Winding down and firing up

Wrote Zora Neale Hurston, “There are years that ask questions and years that answer.” There are also years that break your heart and years that fill them. And some years are simply a rollercoaster of questions, answers, exclamations, proclamations, numbness, anger, heartache and love.

The kiddos, Blue and me. #blendedfamily

2014 was one of those years.

It bore witness the passing of beloved icons, the reclamation of beauty, horrific brutality and engaging art. Just everything. In the midst of the collective tragedies and celebrations, I enjoyed my own milestones and joy-filled events.

This year flew by. They say the older you get, the more quickly time seems to pass. I’m not sure when or if the trend reverses, but I do know I’m finding it difficult to grasp the end of this calendar year and the beginning of the next.

Compared to the recent past, I’ve probably spent the least amount of time on social media this year. I’ve blogged a little less, tweeted a lot less, and at various intervals, I removed Facebook from my phone entirely. That said, for my 40th birthday, I merged my old domain name and my blog into a new virtual space. A few folks stopped by and took a look around. Some posts resonated:

  1. In one, I weave my wedding story with my daddy’s memorial.
  2. In another, I challenge critics to be more discerning – more critical, in fact – of artifacts presented on the Internet.
  3. In the third most popular post of the year, Tayari invited me to share a little bit about my writing process.

A couple of entries from my older blog made the rounds as well. Folks liked reading about being powerful and feminine (yes, simultaneously), wearing dresses, and FAMU president Dr. Elmira Mangum’s contract battle.

10366286_10153000978792780_6992355837704246348_nAs we go into the new year I’m re-imagining this space and the stories I want to tell here. In truth, I’ll always do that. What is living, really, if it doesn’t include evolution, revolution, growth, change?

In many respects, 2014 was a foundational year for me. But current events have me in feisty, fiery mood. Not angry, but more awake. Spirited. Inspired. Quite honestly, I’m looking forward to the fireworks.

I’m wishing you a year of evolution, righteous victory and overwhelming joy.

New Year’s Eve

It’s here. The last day of 2013. Can you believe it?

I awoke to find an email from WordPress, detailing the milestones and stats for the year. My top posts included a brief remembrance of my mother, Marla’s narrative on living with lupus, and the introduction of the Joy Jar – a beautiful idea I may revisit in the coming year.

I also began writing about sexual violence and I spent a good deal of time pondering a theory of love, something I plan to do a great deal more of in 2014. My thinking and writing are always evolving and it’s enlightening to see what resonates from month to month and year to year. I hope you’ll continue to join me on the journey.

Wherever you are in space and time, I hope you are winding down the year with an abundance of peace and joy. I pray the dawning year is full of beauty, love, and good cheer. And if you should wish it, a standing ovation…

wonder“Bravo!” I heard Dad yelling through his hands.

“Why is everyone getting up?” I said.

“It’s a standing ovation,” said Mom, getting up.

So I got up and clapped and clapped. I clapped until my hands hurt. For a second, I imagined how cool it would be to be Via and Justin right then, having all these people standing up and cheering for them.

I think there should be a rule that everyone in the world should get a standing ovation at least once in their lives.

Abiding Love

Some years are made for themes. They begin with declarations, resolutions, bucket lists, big bangs, and the like. Two years ago I opened 2011 fierce, bold, courageous.

As if 3.5 years of grad school weren’t enough, in 2011 I found myself desirous of more profound and personal challenges. I wanted to face things that scared me. Push myself beyond self-imposed limitations.

Despite the steps I took to face seeming fears out there, I soon discovered the real fears were within. Towering at times. Moments of clarity and honesty produced tools for dismantling and dissolving. I chiseled and chipped and melted fears after hours of prayers, reflection, and tearful storytelling. Truth-telling to the one I lied most often: me.

2012 did not open with a declaration. And throughout the year I sought the theme retroactively. Eventually I figured out that I never really concluded the learning, pushing and fear facing of 2011. And so not one, but two years were about fear and overcoming it.

Now a new year has dawned, and to fear and fearlessness I say, “thank you.” Fear and the efforts to win over it, are great teachers. The most important lesson, the most beautiful gift, was love.

I am no longer interested in the framing, facing or challenging of fear. Instead I seek, welcome, embrace and share love.

2013 is the Year of Abiding Love. 

And so it is.