Writing

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Life goes on…

Published April 24, 2020 by hrhdana

Lately, the thing that makes me angry is how life just goes on. Like the world just keeps spinning. Bills are due. Food has to be cooked. It makes me want to punch things. I want to curl in to a ball and sob oceans of tears. I want everything to just stop and be still while I process what it is like to be in the world without him.

And it doesn’t. The world just keeps going.

“How are you?” Well meaning loved ones ask. It’s habit, really. Someone picks up the phone and you say, “Hello. How are you?”

How am I supposed to answer?

I am not okay. I miss him. I miss him so much. I spend hours letting memories of him go through my mind. I miss him. He worried about everything practical. He worried so well that I had time to worry about things like what kind of person I want to be. He had me and mine covered. Always. Even when I didn’t live here he had me. Always.

No we have to have us. We see. We appreciate how much he took care of for us. How many things he set up, dealt with, made sure were right…his love was action. It leaves a physical and emotional vacuum. We have to do all the things now. We aren’t even confident that we know what all of the things are. Here we are. Doing them. Missing him more. Appreciating him more.

I am not okay.

And I know it’s okay not to be okay but I’m prickly. All I really want are hugs and words can so easily rankle me. I isolate. I am deeply heart broken. There is nothing anyone can do to help me. I have to go through it to get to the other side. The place where I can function with this darkness inside of me. This deep, never ending well of grief will not be denied. I will not let it consume me but it has to out.

My therapist is sick. She has the virus.

I pray fervently she gets well. She and I have been together for years. She has helped me through so many lows in my life. I miss her now in this moment of grief and trauma and ptsd and isolation and confusion. I need her to get better.

I can’t help to notice how the universe has been hammering home lessons to me through all of this.

I am capable. I am enough. I am worthy. I am human. I am loved.

In the midst of this series of worst moments of my life I have done the absolute best that I could. I have held nothing back. I have left it all on the court. I have walked with God, the creator. I have trusted in the universe and my ancestors. I have called on and walked with Jesus. I have done the absolute best that I could in those unbelievably awful moments. No time to consider or pontificate. No time to grab a conference call and get advice. No back up. Just me and adversity.

I wish I could have saved my Daddy. I wish that with everything in me. I feel guilty about my ignorance, my humanity. My inability to be the one who decided if he stayed or went. At the same time, I know, unequivocally that I did every single thing I was capable of doing. I was strong. I was loving. I was decisive. I educated myself with reliable information from trusted sources. I asked for help.  I did the best I could and it wasn’t enough to save him. The Lord had a different plan.

I lean not on my own understanding.

One thing I know. I know my Daddy is proud of me. He always was. He told me every chance he got. When my progress was on the internal me. He noted the changes. He savored them. He watched me and smiled. Daddy was NOT a smiler. lol This slight upturn of his lips as he listened to me share some part of my day or situation I encountered. He was proud of his baby. He saw me as good and smart and capable and worthy of protection.

I see it too Daddy. Adversity breeds character.  I will come out of this clearer in who and whose I am.

I just miss him.

So much.

Thanks for reading.

Awful and Awfuler

Published April 13, 2020 by hrhdana

*blows dust off of keyboard…pushes tumbleweeds out of the way…peeks out…*

Are ya’ll still here?

It’s been a long time, huh?

If you have been here for a while you know writing is where I go when the hurt is too much to bear.

My Daddy died from Covid19 on Thursday, April 2, 2020.

This hurt? It’s unlike anything I have ever experienced in my life. It is a physical, emotional and spiritual hurt. It is deep and unyielding and it takes my breath away. And in the midst of this hurt I am still nursing my mother, raising my daughter, and managing my terror and devastation all while in quarantine. Reality feels like fiction. If you pitched this reality as a show or movie idea no one would bite. NYC quiet and empty? The economy suspended? Broadway closed? Times square empty? Too much even for fiction. You would strike out.

Yet here we sit. In a reality stranger than fiction where my Daddy, my superman, is gone. It is too much to bear. Too much.

Awful isn’t a strong enough word when things keep getting awfuler.

Two parents sick with a highly contagious, potentially life threatening virus? Awful.

A virus that you may, or may not, be responsible for having brought in to the home you share with them? Awful

A home that your 8 year old daughter also lives in? Awful.

Weeks of managing their symptoms with no medical training all while persistently being advised NOT to take them to the hospital? Images and stories of overburdened hospitals being shared with you daily. Fears of lack of life saving machinery. You play double dutch with their lives trying to time when it would be safe to jump in to a hospital. Awful.

Having your father go from coughing to silent to unresponsive in a matter of hours? Awful

Doing CPR which you haven’t done in well over a decade while you beg him not to leave you and your Mother and daughter watch and sob? Awful

Having paramedics come in to your home in protective gear and take over only to hear him pronounced as gone? Awful

Making call after call only to hear that every funeral home in the Bronx is full and can not offer embalming and refrigeration, only cremation? Awful.

Your Mom hitting the height of her illness just as all of this is all happening? Awful

Spending nights watching her sleep. Praying that you will know this time when it is time to jump in. Praying for the discernment to make the right choices for her when the outcome with Daddy was loss? Awful.

Folks I haven’t even gotten past April 2nd.

There is so much more awful I could build a mountain out of it. I need to wade through it. I need to process it in small chunks. I need to let it out enough so I can continue to be Mommy, Daughter, Aunt and all of the things I am.

People keep telling me how strong I am. Please don’t be people. This is not strength. This is necessity. This is no other option. This is God holding me as I scream internally. Strong is not something I want to hear. It rankles. I should probably explore why. In the meantime please don’t use it as a compliment. If I had ANY other option I would take it.

This is my space to be naked. I am vulnerable. Processing in this way has helped me so much in the past. I pray that it can again.

Tomorrow we get to see and say our final goodbyes to my Daddy. Only 10 of us are allowed. It is not safe for out of town family to come. We will all wear masks. We can not hold each other. We can not go to the cemetery. We can not have flowers. Our priest is not allowed to come in person. This is not the honor my Daddy deserves. He deserves so much more.

He will have it. We will honor his life when this is over.  I promise Daddy. We just have to get through awfuler and awfuler and awfuler.

 

P.S. -I’m not going to proofread these blogs. If I go back and reread I will self edit and that is not part of the process. Don’t judge my spelling or grammar. Judge yo Mama. LOL

 

Mothering

Published July 26, 2017 by hrhdana

I am mothering a little girl.
I want her to be
everything that she can dream
innocent and whole and free
present and at home in her body.
I want to be
the right balance of open road and safety rail.
I want my mothering to be balanced.
I know she has to hurt, fail, cry, fall
I can’t protect her from it all.
I want to.

I am mothering a hungry mind.
I want to fill her with
self-love,
tenacity,
kindness,
wisdom.
I want to be
the perfect mixture of
speaker/leader
and active listener.
I want my mothering to
honor her voice
teach her to make good choices.
I know that we will fight.
It’s alright.
She will learn how to give and receive
Apologies.
Lessons on how to resolve things.
Sometimes I will get it wrong.
And she?
Will love me anyway.

I am mothering a feminine body.
I want her to
always feel at home in herself,
love her construction,
execute bodily autonomy,
live a life free of shame.
I want to be
an impermeable barrier
protecting her innocence.
I will be a woman first
know when to pull back and let her bloom.
I want her to be free.

I am mothering a soul, an essence.
I want her to
connect to the infinite
be love
practice self-care and empathy
embrace her innate royalty
her divine connection to the almighty we.
I want to be
a role model sharing my own journey
a listener so she talks to me.

I want so much
for us.
I pray hard
that I can be enough.

I am mothering a little girl.
She is the most important thing in my world.

Time to write

Published March 29, 2016 by hrhdana

I’ve been dying to find time to write. This new job is a huge adjustment. I have so much to learn and if you know me you know that I want to know it all yesterday. I don’t have time to do anything personal at work because I am trying to learn all of the things and because we have a real deal IT department here and I’m scared of their tracking software. LOL I have yet to manage being able to carve out time to write at home and parent. I sit at the computer at home and she has a million things she has to tell me and about 3 million questions about what I am doing.

Today, my supervisors are in meetings, the office is quiet and I finally have time to write. I sit down excited and open my word doc.

Nothing.

Isn’t it funny how that happens? And by funny I mean infuriating. Hmph

So I guess I’ll tell you all about the new gig. I’m working for an established nonprofit organization. It started out as an orphanage in the 1800s and has grown in to a huge company that provides services to kids, families and people with developmental disabilities. I am proud to work here. Amazing work is being done here daily. The emphasis is always on the people we are serving. Training is continuous and thorough. Ethics run through every single policy. This work matters and although I’m not working directly with the people we serve I am so proud to be a part of the process.

The department that I work in is all about quality improvement. We help all of our programs to stay in compliance with local, state and federal regulations. We conduct all internal and external investigations. We write manuals. We make recommendations for places where programs can improve. Yup, everyone hates us. LOL It’s like working in internal affairs. All of my coworkers have been super welcoming and it’s always so funny to watch their reactions when I tell them what department I work in.

I walk around the campus at least twice a day. I make small talk with the kids who live on campus and those who attend school here. I’m grateful to be here. I’m excited about this new adventure and I wake up excited to come to work each day. But it’s early yet. Giggles Check back with me in a few months. J

Why Mommy?

Published November 18, 2015 by hrhdana

Yesterday my four year old asked me why people kill other people. I thought she was sleeping. I had the news on. She must have been awake and listening for a while. I had no clue. Her innocent little voice broke the spell that I was under. I had been transfixed to the television listening intently to the stories of the people who lost their lives in Paris. I turned to her. I opened my arms so she could climb in to my lap. I kissed her forehead. I inhaled deeply and said a quick prayer for guidance.

 

I was so unprepared. We have been so vigilant with the t.v. and news coverage. We have worked hard to keep it all away from her. We have taken turns going upstairs to watch the news while the other parent keeps her occupied. Innocence is so fleeting. The ugliness of the world will touch her eventually, but not yet, we kept thinking. Not yet. But here it was. She had heard. She wanted answers.

I rambled. I spoke about good and evil. I leaned on our faith and our trust in God. I spoke about love being stronger than hate. I spoke about angry people who make angry choices. I simplified it so much that my words were honestly a lie. But how do I explain Syria and terrorism to a 4 year old when I barely understand it myself? It was beyond me in that moment but I tried.

“But when people die they are gone forever? Why would someone do that to people?”

 

The lump in my throat and the pain in my heart precluded conversation.

“I don’t know baby. I honestly do not know.” I cried. Quiet tears running down my face as I held her and rocked her.

I keep thinking about that conversation. My Little Bit is a thinker and I know she will have more questions for me soon. I want to be ready. I’ve been practicing answers in my head and in my journal. See, I want to be honest with her. I want to share as much truth with her as she can handle. I don’t want her to have to unlearn the things her Mommy told her. I don’t want her to bump in to the ugly truths of the world on a college campus or in a high school classroom. I want to be honest.

 

So, here’s my answer…
“Babygirl people can be incredibly mean to each other. It’s always been that way. Remember that little girl on your bus who hurt your feelings and made fun of you? There was no reason for her meanness. You didn’t do anything wrong to her. She was mean. And it was wrong. Remember how we talked about how sad it was that she didn’t give you a chance to be her friend? Remember how we considered that maybe someone in her life was mean to her? Maybe no one taught her how to make friends. Maybe she was sad and angry inside and she just took it out on you.

Sometimes that happens with people. Some people grow up in other countries where they are treated unfairly. Some people live in places where it is incredibly dangerous to live. Sometimes they watch people they love get hurt or killed just because they live there. It makes them hurt and sad and angry. And they have every right to feel hurt and sad and angry because what is happening to them is wrong.

And some of these people blame us. They are angry that we don’t do anything to stop the people who are hurting the people they love. They are angry that our government helps the people who are hurting and killing the people they love. They are angry that their kids are growing up scared. And they aren’t wrong. We didn’t hurt their loved ones but we didn’t stop it either.

These people want to hurt us. They want us to feel what they feel. They want us to be scared. They want us to know how it feels to lose people we love. They want us to make the people hurting their loved ones stop. It doesn’t make sense to us. Why would they hurt innocent people? Why would they hurt people who didn’t hurt them?

It doesn’t make sense to us. But it should. If we took a moment to think about what it’s like to live where they live and to watch the world ignore your pain we might understand their anger. If someone hurt you or someone else I loved it might make me incredibly angry.

What they did is wrong. Killing people is always wrong. But their pain isn’t wrong. Their anger at us for ignoring their pain isn’t wrong. Their anger at the people in charge of our country isn’t wrong. People kill people because they are angry. They are hurting. People kill people because their pain is ignored. They kill because the world isn’t paying attention to their pain and it seems to just go on and on forever.

You see how sad everyone is about what happened in Paris? I don’t know how much you heard on the news but everyone is sad about the people who died. People are leaving flowers and notes. People are crying and hugging each other. And people are angry about what happened. The people in charge of Paris are already dropping bombs and hurting the people who live in the country the killers came from. No one is crying for them. And this just makes more angry people who want to kill.

The world has always been like this Little Bit. I don’t know how long it will take for the people in charge to realize that hurting each other doesn’t fix anything. I wish I could promise that it won’t happen again. All we can do is try to fill the world with as much love as possible. All we can do is try to tell the people in charge of our country that we don’t want to be in the business of hurting people. All we can do is focus on the humanity of every person.

And Little Bit, we trust in God. We believe that it is our job not to be afraid but to trust in God. We believe it is our job to spread love. We grieve for the people who lost their lives but we believe that they are in heaven. Sometimes the world is full of scary things but we trust God. We will be okay Little Bit. We will always be okay. Bad things will happen but we will trust in God.

The Black experience

Published June 17, 2015 by hrhdana

So the topic of the moment is “the Black experience” and what that means. I’m not even going to get started on how that conversation is only happening because a white woman tried to co-opt Blackness.  I’m not going to mention that the only reason that some White people are even ASKING this question is because they are fascinated and appalled that someone WANTED to be Black. I’m not going to talk about how this question being asked and answered is steeped in white supremacy and systematic racism. Nope. I’m not going to talk about any of that. Nope. Not today.

I do want to talk about the Black experience. I want to describe it. I want to explain why it can’t be stolen. I want to explain why it isn’t a costume a person can put on and become real.

Black childhood is an integral part of Black experience. We all start off innocent. Race is something children see but it doesn’t impact them. It’s just what we are. I watch my almost 4 year old play with her friends of different races and ethnicities and the differences don’t matter to them.  They might remark on differences in skin tone or hair color but there is no malice in it. Kids are kids. Race is irrelevant unless they have been taught that it is not.  As we grow up and interact with the world we bump up against the world at large and it’s perceptions of race. I remember the first time I heard the n word. I was in 3rd grade. I came home and asked my Mom what it meant. I knew it was an insult from the way the person said it but I didn’t know why.

Depending on how the world highlights your Blackness to you it molds us all differently. Some of us strive for acceptance, some fight and indict the entire system, some try to assimilate, some give up. Having your innocence broken by the racist systems of this country is a part of MOST if not all Black coming of age stories. I remember the first time a teacher hurled my Blackness at me in the classroom. I remember the feeling. I remember realizing that this person didn’t like me simply because of the color of my skin. I remember the hurt. I remember it vividly. I can tell you what color his tie was. That’s how vividly I remember it.

To be Black in America is to be simultaneously hated and envied by others. The Black experience is beautiful in our enclaves where we eat great food, laugh, listen to music, support each other and speak life to each other. The Black experience is watching that truth be lost and lied about in main stream media which reduces us to thugs and hoes and claims us all illiterate and illegitimate. To be Black in America is to be held down and held back and made an exception to some racist rule when we succeed in spite of the boots on our neck.

To be Black in America is to start behind the rest of the folks at the starting line. Money can move you closer to the start line. If you come from money and you are Black you get a little closer but you are still Black. You are still starting behind. Does this mean we can’t win? Nope. We prove it all the time. We can and do win in spite of the obstacles in our paths but even on the winner’s podium people will deny that you had to run harder and faster while dodging obstacles your opponents didn’t have. To be Black in America is to be forced to cling to your truth in the knowledge that others may NEVER embrace it.

The Black experience is schizophrenic in many ways. I’m proud and happy and grateful to be a member of this group. But I’m also always in a rage against the many micro and major aggressions we face daily. Have you ever had a drip in your faucet? Those little drops of water can stain your sink basin. Just little drops of water hitting the same spot over and over and over. That’s what microaggressions are like. Things like people touching your hair, questioning your background, being shocked that you attended college, making assumptions about your marital status, asking questions about the hood etc etc etc. These things have a way of constantly othering you.. Constantly letting you know you are different. And most of these are delivered with a smile. If you dare to be angry well then you are overreacting and now you have become the angry Black woman. It’s exhausting ya’ll.

The Black experience is to know that we have no rights that cops or really anyone is bound to accept. The Black experience is feeling unsafe when a police cruiser passes you. The Black experience as a parent is knowing that you can not protect your child from overzealous police officers or neighborhood watch men with guns. It is a powerlessness that renders you impotent. So you instruct your child on ways to survive these encounters, knowing that even compliance will not guarantee their survival.

The Black experience is a choice between white washing our names or knowingly facing housing and employment discrimination.

The Black experience is more than hair or music. The Black experience is more than adopting Black children. The Black experience is NOT a feeling it’s an actual thing. And although there is variety in it (like any other culture) it is a very real thing. You can not co-opt it. You can not wear it like a costume. You can not lie your way in to it. It’s all bad and all good at the same time. And THAT is the truth.

And even writing all of THAT you won’t understand it if you don’t LIVE it

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I’m buying some sage on Monday

Published October 26, 2014 by hrhdana
I’m going to buy some sage on Monday
because lately
a million little things
are attacking me
and seriously
every freaking thing I do
goes wrong.
 
 
I’m going to buy some sage on Monday
and I’ve changed my Pandora playlist
to Gospel.
Because I know
I am AWARE
minds and hearts are where our power lies
and negativity/darkness/sadness tries
HARD
to gain a foothold there.
 
 
I’m going to buy some sage on Monday
I’m going to listen to Smokey all day on Sunday.
I am going to get my mind right.
I am going to bathe myself in light.
Smoke away all the little voices
whispering
incessantly
“Well who did you think you were?
“Sit down, be safe, stay small.”
 
 
Sage.
On
Monday.
 
 
And I’m going to smote myself,
my very being.
Because I am
the common denominator
I am seeing.
And maybe I am
off course
internally,
evaluating me…
system check
reloading.
 
 
I’m going to buy some sage on Monday.
I am Royalty.
Divine.
Destined for greatness.
Bigger than my problems.
Blessed IN my mess.
Loved.
Mother of the future.
I am unbreakable.
I rebuke mediocrity.
 
sage
Sage
On
Monday.