Another Thorn, Another Rose (Mental Illness as a Blessing)

I fight against harm perpetrated both by the myth of the Strong Black Woman and the stigma my culture attaches to mental illness every day. Since 1619, America nurtures me to mute my emotions, my pain, and my fear.

Breaking

I’ve had my share of youthful indiscretions. (Mom, please exit here and look at some of my baby pictures instead.) Not least among these was that time in college when my roommate Marie and I finished finals early. The cumulative stress from the completed semester was palpable. So we let loose like any other restless […]

Not So January White

I went through three Advent calendars this year.  The chocolate kind; maybe it was four. One was my daughter’s. I was forgiven upon upgrading it to a higher-caliber chocolate one. Eventually I ate that too, and we settled out of court. Psychoanalysis of this penchant leads me down infinite rabbit trails, so I’m sticking with […]

Emmanuel and Showing Up

The first few days of Advent, I felt irrationally angry. I tried to call it irritable or easily annoyed, but when I sat down to dig through it all what I found was anger. Advent is an invitation to the waiting, and frankly, I would like to decline. No thanks. Can’t come. Wish I could […]

Solidifying Joy

I lay awake last night, somehow exhausted and frustrated after a day of fellowship, rest, and play. I’ve been learning to intentionally take sabbath once a week, and it’s rough, inconsistent, and amazing all at the same time.  But yesterday, while the day was filled with activities that normally refresh my spirit, the gift of […]

Fear Knot

I roll along in silence between the sterile, white walls. Hospitals are like that—a bizarre blend of fear, hope, and rubbing alcohol. My brain spins in circles like the wheels on the chair beneath me. I ruminate on the blood, the pain, and the uncertainty of a happy ending. The knot cinches up tight in […]

Finding Another Piece of the Puzzle (On Why I Jumped On the Enneagram Bandwagon)

They were the kind of sobs that you feel like rock your whole body in such a way that something must certainly shake loose from your heart. They were the kind of tears that feel like they reach back years in time, pulling up issues you didn’t know you were concealing. Those tears snuck up […]

How Truth-Telling Overcomes Shame

In my mid-twenties, a fabulously handsome and wealthy man pursued me. He picked me up in his Jaguar, took me to expensive restaurants, and always called the next day to express how much he enjoyed our time together. While I appreciated the attention and affirmation, I felt somewhat ambivalent because I knew I was working overtime […]

The Fear and Beauty of Solitude

It was a cool October day and I was sitting on my favorite bench in my favorite garden in Pittsburgh—a little slice of green tucked in the side of the corner lot under a series of stained-glass windows lining the east wall of the synagogue.  Beyond the walls, the busy intersection loomed; but inside I […]

When Houseplants Are Zombies of the Apocalypse

Last night, after I finished packing for a long trip, I decided to move all my succulents outside for the duration of our weeklong vacation. I have nine pots of various sizes on the bookshelves in our front room: one tiny barrel cacti, four plants that look like desert seaweed, and assorted echeveria in dark […]