ISO: Sweetness

I sniff the sweet tea steaming on the stove and decide to add more sugar. I need something with just the right amount of diabetes; something sweet enough to prevent me from raiding the eldest son’s jellybean stash. I’ve been out of control lately. So out of control that I’ve been eating gluten too. Normally I avoid gluten. I know that gluten isn’t sweet, but it is good. Foods with gluten break me out and give me a spare tire. They’re also super fucking good.

So, why am I eating sweetness that rots my teeth and gluten that clogs my digestion? I have lots of different reasons:

  1.  I want more physical and emotional space. I feel like if I eat enough, I can create a safe space for me to hide in my body where no one will find me, ask me shit or want to suck on me.
  2. Did I mention emotional space? The eldest is three. He’s going through all sorts of big emotions, working through expressing his will and figuring out how to communicate. I often spend so much time trying to help him process and work out his shit, I don’t have time or space for mine. His shit reminds me of mine. The same is true for the youngest. By the end of the night, I’m exhausted and there doesn’t seem to be space for sorting out my own shit.
  3. I’m fucking tired and my body hurts. I’ve returned to my yoga practice and that has helped. However, my body is wrecked and my eyes are red.
  4. A civil war rages on within me. There are parts of me that want to Mama the fuck out. That part needs no personal time or space. It just needs to be loving, cooking, cleaning and tending. There are other parts that want Mama-me to hold the fuck up. There are rituals to prepare for, a business to re-establish, friendships to water, herbs to care for and a whole other host of shit to do outside of fucking with my kids.
  5. Did I mention that ritual freaks me out a bit? Don’t get me wrong, it feels right for me to do and I’m excited about it. I just wish that I had more space and quiet to hear. The odd thing is that my ears are full. More so than usual. I hear my ancestors, a few old friends and other things that watch me. More so than usual. It’s nice but also…. well.. a little more intense than usual 🙂 At least my dream life has calmed down 😀

Too much discord and a lack of space to sort it out leads me to eat. I eat to remind myself that I’m not processing my life. I eat to remind myself that there is sweetness in my life, but to enjoy it I need more balance. I eat to ease the pain of abandoning myself to care for people and situations outside of myself. I need to honor more of myself than just the part of me that is mother to the boys.

I am a full human being. I deserve expression outside of cooking, cleaning and playing with children.

We’ll see how things come together <3

Take care of yourself

J

Marriage as a Mirror : Self Love & Expression

I want to start this post when I met my husband, but it goes further back. The roots of this post are in my childhood. Quite often, I had to abandon myself to feel loved. Who I was was not acceptable. So, the parts of me that didn’t fit and that weren’t loved had to go. I never learned to love myself whole.

When I met my husband (Frenchie), I was teaching lots of yoga around the city while working at a charter school. My life wasn’t perfect, but it was manageable. At this point, I had begun to hear voices, see the Earth breathe and was working with it. I had no desire to be with Frenchie or anyone else. I’d just gotten out of a 2 year relationship and didn’t want any sort of love affair. My plan was to go to the west coast and slut it up. A few weeks after meeting Frenchie, he sat down on my sofa peered at me with his big green eyes and said: “where are we going”. You see, he was returning back to France in a few months. I don’t remember what I said, but I’m pretty sure I was non committal. Six months after being non committal, I was boarding a plane to France. The rest is history.

Or not. History lives in the present moment. It constantly repeats until we learn from it. My lesson is that I don’t have to abandon myself to be loved. I don’t have to bury, shed, destroy aspects of myself to be loved by someone. Yeah, France was fun. I continued to connect with the Earth and have all sorts of intuitive adventures. I learned French and taught yoga. I ate, drank, danced and made friends. It was beautiful. However, I left large parts of me here to do that.

Today we live in a beautiful house in suburban dc with the most awesome children. Frenchie loves his work and I am at Stay at home Mom. As I navigate wifely, motherly and household duties, I realize that I am missing something. I am missing myself. All the aspects that I swore I buried, ignored or set to flame are popping up like dandelions. I miss the self I never knew. However, It’s a completely different thing to pull myself together with two kids than when I was young and free. If I love myself, I need to do it.

Here are my commitments to myself:

  1. Forgive myself: I wish I could have not abandoned me. I did though. I need to forgive me and make different decisions in the present moment.
  2. Have compassion for myself: I didn’t know that I didn’t have to give up me to be with him. Now I know. I can make different decisions in the present moment.
  3. Express myself: I need to do and be all the things are are in me to do and be. Then I need to love me as I am. I can also trust my husband to love me as I am.

None of this shit is easy. The youngest is 6 months old and teething. The oldest is three. I hoped to go through this shit in a about 2 years. Oddly enough life had different plans <3

We’ll see what emerges from here<3

Be good to yourself,

J

Attachment to crazy

Here I sit…

With a six month old sleeping on my back and a three year old spending the morning at summer camp I ponder my attachment to crazy.

How many times do I choose stress, anxiety and doing too much over joyful simplicity? How many times do I put too much on my back and on my plate to with the hopes of feeling like a “good mother”? Shoot, how many times do I deny myself support in hopes of feeling like a “good mother”? What are the boys learning from my choices?

Sometimes I make stress inducing decisions in hopes of satiating “little me”; meaning I choose things that I missed as a kid. Other times, I’m moving too quickly to see the results of my decision. Or, I just think that this is the way that Motherhood is and I should just get the fuck over it. In this moment, I am realizing that nothing has to be any specific way.

In this moment, I can see that when everything has it’s place, peace is the result. My challenge is allowing things to find their space so that peace can flow.

Do I allow space to hear how to best structure life? Do I allow wisdom to guide my parenting? Am I committed to peace or attached to the idea that Mothering has to be a stressful struggle?

Who knows. All I know is that in this moment all is well and I am glad.

Hope all is good with you <3

What’s next

As I type, our nearly four month old baby lies beside me and our nearly three year old toddler is at Ikea with the in laws. In these moments of quiet, I want to return to having my own business. I miss having something for myself that connects me to community. I miss brining in hush money. I miss utilizing skills beyond managing a bunch of things.

Even though I miss all of these things, I wonder if I actually have the time, energy and space to do what I want to do. Every day is a full one. There really isn’t space for clients. Or at least I think so. I often find space when I most need to.

We’ll see… times are changing and I feel called to do something more than lactate and chase a toddler <3

Take Precious Care

J

An herbalist by any other name…

One day while perusing facebook, I noticed a friend’s status. She had decided she would no longer call herself a herbalist. I love it. It’s out of the box and I agree with it. Besides, the more I study herbalism the more annoyed I become with it.

Why get annoyed?  For starters, I don’t believe in “using” plants to heal “ailments”. I find it disrespectful and arrogant. I believe in healing connection. Plants have their own consciousness. They are their own beings with free will. Just because you want a plant to heal you or someone else does not mean they will or are obligated to.

I also get annoyed when asked to ignore my intuitive connection with Nature. Materia Medica is nice. I mean, reading about plants and what they “do” and how to identify them is cute. But that’s no substitute for building a relationship with a plant–which is something that many teachers of herbalism suggest. However, it is never suggested that you trust your own connection with a plant over what they teach or what you read in millions of herbalist books. Your intuition must be validated by the authorities to be useful 😉

I am also bothered by the idea of wandering out into the forest, or roaming through rural locales to harvest plants. I’m a black southerner. I’m not doing this shit. I live in Maryland where the klan is still active. It’s not safe for me to wander everywhere all the time. And not all of us have the money, space or energy to grow our own herbs. Oddly enough, growing and making your own medicine is supposed to be a big part of what makes you an herbalist.

I also take issue with co-opting Native American traditions when many main stream herbalists aren’t Native American. It feels wrong, to me, to profit from continued genocide. If you are in America, you live on stolen land. Benefitting from those who lost what was most precious to them, feels wrong.

I’ve also been frustrated that there aren’t more resources on slave medicine. We healed ourselves as we were tortured and worked to death. Our minds, bodies and spirits were routinely broken with only the plants to put us back together. Yet, we are still here. Our ancestors obviously knew something good about Mother Nature. Why aren’t our herbal traditions (outside of Hoodoo) discussed more?

I won’t even get into herbalist guilds, or using indigenous medicines from Africa, Asia or South America. All that irks me too.

I don’t like what I have been given as a framework for herbalism. It smacks way too much of colonialism and capitalism run amok. It feels too much like giving power to structures that aren’t supportive and don’t reflect who I am.

I still love working, playing and being with the plants, but I can’t really call myself an herbalist either.

At the end of the day I am left with what I am usually left with: an intuitive connection with Mother Earth and the plants. We’ll see where this leads. Something is shifting.

 

Well Damn..

It’s been a minute.. so much has happened between now and then. There is so much to say, yet so little time. Oh, the joys of motherhood. Here’s the high notes:

1.  The land we live on is magic. Whenever I think of a plant that I’d love to cultivate a deeper relationship with it pops up in the yard. I wanted roses and now there is a little rose bush forming. I wanted violets. There are an abundance of violets peppering the back yard. Now that I have calmed myself, I can finally enjoy the  magic of this space. Speaking of enjoying things..

2. This transition to two kids is bananas. I find myself sometimes thinking, if only I could take more passionflower, or more shatavari I would be oooookkkkkkaaaaayyyyy. I am constantly reminded that no matter what plant I consort with I need to take care of myself. Some days taking care of me is sleeping when the boys nap. Other days it’s finding mothers of color to talk shit to. Whatever care is on that day I need to do it, or the next day I’m not the mother I want to be. Since we are talking about self care and herbs…

3. Dirt is magic. Did I mention how magic our yard is? It seems to calm the eldest son, put the youngest to sleep and helps me find balance. I never thought planting an herb garden would be a joyful activity to share with a toddler and an infant, but for us it is.

4. Who am I?  I am slowly realizing that I need to show up as myself when I mother; even though who I am is constantly changing. To make everything about the boys isn’t honest. It’s stifling and not real. It makes me resentful. But somehow, I don’t want to completely ignore their needs either. I am finding that we all enjoy being outside and interacting in nature. Whether that means meandering on a wooded path or digging in the garden. I hope to find more harmonious activities to share. Did somebody say change?..

5. In the midst of all this crazy, herbalism has changed for me. Or rather maybe I’ve become more confident in my own approach. I’d be a damned lie to call myself a clinical herbalist. Ain’t never been anything clinical about me 🙂 I find that plants dance in and out of my life to help me and those around me. Oddly enough whatever we need is whispered into my ear or is in the cupboard. Ironically many of the plants I fux with heavily are plants my Father or Grandparents worked with. I’ve decided to stop trying to figure it out and just enjoy the ride. It’s very entertaining at the least.

6. New plant friends.. So in the past few months, I’ve made two new friends.. well more than two. But these two want to be written about: Borage and Lemon Verbena. I am loving loving loving borage seed oil on my face in the morning. It gives my skin a youthful glow. Word on the street is borage is great for hormonal balance too! All I know is that I love borage and she likes me 🙂 Lemon Verbena is a lovely nervine; meaning it calms me the fuck down and supports breast milk production. She pairs nicely with Elderflower and Honey. Me thinks I’ll see more of her this summer.

There is much more to share, but I have a toddler to pick up and a baby to nose frida. Poor Ting can’t sleep while congested.

 

Take Precious Care

J

Reconnection

It’s been a minute…So much has happened between now and the last time I posted. I want to blame it all on pregnancy, but recreating rhythm with a toddler in tow isn’t the easiest thing in the world.  Anywho, here is what I’ve been learning the past couple of months.

Love surrounds you, if you choose to see it. 

I mean, I’m not going to act like I float around Bowie in a pink cloud. Flowers don’t bloom when I walk by. However, since moving here I’ve been feeling more loved by everything and everyone around me. Since I am actually open to being loved here in the present moment, I can see how love has always been with me. I just couldn’t see it at the time.

The present moment is all there is.

It could be pregnancy, but I am slowly becoming able to better distinguish whether the emotions I feel in the present moment come from the past or are actually rooted in the present. This information has kept me from creating drama as a means of acknowledging and working through old pain.

Children are as wise, loving and supportive as we allow them to be.

It’s easy to say this because lil Boo is no longer vomiting everywhere. However even when sick, this kid is loving, supportive and has an easy way of encouraging me and his father. It’s amazing. He’s so gentle with us in our moments of fragility. I thought that it was my job to hold this kid down, and that’s what he does for me 🙂 Motherhood is always so surprising!

Don’t fight nature when you can learn from it.  

The only nature we currently have living with us are crickets in the garage and the occasional spider or beetle. Despite all my fears, nothing has chewed it’s way in. Regularly burning oils and the local cat population have caused whatever was burrowing around and underneath the house to no longer be there. I don’t smell them anymore. In their short time, they’ve taught me to embrace things as they are. There is good and bad in everything. When I become absorbed in the bad or fight reality, I can’t see or receive what’s good. I choose not to see that I am never given more than I can  handle or manage. Life and nature has a rhythm and balance to it. The more I fear and fight; the more I throw things off balance.

 

Pregnancy is giving me more to process, but I haven’t really gotten to a space where I can write about it. I am so amazed how this second pregnancy is different than the first. Physically, spiritually and emotionally things are just different. We’ll see what unfolds from here.

Until next time,

Take Precious Care

J

 

 

Mommying Mommy: As good as I can stand it

What  wonderful problems I have. On Mother’s day I came downstairs to my loving son and husband. I made and ate a delicious breakfast and was gifted with items I’d been craving for a very long time. Through out the day I received numerous texts, emails and messages from people I cared about. To make things even better, we had pizza for dinner and I even got to take an afternoon cruise to my favorite black bougie place-to-be.

My Mother’s day was wonderful. Although, I spent the day anxious about our decision to buy a house and being pregnant, it was a beautiful day. My mental state begs the question, how good can I really stand my life? All the things that I’ve been wanting over the years are suddenly finding me. I’ve always wanted a loving close knit family. Now, I am a Mama in one. I’ve always wanted vocation that suited me and that I didn’t have to compromise my values for. I have been teaching yoga for the past 10 odd years. I’ve always wanted to a strong loving tender affectionate partner. We’ve been married since January 2009. The list of my wants that are being satisfied goes on and on.

I have so much to be thankful for. Yet somehow, I still find it within me to be angry about the past. I still harbor resentment and am perplexed by it. As good as things are today, how can I still keep a foot in yesterday. Yesterday never brings me goodness like today does. I don’t quite understand myself.

It’s okay though. One day I will let go and finally come to enjoy all the love and beauty that surrounds me. I have faith.

Until next time..

Take Precious Care

J

Stuck in Anger

You ever get mad about something only to realize that you aren’t really mad about what you thought you were mad about? You are actually mad about something that happened years ago. Something that you want to be over, but some how you can’t get over it. Besides, it feels too fricking good to be angry and self-righteous about it. I mean hey— you have a right to your anger!

I’m there. I am so there. No matter how much I try to “be spiritual” about it. No matter how much I try to be mature about it. No matter how much I try to just get the fuck over it. I don’t let go. I don’t get un angry about it. I can’t get un angry about it. I mean who would I become if I were to be un angry?

I know (mentally) that I can choose to feel something else other than anger. I could choose compassion. I could choose love. I could choose joy. Hell, I could choose to work towards resolution! I could expand my heart and vision into something beautifully new. I love new!  But naw, I’d rather stay stuck in anger. This anger suits me and has been with me for so long. Why change? I know how this isht works. Babies grow, I want to stay the same some how.

However, this anger keeps me stuck and I hate being stuck. Sigh, but that’s where I am for now 🙁

Until next time…Take Precious Care

J

I am not everywoman

I had a revelation. Chaka Khan fucking lied. Or she didn’t have children at the time.

I am not everywoman. That shit ain’t all in me. Hell, I am doing good to be just me. I would be doing better though if I could be okay with pleasing me instead of trying to please everyone else though.

Pleasing everyone is an old habit that runs me ragged. It causes me to volunteer myself and agree to do shit that I know I don’t want to do. It leads me to answering the phone when I have no business doing so. And it causes my to cater to folk, when I really ought to be catering to myself.

As I silenced my phone this weekend and commenced to reading smutty manga, I realized that trying to please everyone else ain’t working too well. In fact, it runs me ragged and causes a great deal of resentment. People pleasing also helps me make a mess of shit that wouldn’t be so messy if I just told the truth.

Do I really need everyone to like me? What happens if people like me for who I am rather than what I do for them? I don’t know. I don’t know. I just know that I am exhausted and need to make some better decisions from a different place. We’ll see how this comes together.

Until next time..Take Precious Care

J