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.
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
Because at the root of everything I am afraid of, the fear behind every other fear, is the fear that I am not loved.
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 […]
The weight of what was happening there and here was hidden somewhere inside my gut and I was exhausted all the time.
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
I was very flexible when I was young. Limbo was a party game that seemed to happen often, and I prided myself on how good I was at it. I could sashay under that pole with the best of them. Recently, I tried to limbo again, but my middle-aged body sounded its alarm alerting me […]
For a long time I thought that faith was the absence of fear. That if I had faith, I wouldn’t ever be afraid. That in my faith, my anxiety would be gone, my uncertainty would disappear and my crooked paths would all be made straight. But that has not been my experience. I look at […]
I first read about the angel Gabriel’s exhortation to Fear Not! when I was in my early twenties. My initial thought was, Not fearing is an option? I didn’t know I had a choice. As far back as I have memory, I have memory of being afraid. My fears did not attach to tangible objects […]
I have fear. I have faith. I wrote those two short sentences this morning in the “I Am” section of my journal. Yes, I do positive affirmations. No, it’s not corny & yes, it really does work. It stuck out to me today because first, it felt out of the blue. I.e. where did that […]