Portals

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So I’m making an effort to make this as short as possible, because I’m running a little  short on time at the moment but I want to make sure that I write what is in me now.

Lately everything I see is a gateway to another realm, world, or place. I am almost always full of interesting thoughts ( to me anyway) and I find myself using my imagination daily. I have recently committed to yoga in a huge way. Since I have started practicing, I notice all the little nuances in everything, it’s like my eyes were closed on some level, although I believed that there were indeed open. That brings up what happened today and why this post is necessary.

I was talking to a friend, we once were lovers and have since found a space in which that amorous energy can still exist but not be sought after, so we have a very close friendship. The conversation was about revealing oneself, and this was/is the conversation that we had as a couple and still find delight in discovering in our friendship. We have a huge amount of transparency available to us, because we rarely if ever judge each other. He was explaining to me the other side of the coin, for men and how he as a man and black man has difficulty opening up in spaces. He felt it was  because of the perception of being seen as feminine and because he is already a serious guy with a very quiet demeanor other men have a hard time engaging with him. He explained that in social situations, he would ask another man a real feeling question and they would eventually avoid him. His aptitude is more along the nature of actually learning other people so small talk doesn’t interest him. After about 15 minutes of conversing we moved along into the realm of fear, and how it dominates our perceptions of ourselves and how we relate to others. I had this huge thought…what if fearlessness it not something we can attain? We are human, not immortal, so fear of death is always ever present. I went on the suggest that fear is probably more of a normal condition than we like to admit. It was then that I saw myself in my death dream as I call it.

The Dream: I’m in the passenger seat of a car, going to visit someone that I love immensely and there is a man driving me. The car is full of love, it’s presence is radiating off of our two forms as we ride down the road. I can see the yellow lines that separate us from traffic that is non existent. My companion is an old man who affectionately holds my hand and has our woven hands placed in his lap. I can see my fingers, long with clear nails and small rings under his.  We are driving down this winding highway and a blue car comes out of nowhere and cuts us off and we flip over and die. I am always certain after I dream this that this is in my future. During the dream, everything is serene and although I know that part is coming , every time before I am happy, I am sure, and at the moment that the car engages us, I am more than happy, I am at peace. I can see it as I type. It is then, that I finally release my fear, this thing that I have been carrying around for my entire life, lifts up off me life a cloud and I am finally free.

That is what I am experiencing, the release of my fear. It is always there looming on the edges, I’m never totally free, yoga has been like a fear portal for me.  In my practice, I transcend fear, I live with it, I breath it in and out make it apart of my magic pouch that I carry throughout the day. It is my friend, my constantly companion and reminder to keep going and I think, for me, that this is truly the closest I’ve ever been to experiencing freedom.

 

24 Things Women Over 30 Should Wear

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This morning, as I was perusing my Facebook timeline, I happened upon an article that a lovely friend shared. It was entitled “24 Things Women Should Stop Wearing After Age 30”, and it triggered Maximum Eye-Rollingfrom everyone who took the time out to read it.

Written by Kallie Provencher for RantChic.com, this “article” (I use the term loosely) highlighted things such as “leopard print”, “graphic tees”, and “short dresses” (because “By this age, women should know it’s always better to leave something to the imagination”). Kallie, it seems, has a number of opinions on what women over 30 should and shouldn’t be doing, having also penned “30 Things Women Over 30 Shouldn’t Own” and “20 Pictures Women Over 30 Need To Stop Posting Online”. (What is this magical post-30 land where women are suddenly not allowed to do or own so many things?!)

Motivated by Kallie’s “article”, I decided to…

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A mother supports her daughter in labor

Be(come)ing Binahkaye

A mother supports her daughter in labor
© 2016 by Binahkaye Joy
All photos © 2015 by Eleanor Kaufman

There is this beautiful article that just came out capturing powerful images of mothers supporting their daughters through labor. It inspired me to share some pictures of my own mother supporting me at the birth of my second son, Wonder.

I asked my mother to be at each of my sons’ births because from some ancient, intuitive space, that is where I felt my mother belonged, with me. Both for me and for her, I felt that there was a deep education, a transference of ancestral intelligence that we could only access in the sacred communion of birth.

It is a powerful and healing thing for a mother to witness her daughter in labor, and for a daughter to be anchored by her mother while giving birth to her own child. There are so many…

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The Salt in the Sugar

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Sunday evening I sat at my dining room table with my ex, we’d spent the day at the zoo with our two children and I told him I wanted to watch Lemonade. He has an HBO Go account  so he obliged, neither of us knowing what we were about to experience. In the recent weeks, we’d discussed therapy for co parenting and I was considering reconciliation if all went well. The day at the zoo was amazing, I witnessed my children’s faces light up in person as they watched the zoo animals instead of pictures because I personally don’t agree with the idea of zoos, so it is not something that I’d ever done with them.

After the zoo trip, he and I sat at the table that was once in our home, eating american Chinese food making jokes and him openly adoring me, after nearly 3 years of a heated and hurtful separation. Lemonade came on, the opening song was so stirring that it was clear that this was not just another Beyonce video. I watched her tell the story of so many women. It was one of betrayal. One of reconciliation. One of love. One of healing. It was my story, the one I’d chose to end as friends, as co parents. Last year, I wrote a poetry book Channeling Shug which chronicles my marriage and separation where I likened myself to Shug Avery from The Color Purple, difficult and unruly and woman. There is a poem in it that played in my head over and over as I watched Lemonade:

My momma always told me

Don’t let no nigga change you

Don’t let no nigga rearrange you
No
Actually she didn’t
She taught me to ball up
as tight as I could any feelings
To reveal them only after I was disappointed
or hurt in my dealings
as a means to use my tongue to cut like a knife
to master the art of degrading
To take blows from words and fist evenly
like a skilled boxer that was cool with losing his life
To count his money baby, make him buy you something nice
To let him run me down like trash in the street and cuss and beat like eggs
Raw.
That sex was a means, that my body was costly
And that love
Love was a luxury for bitches that were prettier than me
My momma taught me a lot about men
like his value was in what he could do
How fly his duds was
And how slick he could shit talk too
And god forbid he couldn’t be no bitch!
A man had to be tough as shit
So it’s no coincidence that even though
I swore no man would ever hit me
And I don’t trip off no mans money
And I prefer emotional availability
I still like a man with the gift of gab and some fly ass rags
and lots of swag
Some shit is inherited.
My momma always told me
Don’t let no nigga change you
Don’t let no nigga rearrange you
Unless
He has what you need.
-Lesson 1, Zoha Harpe 2014.

 

I had done just that. I had let this man change me. I was unrecognizable within 60 days of our interaction. At the time, I was 32 and ready to have what was mine. That was kids and a husband. I hadn’t thought much past those ideas and that was what unraveled me more than his demands or ideals of who I had to be to be his wife.

That was what resonated most for me in Lemonade: How I as a Black woman thought that leaving all of the me that got me to that point in my life, to that fabulous-ness called me was the key to getting and maintaining my marriage.

I was an artist, a poet and writer. I was a healer. I was fun, and loving and adventurous! I was brash, insolent and crude!

I was all of these things and so much more and I threw them away for my husband, for my family. This is what I told myself, this is for my family. Every time I packed a piece of me away that I thought was offensive or that came under scrutiny from my husband or the outside world. I folded all of the bright pieces of me around the edges of my feet where no one could see them. I walked on them. I heel-toed them. I muddied them. At some point, I looked down and they were ragged and no more me than the mask that I’d taken up. I hadn’t painted or written anything during our marriage. I tried a couple of times but not much happened. I tried to be the good wife and mother but it was so exhausting. I began to think that I was a bad mother because I didn’t enjoy motherhood like some other women did. He often reminded me that his friends had good Muslin wives, who home schooled their kids and wore their abayas and prayed 5 times a day and didn’t question the Qua ran.

I became angry, I could never be like these women, I didn’t want to be like those women. I rebelled, I fought back, I became unmanageable. I broke up our family, I asked for a divorce. I asked him to leave our home. I was a terrible woman. The kind he feared. I was happy he feared me, I finally had power. I wielded that power like an unsteady machete, not caring if I cut myself because my need to aim for him was so great.

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fast forward….

Something happened a few weeks ago, I forgave myself. I became tired of carrying my anger for him around. I got tired of using it to harm him, myself, our children. It had been years, it was unnecessary. I no longer needed my anger to feel safe. I’d taken the time to refill my cup. I now lived in a world where I owned an abundance of love for myself. I was so relieved and surprised at the same time at my release of emotion that I spit out one last poem in anger and it was like dust in the wind; scattered and rootless.

As we watched Beyonce sing, I could feel my ex getting uncomfortable. I could feel him wanting to retreat. I had been every women that Beyonce channeled in Lemonade. I knew he knew, so I asked him, ” How do you feel about reconciliation now?” He laughed and then he cried. He’d gotten it, he said.

Now, I don’t credit Beyonce and Lemonade as the key to him understanding me. It took nearly 3 years of me standing my ground, leaving and filing for divorce for him to see that I was in too much pain to continue as we were. This might seem extreme, as I’m sure Lemonade seemed extreme to many who viewed it; however love is extreme. I am open to what time has in store. We have time and that might mean reunion or it might mean a great understanding . Either way, love is always worth it.

As a person who loves more openly than most, I welcome the tides of love. Because I know one day I’ll end up on the shore watching those tides, letting the gentle waves swim up to my ankles, remembering how I nearly drowned learning to love myself.

As for Lemonade, I’ve drank my share.

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Prince & Little Weird Black Boy Gods

Scott Woods Makes Lists

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If you are, say, thirty-five years of age or older there is a 99% chance that you are no good right now. Not merely sad, but irreparably despondent. Verily, Shakespearean in your grief. Depending on how old or weird or gay or starstruck or black you were in 1984, Purple Rain was either an awakening, a testimony or an affirmation.

Current mood: I am hating anything that does not recognize this moment, that would dare advertise anything – ANYTHING – while this mourning is taking place. This is not just another stick on the pile of celebrity deaths. This is the end of a way of life, of a sound, of real genius. There are plenty of famous people left to love, even musical geniuses, but there is no one left who better epitomized what the Complete and Free Artistic Creative is capable of. Prince composed music in the way…

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9 Questions a Black Woman Has for the Black People Who Have 27 Questions for Black People

KINFOLK KOLLECTIVE

Kinfolk, I thought we were family. Y’all ain’t really my people though, ’cause not one of y’all warned me of the unadulterated Sambocity that is the BuzzFeed video “27 Questions Black People Have for Black People.” I saw the video all up and down my timeline, but I was at work, so I said, “Not today, white Jesus.” Then I almost clicked, but I said, “You won’t get me, liberal racist ass BuzzFeed.” Then I finally clicked, and I said, “Not today, Coon Consortium.”

If you dare, partake in this blackface with black faces:

So I now have some questions for Massa’s MVPs these black people:

1. Daysha, is that you? How soon we forget? Didn’t BuzzFeed just have you looking like a young Lil’ Richard in front of the world when a white girl dos your makeup? You may have tried to bury that memory, but the internet sees…

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Taking time…

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It’s been a while since I allowed myself sit still enough to write an entry on this blog. This part of my life is very important and when I hit the first road block to writing a new blog entry a little over two months ago, I didn’t make a big deal of it I just kept moving. However, a month later I noticed that I was  really having an issue with exposing more of myself in my journey. It wasn’t until today, after dealing with a barrage of negative energy from others that I decided to sit and examine my need to push past things and keep going.

In the past, I have  attracted people who have a  hard time with the concept of moving on. So much so, that they would insist that I sit in the energy with them and be a part of their dysfunction. In those relating processes I did just that and eventually, the weight of it became so bothersome that I stopped moving completely. So of course in response, I fled the relationship. Of course upon further examination i realized that I thought that was acceptable behavior as well.
As someone, who is adamant about working on myself, I decided to take the time to examine this energy because today was one of those days where I could have literally got in my car and kept driving until I was completely exhausted. Upon realizing this, I noted that have not stopped moving at all. I am always forging ahead and that is not necessarily a bad thing but how it has affected me might not be so great; hence my current situation.

I have a hard time with sitting still. I am always doing. My mind has about 300 ideas going on at the same time; focus has never been my strong point. I have made this work for me creatively, but not emotionally.

In my healing work to this point, I have an understanding of knowing and feeling, but allowing is a totally different beast. I can feel and know all the shit I want, but allowing, making space for the gift is the part that I forget to include. So here I am writing, allowing, inviting in my magnificent possibilities. Not just in word and deed, but in spirit.

Prayers are just words, feelings are just emotions, work is just doing, but to see these things happen in my life I need to make space, I need to allow and that takes time. I get to sit still. I get to breath.

In my practice of yoga and pole dancing, I have to be patient with my body. It is not the same body that I had five years ago. I am learning to apply that same practice to my heart.

I am healing. It is a journey, it is not an overnight actualization.

There is no need to push past things that make me uncomfortable. It is okay to sit with them.

I am open to receiving all that is purposed and designed for me.

Every moment I am opening, stretching, allowing.

I am already where I am supposed to be.

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