A Prayer For Poets

wish us many years
of writing to come
pray that our fingers
beat arthritis, always
and that our minds
time travel a hundred
years back and a
millennium forward —-

it’s all we’ve got,
if we are to exist…

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The Last Lecture

Pick your secret valentine, the Delray Beach Public Library told me as I made my way back from the fiction section where I had just picked out some Octavia Butler gems.

I stopped, thought about my difficulty making decisions but quickly realized that my eyes were fixed on a small book in pink wrapping paper with a heart glued to the material. The center of the heart had three words— biography, inspirational, philosophy; three things I’m down for.

Later that Friday evening, I unwrapped the book excitedly in my room and let my fingers run across the title, The Last Lecture. I had heard of Randy Pausch and this amazing lecture from a dying man back in college, but I never pursued the book. Perhaps, the Universe feels I needed to read the powerful work now more than I did back at Syracuse University.

What do I think 

Well, I have just finished wiping tears from my eyes as I finished the 206 page body of work. It’s incredible. Although Randy was a left-brain and I happen to be a right-brain, I found The Last Lecture moving, inspiring, and philosophical in that it encouraged me to think deeply about the meaning of life, death, love, family, and all the shit I hoard in my life.

Lessons that stuck most 

I read over 120 pages of the book in one sitting and probably could have finished it all if I hadn’t made plans to take myself to see an awful box office success.

Okay, back on topic. Here are the lessons that struck me most from The Last Lecture:

  • Brick Walls 
    • Nothing is impossible. Treat the things you want as a brick wall, you might not be able to jump it today, but work yourself up to make that leap.
  • Don’t think about it too much 
    • What other people think about you is none of your business, live your life.
  • Be honest 
    • Lies always come back to bite you whether you know it or not, so stay honest.
  • Communicate 
    • Talk directly about your needs and be willing to listen.
  • Materials don’t mean much 
    • If it ain’t broke don’t fix it. So what if your car has a dent or two, does it do what it is meant to do — then why spend money on vanity. Clothes come in and out of style, don’t waste so much money on a wardrobe.
  • ‘No’ isn’t an answer unless we’re talking about consent 
    • When you want something don’t take the first or second no, keep pursuing it — it’s like the brick walls.
  • You can lead a positive life 
    • You can be a left-brain like Randy and remain a positive human. An even more important point, you can be diagnosed with terminal cancer with months to live and still live life positively. Be a Tigger not an Eeyore. 
  • Watch how you spend your time 
    • Plan your day and watch how you spend your time. You can accomplish so much in this life, all your childhood dreams, if you spend your time strategically. Maybe cross a Netflix series off your list and work on pursuing one of your dreams.
  • Fundamentals matter 
    • I got a C in calculus in college despite how hard I worked because I never learned the fundamentals of math — don’t be like me. In whatever field you find yourself, learn the fundamentals otherwise you’ll always be playing catch-up.
  • Let your children dream, question, and write on the wall 
    • Don’t stifle your children. Encourage your kids to dream and when they want to do something get inquisitive with them.
  • Take care of your needs first 
    • You cannot do what you are purposed to do if you allow others and the things you encounter in life to drain your battery. Charge up then worry about everything else.

Although the above are what struck me most, all 206 pages offered insight. Randy wrote The Last Lecture after delivering his last lecture at Carnegie Mellon. The book and lecture encourage us to live out our childhood dreams and leave a tangible piece of himself behind for his three young children. It’s clear that Randy is in love with Dylan, Logan, Chloe and his beautiful wife Jai. It brings him great grief knowing that he won’t be around to live out the life he and Jai dreamed — that tragic realization and Randy’s openness about crying in the shower or how he and Jai cling to each other in tears is heartbreaking.

Despite all of that, I leave the book knowing that Jai, Dylan, Logan, and Chloe will survive (and have, since the book was published in 2008) without Randy in the present form but will carry pieces of him as they journey.

The Last Lecture begs you, the reader, to answer the following questions:

  • What is important to you? Are you working toward achieving it?
  • Are you living a logical and positive existence?
  • How are you doing on accomplishing your childhood dreams?
  • If you had to give a last lecture (no matter what field you’re in), what would you leave behind?


Choose the God of love

I’ve only been on this Earth, in my present form, for 23 years. There’s a lot that I am figuring out. Today, I attended mass at one of the churches I work with and the Deacon there preached on why our young people are moving away from the church. He touched on the usual things, sex, homosexuality, weed, alcohol… He did so in a manner that I found polarizing, so while he preached, I pulled out my pen and paper and allowed my mind to respond, to reflect.

In truth, if we have sex we won’t automatically get AIDS and die. It’s also likely that we won’t get pregnant. Our churches are preaching an irrational message. Youth know there are 75 different ways to prevent an STI and/or pregnancy. Our churches need to preach with a foot rooted in reality. Meet our youth where they are. There are many dangers to unsafe/irresponsible sex, including STI’s, but openly discuss the emotional consequences, speak honestly about how sex can be an intimately beautiful experience. To draw young people to God, to assist them in their spiritual growth, we must meet them where they are and we must debrief the messages that they are receiving from the world while introducing them to a God of love.

In our world of “knowledge,” “rhetoric,” and “theory,” we may get caught up in proving a point using the messages of the “market god” while neglecting the messages that our “God of love” has placed in all of us. Our growth with God and our spiritually can only be fed if we remain open and willing. Willing to neglect our desires of the flesh. Willing to look passed polarizations that turn God into an angry-cheek-slapping-hypocritical-bastard while the world is an ever-forgiving place.

Whether we recognize it or not, we are feeding our soul. Every single day advertisers sit in board rooms and compete for human attention, for human purchasing power–they compete to feed our souls. Many times they win.

God uses one avenue, he uses his love.

I believe that it is without a doubt there are many containers, religious paths, that we can use to get to God. Choose one. It doesn’t matter whether your path is meditation on the Word through the Christian, Islamic, Jewish, Buddhist texts… choose a path that leads you to God through his love. Choose to grow spiritually, in God.

Choose the God of love, and when you do his message will glow through you and attract all those around you.

How a diva cup took me to the moon

A few months ago while at a work conference in Ohio, I was having a conversation with my colleague, Jacqueline Nye, and she mentioned how annoyed she was that she forgot her diva cup.

Diva cup?

Images of a gold encrusted pink pimp cup with the word “DIVA” carved out in gold lettering popped in my head.

As it turns out, a “diva cup” is a small silicone cup inserted in the vagina to collect menstrual blood. After that conversation, I did some Googling and found that women are using more sustainable ways to “period.”

It seems that although sanitary napkins, known as “pads” in the streets, and tampons are quite popular they are not the best option for women or this gorgeous planet that God has blessed us with. To find out why sanitary napkins and tampons are so yesterday, visit: http://sustainablecycles.org/sustainable-menstrual-products/ and http://sustainablecycles.org/menstrual-cup-basics/ but make sure you come back and finish reading my post!

After more googling and a Facebook post about sustainable periods, I was sold! Yes, I post stuff like that on Facebook. Why? Because periods happen, dude, and it’s not something that should be hidden under a dark cloudy sheet. We should communicate comfortably about period products in the same way that we discuss makeup removers.

Anyway! I learned about Mooncups which are much like diva cups, and I also stumbled upon information about cloth pads. There’s a demographic of women who have ditched the silly ways of sanitary napkins and tampons because…

over 13 billion pads and 7 million tampons are used and disposed of every year! (Tree Hugger Cloth Pads)

I’m all about trying to do my little bit to conserve this planet so I paid $30 for my Mooncup and $35.89 for a shipment of four cloth pads from Tree Hugger Cloth Pads. Both products will last several years before needing to be replaced.

What is it like to use a Mooncup for the first time?
Frankly, it’s kind of like the first time you put anything foreign in your vagina. I was like oh, this feels weird. Huh. Not bad. Once I stopped focussing on the fact that I had a tiny cup inside of me, I didn’t even feel the thing in there! 100 times better than any tampon I’ve ever used including those tiny compact ones from Kotex that are better for the environment than the ones with a plastic applicator.

How do I get it out?
Okay! This part was scary. The Mooncup has this little stem that sticks out like a tampon string would. Well, I just pulled on the thing. Lord! I thought my vagina was going to come out with the cup. Little did I know, the Mooncup functions with awesome suction power. Don’t just yank it or your vagina will be hella pissed. (Ha! Vagina. Hella pissed.) Here’s what you do… squat over your toiled seat, like you would to take a tampon out and squeeze that bad boy out using those vagina muscles. While doing your kegels, use two fingers, one on each side, and squeeze the bottom of the cup. It’ll start to slide out, then and only then do I recommend pulling the stem. Most of the time, I just take it out directly from the sides without using the stem. I credit this section to my future cousin-in-law Tiffany Freeman, if it were not for her advice I wouldn’t know how to kegel my Mooncup out.

What do I do with it once I get it out?
Just dump the bloody contents out in the toilet. It was a cool experience to actually see my period blood in all its glory for the first time. I thought I’d be grossed out but instead, I felt so close to my body. But, enough with the sentiments. Flush the blood, wash the cup and put that sucker back in. ALWAYS WASH YOUR HANDS BEFORE YOU PUT THE CUP IN AND AFTER YOU TAKE IT OUT, unless you’re into getting infections.

Should I use soap?
I just use water until it’s clean.

What about leakage?
I didn’t experience any. But! I did put on one of my Tree Huggers just in case.

Tell me more about them Tree Huggers, girl…
They are like any pad except they are made with water-resistant fleece and are re-usable. There’s no smell and it feels like I’m sitting on soft carpet all day. They soak up an unbelievable amount. I would recommend having two large overnight ones, and two regular ones–for sure. There are also pantyliner sizes. After use, I put it in my bathroom sink and turnon the hot water, then I squeeze all the blood out until the water is clean. Afterwards, I use some soap to do a pre-wash and hang up in my shower. Once dry, I throw them in my hamper. During the day, I carry a leather pouch I once used as my sanitary napkin and tampon carrier to keep clean cloth pads and to store dirty ones. The brand I have come with a snap, I ordered mine with a second snap which makes for a snug fit.

What I learned about periods after using the Mooncup and Tree Hugger:

  • Our periods don’t smell. That bad period smell comes from using a tampon or sanity napkin, because they do not allow our vagina to breathe. I didn’t experience any of my typical period smell using these sustainable alternatives.
  • Our periods are not gross. It is a natural process that women undergo; embrace it, love it.
  • Sharing with other women and asking them questions makes the process of transitioning to sustainable menstrual items easier. There’s tons of information available on disposable period materials like sanitary napkins and tampons, but very little about sustainable alternatives, so share what you know.
  • Try using a Mooncup, Diva Cup and/or cloth pads before you decide sustainable methods are not for you. I know it may sound gross at first, but just give it a try the next time Mother Nature comes knocking.

I’m here for questions and things, please don’t hesitate to ask below or e-mail me at letitflose@gmail.com. I look forward to having you join me on the moon next month 😉

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Lessons Learned Moving Over 1,300 Miles from Home

While living in Vermont for five life changing months, God saw it fit to implant the glorious idea of community organizing in my mind. Before I knew it, I was interviewing for a job to work at a grassroots community organization in Miami-Dade. When I wasn’t searching for KKK chapters in the South and alligator attacks (yes, I know super ignorant of me), I was anxiously apartment hunting and trying to convince myself that I really wanted to move so far away. News flash! I’ve been living in Miami-Dade for about 10 months now and here are a few lessons I have learned about “adulting” while away from the cradle.

  1. You can do it! Moving out of your home state won’t be easy, but you can do it.
  2. Take time to estimate your financial situation as accurately as possible or else you’ll be bloated from stress for like three months.
  3. Do it on your own terms. When I applied for the position I have now, I intended to begin work in June because I knew I wouldn’t be financially ready to start in January. However, this position was one of my top picks and I felt a bit of pressure to say “yes,” so I did. What do you think happened when I started in January–I had no money and remember experiencing stomach growling stress. Now, I probably budget a little too much because of FOFAP (Fear of Financial Ass Planting).
  4. Trust others. For the first three months I lived with a kind stranger and her partner on Miami Beach for only $550 a month. The room and bath even came with a cute little pooch. What a steal!
  5. You won’t make friends like you did in college so you’ll have to friend date… I hate dating so I still have no friends.
  6. Love yourself. I’ve become really good at giving Flose some lovin’ these last 10 months. I take her out to the movies, I treat her to dinner every once in a while, I make sure she gets her exercise–stuff that will make her heart smile.
  7. Even with all the self lovin’, you’ll still get lonely sometimes. Learn to deal with that loneliness in a healthy way. Sometimes that means having a glass of red wine and watching Friends for three hours. Other times it means having a well deserved cry session. And rarely it means sleeping in for a few hours in your messy living space. I’m not sure if any of those examples were healthy, but whose judging!
  8. You’ll quickly learn who your actual friends are versus acquaintances. Actual friends will send random texts to check in on you. They’ll make an effort to visit around the time of your birthday even if you have to crowd three or four people in your room. When you have a really shitty day at work, they’ll sense it and send an “I love you” or “Tell me what’s going on with you” text or they’ll actually pick up the phone to hear your trembling voice. They’ll plan a road-trip with you and spend lots of days with your talkative ass. When you’re home, even if it’s just for a day, they’ll make an extra effort to see your Florida-kissed smile. And when they’re in town, they’ll make time for you, even if it’s a two-hour dinner and they’re still drunk from three days of partying. This is not to discredit acquaintances, they have a place in your life but don’t fool yourself into thinking they’re your rock.
  9. Your relationship with your parents will get stronger. My dad and I spent close to 45 minutes on the phone one day. Like he had more to say than, “did you eat today,” seriously. Although, my mom still gets upset if I don’t make contact for a couple of days, when we speak the conversation is of value. I have learned to appreciate my parents in a way I never did living at home or five hours away when I was in college.
  10. This lesson is kind of scary and caused me a bit of anxiety over the past week… You’ll start to realize that you parents are aging and that shit ain’t cool.
  11. Your siblings will still be assholes to you, but they’ll be the nice kind.
  12. Spirituality, God, will find you even if you’re running away from him. When he catches you, you’ll hold on tight and begin to rebuild your relationship with him even if it’s not in the traditional sense.
  13. Treat your body with respect. I don’t mean that in a woman shaming kind of way. Drink water, eat vegetables, don’t binge drink, exercise… stuff like that because chances are you’re not that responsible and haven’t found a primary care doctor so you can’t get sick.
  14. Even with all that body respect, you’ll still get sick. When you do, you’ll really miss your mommy.
  15. Find a hobby or two.
  16. Learn to roll with things, because not everything will turn out how you expect it to.
  17. Breathe.
  18. You are awesome, moving far from home is hard, and it’s okay if you don’t get everything right because no one does.