#54essays: Butterscotch

“Even when I’m happy, there is a something between me and whatever good news comes my way. It’s like eating a butterscotch still sealed in the wrapper.”
This one, made me take a pen to write it down. It seemed to describe the ravages of mental illness very well. There is almost always a fear about being and feeling completely at ease in a happy thought or in something pleasant that happens to you. It’s even worse when you are caught in the throes of a particularly bad stroke of luck and life seems to be playing a sick joke on you. You are staring at a bowl of butterscotch candy and when you touch one, you find out they are all just wrappers. At this moment I can’t see the forest for the trees.

#52essays: Sometimes there is only Silence

The depression came late this year. For the last two weeks I’ve been battling to stay alive. There are lots of good things happening all around me but the really shitty thing about the sickness is that it brings with it myopia and the only thing you can see are all the negative things happening…

#52essays: Keep On Keeping On

“Money comes and goes but you live through food.” Fetlework Tefferi says to Carolyn Jung in Spice Genius, an article in Eating Well (jan/feb 2018 edition). I was sitting in my chiropractor’s office waiting to be called when I picked up the magazine.

#52essays:Resurrection Sunday

I went to Passover last night with a chosen family. I’m going to an Easter lunch with my other chosen family. A friend wished me a “happy day of resurrection” and this friend is a practicing Buddhist. What do you say back to that? My biological sister who hasn’t spoken to me in a year…

#52essays: 41

Maybe these are thoughts that happen as one gets older and starts to take stock of what’s important. Or maybe these are just thoughts of someone who has been challenged by reflecting because of the absence of my native language in my life this week. Whatever it is, I am here at the paper, writing and that’s a feat accomplished not for any colonizer, despite the fact that I have written all this in English.

#52essays: Scattered Thoughts Determined to Breathe

I’ve been dragging my feet about the essay for this week. I haven’t particularly written anything this week. Usually, I write here and there during the week. There have been moments of brilliant recognition of a great line to start with but I have been either too sleepy or tired or take the pen and…

#52essays: Another One Bites the Dust!

I’ve been around the block a few times in my 25 years of dating that I know to leave well enough alone based on a few quick evaluations. So remember the story the other day: the man who is making mad money, drives gas for a living, and has only read one book? Well, there…

#52 Essays: What Are The Odds?

To the other Black woman in the room with my diagnosis. To shedding the “strong Black woman” image for 20 minutes to be real with each other. To everyone in the daily fight to live or (if desired) die with dignity. To surviving. To dying. To us who walk that fine line everyday. To those who truly get it and support us. #mentalhealth #invisibledisabilities

The Impromptu/Accidental Essay

When someone dies a public death the interpretation is left to too many people. There is no control over what happens. Last night Ghana lost a very talented and very young (in age and career) artist to a car accident. I woke up to news of her death all over FB with people asking others…

#52essays: One’s Life Path

Why do I share this encounter? Because it made me sad. Sure education doesn’t help you climb out of poverty immediately, and looking at me, folks would say I am silly for getting all these degrees, but the critical writing and thinking skills can.

#52essays: 700,800 minutes

That was about 700,800 minutes ago. Rent is my favorite musical of all time and this particular song: “525600 minutes…how do you measure a year?” rings true for me tonight more than ever as I write my fourth essay of the year. I’ve written several variations of #4thessay but somehow this one feels right to outdoor.

How do I measure 700, 800 minutes?

#52essays: Pondering Singledom

What is it that makes people unable to or unwilling to part from a coupledom if only for one night? I think to myself this morning. Maybe that’s why I’m still single and for the most part I’m happiest living alone to come and go as I please without seeking another’s permission to spend a night with a bff or my sister.

#52essays: Where It’s At

When you are sitting in your car and contemplating whether you have the ovaries to show up at a Food Pantry, you know things are really bad. Why do I need ovaries, you ask? Because for some of us, pride stands in the way of hunger. And worse yet, I am a chef. I don’t…

#52essays lit a fire under my proverbial B

2017 ended a week ago. We are a week into 2018. I have been avoiding writing like the plague. I have not blogged in months, and every time I contemplated it or even showed up to the page, I found lots of excuses and reasons why I shouldn’t, needn’t, couldn’t write, but tonight something shifted….

Clearing the Cobwebs of 10 Years

Sometimes when there’s a break in my disposition and I turn from crying a few times every hour to have supreme bursts of energy, I worry. You see with Bipolar Disorder, being too happy is often a sign of hypomania which could turn into full blown mania. The tricky thing is that there is such…

Thoughts Collecting Dust

I’ve beaten myself up for not writing. I’ve thought about writing…a lot! I’ve told others I quit writing. That there’s not enough time in the world these days. The reality is, I was so scared of everything that was going on inside, I didn’t dare write. Most of you who know me in person and…

Telling My Truth

When we choose to love, really let someone in our lives, we open ourselves up for a lot of things aside from love. These are often by-products we don’t think about as we fall in love. I’ve been steeping in one such by-product:shame, for 4 months, and the shame led to fear, which led to…

What Remains

As I am surrounded by my language less and less the longer I stay in the U.S., keeping my radio dial on this CD is all I can do to stay comforted that there is some method to this madness called life.

At The Crossroads of Life in North Country

I’ve been gone from the blogosphere for exactly 6 months and 6 days. I’ve done little writing in the time since I wrote A Pronouncement. It’s not that I haven’t thought of writing; I have. When my writer friends were making NY resolutions about writing more, I was praying the winter wouldn’t be so bad…

A Pronouncement

“So what would you like to do ultimately?” I was asked this question a few weeks ago by a colleague and without thinking too hard, I said: “Get married!” And then I said: “But don’t tell my Beloved.” “Then, finally be a Campus Minister and use my degree.” And then doubt possessed me and I…

On Makala and Jazz; The Hermeneutics of Memory

So when I left Ghana the last time I left angry and broken-hearted. I had arrived with high hopes of attempting to settle down a second time by looking for work and starting some writing projects.  My second attempt went horribly wrong and I returned to the U.S. emotionally bankrupt nine months later. So even…

A Million Hands Are Reaching

Originally posted on the ramblings:
“Those who have suffered understand suffering and therefore extend their hand.” – Patti Smith When I sleep I see them limping and crawling, frantic to get to where I stand. They are my sisters, my grandmother, aunts, friends, co-workers, neighbors. Their familiar faces are as weary as they are determined.…

Come On Girl, You Got This!

“Come on girl! You can do this.” She heard her other self say to her. The question though was not whether she could. She knew she could. She’d proven against most odds, despite hospitalization, despite debillitating medications, despite…never mind, you get the point. The question now was whether she would make it without losing herself….

Grace was my “Cheers”

“Sometimes you want to go where everybody knows your name and are glad you came.” “Cheers” theme song by Gary Portnoy & Judy Hart Angelo On Sunday my Beloved and I went to service at a UU church in another town about 10 miles away. I had heard from a coworker, that they were a…

Sick and Tired of Being Sick and Tired

Being given a pregnancy test EVERY time I go to see a doctor, no matter the complaint Being sent home with tylenol when I was passing kidney stones Being told the manager needed to be called Being told not everything is about race Being told as an educated Black woman I had nothing in common…

Update on Life as I Have Known It

Hi Blog Family! It’s been about 3 months since I blogged. Basically since I was hospitalized in March-April, I haven’t written much. I’ve had two publications come out: Writing Fire: An Anthology Celebrating the Power of Women’s Words and Berkshire Mosaic, both of which were fun pieces to write. The former celebrated a fictionalized version of…

Two Articles I Did for Berkshire Eagle & On The Bridge

Back in October (2014) I took on two writing assignments that Gwen of Multicultural Bridge brought my way. Somehow in all the busyness of a midsemester and the ever present illness, I managed to get it done. It helped that she and Kate of The Berkshire Eagle were supportive. Horse and Carriage-Rotondos Italian Traditions-Sonsinis

Being Vulnerable is Key to Living Courageously

“Owning our story can be hard but not nearly as difficult as spending our lives running from it. Embracing our vulnerabilities is risky but not nearly as dangerous as giving up on love and belonging and joy — the experiences that make us the most vulnerable. Only when we are brave enough to explore the…

Behavioral Health Unit at Kaiser

The bench I always occupy at the Behavioral Health building is disgusting. There is bird poop in two distinct splotches and this makes it difficult to sit comfortably. Yep! Those wet gray and white splash ones. There is not enough space to sit on either side of the mess, and sitting in the middle means…

Grooming the Next Generation of WWOC

As part of the Berkshire Festival of Women Writers, I facilitated several workshops with female writers of color. This is the culmination of our project.

What is Right & Just?

Even when we are squeezed to our tightest some of us can still splurge on that Starbucks, or in my case, a Mickie D’s iced coffee. Should I be giving that dollar to Salvation Army? What difference does my $1 make in the face of such great need? Over the years of living in The Bay, I grew to learn to offer to buy homeless folks a meal of their choice rather than hand them the $5. But should I have just handed them whatever I could afford and allowed them to do whatever they wanted with it? Who decides what the less-fortunate among us needs? Shouldn’t I ask them personally (if possible) before I feed or clothe them? Should I be policing their choices just because I’m giving them a donation? In the same vein, should I be buying presents for family members instead of making a donation in their names? What’s the proper thing to do?

“In Darfur”: Is There Merit to Living the Status Quo?

I just returned from seeing “In Darfur.” I’m literally still shaking from the violence. Despite the trigger warnings we were given, my body was not ready for this. If I’m shaking from the renactment, imagine how my sisters Hawa and Hamida on the ground in Darfur are feeling. Some plays and films based on real life happenings…

A Weary Heart

I find myself bursting into tears randomly over the last several weeks since I returned from vacation. It’s literally only been 20 days since I arrived back in the U.S. and I have knots in my neck. My stomach is always upset. My herniated discs are more active than usual. I’ve been thinking that maybe…

“Our Skin Is Trouble!”

This phrase is borrowed from Mr. Bansi aka Robert Zwelinzima in “Siswe Bansi is Dead” by Athol Fugard, John Kani, and Winston Ntshona. A play I came to know fairly well while vacationing in Anguilla. To say I’m sick and numb is an understatement. What has been happening since before Trayvon, Renisha, Eric, and now Michael has…

Welcome to America

“”Welcome home! You look happy to be back.” The White Immigration officer said to me, beaming. “I am. I’ve been gone for a while!” And I really was at that moment. The new “scan your passport and adjust your weave for a picture” system was impressive to me. No more long lines. I was digging…

Farewell to My Summer Abroad

I just returned from taking a walk on Meads Bay. Next to Shoal Bay East, Meads Bay is my next favorite stretch of beach. It’s about two miles long and borders the island’s largest cluster of hotels and guest houses. From Viceroy to Malliouhana. I like this beach also because it’s pure sand. Some of…

Berkshire Eagle & On the Bridge (another publicity piece)

Following the piece Margot Welch did for the Berkshire Eagle, Margot met with me a couple more times and the following (and 2 more to come) are a result of our meetings. These blog posts will just detail a bit more about me and my journey. Be patient with the blog; it takes a while…

Two Weeks In

I just arrived at the Arawak Beach Inn, a little beach house past Island Harbor, to work because it was on the list of places with reasonable food prices. Sadly, they charge for internet so I am debating if it’s worth it for me to work here. It could be good practise for discipline in…

Weekend Activities

Saturday after Independence Day was spent lazying around. I helped my host get ready for her Johnny Cake and BBQ at B&D. She usually spends all of her Saturday there. I spent the afternoon reading at the Cove, a calmer side of the sea. I dipped in the water for about 20 minutes then read…

Proud To Be An American (Day 8)

It’s been quite the busy weekend and I’ve been quite the social butterfly. I began the July 4th holiday with a trip to Yum Yum, a relatively new restaurant on the island. I discovered it while browsing the downtown block a little bit east of The Valley. I was warmly welcomed and served. The music…

The Sea Got the Best of Me (Day 4)

My apologies for not posting yesterday. I fell asleep at 10pm. I’m a night owl. Midnight at the earliest for bed. According to my friend and host, when you spend so much time in the water and lay on the beach, you get indescribably worn out. Yesterday was a gorgeous day, although most of them…

Paint the Beach in Aquamarine and Coral (Day 3)

Viceroy I walked in with some trepidation because I was waiting for someone to ask me for my room key at any moment–to out me as a mere local posing. But on the contrary, everyone said hello and some asked how I was today. I gained more confidence as I strode down the cool hallway…

Driving Privileges

“There is only one main road that connects this 13-mile long island. All side streets are dead-ends or they eventually lead back to this main one; there is no way you can get lost!”  She said it with so much conviction, I didn’t have the nerve to argue with her. After all she was the…

Of Hammocks and Island Breezes (Day 1)

I am balanced precariously on a hammock on my friend’s verandah. It is one of those wrap-around ones and it hugs the three bedroom bungalow on two sides. I have my own room and bathroom and use of the whole house. There is a jacuzzi on the back deck; I spent my first night sipping on Ginger…

Catching You Up

I literally just finished washing the remnants of my kenkey, shito and sardine dinner from my fingers and decided that instead of learning how to wine (my latest goal) I will crank out a blog post. I have been on the road for 12 days and just arrived back in my apartment. I went from…

Caged Bird

So Mama Maya has been gone less than a week. Back home, we’d be getting ready to sit down for the traditional one-week ceremony and decide Things. I just found out the Wake is on Saturday, but that it is private. The compromise though is that it will be streamed. It’s amazing how some folks…

Wednesday’s Child is Full of Woe (NMH Awareness Month)

I have been a person with mood swings since I was a teenager. My journals from as far back as 15 log this. However, I thought of these swings as just who I was. I chucked it up to being the Wednesday’s Child “full of woe.” Since moving to the U.S. and being in activist…

On the Business of Choosing Dears

It started when she claimed me as her Dear from among the entire first year class. I was excited. Her reputation preceded her. I knew who she was because all the lower formers had been talking about Sister Avery. She was tall, standing at 6’2” a head and half taller than most of her classmates, and weighed in…

#52essays: Shame, Guilt, and Expectations

A close friend of mine told me about the impermanence of things and getting attached to things that will pass away inevitably. Like this pain and regret for trusting yet another white person. She explained that if all things will pass away then it makes no sense to let it consume us as much as it usually does. I think as true as this is, it’s still difficult to live by it because we as humans are conditioned a certain way. Will my non-attachment prevent me from this feeling right now?