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The Beginning

The truth is I don't know how to get "serious" about writing. It usually just happens, or it doesn't. But man is there so ...

Friday, January 19, 2018

The Story of Jorge

He could not tell I was annoyed or maybe he could from the twenty-eight minute wait in the lobby. The only working bank employee avoided direct eye contact with any of the bank's patrons waiting in the small sitting area. I struck up a conversation with a friend I noticed sitting in a chair not far from where I was. He used to live in the same high-rise as my husband and I. We talked about his travel to London and his plans to visit Japan. We also spoke about business and community politics, mainly broken promises from our city leaders. He was happier than usual. He spent about 90% of his time in London where "business dealings are better than in the states because a handshake is a handshake."

He was up next so our conversation ended abruptly when the bank employee beckoned for whoever was next. The employee, whose name I learned was Jorge, seemed to be having an okay day. He was tall and noticeably uncomfortable about something. He was a big man but appeared as though he could own a small cat and a potted plant. My friend finished his transaction in a short time, and I was up next. Sitting in front of him, I could see that Jorge had a few things going on in his life after he left the bank. He appeared anxious and uncomfortable in his suit.

I gave him my ID and after he made a few jokes about my photo I gave a look that meant "let's speed things up, buddy." He took the hint, and as he was typing my information into his computer, I noticed a slight head nod and then a shake, another one, and another one. He was falling asleep right in front of me. The head nod meant his eyes were drooping and the shake was to keep from falling into his computer. He had the process down. I felt justified in telling him that he probably needed some coffee and more sleep. The unexpected part came when he said it was a medical condition.

"The man has narcolepsy," I thought to myself.

Jorge then proceeded, as if I were family,  to tell me about his undiagnosed diabetes and sleep apnea, all things I was familiar with because I have a family history of diabetes and my brother has sleep apnea. Then, Jorge shared the story of a mini heart attack he had a few months earlier due to his self-diagnosed love of Monster Energy drinks, he did not stay up late, and had a habit of bingeing on hamburgers and fried food. He was going to get his doctor results back in a few weeks to see if he indeed had diabetes and if he needed a sleep device to get some rest.

I could empathize with him. His struggle to live unrestricted and at the same time enjoy all that life has to offer had caught up with him.

I explained that I lost two aunts and my grandmother to diabetes and my mother has the disease. I cautioned him against the medicine most doctors would prescribe and kindly told him to lose fifty pounds, completely cut the Monsters, and take back control of his life.

Jorge nodded in agreement.

As I walked out of the bank, Jorge told me to take care of myself.

I smiled and said, "no, you, take care of yourself" with a nudge to his left shoulder.

"I will try."

Thursday, January 4, 2018

Why *More* is Never Enough

I ran into a girl I used to lead through a recovery class at the church my husband and I attended together. The 12-step recovery group was all about getting to the root of problems like people-pleasing, codependency, addictions, and anxiety. I would describe this girl as one of my "wild-child," she came in every week shared and encouraged other girls but was never satisfied with what God was doing in her life. "I just have never seen him be faithful to me," was her constant cry. She is young, pretty but has a shaky relationship with her parents and her love life was nothing to brag about.

She wanted to see significant changes in her life, which included a husband, and each week she let myself and her group members know it.

Yesterday, she was different.

I first noticed a classic emerald cut diamond ring on a young girls finger. Her head was down as she flipped through wedding magazines. She laid the hand that boosted the wedding ring on each page as if she was auditioning for a hand model position. When she looked up and smiled at me it did not register at first, but I knew, I knew the girl from somewhere. Immediately, it came to me as she said hello.

Getting ALL You Want

After exchanging hello's, she told me about her life now and that she was two weeks into her engagement. She shared how she was so frustrated with the group and never really enjoyed the oversharing. She also took issue with group leaders after I left. Today, she is engaged to an engineer who lives in another state, and they are getting married in May.

"Everything worked out," she mentioned to me while showing off the ring. I was happy to see that she got what she wanted – a new job in interior design, a husband, and a chance for a better life then what she saw growing up.

The only problem, she wanted more. "I can't believe this is it" and "this is what I wanted but I still see other stuff I want," were statements she made. At the same time, she understood why the recovery program was so important, because after getting what we want our faith is the only thing that sustains us. It was the same lesson I learned in my early twenties after landing a high-paying job, a condo in a prestigious part of town, and my perfect doggy companion, Jack.

All I could do was smile and agree. She had the nugget that only life and experience teaches. I was happy to see how far she had come.

Sunday, December 17, 2017

Girls Love Beyonce

I've come to understand that even the preacher's wife loves Beyonce.
She also loves the vanity of fashion and celebrity culture.
I hide these things as if not liking them will make me more liked by the women I look up to.
Uninformed thinking.
She like me is human, woman, educated, its no wonder why we share this similarity.
Besides, the shame I feel for feeling Bootylicious is not biblical.
I was born with it.
I was encouraged to love who I am and despise the flesh.
I was told to suppress the parts of me that seek pleasure and strength from the womanhood I possess.
My undoing was mass produced.
Women like me struggle in the same way, hoping that freedom comes in rejecting their wants.
But there is no freedom found just contradictions.
Each woman must live by her own convictions.
In the spirit of rapper and singer Drake, yes, Girls Love Beyonce.
I will not apologize for it.

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

The Freedom to Pursue Purpose of Life

“As soon as you rise above mere survival, the question of meaning and purpose becomes of paramount importance in your life.” -- Eckhart Tolle, A New Earth

I use this quote in the new book I'm writing but came here to discuss the implications of this statement for 1.3 billion people who live in extreme poverty in the world today. DoSomething.org states on their website in an article titled 11 Facts About Global Poverty, "nearly 1/2 of the world’s population — more than 3 billion people — live on less than $2.50 a day. More than 1.3 billion live in extreme poverty — less than $1.25 a day." The article also states, "805 million people worldwide do not have enough food to eat."

Do these individuals have room to pursue purpose of life? Do they have enough distance from their problems to see past human needs? 

No, based on Tolle's statement, they do not.

Is this always the truth? We have all heard stories of people coming from absolutely nothing to make something out of themselves. The statement then hinges on the personal meaning of survival, some needing more than others.

My last observation is our belief here in America, our faith in capitalism. The individual always needs something more, new, or better. If we, Americans provided with so much opportunity, living on more than $2.50 a day, are always in pursuit of this kind of survival can we ever rise above merely "surviving" to find meaning and purpose?

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Live In The Wonder

What does it mean to live amazed? In awe of the rising sun? In awe of growing children? In awe of metal planes that fly? Where has this amazement for life gone? 

When I spend even twenty-four hours away from social media, I rediscover things about myself that got lost in the noise. I believe the reason most of us can not see the beauty in life because we are overexposed. We have allowed ourselves to live quietly in the corners of other people's lives. There we are the judge and not the judged. A simple rule applies in this space, no harm, no problem

However, there is a problem, one that has grown under the skin. The issue that always arises when we choose to take the easy road; being bystanders to the lives of people near and far jade us. It creates lapses in our mind, spend more than fifteen minutes in someone's social feed, look up, and it feels as though the world has changed or at the least, that time is lost in a space that belongs to the curator. 

To live in the wonder means to go on a journey, being content with your view, and changing that which is changeable. 

Living in the wonder means that I know when to engage and disengage from that which darkens my soul. It means that I live more aware. The awareness of my faults and shortcomings have not come without a fight. In 2014, I had a social media addiction that was out of control. It hindered my writing, and I felt it could derail my life so much so that I addressed it, among other things, in a twelve step program here in Dallas. 

I was able to return to the wonder. 

The wonder for me now is serving my husband, being present for my friends, checking on my sisters who live far away, spending time with my mother, undisturbed and undistracted writing time, and working out because your girl enjoys a good sweat. 

The wonder can be found in the ordinary. 

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Memoir or Inspiration

I'm in the thick of it now. My desk stacked with books, half-emptied water glasses, tea, pens, note cards, and more books. I am a mad woman during this stage of the game. With 6,089 words down on an inspirational non-fiction book I've been pondering over the last couple of months, a new thought came to me. I hate when this happens. "What about your memoir?" A two-year project I put aside, the book I submitted to MFA programs, the book that devours my attention most nights and the book I can't seem to shake. In my head, I reserve memoir writing for those that are much older than me. Although, the last seven years have been interesting: a devastating breakup, a twelve step program, a comedy show, and marriage.

I'm just not so sure if it's the story I want to share at this moment, and then I am reminded:


The notecard reads hanging above my desk.

Gosh, its hot in here. One second, I am going to turn off this heater. Where was I? Yes, memoir or inspiration? "How to" or "my truth?" It's like deciding on whether to start a new relationship or build out, go deep, be broken in the one you have.

Okay, God, where to?

This question, posed to the Big Guy can garner exciting results or at least unexpected outcomes. The real question is about playing it safe or going for whatever it is. Here, at my desk, butt in chair, I am faced with who I am as a writer and what kind of writer I want to be.

Friday, November 24, 2017

Her Name was "Birdie"

Do you think people stay in places and situations longer than they should?

Around four o'clock yesterday a baby bird landed nineteen floors up on my patio. When I initially noticed the flying creature, I did not think much about it. Birds fly, that is a fact. There was nothing unusual about the small bird flying through a crack in the balcony between two sheets of glass and landing on my porch.

My husband and I headed to a movie around seven to conclude the Thanksgiving celebration. It was a chilly night. We started Saving Capitalism on Netflix with Robert Reich before we had to put the documentary on hold to catch our movie.

After the movie, we returned to our posture on the coach to complete the film. From the couch, looking out into the night, the Downtown sparkling with lights, I noticed her, still perched on the balcony was the bird I saw earlier. I slowly walked over to the patio door, gently unlocked it and then cracked it. The small bird did not move. I opened it some more to catch a closer look. Nothing. The winged creature was not afraid and did not move an inch. What was wrong with her? Why was this bird just staring out into the night on my patio? My husband offered up a little advice. He figured that she might have clipped her wing flying in. I immediately wanted to bring her in and care for her. I ran to the refrigerator and peeled off some bread from the Thanksgiving leftovers. I ran back to the door, gently opened it and tossed scraps to my new friend. Birdie did not move. She did not walk towards the food.

"Maybe she's blind." I thought to myself.

"A bit clumsy like my husband, maybe she ran into the glass head first and damaged her eyesight."

It sounds silly now that I am replaying the possibility back to myself. But what was it?

I knew my husband would not go for bringing the bird into the house and after coaxing him into bed, he said, "Babe, please don't bring the bird in the house." I said okay but knew if the baby bird needed further assistance I would do what was necessary.

I tiptoed back to the door, opened it, stepping into the cold night I called out to Birdie like one would do a dog or cat. She ignored me. She still had not gone for the bread pieces. As I approached, she turned and fluttered away.

I was heartbroken. Birdie was fine. She knew exactly where her home was and was merely taking in a different view.