sucks, but I’m still oddly confident that I will meet my own secret deadline to complete the first draft.  Call me crazy or delusional…because my secret deadline is ridiculously close, however the burst of Vitamin D that I’m getting has given me a new take on this writing thing and I have officially stopped asking for signs to undo the signs that I have already received that tell me to keep writing between ever-present moments of trying to not do anything that will traumatize my kids…even if it’s just a word a day.

But on the topic of writing things that sometimes sucks…

I recently had the great experience of being in a room with approximately ten people who thought my book sucked.  Well, to be honest, they didn’t exactly say that they thought it sucked because #Blackpeoplesticktogether, however having gone to enough events where I’ve discussed my book, my Erykah Badu aka sensitive artist radar was activated as soon as I entered the room.  You know, Black women are genetically incapable of completely hiding our emotions.  Sure enough, it didn’t take long for my suspicions to be confirmed, at which point I channeled my mother, grandmothers, and Harriet Tubman (shout out to the new face of the $20!) and I put on my BIG GIRL PANTIES + GIRDLE and listened to the critique that the women around me provided.

The real version of myself has horrible control of my facial affect — so much so that I had to wear bandaids on my eyebrows when I pledged a sorority in college.  However, as I stepped outside of myself, I couldn’t help but be proud of how far I had come as I listened to them with an open mind, heart and smile.  Granted, I was also counting the minutes until I could get out of there and pour myself a drink to process the emotional defeat of the opinions that they didn’t have the heart to fully say, but that’s neither here nor there.

In the end, we agreed that I should have made the ending of the book fuller, however, I still wouldn’t change Lotus’ ultimate fate.  To give her an ending in a pink bow would have done an injustice to the story because let’s face it, Lotus needs a therapist or at least three months to get her mind right after all the drama she has been through.

Nevertheless, everything happens for a reason.

Despite being born with insanely thin skin, over time, my skin has become thick as the hair in the kinky patch of my Super Mighty East African to Mississippi hair.  I can take a bad review — as long as it’s constructive — and though they always sting I accept that everyone in the world didn’t like the Bible or Eat, Pray, Love or The Alchemist or Ocean’s Eleven so OF COURSE everyone in the world won’t like my book.  It’s not a happy, bubbly, book.  It is an unapologetically melodramatic fictional book about a women who is in the midst of an epic WTF moment. 

However…

When it’s all said and done, the weirdo in me has to admit that I have an odd preference for one star reviews over three star reviews.  I know it sounds crazy, but when someone gives you one star, there is a level of passion there.  I mean, they REALLY hated it.  It conjured up something within them that they made them take time out of their day to open their laptop, sign into Amazon or Goodreads, and look for the one-star button.  For some reason, that makes me feel better than someone who may have felt ambivalent about the book and gave it three stars.  It’s weird, I know.  After 2-3 years of time and effort, I like the idea of a reader being passionate about the book, even if they end up burning it in effigy. 

 

Falling asleep on Oprah and Deepak…(#90)

I’m doing the 1,549th Oprah and Deepak Meditation Challenge and I must say that I’m really enjoying it.  Granted, I had to listen to the last five meditations in a row about an hour ago, but now I’m all caught up and officially a centered and balanced human spirit…even though I technically didn’t close my eyes and meditate.

Some might consider this as cheating but I think that listening to Deepak’s sultry angelic voice in my ear should count as a mindful activity.  In fact, regardless of what I’m doing, whenever I hear his voice, I’m pretty sure that my blood pressure plummets to near-death levels, a majestic fog and a bright light enters the room, and I immediately want to sleep in eternal peace.

As a matter of fact, his voice in still playing through my computer’s speakers and I’m pretty sure that I am sleep-typing right now.

What I appreciate about this meditation series is the recurring theme of accepting yourself.  As someone who always feels like the weirdo in any given room, this is a comforting message.

On a side note, I know that I am doing horribly on this blog challenge.  However, I decided that not only am I going to stop being so tyrannical on myself but I’m also going to trust that the world will not end if I do not write random, unedited, off-topic blogs when I’m half-sleep.  (Wow! These meditations REALLY are working!)

But because nothing – Nothing – NOTHING happens by chance, this meditation series has made me give a lot of thought as to the type of writer I want to be known as.  Though I write a lot about my kids, I don’t consider myself a mommy blogger.  That’s not a diss, I love mommy bloggers.  It’s just that I’m sure there is no room left in that sandbox for anyone else to join.

I enjoy writing fiction with sprinkles of spirituality, however, now that I’m on the Christian fiction circuit, I do wonder if this means that I can’t curse.  I know that’s VERY Gentile of me to say, but I’m wondering if the characters in my book need to drop an “OH SH——!” Is that considered offensive?  But didn’t Jesus curse?  Or drink wine?  Or DJ parties?

Okay, never mind…

(And yes, I’m kidding…)

Despite my past of writing about race and politics, I’m sure that I couldn’t do that for a living without also becoming an alcoholic.

So what type of writer should I be known as?

In a world that is always telling you to define and brand yourself as SOMETHING, just being yourself feels less and less on trend.  And though the world keeps telling me to create an elaborate title for myself (Can you say, Experienced Online Literary Content Creation Professional”), the greater signs from the universe keep telling me just to be myself.

…I’m not sure that I even know what that means, and I’m pretty sure that being yourself doesn’t pay well, nevertheless, I’m going to roll with it.

 

 

 

 

Easter (#91)

Okay, so yes, I am sucking at this 100 Day Challenge.  You don’t have to say it, cause I know that I am.  So it’s okay.  Self-realization is the first step to awesomeness, so hopefully this means that I am well on my way.  I have so many (epically random) thoughts and so little time to jot them all down.  However, because I refuse to throw in the towel, let me just go ahead and upload about this one topic that has been on my mind…

Easter.

I love God.  Even when we are beefing, I wonder what he is doing.  Is he somewhere creating another universe in his spare time, just in case we mess this one up?  Is he upstairs laughing at all of us, especially during presidential elections?  Is he testing my obedience by having the same homeless person approach my car every time I get off of I90-94 on Monroe Street?

Easter feels different to me this year, and I can’t quite figure out why.  Perhaps its has something to do with the fact that it’s coming 3 weeks early, or that this year is already flying by.  Maybe it has something to do with this being the first year in over a decade that I didn’t give up anything for Lent?

Oddly enough, all I have been thinking about for the past few days is whether Jesus starting hooking people up with double and triple blessings the week before his crucifixion.  Weird, I know.

Have you ever gone into Starbucks right before someone is about to finish their shift?  Or have you ever been served in the deli at Whole Foods by someone who is about to quit?  They might throw five extra pieces of sliced turkey meat in your bag, or the barista may upgrade you from a tall to a grande, just because she is about to go home.

In that same spirit, I wonder if Jesus spent the week before his final Passover walking down the streets of Jerusalem like Shaft (with his posse behind him), pointing at random people around the town and then — POW — their backs would no longer hurt, no more upset stomach, grandma’s bunion was healed instantaneously.

 

Random, I know!

I didn’t give up anything for Lent because after giving up cookies, caffeine, fried food, Starbucks, Facebook, alcohol, and more, I realized that I have successfully figured out the art of going cold turkey for Jesus.  Instead of being a time a reflection, Lent became a yearly diet.  However, what I needed this year was to be back in close relationship with God, so my only goal for this Lenten Season was to really believe that he was on the other end of the phone when I called.

I wish I knew how to quit you…American politics. (#92)

I’ve studied politics since I was in seventh grade.  I was told that I received a perfect score on my Constitution test, I actually enjoyed Modern World History in high school, I took A.P Government classes and would go on to become a political science major in college.  Eventually I would go to policy school to learn about…policy…as you may have guessed.  I learned how to think about it, how to analyze it, how to quantify it, how to decide if it was equitable, how to pay for it, yada, yada, yada….

My point is that I know more about policy and politics than I do anything else.

And for the past four years, I’ve been trying to break up with it.  “Be free Blackbird, be free!” I tell myself, splashing water on my face when I’m up late at night looking at CNN.  I’ve tried to tell myself, year after year, over and over again to no avail that I’ve left that life behind, but good ways die hard, especially when you still paying for them (or not) via Sallie Mae.

Leaving my policy-ing and government-ing (yes, I know those aren’t real words) ways behind me hasn’t been a process to say the least.  For almost four years I’ve operated a blog that has been a mesh pot of pieces about politics, race, and culture as my secret way to quench my thirst.

But now, I think that I’m finally ready to let it go.

I think.

Birthed out of soul-wrenching frustration and indignation, I gave my political blog a provocative name, one that I would cringe to share with my old coworkers from the public sector.

Past experiences led me to question the integrity of everything related to the field which I had professionally aligned and believed that the entire system needed to be gutted.

Many days, I still have difficulty believing that things in our political system can change.  However, looking out to the future, I am more hopeful than ever that I am a wrong.  So like an old friend, I feel the time is drawing near to finally let the politico in me go.  I’m sure it will find a better, more kinder lover out there — much better than me. I don’t even know what a non-political me feels like, but with time, I can only hope that letting it go of that part of me won’t feel so bittersweet.

Writing Prompt: “Sex, Love, and Pain – Part 2” (#93)

My husband is writing with me this morning.

The writing prompt, chosen by him, is “Sex, Love, and Pain – Part 2″….

….so here we go…

First of all, why “Sex, Love, and Pain – Part 2”?  That sounds like a 112 demo tape from the early 1990s.  Or the next Jodeci album.  Also, why the “Part 2” — have you been married before and didn’t tell me?

Speaking of marriage, it’s a rollercoaster.  I love my husband this morning, but I didn’t like him from Wednesday night to Thursday afternoon because he wouldn’t share his stovetop freshly-popped popcorn with me.  Well, he would have shared it, but I saw the look in his eyes and I knew that he didn’t want to share it with me.  It made me so sad because I always share my snacks with him without hesitation.  I even offer to make his breakfast plate in the morning…WITH COFFEE.  I mean, popcorn eating in the bed is supposed to be “our thing”….

SO HOW ARE YOU NOT GOING TO SHARE YOUR POPCORN WITH ME?

You hear it all the time:  Don’t let the sun go down on your anger.  This becomes a little tricky when you are married because there are times when it’s late – like 11:59 pm – and you are still mad as hell.  But then you realize that you are really too tired to be mad for real.  Then you remember that you read a story on HuffPo about someone not waking up from their sleep then you throw your hands up and say, “Dear God, I don’t like him but let him wake up tomorrow because most of the time he is a really great person.”  And after you find yourself giving God at least ten reasons why you want your spouse to wake up in the morning it’s pretty much impossible to stay angry.

On sex: I can’t write too much about this because my mother and mother in-law tend to read my random blogs and they are both Sunday School teachers.  (Hi Moms!)

On love and pain:  I thought I loved my husband before I got married but thinking back, it’s probably fair to say that I just realllllllly, realllllly liked him.  I loved things that I knew about him and I really loved the way that he looked.  Even now after seven years, I still think he is cute, and I still like to get busy late in the midnight hour.  But the depths of his heart wouldn’t be revealed to me until after we endured our fair share of struggle.  Struggle that I wasn’t always 100% confident that we would get through.

But if it wasn’t for those difficult times, my love for him wouldn’t have been refined.  It wouldn’t be discerning enough to know when to love him like his momma versus when to love him like a friend and his lover.  Without those difficult times, I wouldn’t know to pray for him before I went to bed, even when I was mad at him.  I wouldn’t know that the best way to get him to fix me popcorn tomorrow is to fix him some popcorn tonight.

[Time’s up…I just read my husband’s piece.  He just wrote a prelude to a book. WTH?]