2020:AN OPEN JOURNAL
I landed here in a rush of noise. In a sea of sweaty hands, legs and made-up faces. Every new year’s day the feeling of hope is most palpable in the air. Almost like you can touch it. Slice through it. Pat it down flat and slide it in your notes app. Resolutions.
1. remain unshackled to realities you are not content with.
2. approach all things with a healthy dose of skepticism.
3. observe when and how you compromise yourself morally. do it less.
4. observe when and how you feel freest. do it more.
Did some shrooms to celebrate valentine’s and fell into a period of exponential realization. I used to like to think of my mind as some sort of polymathic force with extensive knowledge on almost everything. Yet I had so much more to learn and live.
From young, I experienced these moments of abstract epiphanies, like a prolonged, non-linguistic assurance. Right in that moment before language arrives and meets thought, giving meaning to it. I never tried to understand these moments, simply embracing them as an omnipresent manifestation of my conscious and unconscious calculations coming to bearing with themselves. But many times I tried to connect the dots and never seemed to be able to.
One day you close your eyes, then open them and it all becomes a little bit clearer. Everything is better aligned. Everything makes a little bit more sense.
I loved my new shoes. They made me six feet tall. So I took my new shoes to new shores. The ocean licking at my feet, the hot sun, they all made me feel free.
I love the feeling of getting outside the airport in a place you’ve never been before. The air charged with the prospect of new adventures and new memories to be made.
I really have to stop thinking about how much i’d miss moments while i’m still living them and just focus on living.
The ocean licking at my feet, the hot sun, they all made me feel free. It was as free as I would feel for months to come.
I tried to parse through the remnants of a world I once knew and realized I didn’t know anything at all. Some days felt like they did not want to begin, or go on, or come to an end.
I walked, I ran, I read, I reminisced, I made noise and then I sat still. Very still. The type of stillness that gives you no other choice but to hear yourself. The type of stillness that brings everything to the surface and forces you to learn the questions you need to ask yourself. It was then that I saw my body as something unavoidable and my mind as something inescapable.
“If you are really still, it will hold you. If you are really quiet, it will speak to you. I want to listen forever” - Solange Knowles
The month of my birth. Of twenty two. The month of a death and a global uprising.
I had just laughed so heartily, and then all I could do was cry. Cry at the contemplation of my existence in a world that has no regard for my life or the lives of people that look like me. Cry at the wearying plight of being both woman and black. And again at the price of the prospect of my freedom or peace or just something that bears resemblance. This brutal mathematics.
“Just know, i’m as tired as you see” - I Been Livin by Li.ve
Teargas, stun grenades, mace, riot gear, sirens, helicopters. My ears rang for the entire month of June. I shed painful tears every day. Yet we kept filling the streets, day after day, night after night. In frenzied rage and sweltering heat, behind protective gear to conceal our identities, I found family. I found power and bravery and love and unity like I had never seen before.
Heart still aching, ears still ringing, eyes still wet with tears but I never felt more free or more proud of my community. I was reminding myself to breathe deeper, love on my family and friends harder. I was trying to enjoy music and food again, noticing the way the sunset gently holds up the sky around it. I was reminding myself to have faith. To take my body out of fight-or-flight mode and care for myself a little more. I celebrated love and the gift of being alive.
to my love:
today I watched you sleep and thanked god for your breath. to have shared space and time with you so effortlessly is a blessing I will never forget. thank you for always holding space, gently and steadily. thank you for the joy you bring to the world by merely existing. thank you for showing me new ways of looking at the old, and making me want to be a better woman all around. thank you for the love. for the calm in the midst of the storm. i’m endlessly grateful.
I’ve been trying to honour my inner child more. I closed my eyes and tried to remember the places I used to go to when I was younger. The names of the other children I would play with every day. I tried to remember all my nicknames, my favourite colours, the way time felt, the things that made me upset, the things that made me excited, the things I believed to be true before the world forcefed me its own version of truth.
Today at the supermarket, I let myself buy every single snack I felt like having. Tonight I will sleep facing my shadow.
Black women with lean-your-head-on-my-shoulder eyes
your riches lie in state
and we pass by
not as mourners but as believers
as pursuers of your chariots
that have long lit the sky”
- Excerpt from Chariots
So how do we begin to heal? Where does it really start? I want a place I can point to so I can lead us all there to sift through these feelings. Where we can lay beside ourselves and lick our wounds from old to new.
I am learning that grief and gratitude can exist at the same time. I’m also learning how to carry them both.
On many days I haven’t felt worthy of the breath in my lungs, unlaboured and full. I hate feeling this way.
Too much loss. Unthinkable loss. Earth-shattering pain. But even though my heart is breaking daily, I’m glad because I know I could never return to the illusion. The lie that told me I was small and separate from the universe. That my god was a man in the sky I owed unfettered reverence and idolatry to despite the anxiety and sadness and discontentment gnawing at my heart.
No more hiding in doubt or delusion.
to the ones that came before me:
I walk with my head higher because I know now that i’m a living, breathing manifestation of your love and life on this earth. I thank you for holding me up and helping me turn the pages that I may read and remember. I thank you for the ground beneath my feet and the sky above my head. I cannot name a stronger power. A higher blessing. I will always carry your torch in my heart, your songs on my lips, your fight in my spirit, your memories in my blood.
Been paying better attention to my dreams since I started seeing them as a portal. A way to peer into what life is like or might have been for me in alternate universes. What a privilege.
Some nights I laugh in my sleep and some nights I shiver uncontrollably. The other night I dreamt my childhood home was engulfed in flames and I walked out completely unafraid. For the rest of that week I tried to feel that feeling again and again. Maybe I should start a dream journal.
And then my home did burn. And the streets ran wet with blood for days. And again, all I could do was cry. The switch flips and hope turns to excruciating pain. The fear subsides and then rears its ugly head again.
“they told me light is born from the crucifixion of shame and things heal when they find a place called home or something to dream about. but i’ve grown disgusted with dreams and home is only a place where my sisters are sent to drown.”
I woke from a dream where the sky was blue, the air was cool but the sun was shining audaciously as ever. I felt safe. There was a depth to my breath that I had never felt before. My heart felt so full and so new. My eyes welled up with tears in pure reverence to this moment I stumbled upon. I want to cultivate a life just like that. One where I can walk this earth unafraid of what the next moment might bring. Where I can grow gardens of fruit and vegetables on fertile soil to nourish my body and the bodies of my loves. Where I can show up every day just as I am and that is completely enough. Where my people can truly live and not just fight to survive each day. Where I can fall to kiss the earth at any moment and carry on like that was normal because it is. I dream of a life so free and full that my mind cannot fathom it to its fullest extent.
The beginning and end to all of this is honesty. If I’m able to be completely honest with myself then I can accept what comes next, and whatever comes after that. I just want to exist in this world in a way that nurtures truth and light. Light that persists even after this body dies. Light that makes room for anger, pain, joy, sadness all at once.
I spent these days weaving the fabric of my thrive, coming into myself, coming to terms with my identity, grounding myself in spirit and engaging my community. I’m still at the table, still working, still dreaming. I have a deep, relentless desire to give, to share, to create and collaborate. I needed the isolation, the discomfort, the pain, the joy. I needed every part of what this year has been to make it here. To feel this infinite. I’m thankful to have borne witness to these rare primal moments of life. I’m grateful for the lessons learned on remembrance, selflessness and spirit. And every day I’m above ground, I just want to keep finding new ways to show my gratitude.