Today is my grandmother’s birthday. I called her mama too. You can imagine how that went when her and my mother were with me at the same time. We made it work though.
Mama would have been 92 today. She lived and died in poverty. I wish she had lived long enough to see better days like my Mama and I have.
I love you Mama…
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are looking up…
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Iyanla Vanzant has a unique take on the scripture, “my cup runneth over”.
Iyanla says what’s in the cup is for you and what comes out of the cup is for others. The first time I heard this, it really resonated with me. I knew exactly what I had been doing wrong. I’d been trying help others fill their cup while draining my own. This tendency I had to put others before myself was a difficult habit to break. However, I knew I had to in order to change my life. I grew weary and resentful of being there for others when no one was there for me. This is why reciprocity is so important to me. I’ve had enough one-sided relationships to last several lifetimes. I’m done with energy vampires.
On top of that, I am not really interested in being there for others anymore. Perhaps my heart has grown cold. Or perhaps my cup is not full, let alone running over. I don’t know and don’t really give a damn. That’s how I feel and that’s that. When I went back home, a former co-worker wanted to see me. I knew what was up. She was looking for inspiration and encouragement. Sure enough when we met for lunch, she started right in on her problems. At some point I managed to get in a few words about what I’d gone through at my last job and my resigning. But all she wanted to talk about were her issues. I gave her a few words of advice and told her about Iyanla’s take on that scripture. She had better find a way to fill her own damn cup because I never intend to see her again. A day or so later she wrote me this email thanking me talking about how much better she feels. Whatever! My focus is on filling my cup.
Learning how to fill my cup has been a process though. Over time, I have come to learn what to do to feed my soul and I think that is what fills the cup. My problem has been consistency. I’d do these things and when I start to feel better, I’d stop. This is exactly the wrong thing to do. Filling my cup needs to be my top priority and it needs to be consistent. Before I went back home I developed a pretty good routine. I intended to keep it up during the visit, but I didn’t. My cup was pretty low by the time I left and it was only a 5 day trip. I’m still not completely back on track but I’m getting there.
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That’s how I would describe my trip back to NOLA. To begin with, there was a string of annoying incidents throughout the visit. First I discovered my car had a flat the night before the trip. There were hassles with the flights as tickets printed out without gate information and with instructions to get seat assignments at the gate even though I had picked seats on all but one flight. There was the theft of my activity monitor at the security screening. There were hassles at the hotel so that we had to move twice. The first room was filthy and the second one sprung a leak during a rainy day.
Then there was the city itself. NOLA is in shambles, imo. As bad as it was when I lived there, it is worse now. The CBD and Canal Street area look like a war zone to me. I saw quite a few crumbling and gutted buildings and it seemed as if construction was going on in every block I went through. The residential areas were worse. It was really discouraging and I suppose this is why I procrastinated so long before coming back.
- The Saenger Theatre: Destroyed
- The Loews State: Destroyed
- The Whitney Building: Destroyed
- Circle Food Store: Destroyed
I saw destruction everywhere. And of course there was the occasion of the funeral. I have to admit it was nice to see my people, dysfunctional as they are. One of my younger cousins made a comment about how nice it was to have everybody together again. Bittersweet was the word she used and it fits. It fits all too well.
And to top it off, there was the Mother’s Day shooting. We actually left early Sunday morning and heard about it later. I can’t pretend that violence is new to the city. It seems to be getting worse though.
NOLA is like a friend you haven’t seen in a long time. You recognize them, but you don’t know them anymore.It was a difficult visit, but I’m glad I went.
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