Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Still ...

"And so even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream. I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: we hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal."
- Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., August 28, 1963

I believe in this wonderful dream. I believe there is something very significant about this small section of this amazing speech. The words are so inspiring and just a glimpse of what America should be. In a world full of decay, hate, rage, prejudice and injustices all around, its nice to get an image of something better for us ... not just in heaven but a little heaven on earth. So nice ...

I thought I'd incorporate my word of the day into this post:

kith /KITH/ noun :familiar friends, neighbor or relative.

I count it a blessing to call a wide variety of people my kith and kin, from the darkest to the lightest in hue, my friends are those who stand with me in adversity.

Thank you friends!

The Real Deal

The Real Deal ... when I first began writing "The Lady's Rage" I found myself betwixt a rock and a hard place. I felt this urgency to "do" something with what I believed was a gift to express myself in the form of fiction and fantasy. As a child, I was very much performance driven. I loved performing, even if it was for myself. I would create comedy sketches and record myself doing various foreign accents and impersonations. I would play my recordings for my family and friends and they would die with laughter. I remember feeling "good" about my ability and I wanted more of that "good" feeling. And so, I kept creating. I pushed myself to invent new ways of performing. Not just tapes, but stories. And not just stories, but poems. And not just poems, but spoken word. And not just spoken word, but acting. And not just acting but directing. When I finally, slowed down from my ambition, I realized that to some degree I had become a slave to whatever ability I had. I began to measure my worth on the basis of whether or not I was "doing" something. I had to learn to see the value within and that my worth had nothing to do with performance.

This brings me back to my earlier post, "There's Something About Mary ..." What did she really do? Why her? I can literally here the kid sister in Eddie Murphy's Coming to America wail "How come she always gets the good ones?" After finding out that Hakeem, is really a Prince and not just a broke African national working at her father's fast food chain. It's kind of like that. What was it about Mary? Why her?I was actually meditating on that very fact this morning in the shower. I began to imagine. Let's see, Mary. I have held onto this idea that she was a mature woman. That she knew a thing or to about being in the face of God. She knew how to be intimate with Him and isolate herself from the cares of the world. She must of had some sort of revelation of God and was bowed down before him all of the time. Worshipping constantly, right? But wait a minute, the reality is that Mary was a kid. In today's culture, Joseph might be facing statutory rape charges. Seriously, though. I think that seeing her as a child changes things a bit. I am reminded of the scripture that says, "We must be like a child to enter into the kingdom of heaven."

There are so many promises that God has for us. So many wonderful and glorious parts of God that we barely get to see because our minds are clouded by "the cares of this world." A child has no cares, except to eat & be merry. Whatever enjoyment there is an life , a child is open to receive it. A child doesn't ask, "Do I deserve that?" "How much does it cost?" A child merely, says "Thanks!" A child receives. And so it is.

As I am transitioning from having had this "performance driven" way of writing into writing from my heart my true testimony and my real experiences, I am finding that I enjoy writing so much more. There is no stress. There is no headache. There is no pressure to perform.

I like that.

Monday, January 14, 2008

There's Something About Mary ...

I'm not Catholic. And I don't hail, Mary. But I do think that her name is worth mentioning in the context of this blog. Mary, mother of grace, I believe she has been called. And yet, her name means sorrow. I have found her story a very interesting one throughout the years. There have been films made about her & her son that depict the young Hebrew woman as a quiet and mysterious soul. Not much is known about her apart from the Miracle she birthed and yet she was chosen among others? Why? What was it about Mary?

I believe that like Mary, many of us have fallen in the catagory of "saint" who has been chosen among others; not on the basis of perfection, holiness or status ... but merely by saying what Mary said, "May it be to me as you have said." It hasn't been stated nearly enough, that Mary wasn't perfect. (Please don't stone me.) But she did believe that what was told her, however, extraordinary, was DO-ABLE, not because of her own ability but by His (The Lord's) ability. I love that! There is so much freedom (as scripture says, "it is for FREEDOM that Christ has set us free" ) in knowing that the promise of God is not disabled by my inability. I love worshipping the Lord as El Shaddai, God Almighty, All sufficient because it takes the pressure to perform off of me and puts it (the pressure) on Him, who is ABLE to bear ALL things.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Excellence, Perfection, Maturity and Dust

"Am I getting old? I am old." A woman in her late 30s whispered to me. I thought, gee, I'll be 30 in 4 months, but I don't feel old. I don't look old. I don't act old. But, maybe I am old. Am I that lady who thinks she's in her prime when the reality is that certain unmentionables have gone south for "forever" and she really shouldn't be wearing that top at all! Perhaps, I'm not so outlandish, but I have noticed myself "thinking" ... Am I too old for that? And so here I am examining myself , wondering what is the difference between excellence & perfection ... maturity and dust.

There was an elderly man on the Commuter bus last week on my way to work who said, "I'm getting to old for this!" In reference to his bowels (yes, he was discussing his bowels, flatulence and other embarrassing situations he has found himself in on the highways & byways of life). And to my surprise the woman who had whispered to me only a day before, "Am I getting old? I am old." Stunningly, replied to the old man, "You're only has old has you feel." And so, I was perplexed.

I've noticed a trend all these years commuting ...people like to talk about their problems. They like to feel sorry for themselves. They like to discuss their woes. Almost every single person that I commute with has shared with me (or I've overheard ... ) some horrible tale or some life threatening issue. And while it is saddening to note, I realized that there are alot of people in pain, without answers. I realized that apart of maturity isn't beating yourself up because you have not. Apart of maturity is however, listening to the hearts of people and responding with answers that save. It's so much easier to chime in and say, "yeah, me too, my back hurts too. My husband left me too. My kids are crazy too." And while you may be able to relate to the woes, apart of maturity, is saying, "It gets better and I won't let you sulk. I'm going to tell you what you need to hear even if you don't want to hear it." I'm going to be the one at the end of the day that challenges you to get off of your Cry Baby Babble and onto the next phase.

I'm guilty, yes. In fact, I'm guilty like yesterday. Feeling sorry for myself because I have bills I can't pay & time away from my family, and yada yada yada. But wait a minute, I have breath in my body, hair on my head, children that are healthy, a husband that loves me ... a promise from God. Perfection isn't never failing ... Perfection is never failing to believe!

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Word of the Day: Anathematize

anathematize /uh-NATH-uh-muh-tyze/ (v.) curse, denounce.

I decided that I would increase my vocabulary as a part of my New Year's resolution by introducing or re-introducing a new word a day. Okay so I'm only 10 days behind schedule. Perhaps I should have resolved to doing things without procrastinating. Hey, what can I say, I'm a work in progress.

Speaking of progress, I've made some, hee-hee-hee, regarding crochet. Ah, yes, I started and restarted the same scarf at least 12 times! I became so discouraged by my inability to double crochet, hook and loop ... chain 31 ... etc. that I vowed never to touch the craft ever in life. Though it sounds extreme. I am extremely hard on myself. And the harder on myself I get, the more discouraged I become and thus, the more prone I am to throwing in the proverbial towel. New Year's resolution #2 ... or is it #3. (Are you keeping count?) Anyway, one day after visiting one of my favorite craft sites http://www.futuregirl.com/ , I became inspired all over again. "I can do this," I said to myself. "Why not?" So, I started another scarf, but this time I added two tones! I had never been taught this technique nor had I ever tried it, but I felt confident. Mmmm ... it was so refreshing to get back in the sticks and just go for it! I am 1/2 way done with my very first two tone scarf. Yeah!

New Year's resolution #4: Start to Finish. While it may seem like a small thing, follow through means so much. From the slightest instruction to the impossible dream ... the difference is a matter of faith. The task I face could really be difficult, no kidding; but my reality doesn't have to be marked by fear - fear of failure is a BIG one for me. Oh, LAWD, don't let me fail. Don't let me be an embarrassment to myself and to my generations. Don't let my mama anathematize me and damn me to hell for I have failed! No matter the task, the opposition or the odds stacked up against you so high that they tower like Babel (babble) ... you can make it ... Just don't quit! Don't quit! Start to finish! Run the race, you've been running and don't quit!

I have more to say on the subject but I will reserve that for another post!

Friday, January 04, 2008

Headline: Britney Intoxicated ...

OMG! The first thing I read when I turned on my computer this morning was an incredible headline about Britney Spears. Now, over the past year or two there have been many headlines about the pop star. But it was almost eerie given my post yesterday about the pop princess. For more info check out http://afp.google.com/article/ALeqM5jAG82-sc5eD0RMnt8jcstIN0MHlw.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

I See, I Dream ...

Some years ago, I started a work of art that I entitled, "The Chill Machine: An Expose on the Detriments of Chill." The title itself was inspired primarily by the phantom expose written by Axel Foley (of the original Beverly Hills Cop movie), on the then popular musical icon, Michael Jackson. I believe his was to be titled, "Michael Jackson ..." Gosh, I can't remember what it was supposed to be called now. I'll have to research it. I just remember the scene. It was so classic. Axel ,a Detroit cop, played by 80's Eddie Murphy, who was 100% funnier than the Millennium Eddie. Anyway, Axel walks into the Beverly Hilton and he's trying to get a room there and he goes on about how he's this writer for Rolling Stone magazine, writing an expose on "thee" Michael Jackson and says,

"I was going to call it (the article) 'Michael Jackson is Sitting on Top of the World,' but I might as well call it, 'Michael Jackson is Sitting on Top of the World as long as He is Not Sitting in the Beverly Hilton because There's No N***as Allowed in Here!'"
I don't know why that is so funny to me. I guess, I imagine a post Thriller red & black leather jacket clad Jacko sitting on the blue & green marbled earth with "Bubbles" in his lap, smiling with childlike glee. Its whimsical and utterly hilarious.

Anyway, back to "The Chill Machine ..." I began writing this work with the intention of like provoking our culture to change. We live in a time where celebrity has pervaded politics, religion, history, news ... the Internet! :) Its like this social cancer that's eating away at us. And we are kind of bulimic with it. We gorge ourselves on the flesh of our idols: pop tarts like Britney Spears (God bless her, really.) We want to know what she's doing. Where she shops. Who she's dating. What club she was at. What she ate for lunch. And then, we spit her up, spewing out malicious comments like "You suck!" "You're scum" "Rot in Hell" "Trailer Trash!' "You ate that! You wore that! You clubbed all night, where!"

It is so obscene the way we obsess over these people and then with almost no consideration for their "lives" we just throw them away. Toss them aside as meaningless and unimportant. I dreamt of Britney last night. And no, I'm not a fan of her music. But I dreamt of her last night and there was this media frenzy surrounding her. It was like her life had turned into the Jerry Springer show. And she was feeling bad about K-fed and she was doing anything to get his attention. She was drunk in the dream and I remember her asking me to dance for her. Like I was her show monkey. Her attitude was like 'you'll do it because I'm Britney'. But I refused. I said, "I won't be apart of this circus.' She kind of laughed it off in her drunken state. And then she asked me again, "Dance for me." And I said, "Britney, I'll dance for you if you let me pray for you." And then she was like, "No, don't pray for me." I got really close to her and I put my hand on her head. I just touched her and she fell back as if something struck her down. But it wasn't the force of my hand but the power of God. She laid on the floor smiling as if ... drunk. But it wasn't that. It was like she finally had peace. Strangely, her eyes popped out of her head as she laid there. And everyone looking at her was amazed that she was lying there with her eyes popped out. Then I came to her and said, "The Lord is giving you sight." And I pushed her eyes back in. I remember them feeling like boiled eggs without the shell and they were bigger than her eye sockets yet when I pressed them in they fit perfectly.

It was a peculiar dream. I 'm not entirely convinced that it was meaningful yet I'm not entirely convinced that it was just some random stuff I was thinking about before I went to sleep. But I felt like writing about it.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Consume and be Merry!

Mmmm ... It feels rather good to just chill. However, daunting the the holiday season may have been for the masses ... shopping, spending and eating, still I am hopeful that there remains some degree of childlike expectation of what those few moments before the 25th of December symbolize. Certainly, like the rest of the "world" I've seen those wonderful signs lifted up overhead, "Don't forget the reason for the season." And I've even heard myself, smiling faintly at the dim notion that Christmas, is well, "About the kids, you know." I have felt the wayward call to consume and be merry! Actually, I found myself doing everything my crafty little hands could muster to make Christmas "the most" for my husband, children & loved ones. I had to sit back and say, "Wait a minute. Natrietia, you are worried about many things, but only one thing is needed."

When our family went to Christmas Morning service, the Bishop asked how many of you spent a little too much this Christmas season and need some (financial) help come the New Year?" Slowly, hands began to rise, waving limply over there shamed heads. It was embarrassing. Even people, myself included, who are supposed to know what the REASON we celebrate is, find themselves caught up in the rapture of over consumption. No way should we be finding ourselves in debt in celebration of Freedom. True freedom.

Galatians 5:1 says: "It is for freedom that Christ has set us free." I believe that is the place where we are, a place we are experiencing true Freedom. I feel like there is going to be a flow of supernatural power to those who will receive it that will bring liberty to our lives. If you will consider that Christ has set us free for freedom's sake, then as a believer in that grace, access has already been given. Scripture teaches us that Christ is the way, the truth and the life. For us, Christ is the door, the means to gain access to the kind of liberty, peace and joy that God, the Father intends for all of His children to enjoy. And each of us has a part to play.