All the feelings.

I’m leaving to spend 29 days in the wilderness backpacking and whitewater canoeing. Seriously. I’m sitting at the airport waiting for my flight that boards in 15 minutes. So this post isn’t going to be fleshed out.

I decided I couldn’t leave without telling him I felt. After calling many friends and getting reassured that I was making the correct decision I worked up the nerve to chat with him. He was busy — because he was working– but I still told him I wanted to “touch base” before I left.

After way too many hours passed, he came to my yurt and we sat on my porch. By porch I mean wooden slat outside of my house. He was showered, unshaven, and adorable. We chatted… small talk.. which was unusual. Then we delved into real talk, which was not. 🙂 I finally said, “Do you think our paths will cross again?” He responded with, “yes… but I’m not sure how it will all end up.” Then he looked at me and asked me the same. I responded with “I don’t know, but I would like them to…” Then, with the finesse of an awkward teenager, he got up and said, “…well, gotta put the students to bed…”–it was 10 o’clock. It was indeed their bedtime, but right then? What?

As he walked away I literally said, “…what the shit?” He was never abrupt like that before.

I called my friends and they were like…wait, whuh?

I came to the conclusion that I scared him. I triggered something in him. It doesn’t erase how I feel about him. It just shows me that, as I assumed, their is more to him than meets the eye. Than meets the ear.

So… I laughed. Hard enough that tears came to my eyes and said, well that happened and went to bed. I wasn’t sad, I was just… I don’t know. But I wasn’t sad.

Around 1:30 in the morning I saw lights outside of my door. Heard voices and went to sit on my slat. I could see that a group was gathered around his car. He was searching inside for something. I heard one girl drunkenly ask another, are you really going for a ride on his motorcycle?

They giggled.

I fumed.

They returned whenever they did and I did whatever I did to try and hear what they were saying as they stood next to his car. [I know, I know.] Then I heard someone yell something drunk and left my home to investigate. I said, “…did y’all just hear that?” He said,”yeah.” I started to walk, barefoot, toward to sound wearing a camisole and no bra, my headscarf, and my shorts with no draws. I was in rare form, y’all. As he followed me, the girl followed him.

We joked that if this were a zombie apocalypse I’d shove him in front of me and run. I said, “…sorry I interrupted you before…with her.” He responded by touching my arm and saying, “You didn’t interrupt anything.” We reached the sound’s origin place and saw that the drunkard had moved on and all was well. After joking about how if this were actually the zombie apocalypse I’d be completely underdressed he walked me home and the girl went away.

He told me what happened even though I didn’t ask. He said a bunch of folks were gathered at the fire ring and he mentioned that he wanted to go for a ride to clear his head. She said she wanted to go. So he took her. He said, “I would have rather gone with you.” I met his eyes and touched his arm. My eyes went soft and he pulled me to him. We stood there for awhile.

Eventually, I went into my home to prepare for my flight. It was 3am and I had to leave in 45 minutes.

All of this teases all of the feelings to the surface. This is good for me. I need to explore these feelings in a safe place.

What I feel so far is that he is a safe place. That he is good for me.

No title, just a feeling

I have encountered a man with whom I am more than happy to fall in love. It’s more than that really. I think he’s someone I can’t avoid loving. If he truly is as he presents himself I’m unsure how anyone who meets him could avoid the same conclusion. He is kind and gentle, empathetic, light-hearted, adorable, handsome, genuine, playful…. he is the kind of human being I admire and respect.

He sees me.

From the first moment we met, he saw me. Not in the, “I acknowledge your presence in this room,” way, but the, “I recognize your humanity and it is vast,” way.

Within the first few minutes of meeting him I wanted to be around him. He arrived to the Branch late. I showed him around, sat with him as he ate his meal, listened to him as he shared pieces of his life, and sat quietly in his presence. We listened to his music as the minutes lived their lives. Eventually he went to his bed and I went to mine.

He is easy to love because he loves so freely. I don’t love him yet, but I will. I can feel it. He makes it easy for me to be vulnerable because it just feels like I’m being honest. He’s asked intimate questions and created the space for my honest answers by simply being there. We’ve shared our lives,verbally, in real ways… in ways that come naturally. When he’s not around I miss him. But not in the ways I’ve missed others before. Not the all-consuming jealous nagging feeling, but the lay in bed with my skin vibrating with the desire to have him close to me, feeling. I find myself wanting to make him happy. Seeking out and taking the opportunity to do things that will make him smile.

I’ve been rewarded with peace.

He allows me to reveal my kindness, my humanity without being afraid. I told him once, “I think you’re good for me.” He responded with, “I think you’re good for me, too.”

It feels good to feel safe. To be honest and not have to be careful. To give to someone who will receive and return by just being themselves. It feels good to be at this place.

Is love a choice

Something occurred to me today: Life is full of our choices.

In the past, I’ve always assumed that that statement meant choices like whether or not to go to college, the foods we eat, the place we call home, whether or not we adopt a dog…. Yes, those are choices. I don’t think I ever understood that life’s big events are also choices — Whether or not to have kids. Buying a house, or a piece of land, getting married are all choices,too.

Prior to this, I think those have always felt like things that happened to other people. I know of friends who never wanted kids, struggle at raising kids, and then choose to have more kids. My choices have always been along the lines of, “What do I have to do to survive? Where do I belong? What do I need? Am I becoming the person I want to be?”

Today I hung out with, for a short time, a guy I met a few weeks ago. He was on his way out of town so our time was limited. I could tell that we were attracted to one another. That’s new for me. I’m usually pretty oblivious. His demeanor is a bit reserved. He thinks I’m funny — which is nice– and he’s pretty emotionally transparent. As we were driving in the car on an errand I thought, “Wait a second, I could totally choose to date, fall in love with, and marry this person.” There was no “gut feeling” about it. It was simple.

I’m not saying that I’m going to do any of those things. I’m just sharing that I witnessed a moment. Love isn’t necessarily catalyzed by meet cutes, and hormones. Sometimes it’s meeting a nice person and choosing to be with them. That’s interesting to me. That’s a whole new way to look at love.

The person I mentioned that I was lusting after in my previous entry returns tomorrow. I haven’t seen him in a few weeks. I’m interested in how we are around one another. I wonder if this newest “choice” revelation will change things for me.


This entry isn’t about being Black, or how I wear it.  But, I’m still Black and this blog is still mine so we’re good. 

This entry is about love.  Not mine.  I’m not in love though I’d like to be. I’m in lust, but that’s a different story. [Like wake you up in the middle of the night from scandalous dreams cursing hoping no one heard you, lust. Plan things in advance because you know they’re going to make that person smile, lust.  Lose time because you’ve been daydreaming about situations that could be but just might not, lust.]  I’m definitely in lust and readily admit that love is still pretty far behind me.

A friend, however, is ass deep in the ass end of love.  The part where all the shit comes out and you find yourself covered in the substance pulling your hair out. Where you’re in the craziest headspace of your life and you’re too close to killing yourself than is good for anyone.  She’s in the mirror image of a situation I was in such long time ago. The one that broke me into so many pieces I still wonder if I’ll ever be legible.  The one that had me convinced I was at the end of everything.  She’s hurting in such a powerfully similar way I cry when she does.  When her hair falls in front of her face as it does when one is distraught I remember my disheveled-ness of yore.  Fuck. She reminds me of the shit show I was.  The shit show I’ll be again if I ever fall in love again and that shit scares me. 

She keeps apologizing for being crazy. For taking energy… for being ugly. I can barely get the words, “You’re not crazy. You don’t have to apologize” out of my head fast enough.  We’re going hiking today.  She needs to get away from here, from this place. From them.  She needs to get away to a much further distance than we’ll travel this morning. But I’m not sure she can. 

I, on the other hand, will continue to play at lust as if whatever is looming on the other side is the safest place in the world. 


This post is not going to be organized.

I was once in a terrible relationship. He was an addict and my first love. For a girl with abandonment issues and from a dysfunctional family that did not a healthy love, make. Our relationship hurdled down a gamut of emotions, as most relationships do. But, dating an addict is different. Dating an addict when they first decide to get clean is extremely different. Dating an addict who is also your coworker and eventually creates this messy triangle between your friend-also a coworker- and you at the boarding school where you grew up and all three work, is novel fodder of epic proportions.

It took me an excruciating amount of time to get to a place where I wished them well. They’re married and have a kid, and I honestly hoped they were in a fabulously healthy place. In order to stay in that well-wishing spirit, I need to stay as far away from information about them as possible.

Finding out that my friend, let’s call her Sarah, went to visit my ex and my former friend made me pause. We’d been playing phone tag and I’d stopped trying to get in touch with her because I knew I’d ask her how my ex was doing knowing it was bad for me. Codependency does that. Falling in love at 24 with a predatory addict does that.

After talking on the phone with my friend I went to a bad place. A terrible place. I knew I would. Not because of how they were doing, but because of how my friend referred to and categorized my relationship with him. It was along the lines of: “…he’s doing so much better now that he’s not with you. His wife [my former friend] is so different from you that he’s a much better person now.” Typing that gives me literal heartburn.

Hearing that made me question my sanity. I began to believe what she said.

However, here’s the truth: He’s not better off now that he’s not with me. Those two statements have nothing to do with one another.

The first time he acknowledged his addiction was while we were dating. He began to see a therapist and do some serious work. During this he began to go to meetings and stop “acting out.” This was a time where he chose to work on his issues and when he became incapable of dealing with them reverted back to old behaviors. This is a person who, while in a relationship; got a blow job in a McDonald’s bathroom because somone offered him one –like it was a box of Nuggets–, who trolled the back pages of The Stranger met up with and received a blow job from a *transgender woman even though he reportedly “was not attracted” to her and hated himself while it was happening, who has slept with hundreds of prostitutes, who, while married to his first wife, had sex with a poor woman in his neighborhood for money several times — they had an “arrangement”, who physically fought an ex girlfriend for pills she’d been prescribed because he was addicted to them.

This is a person who physically assaulted a student where we worked and only received a 3-week, without pay, suspension from his job. This young girl went on to commit suicide a few years later.

I was the adult who saw him assault her, I was the adult who picked up this sobbing child and carried her to safety. Who spoke with his class afterwards and helped them know that his actions were unacceptable. Abuse is never okay.

I was, am, and will always be the person that reminds him of his inability to get clean.

I remind him of his failure. I am a source of pain for him because after knowing all of his dirty secrets, I loved the shit out of him. I didn’t judge him. I stood by him as he treated me terribly. I loved him as he fucked up his life. I walked away when he dove face first back into his addiction in front of my eyes.

He is not better because we’re not together. He is not better because he is in another relationship. I am not, nor was I ever the reason he was an asshole to me and to others. His actions have nothing to do with me.

For Sarah to trivialize a relationship that was pure hell is offensive and hurtful. For her to assume that our relationships are anywhere NEAR being on the same plane is idiotic. I held his figurative head over the toilet bowl while he vomited up his self-hatred, fear, and inability to love anyone not just me. I lashed back at him when he treated me terribly unlike anyone he’d ever known. I stood my ground in situations where his other partners cowered. I stayed in that relationship for entirely too long while he used me.

My memories are real. His actions were real. His addiction is real. Her assessment of my relationship with him is unreal and bullshit. It’s pompous, misinformed, and based on 3 days with a couple and mostly like a shit ton of Facebook photos. Facebook exists to share the gilded and hide the truth. There was no hiding with me. Anyone who dates me doesn’t have to hide.

Typing this is a syntaxed sigh that weighed heavy while internal. This is something for me to look back on and remind myself that it happened. It was horrible, painful, difficult, and real. The first time I fell in love was difficult, ugly, brutal, and very very fucking real.

Ugh, I really need to see a therapist.

*the issue is not with getting a blow job from a transgender woman. the issue is his self-hatred and inability to engage in intimacy during the sexual act…doing something that made him despise himself.


Yesterday, I went on a visit to Google Chicago.  A friend of mine works there and we met for lunch and a quick convo.  giddiness doesn’t even describe a smidgen of how I felt.  At first glance, it’s a playground for adult-shaped children.  Speaking as one of those myself, I had no problem with that.

After our delicious lunch of flank steaks, mashed potatoes, grilled asparagus and mushrooms, and La Croix sparkling water, we embarked on a tour.  I could only take pictures on the outsides of locked doors. I get that. Things are private TOP SECRET. I only wish I could’ve taken pictures of some of the furniture.  Cool apple-shaped swings. Massage chairs and rooms for private sessions.  It presents like all the tech start-ups you see in movies; ping-pong tables, video games, coffee station, bean bag chairs, fun artwork, 80’s video games references and homages to ancestral times.  It was fun.  If I had to work in an office building, I’d love for that office building to be it.

Something struck me, however. There were these nooks with different design themes.  One, was designed to be like the outdoors.  There were beautiful green carpet patches mirroring grass, pastel colored benches, and flowers painted on walls. It was neat. Cute.  In remembrance, I chuckle.  While Google is creating makeshift spaces I’m working in the real ones.  Working for the National Outdoor Leadership School gives me the opportunity to work in beautiful outdoor spaces.

Spring 2009 Caving 149

Google is great. It’s fun. I just don’t want to work there. 😉

Here are some of the photos I was allowed to take:DSC_0206 DSC_0210 DSC_0215 DSC_0218

Update 10/28/13

I’m not as tired as I should be.  At 4:30 this morning I awoke in halves. One half wanting to pee and excited for the day. The second half, annoyed and leafing through her dreams for the bookmark.

The first half won.  I got dressed in my new favorite outfit — a black hoodie, camo pants, and red shoes — and went to The Commons for breakfast.  No one else was awake and so I had the place to myself.  Though I love my commune (it’s not a commune) mates, it’s nice to have a space to yourself no matter how occasionally.

I pulled up the draft for my play, Sala Kakuhle, Mama and started to type.  I played music from some of my favorite artists and began to sing.  I wrote verses, monologues, and felt the rhythm of my story deep inside my chest.  It was nice.  I wasn’t stopped up by hunger, stress, or whatever else sits at my feet on occasion.

Hours passed and eventually I fed myself, joked with my neighbors, played with dogs, took a  walk, exercised, went for a run, and watched tv on Hulu.  I had an impromptu meeting with my boss and he offered me the job I thought I was going to have to interview hardcore for.  This job is so perfect for me right now because it matches my love of food — preparing it for the masses — with my love of the outdoors. Gives me the autonomy I’ve always desired as well as the responsibility.  I have a place to live on the ranch, for free, year-round.  I’ll work 8 months a year. That’s it.  I get time off to do work for Earthseed, and to just play.  Or, I could guide for the summer.

This is good for me.  I’m nervous because that’s my go-to emotion when awesomeness happens. I know. I know.

So, I’m moving to Tucson for 8 months out of the year, and then I’ll be living in Seattle for the other 4.  What makes me happiest, is that those four months align perfectly with Seattle’s beautiful summers.  I’m lucky. I’m happy.

Finally, someone I didn’t fall for

We met a few weeks ago. The details will remain vague because it’s important for privacy sake. We chatted. He seemed really interested in getting to know me.  I asked myself if I was attracted to him because he’s an attractive guy.  I figured out that, in time, I could be.  We hung-out a bit.  He invited me to go climbing  (I didn’t because I was running on fumes as far as sleep was concerned PLUS I was b-r-o-k-e)  He invited me to go to yoga (I didn’t because I was  (b-r-o-k-e).  During one of our chats he mentioned his girlfriend and I switched my lady parts to manual transmission.  From this point on, I assumed his interest was purely platonic.  Surprisingly, my heart was unaffected.

Fast forward a few weeks. Eventually a bunch of folks went out to dinner and drinks.  Upon returning to home base some people had had quite a bit to drink. I was sober.  I ended up sitting next to him on the loveseat and made a joke about how small it was.  I remember noticing his posture and thinking, “Wow, if he were anyone else I’d look at this as flirtation.”  He had his arm around me. His legs were touching mine.  We were sitting super close. I chocked it up to the size of the love seat. Also, I was wearing fleece pants that were 1,000 times to big and a flannel shirt that was equally as large. I wasn’t trying to be attractive or sensual. I was going for warm. Also, I had on wool socks.

The next morning, a friend pulled me aside and asked me what happened between the two of us.  Oblivious, I asked her to elaborate.  She commented on all of the things I just mentioned then said, “I expected him to be doing the walk of shame in the morning.”  I laughed.  When I finally saw him that morning he was a little weird but not too much.  I wondered if he had been flirting with me, but I’d just missed the cues.  I’m not cool with getting involved with a person who’s involved.  Nonetheless, I wondered why I missed the cues — if there were any. It came to this.

With my ovaries in manual transmission I wasn’t attracted to him.  Historically, I’m attracted to almost any guy who comes in box. If you’re into the outdoors, attractive and friendly, I’m pretty much sold.  Since returning from Morocco, I’ve changed.  I’m no longer worried if a guy is interested in me. I don’t freak out and get all gooey-eyed.  I’m more concerned with whether or not I’m into him.  That’s a HUGE difference.  With this guy, I wasn’t.  Honestly, if he didn’t have a girlfriend, I’m not sure I’d be anymore attracted to him even then.  That’s new.  I like that.  I’ve become more discerning in my old age.  Discerning is nice.

Settled in Tucson

I arrived last night and settled in fairly quickly.  A staff member picked me up from the airport and we laughed the entire way back to campus. Is that what it’s called, campus? I don’t know.  Here’s a picture of me in my yurt:

Yurt living!

Yurt living!

You may not know this, but living in a yurt is on my list of things to do before I die. YEEESS!

It’s day one and and I’m just entering the Honeymoon phase, but I’m in love. The heat. The creatures. The yurts. The people. Everything.

I fell asleep at 9:30 last evening and awoke at 6:00 this morning and went for a run.  If you’ve been reading my previous entries you’ll know I hate to run. Tucson’s elevation is at 2,643 above sea level, whereas Pennsylvania is at 446′. My lungs felt the difference. I probably jogged for 1.5 miles and was like “Alright, that’s enough for today, folks!” and went back home. Ate gluten-free oatmeal sweetened with molasses and some shared watermelon and now I’m here sitting on my bed in front of two fans.  It’s 79 degrees, but it feels like a gajillion.

I’m happy though.

The one thing missing is my dog. There are 4 dogs on campus and though the weather would torture Garvey, and his hair would quickly become home to sharp objects, he would love it.  I miss him.  My next move has to include him. Wherever that maybe, he’s got to be alongside me.

My favorite pic of us.

My favorite pic of us.

10 things that have changed since going gluten and dairy-free

I hate running.

Making muscles on the back porch

Making muscles on the back porch

This afternoon I went for a run and didn’t hate it.  In fact, I liked it.  I ran longer and faster than I have in double-digit years.  As I made my way past tomato stands and cornfields in rural Pennsylvania I couldn’t help but attribute it to my recent elimination diet and resulting gluten and dairy-free lifestyle.

When I first approached my doctor with the idea of being gluten intolerant 4 years ago  she scoffed, said it was just a fad, and waved off my question. At that point, I was less direct and didn’t pursue it further.  Needless to say, but I’ll say it anyway, I’ve changed and she’s no longer my doctor.  My history with food is pretty busted. I’ve written about it at length here, see Related Posts below for more. After feeling off my game for years, I decided to try a gluten-free elimination diet/cleanse of sorts. I’m in love with Rebecca Wood’s, revamped, book, The New Whole Foods Encyclopedia. It’s not a diet book. It’s not a cure-all. It’s information.  I’m in love with information and I want it to be my baby daddy.  The book is just what it calls itself, an encyclopedia about whole foods. Not the over-priced market, Whole Foods but the plants that grow out of the ground you’re supposed to eat.  I learned all about new plants and even picked up a few recipes.  I was able to find any ingredient I needed at my local co-op.  Look for one in your city. They’re worth it.  My life has changed since going gluten and dairy free. Here’s how.

  1. Energy: I’m anemic, I have Autosomal Dominant Polycystic Kidney Disease (ADPKD), Polycystic Ovaries, Lactose Intolerance, I have allergies that rival Bubble Boy’s, and I’m an educator starting 3 companies simultaneously.  My body is put through its paces regularly.  I assumed that all those issues were the reason I was so tired. Cutting out gluten and dairy reset my body to “normal” and I’m no longer fighting “the itis” or ethnic fatigue.  I feel like my body came back to me.
  2. Waist size: 3 or more inches have disappeared from my waist. It might be weight loss, but I think it’s bloat. Probably both. I was constantly gassy and bloated. My clothes rarely felt comfortable and I  never felt completely empty even if I was famished.  My midsection is notably smaller.  I’ve also stopped farting like a frat boy after drinking PBR.
  3. No joint pain: After I stopped skating derby I started seeing a physical therapist.  My hip was hurting and my ankle quickly followed.  She gave me exercises and the pain started to go away.  I attributed it to the exercises, but I noticed that the pains came back after I’d been “glutened.” My joint pain has disappeared. It doesn’t hurt to move.
  4. No more insomnia:  I have a history of my body hating me.  That would manifest itself in the form of 3am wake ups after midnight fall asleeps. That’s no longer the case. I often arise with the sun if I’ve gone to bed at a decent hour.  More importantly, I sleep for 7-8 hours regularly and awake feeling refreshed and excited to get my day started.
  5. Wheezing: I was diagnosed with exercise induced asthma a few years ago. I attributed it to being out of shape. My Ear Nose and Throat Doctor said it was asthma and prescribed an inhaler.  I filled the prescription once and then never again.  If my breathing became labored I would just stop the exercise until my lungs stopped punching me in the chest.  Since cutting out gluten and dairy I can run for at least 1-2 miles without encountering labored breathing. Even then, there’s no mucous, and I don’t end up bent over fighting for air.  It’s nice.
  6. Weight loss: Of course. It just seems like a natural progression. If one cuts out breads and cheeses (the only meat I eat is fish) they’re bound to lose weight.
  7. Uncontrollable Cravings: My current doctor (and physician soulmate) prescribed (or rather suggested) I start taking digestive enzymes after I told her how I CRAVED sweets and bread.  I don’t mean, “Oh, I could go for a piece of chocolate.” I mean I’d be sitting in my apartment feel the craving and somehow find myself teleported to Safeway with a basket full of Spicy Nacho Doritos, sugary drinks, Ben and Jerry’s ice cream, Snickers, and whatever else I stumbled upon. It was bad, folks.  I took the enzymes for awhile.  I’ve since stopped.  The cravings have also stopped. Also things taste different. Processed food has started tasting…well…gross.
  8. No itchy Skin: For the longest time I thought I had lice. It felt like there were flies on random parts of my body.  This might be a result of my recent trip to Morocco where there were literally flies on me all the time, but I doubt it. The itch has gone away and I’m grateful.
  9. Mood swings: I’m pretty even-keeled at this point. Granted, I’m not as stressed as I was previously.  Well, at least I’m not stressed in the same way.  My grandfather is still dying. I’m a new entrepreneur. My salary technically makes me impoverished. I’m writing and acting in a one-woman play that goes up in 8 months. But I’m not snapping at people. My emotions aren’t all over the place.  I feel like….a person.  I’m different.
  10. Pooping:  It used to be weird. Now it’s not. I’ll leave it at that. 🙂

This is not a post to convince you that you should eliminate gluten or dairy.  If I could go back I would jump buck naked into that pool with the quickness.  I can’t though. My body has been sending me messages for years. Things like poverty, lack of knowledge, and plain ol’ stubbornness have preventing me from hearing them.  I’m walking away from this experience feeling like I have more control over my health than I previously believed.  That’s what I’d like you to take away from this experience.  Your have more control over your well-being than you think.

Related Posts:

Emotional Eating

Body Image

Fasting and Babysitting Leads to Reconciliation


Sugar Cravings in an Athletic Woman


I wrote about my application for a NOLS Fellowship awhile back. Here’s an update.

A few months ago I received a phone call letting me know that the enrollment was low and the branch wasn’t sure it would be open, let alone in need of a Fellow. Then, while making my way to Seattle for this work trip I received a phone call.  Turns out that enrollment had surged and they were in need of a fellow after all.  The caller asked about my schedule and I shared it.  Turns out my availability matched their need. I asked for a day to think about it because I’ve learned I shouldn’t make large decisions without pondering consequences. 

The next day I called back and accepted.  I’ll spend 3 months on their campus working my ass off and living in a yurt.  If you know me, you know that living in a yurt is one of my dreams. Seriously. For the past 5 years it’s been on my “Do Before I Die.”

My life has a habit of falling into my lap. Plan as I may, those plans often go asunder and I’m left giggling at my absurd desire to plan in the first place.  I have a few major concerns about my life and bills, but I’m trying to ignore them for the time being. It will all workout anyway. 

My time in Seattle feels great and is packed full of love from friends who’ve become family.  I came to take a break from my grandfather and heal.  Being in Georgia has left me raw in scarred places.  I’ve picked open infected scabs and the pus of my past still oozes from gashes in gobs.  At this moment in 30 years of moments, my favorite quote from my favorite book resonates.

Here was peace. She pulled in her horizon like a great fish-net. Pulled it from around the waist of the world and draped it over her shoulder. So much of life in its meshes! She called in her soul to come and see.” – Their Eyes Were Watching God

Peace isn’t the absence of trauma. Peace is quiet in the midst of it. The last year has stumbled upon me being very quiet in the midst of the very traumatic.

While in Seattle, I’ve had several sensational meetings/interviews/catch-up sessions with men I’ve come to love, respect, and adore.  Their thoughts have given me quite a bit to think about and I’ve enjoyed digesting our conversations.  Material from their interviews will be featured in my one-woman show “Sala Kakuhle, Mama which goes up in Chicago May 2, 2014 at 11pm.  I’m writing as well as performing and it will be directed by Janice Stewart my mentor, friend, mother, and director for the past 16 years.   It’s a story about descendants of the Afrikan Diaspora and their relationship with the Wilderness.  My Seattle advisors and Board of Directors are helping me write grants for a spinoff dedicated to identity development in youth. That’s for another post however. 

This Fellowship with NOLS is exciting and scary. So much of my life is exciting and scary.  I enjoying taking one breath at a time and living in the moment. I’ll be sure to share my thoughts on the experience here.  What an experience it will be.

Be well, friends!



Related Posts

NOLS Fellowship

A letter to my brother

My relationship with my family was complicated in its existence. It is currently complicated in its absence.

I won’t get into it here because it’s too long, and honestly, you wouldn’t understand.  I am posting this letter because I found it on my computer today and would like to share it.  A little background. My brother and I didn’t grow up in the same house after I was 11 and he was 13 (14?).  We hadn’t spoken often due to his hurtful and irresponsible actions. After a significant silence — which I broke to inform him of our grandmother’s illness and eventual passing– he asked to be apart of my life. After considerable coercion I said, “Yes, but this is your last chance.”  Two months later he failed to communicate appropriately after telling me our other grandmother had health issues.  I found out from someone else that in the two-week time period that he wasn’t returning my phone calls or texts she had died of a brain tumor.

It hurts to know him.

I sent him this, via text message, because he wouldn’t answer the phone and I didn’t have his email address.  In spite of the message the letter conveys, he still followed me, creepily, on Instagram. Here is the letter grammatical errors and all:

Our dilemma: I’m bored by you and the cyclical fashion of your behavior.  I’m bored by my naivete and willingess to allow this to happen again, and again, and again.

 If our relationship were a sitcom we would’ve been canceled long ago due to recycled plots, stagnant characters, and uninteresting conflicts.  I am a little sister of two and so society says I am to embrace my nature and manifest certain behaviors in order to get attention read: pick and pick and nag and nag yearning for an emotional response. 

Fortunately, due to experience and maturity, I out grew that phase.  I don’t beg.  It’s beneath me.  If someone wants to be in my life they are welcome…until they aren’t. You are not.  I once sent an email like this ma/joyce/your mother/all of it feels false but you know who I’m talking about. 

She was so upset by the tone of the message that she didn’t understand the cause behind it.  Each time you both hurt me  I end up in a place that is so unhealthy it’s ridiculous.  I set boundaries and still you hurt.  I walk away and you beg me for permission to reenter my life. 

I allow it and yet the behavior never changes.  It’s like I’m related to robots. I would rather endure the pain of never hearing from, speaking to, or having to smell the putrid odor that accompanies your disappointing soul than to let you or anyone else that is related to you hurt me in that way again. 

Please read this next part carefully: I never want to hear from you again. I don’t care if you are on your deathbed, if your sons need a transplant and I am the only match, if your mother’s kidney fails and her dying wish is to spit in my face: I don’t care. 

I want nothing to do with you and anything or anyone that associates with you. 

*insert my brother’s name here*, know this.  I am serious.  Don’t call me, or text me, or ask anyone else to do the same. I will change my phone number.  I will get a restraining order. I swear to God I will take whatever legal action is necessary to get my point across. Don’t fuck with me.  To dear Isaac and Eli.  I feel badly for them because their lives lack the presence of an aunt who loves them dearly but has no access point.  Their father, an untethered foundation, thinks that relationships are built and sustained by pixels and such submitted through the internet and over the phone. He thinks that is enough.  He hopes that is enough.  He believes that is enough.  I know it is not enough and that knowledge grieves me.  Oh the promise our relationships could manifest and yet they are left with naught. 

This time I am hurt by me but not gravely as was common in my youth.  It’s like an old relationship the drags me in.  An ex I cannot shake.  A pool of putrid piss in which I linger long after toddlers have gone to nap.  I am silent in my hurt because I welcomed it near my being yet again knowing full well of the end.  An ending which is always the same. 

And so I write this to ask the following: for you to give me peace. Leave me be.  Bother not myself, my spouse, or off-spring to which I may rear as my own.  Should ailments reach you or yourn protect yourself from feigned response. I will care not and ask that you let that be.  Allow this to that which greets every desire to contact me bring back to this note. This interesting diatribe.  Should death befall, leave me alone. Should you hear of my misfortune, leave me alone. Should you hear of my bliss, leave me alone.  Take your kin and return to your hovel.  I care not for passage nor grace.  I ask not for forgiveness. I ask for you to leave me be.

This post is not about death

I believe that there are instances of our life that happen like pictures.  With or without a camera those incidents are daguerrotyped into our brains and we’ll never completely get them out.  One of those pictures is of my first kiss. Another is the scene in my 3rd grade classroom when a girl got a hold of my journal and read the entries aloud. One that just happened is the face my grandfather made as he collapsed to the floor.

He’s been falling a lot lately and I don’t have anything in my toolbox that can help. I’m not a doctor. I can’t research his symptoms and prescribe adjustments that will result in him living longer.  If I could. I don’t know that I would.  He’s been ready to die since his wife died two years ago.  He wants it to be over and yet his life continues.  Well, some version of his life is in the works, but it’s not the whole one. Unfortunately, it’s not even sliced into neat pieces that are conducive to an orderly existence.  His mind is split into pieces that leave him calling me by my cousin’s name, calling his daughter by his mother’s name, and calling his sons by names I don’t recognize.  Sometimes when his computer tries to reboot itself he is left standing blank in a doorway or just in front of the sink.  If my aunt or I recognize the symptoms soon enough we can prevent fall. It’s not always possible.

A few days ago friends of the family, whom I’d never met, were visiting and asked me to describe him in one word. I chose ornery. It was, apparently, a harsh descriptor because everyone looked around the room and silence ensued.  But he is ornery. He is stubborn. He is mean. He is sweet. He is loving. He is my grandfather and I am here for him. I quit my job for him. I am living in the basement of this house for him. And me. I couldn’t remain 3,000 miles away, hear about his deterioration, and be okay.  I couldn’t be forced to deal with his death from a distance as I was my grandmothers’ and a former student’s. I needed to grieve up close for him and that’s what is happening.

I grieve for him slowly as I walk behind him bracing myself for his fall.  I grieve for him in pieces when I have flashbacks to the vibrant grey-haired man of my youth.  The one who would scrub my skin so hard in a Jamaican bathtub that I felt as if my whole self would peel off.  The man who loved me in my youth but allowed me to be abandoned by his son. The man who always had a drink in his hand, but never seemed to be drunk.  The man who loved my grandmother but cheated on her anyway.  The man who never said I love you. The man who loved me.  I grieve for him in whole pieces when I am away and hear his voice on the phone.  When I hear a great crashing sound as I go to bed and run back upstairs to care for him after he has fallen, if he has fallen. The man who I help get in and out of the shower. For whom I sometimes hold my breath as I walk into the bathroom to flush the toilet.  The man for whom I adjust old sweatpants that are too big and need to be tied extra tight to satisfy him.  The man I sit next to as he stares blankly through windows and relives his hauntings.  I grieve for this man constantly these days.  I am living in a state of grief.  It’s not always as hard as it was today.  But I saw his face as he fell and he was so afraid. I was too far to catch him and didn’t see it coming.  I will never get the sight of his fear out of my mind.

This post isn’t about death it’s about grief.  I want the grieving to be over.


Still wheat free…kind of.

Last night I sneezed like I’d put my bed in a field of pollen and licked a cat hair lollipop.

Earlier in the day I made lentil walnut burgers that came out with too much liquid.  What does one do to absorb liquid? You add breadcrumbs.  In my case, I should’ve added gluten-free breadcrumbs, but I didn’t. I didn’t have any in the house. Plus I’m on a budget and didn’t want to and couldn’t walk to the store in time to get them and get back to watch my grandad. So I just tossed them in there thinking, “No big deal.”

It was a big deal.  Shortly thereafter, I started to sneeze. A lot.  I’ve had these fits often in the past.  I always thought they were just random allergy attacks even though I was on allergy medicine.  I’ve had them twice since on this gluten-free elimination test that Rebecca Wood suggests.  Both times align with accidental (sorta) ingestion of wheat.  So I’m going to continue to eat wheat/gluten-free to see if that’s really the case.  I also haven’t consumed any dairy since this test began.  I feel great, for the most part. The Cheetos cravings are getting crazy, but so has my life.  It’s hard to walk away, but I do.  They wouldn’t even be here except there’s a teenage boy in the house and I have no control over what he eats. So, they’re here. To tempt me.

I’m in the process of cooking some staple foods to make sure that I have pieces of recipes ready when meal times arrive.  It’s easier to toss some vegetables and seasonings in a pan when most of the work is done.  Overall this is difficult. It’s been a stressful week, but I’m thriving in spite of its events.  That’s nice. At least one thing that’s going well is how my body feels. I like that. I can’t control the events that occur outside of myself. I can, however control what I put into my body to fuel it.

** Side note, as I was tagging this post my grandad — who is having one of his bad days– came into the kitchen.  He wanted to know where I’d been since I left with that man last night.  I told him that I’d never left and that after I said goodnight to him I went downstairs and went to sleep.  He said, “Ok. You know that you shouldn’t be with a man who will beat you up.”  The rambling continued and I got increasingly sad.  He’s not the person I knew. He’s fading and it’s sad.  Being here with my grandfather makes me very sad.

Emotional Eating

Kale salad

I have this thing with food. I’ve talked about it at length in other blog posts like here and here.  It’s a process.  I’m back in Georgia and I’m stressed.  As I’m typing this my grandfather is taking a shower and I’m sitting outside the bathroom door as a precaution.  He’s already had 2 or 3 near falls this morning. Luckily I was there to catch him.  What do I mean by near falls?  His breathing becomes labored. His eyes roll to the back of his head. His body becomes rigid. His spirit goes away. When these “spells” occur, he has no control and will often fall or clutch the nearest object with the death grip to win all death grips.  Two or three times I was there. Once I wasn’t.

I heard something that sounded like marbles against a wall from the other room. I walked into his bedroom found him in the closet in an awkward diagonal with his head against the wall, stomach on boxes, and feet on the floor. I put him in the rescue position on the floor of the closet and put his head on a pillow.  He resisted told me he wanted to “bade” (take a bath).  I responded that I wanted him to stay there for a few minutes because he’d just hit his head.  He argued that he hadn’t and that he was fine.

He wasn’t fine.

It’s always difficult when I find my grandad after he has fallen.  The last big fall he had left him bloody and covered in his own urine.  Afterwards, I craved Cheetos. It was immediate. Once the adrenaline settled the craving took its place.  That time, I ate them. This time, I did not.

I’m on day 6 of a 21-day gluten-free elimination test.  I craved Cheetos last night and refrained from eating them. After his fall this morning, the craving returned and I refrained from eating them again.

I continue to be amazed at how connected I am — at a chemical level– to food. The events of this morning have renewed my sadness and reminded me that he is going to die.  I will have no grandparents left. I will no longer be tethered to this family that hurts. At least not tethered through obligation merely bloodline.  As I continue to explore my odd position in this family and the oddities of this family I can’t help but wonder what will happen to me when his life goes away.

My grandfather the soothsayer

The soothsayer himself

The soothsayer himself

I moved into the unfinished basement in my uncle’s house in December of 2012.  My grandfather’s health was declining and it hurt to be almost 3,000 miles away from him. This decision continues to challenge me in ways I could not have handled five years ago.  That’s not why I’m writing today.  I’m writing because my conversation with my grandad just freaked me the hell out.  It is already VERY difficult for me to live in a basement.  It’s dark and scary and it always feels like someone is going to break in and murder me.  I have my escape plan all mapped out.  Keeping that to mahself.  Not trying to have any impending murderers read this and foil my plans.

Two of the several rooms look like this:Fridge area

I mentioned the “several” not to be bougie, but to illustrate that this is a shit ton of room for one person to occupy. I usually sit on my bed with my back against the wall and my face like this:

Mi hear duppy.

Mi hear duppy.

It’s a scary situation of bounty. I digress. Today while eating my banging gluten-free breakfast of champyans in the upstairs kitchen.

My grandfather says, from behind me, “I have a kwestion, but mi nuh no di ansah. Mi nuh no whuh kwestion fi ask, buh mi wan’ tan an ansah.”

Translation: “I have a question. I’m not quite sure how to phrase it, but I’d like an answer.”

First of all. When talking to a fully coherent individual of any age I’d be like, “Well, work that sh*t out and get back to me when you have something a little more concrete.” Because honestly, what can anyone do with that?  He goes on to say,

“Sumting feel wrong wit the house. The house don feel right. Only chree of us here?”

Translation: “Something feels wrong with the house. Is there anyone else in here besides us?”

Umm the hell you say?  So his home nurse tries to assure him that we’re the only people here and I’m sitting there like this:

Mi feel him pon mi skin

Mi feel him pon mi skin

My grandfather is an 88 year old Jamaican man who has developed seizures, has a mysterious pain in his abdomen, and pisses himself on occasion. Ain’t nothing wrong with any of that though. After that long your body would probably start rebelling too.

I believe in the wisdom of elders. I believe in the power of people who are close to birth and death.  I have no doubt that at the cusps of our lives we are connected to things we eventually outgrow and return to, like spirits. Sooooo to hear this man talk about something being wrong in the house was freaky.  He kept saying that the position of the house has changed and that something is wrong.  I just listen because we’re both getting frustrated.  He wants me to tell him what’s wrong. I don’t know what’s wrong and he keeps telling me that “I don’t know grandad,” is an “unacceptable ansah.”

*The house phone rings*

I usually don’t pick it up unless I recognize the number.  This time I  picked up without recognizing the number.  The conversation went a little something like this, “Hello. The FBI reports that there are 10 million home break-ins each year…

I’m sorry, what?  If someone breaks into my house I swear fo’ God I will shit myself without shame.  I had my scared of duppy face on went I came back to the table where my grandfather was sitting.  Even though I was spooked I tried to let my grandfather know that we heard him.  His feelings were valid, but I just had no idea what was “wrong with the house.”  He then started to ramble and talk about how it was a holiday and everyone should be home.  I took that as my cue to exit the conversation.

The combination of my grandad’s words and that telemarketer phone call leaves me feeling off. That man and his soothsaying abilities have gotten under my skin.  I’m going to try and spend the rest of my day doing something other than looking for ghosts around the next corner.

The reluctant gluten-free vegetarian

Alright y’all, I’m LOSING it.  Its 5am I haven’t been to sleep all night because I was up watching, “Orange is the New Black” on Netflix (bomb), painting, and “cleaning.”  My stomach is rumbling and my head hurts. My hips and ankles are sore and I keep clenching my teeth even though I basically shattered a molar two months ago.  Being in Morocco was an exercise in controlled starvation.  Let’s just say there were a lot of potatoes and white bread involved.  I will not deny the presence of Pringles as well.  When I returned to the States I craved vegetables.  That’s all I wanted to eat. Veggies. Breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks. I regained some of the weight I’d lost, but I felt better.

I’ve never wanted to be vegan. If that were a choice I had to make it would be for health reasons and not ethical ones. I’m lactose intolerant. I rarely eat meat.  When I do, it’s seafood. Now I think I may have a problem with gluten.  Seriously?! This is getting ridiculous. There has to be something behind my joint pain, stomach cramps, weird cravings, head aches, and SERIOUS allergies.  That’s why I’m eliminating gluten, dairy, and meat. I will still e eating eggs. They’re not actually dairy, just an animal byproduct.

I’ve been thinking about going gluten-free since 2009.  A co-worker of mine and his family were gluten-free and pretty much had me convinced to do it then. I didn’t.  So when I came back from Morocco, I figured this was as good a time as any.  My stomach was basically empty anyway.  I’m also planning to do a juice fast a la “Fat Sick and Nearly Dead,” but first things first.  It doesn’t feel right starve my body of basic nutrients by being in a veggie dessert for a month to then fast on only fresh squeezed juice for 60 days.  So I’d like to balance my system by going on a 21-day gluten-free elimination diet. If that goes well and answers some questions then I probably won’t fast for 2 months. I’ll still fast though.  Fasting clears my head and centers my spirit.  Plus, I think it will help me address some of the questions I have about food related allergies.  It will also allow me to get a better result from introducing and eliminating problematic foods. I just want to feel better.

While visiting a friend in Oregon I went shopping for the basic grains and goodies at Trillium Natural Grocer in Lincoln City, Oregon.  There aren’t any food co ops near my home in Georgia so my friend suggested I mail things home.  I did.  That shopping trip cost me $200+. Mailing the package cost another $69.  I know. I know! I got excited. Bulk food shopping is a spiritual experience for me.  I bought enough short grain brown rice (it’s the business, y’all!) to last me for like 6 months.  I bought a bunch of quinoa as well.  Copious amounts. In the end I felt good about my purchases.  Quinoa here in the suburbs of Atlanta is about $6.79 a pound and I think I paid $3 -$4 at Trillium.  In Seattle, I’ve paid as little as $1.79 for a pound so nothing beats those prices.  As I type that I feel IMMENSELY guilty about how the surge of interest in foods like quinoa in the United States is making it nearly impossible for residents of small towns where the quinoa is sourced to afford this common food. And still I buy it.

Overall, I’ve set myself up for a successful gluten-free journey.  In my package I included gluten-free flours, mixes, and oats as well as other grains.  I had to grab some groceries when I got here so I’d have something to eat while waiting for my food bundle of joy to arrive from Oregon. I wanted to try new grains and I’ve never eaten barley so I got excited and bought some. Weeellllll, for those of you that know anything about gluten, barley is NOT gluten-free. It’s like the epitome of gluten.  Soooo, I’ve been super gassy and my stomach has been bloated and crampy for the past 48 hours.  Whoops. Experience is the name we give our mistakes, right?

My package should get here on Tuesday and in the meantime I’ll be eating gluten-free by cooking with veggies, nuts, fruit and whatever else I can find.  If you have any suggestions or similar experiences I’d love to hear them. I need some serious help, family!

Panera Cares; dead up.

Taking a quick reprieve from my Morocco journal to reflect on an experience that’s still happening.

I’m leaving Portland in a few hours to go back to Atlanta.  I’m returning to my grandfather after a long time away.  I slept on the couch of my friend’s cousin.  We called at 1pm and asked if I could spend that evening on his couch or whatever.  He called back at 4pm to say, “Sure!”  That’s the Miesle clan for ya. Always an open door for a stranger.  This is not the first time I’ve used my friendship with them to stay in a complete stranger’s home.   I feel like that’s what strangers are supposed to be; really awesome in moments of need.  In Morocco they have a saying pronounced, “DayfAllah.”  You can show up at someone’s house, knock on the door, say, “DayfAllah” and they basically have to let you stay there for at least the night. They’ll offer you shelter and food and tea.  You offer your best houseguest skills and take solace in having a nifty place to stay for the night. 

Even though I’m the kind of stranger you want to be around if something happens to you.  The sporadic kindness of strangers still surprises me.  I will stop, help, and make sure you’re cool for the foreseeable future.  It doesn’t often happen that someone returns the favor.  Apparently, Panera Bread Company is also a similar quality of stranger.  Let me introduce you to Panera Cares.

Panera Cares is a new kind of cafe – one that exemplifies an entirely different way of giving back. It is a community cafe of shared responsibility. One of the goals of this charitable program is to ensure that everyone who needs a meal gets one. People are encouraged to take what they need and donate their fair share. There are no prices or cash registers, only suggested donation levels and donation bins.” – Panera Bread Company

As soon as I walked in the door a woman with a “Georgia” name tag greeted me in a way that was, initially, unnerving.  She seemed like an overeager sales associate and I immediately searched my brain for ways to avoid her. I didn’t find any.  She asked me if I’d ever been into this location before and I told her I hadn’t. She explained that this branch was a little different and that they were one store out of five in the Nation.  The “prices” on the menu were suggestions, not prices. She went on to explain that if I could afford my meal then I could could pay. If not, then that was alright.  She also told me that large backpacks were not permitted in the cafe and I’d have to leave it at the side.  I was carrying one large multi-day pack, my smaller day pack and my leather bag. She also said that she would watch it for me to ensure that nothing happened to it. (She didn’t, but hey). I went to the register ordered a large soup and handed the clerk a ten dollar bill. She handed me a five and five ones and it didn’t register.  I could have said, “Thanks!” picked up my soup and bounced.  Instead I dropped the five in the donation bin and stepped to the side.  Could I have used a free meal? Absofreakinlutely.  I paid because I felt this heavy societal pressure to do my due diligence. It was also super important to me to not be lumped into the bundle that was homelessness.  I feel guilty writing this, but I didn’t want any of those people thinking I was homeless.  Man, I wish that weren’t a stigma.

I’ve read quite a few articles on how successful this program has been.  Here are some of the links:

  1. Problems at Panera Cares – Eater PDX

  2. Panera Cares Community Cafe – Panera Bread

  3. Panera Cares pay-what-you-can cafe learns about entitlement

  4. Panera Cares

I’m super happy that this is happening and I hope it lasts — and spreads like herpes.  Panera Bread is a huge corporate entity and I’m glad they’re figuring out a way to make the business model work.  I’m not up on my food security game and there are probably hundreds of community based organizations that have been doing this for years.  This is the first time I’ve heard of it. 

People love their Panera Bread. When our local Burger King was replaced by a Panera my hometown neighbors collectively and gleefully lost their shit.  Almost a decade later it is still packed to the hilt with elderly White people every Sunday. 

Yes Panera Cares has had it’s issues.  I appreciate the tactics they’ve adopted to address those issues.  I can think of several corporations that would benefit from it’s tutelage.

*I’d like to note, someone is walking around giving away free Panera Bread baguettes as I type. A blog entry to follow will examine why being here makes me so damn uncomfortable.*


Am I really in Morocco right now?

More from the journal I kept while in Morocco

June 27, 2013

First, I’m having a bizarre experience.  I am actually in Morocco!  What? What?!? We’re leaving Rabat tomorrow.  that makes me sad.  I’m learning so much.  The tv is currently on in the background and set to a channel speaking Darija and I’m able to understand words here and there.  More importantly, I’m able to hear Arabic as more than just one long word.  There is such beauty in this language.  I love Darija.  I would love to be fluent.  Not literate, but fluent.  Learning to write Arabic may be too much.  I think it’s a valuable language and I would benefit from learning it.  If Jamaica isn’t possible for me to visit consistently, may be Rabat should be my adopted country.


In this post I’ve used “Arabic” and “Darija” interchangeably. They are not. They are two separate languages.

Visit to the doctor’s office

More from the journal I kept during my visit to Morocco. In a doctor’s office in Rabat waiting to get my ear looked at.  I’d had water in it for about 4-5 days at this point.

*       *

There’s something that stings when someone tells you to lose weight.  My grandfather said it before I left.  My family said it at [the only] Christmas [we had together] when I was in high school.  When I look back at pictures I think I looked great and struggle with how I look currently.  The doctor just weighed me and told me to lose weight in Morocco. There’s a theme here.

We live in such a negatively affected society.  People are happy to mention what you should do to make yourself better.  Yet they often neglect to tell you something you do well.

*       *

The doctor came in so I had to go.

Apparently I’m good at learning Darija.  Moroccan Arabic is my shit.  I know I haven’t even been here a week and so it’s presumptuous to be talking about next year, but I’d love to comeback.  I’d love to become fluent in Arabic and learn basic french just so I can be better at Darija.  It’d be cool ot work with 19more in the nice months in Seattle, and Rabat in the rainy winter months.  I wonder what that would cost.  Home stay for 3 months each year?  Sell belongings in Seattle.  Leave boxes in someone’s basement?  I don’t know I could find roommates in Seattle where I could afford the rent — hella cheap.  They would be willing to walk Garvey or rather take care of Garvey for a small fee while I’m out of the country.  I dunno.  It would be nice.


The face of God

More from the journal I kept on my way to Morocco

6-25? 6-24?

It is early even for me.  Roosters have been testing their lungs for several hours.  I awoke before the 1st call to prayer and I wanted desperately to go and see.  More feel than see though.  I miss the power of a holy place and haven’t found myself in a church sans my cynicism for quite sometimes.  The religion of my up bringing  feels foreign and has for many years.  This is not to say that my God is gone because He is not.  He created me, raised me, guided me and continues to pave my way.  The spirit inside of me has never left or been replaced.  My unique understanding of my Creator has though.  I embrace Him as Lord, Father, maleness unique to me because that is what I I need to feel as though, be balanced.  More than balance, I crave a Father.  More than a father I crave my God.  More so still I seek His name because previous utterances of my tongue and calls from my heart no longer fit. They feel tingly and numb and then fall right off.  I seek His name as away to ease myself.  To, perhaps, right what I’ve done wrong to seek out favor.  I ask that God be revealed to me on this journey and that I reveal myself to God.  Also important to note, must tell Kim and Eliott that Rabat looks just like Assassin’s Creed. Weird.

Je suis fatigue

More from the journal I kept on my way to Morocco

June 23, 2013 

I want to travel forever.  On the flight to Paris with my students and co instructors.  Just looked out the window and was, in fact still am –able to see this confusing and beautiful body of water.  It appears to be water land painted with sewage thirsting for water.  The sun is setting and so there is a brush stroke of faded orange to my left.  I have the window seat and the leisure of controlling 2 windows.  My fortune abounds and gratitude follows.  I am being paid to be at this place.  Where I can see the private moment where water clasps hands with sky.  Their palms linger and they are intimate.  I crave that intimacy with people and with the earth.  Living in an open place with people and love.  The sigh that follows hold my continued journey toward peace.  I am fortunate to be on this journey.  I am fortunate to known that this journey exists.  peace, like happiness is a journey not a destinations.  So happy to be on this journey.

*             *

We’ve been traveling for almost 24hours and some rando woman just scowled at me for brushing my teeth in the sink.  I wanted to yell, “hey lady! you want to be next to me in an hour or two?! My breath will be as funky as this bathroom and armpits 10x’s worse!” I feel like a terrible person but I just caught a cat nap on the floor of an airport in Paris.  I’m greasy, bloated, and I just want to be done moving.  The group of kids have been great.  Too great.  I wonder what’s going to go wrong and when.  Something smells funny.  It could have something to do with not having showering and the leftover smoked salmon wrapper in the garbage.

*             *

On the plane form Paris to Rabat.  Je suis fatigue. Je suis fatigue. Je suis fatigue. Tengo sueno. Deseo different… I want something different. I want to stop moving. I want the *water in my ear to drain.  I want the pain from it being there to stope.  Je suis fatigue. I am tired of doing this alone.  I want to experience life with my person. Where are you. I need you. Je suis fatigue.

*             *

In the Hotel Darna for the evening.  Thus concludes the journey from Seattle to Rabat via Paris.  I still have water in my ear.  It’s ringing now.  Will purchase alcohol –isopropyl tomorrow to try and dehydrate or rather evaporate the water from my ear canal.  Not tired at all but I should get some sleep.   Excited to hear morning prayers.

moroccan countryside

Prior to leaving for Morocco

It’s time to write about my journey. In the last 30+ days, I’ve traveled from Atlanta to Chicago, Chicago to Seattle, Seattle to Paris, Paris to Rabat, Rabat to Paris, Paris to Amsterdam, Amsterdam to Seattle, Seattle to Portland, and now I’m here on the coast of Oregon sleeping and writing, and preparing for Georgia. I’ve had some time to reflect and I’d like to share some of my journal entries from the trip. Some, like my mind, are disjointed so be ready for that.


6-22-13 Panera Bread- Broadway Seattle

I’m curious to know why everyone wants to know if I’m excited yet.  That’s the overarching theme of inquiry from loved ones.  Excitement.  I’m not excited. I’m 1/2 way between nervous and suspended in the jello of disbelief.  A well-known organization is paying me to care for their children THOUSANDS of miles from home.  That’s more bizarre than anything.  I’m bizarroed out more than excited.  This trip isn’t about me.  It’s not even a trip, it’s my job.  I feel more concerned with doing it well than anything else.  I just want to do a good job.  This might be the only thing that’s quantitative about my life right now.  I want to feel successful more than anything.  Life has felt tumultuous, painful, exhausting, dry, teary, and sad as of late and I think excitement is more than I can handle.  I want black and white, squares and rectangles not grey…not dodecahedrons…nothing in the empty spaces. I want to step away from the scolds of my grandfather the disappointed and codependency trigger glare of my aunt.  Her scowl makes me feel like a child…when my actions as of late are everything but childish.  My actions were courageous.  Going back into the snake pit that is my bloodline takes courage.  This trip to Morocco is simple.  All I have to do is follow directions parent youth, and work alongside coworkers.  That is easy.  Working alongside a team is easy.  In my “normal life” I don’t feel like I”m apart of a team.

*dance break*

There’s a girl who sat next to my space and walked into it without invitation.  She’s drifting.  SHe leaned over my lemonade and put her chest on my straw.  Her apologies were genuine, but I’m done with my drink now.  Her clothing is ill-fitting and gear borrowed or stolen not bought.  She’s homeless.  Has been living on the streets for a bit and is talking to her mom on the phone.  I know this because we’re sitting close enough to be sisters…lovers…friends….Not strangers who haven’t even been introduced by a smile.  We’re so close and I may be annoyed…soon.  *Ellen called and so I couldn’t finish this entry*


I just pooped, wiped, looked at the toilet paper in my hand and didn’t know what to do with it.

I spent the last 30 days pooping and peeing in Turkish Toilets — for the most part. In my hotel rooms there were western toilets with Turkish expectations.  This is a Turkish toilet.

Turkish Toilet

Thanks shwiya b shwiya blog!

I’ve used them before when I traveled in Eastern Asia.  The difference now, however, is that in Morocco (and probably Turkey, but I wouldn’t know because I’ve never been) you don’t put the toilet paper in the hole. You fold it in on itself and put it in a wastepaper basket where it sits until someone takes out the garbage.  In my small village, when the garbage was taken out, it went to a larger container that sat in the bushes near cherry trees and the water source.  Just because it’s out of the house doesn’t mean it’s out of your life.

I enjoy using Turkish Toilets. The squatting position is better for your system and just feels great. I love pooping in the woods because it combines the prime squat position with a beautiful view. That’s the life right there, y’all.  I didn’t love pooping in Turkish toilets because the smell from the wastepaper basket, or merely the knowledge that it’s there, is distracting. I just wanted to poop in a smell free poop free environment.

My pooping in Morocco was disjointed.  When Moroccans found out that I was a vegetarian they’d laugh — because they thought it was a joke– and then they’d ask if that meant I ate lamb…or chicken… or fish. Seriously.  If you say in Darija, “I don’t eat meat.” You also have to explain that you don’t eat fish, chicken, turkey, or lamb. It’s quite a process. Even then, me not eating meat meant I ate a crap ton of potatoes with a few carrots.  At one point I sat back and recollected on my food consumption for the day. “You know what?” I said to my co instructors. “I had a hard-boiled egg and bread for breakfast. Now I’m having a hard-boiled egg and bread for dinner. The hell is going on?”  That was pretty much the extent of my food options. Bezzaf (a lot) of Khobs (bread). Granted, we convinced Mama Fatima to make us lentil soup and frites (french fries) for lunch and it was so good we asked for it every day.  We didn’t always get it, but we asked.  I think she felt bad preparing us the same lunch so she tried to vary it.  If only she knew that I could have eaten that for 3 meals a day and been absolutely fine. The lack of vegetables in my diet led to me feeling clogged up or uncomfortable for most of my days.  We often had to request watermelon (dluh-h) and cherries for the sake of taste and fiber.  There were also honey dew and cantelope melon hybrids that I grew to enjoy. I hate them in the States, but hey, when 98% of the food options aren’t on your menu you’re not going to get too picky with the 2%.

My last few meals in the city were splendid. Well, one was falafel and hummus at a Syrian restaurant — that was splendid and the other was pizza — that was okay. I think my bowels valued familiarity.  The food on the Air France flight was similar to Morocco, which shouldn’t surprise you because France colonized Morocco in the 17th and 18th centuries.  The quality of bread and cheese on the flight was more my style than in the village. I mean come on, who doesn’t love fancy cheese and croissants? 😉 I ate the inside of a Spinach burrito from Gorditos upon my return and I’m pretty sure my stomach brain just had an aneurysm. I haven’t had veggies aside from slivers of zucchini and carrots (and potatoes) in a month. It has no idea what to do with itself.

I’m struggling a bit as my stomach struggles to right itself, but that’s okay. I’m happy to be back in Seattle and pooping in a toilet that I don’t have to share with a gajillion other people… even if it has a toilet seat.

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