The legacy on Diamond Head Dr.

Eventually there is an inevitable process that comes along and strips you of any comfort.

I think I’m going the right way. I have been here a million times before, but just with her as my guide. Strawberry Fields on the left, two verses of “I just can’t give up now,” and then it’s a right. You drive parallel to the park before swinging under the light and hitting a left turn through residential. We lived in an apartment complex growing up. That being said, it was a common practice for us to spend the weekend surveying houses as if they were imminent realities and not just delusion, as if it were a holiday, and the custom was paying homage to people with mortgages. To be so without yet so sustained, a state of mind I would venture to live in, a fantasy. The state of mind that is never satisfied with where she is. But I think it was vital for me to see, the longing, the waiting, and the eventual letting go. Day by day watching, dreaming, and secretly knowing precisely what was needed. I was about four years old when we lost our home and ten years old when I watched her conceive a new one. Perhaps she wanted this particular house, fourth on the block, grayish blue, with wood wrapping around its borders, painted white. But I turned out far too sentimental for her cyclical surveying to be anything less than intentional healing from the most significant conception she’d ever lost.

One day we stopped in front of that extended blue house. I can’t even imagine what she was going through the day she scheduled a house tour for the two of us. I followed her lead as I sauntered into what I believed would be my room and fantasized about how things could be, all the friends I would finally have over. None of which are my friends today. Even then, I knew it wasn’t a reality written for her or me. Children of divorced parents seem to very quickly learn about the needs of others and the imminent submission of their own. It’s a transcending viewpoint, growing up to witness the woman your mother becomes. She’s bought a home since then, with a new husband, and almost like I was 10 again, I watched her hang a slab of paint on the wall and cherish the place it would live in her home. It was her way of keeping the faith and establishing no doubt in what she wanted to create.

I wasn’t always so admiring of her. Growing up, I hated my mom for silent reasons; we both knew it was more profound than disdain. Even then, though, later down the line, she’d transform into somewhat of a God for me, as I followed her lead and felt lifted in her belief of me. She was and is everything I ever wanted to be but that I was too afraid of becoming on my own, too fearful of change. When I was unsure about whether the boy who first entered me would be my husband, she assured me he would not.

“You will be the possible wife for many men, but it doesn’t mean they will be your husband. “

Even though I loved him deeply, it wouldn’t matter. Her words could infect my mind, and in a matter of months, I would tell him goodbye with a voice and demeanor so sure and wise you would have mistaken my words as my own – but they were hers, and she was right; she’s always right. He’s engaged now to a woman that suits him, but the point is her words were law, and I was willingly devoted to them, no questions asked.

And although her advice is still the most beautiful sound I know, the most calming and reassuring message to rest on, there is now a deep knowing in my soul that I just can’t abandon.

Eventually, there is an inevitable process that comes along and strips you of any comfort, it feels like it’s stripping you away from her, especially from her. And just when it feels like you need her the most, like the purpose of your life is on its way, and with her anything is possible, a subtle shift chokes out her words and fogs your vision. Still grasping her hand, you nudge her forward, ahead of you where she belongs, better than you, wiser than you, everything you could never be. But she keeps falling behind, the one you once watched gracefully stride ahead of you is slowing down right beside you. And the truth that I have discovered is that it’s not that she’s falling behind because she is and always will be the most graceful woman you know. But it just may also be true, that so are you. That maybe she was a woman just like you who has had to suffer and survive. You realize that it was you telling yourself that you were stunted and couldn’t be trusted, it was you who elevated her law and her being above the clouds, who fully and wholeheartedly relied on her intuition. 

But eventually, you need your own. 

And so some days I mourn her presence. I feel the shift beckoning. The reality is underway, the legacy slowly rising, and the little girl maturing. I must need her in a different way and step into our new role of her needing me. Heat flashes pang, her body betrays her, hormones flood her emotions, and she craves rest exponentially. Your mother needs you in a way that warrants you as an adult, as a woman who can conceive her own life and dreams, to see community and purpose in others, a skill I never thought I had. But now the day has come, and one day I will be the mother she has been to me. One day she will grow old, and she will step into the new phase of her own womanhood. And when that day comes to pass, it’s me who must carry her legacy. This moment was always destined to happen. After decades of watching and relying on my mother and avoiding the inevitable change, it’s here, the severing, the let go, so that I may find my own way. So that I may take all that I have learned, and establish my truth, dream up my own dreams. But of course, I miss her and the childish parts of me that still require healing try and hold on. The phone seems to ring longer than before when I call her and need her right away. And although her advice is still the most beautiful sound I know, the most calming and reassuring message to rest on, there is now a deep knowing in my soul that I just can’t abandon. One that is more true to my own direction. I think she feels it too. After all, it’s the same process she had to go through. 

The women who lineage before us leave footprints in our story so we won’t feel lost. I still feel lost. A big part of me even rejects the notion that I am ready. But the shift is occurring with or without my permission because nature knows and trusts its own course, only the foolish try and direct it, control it, give it meaning. She believes in me, and that’s all that matters. Deep down, I believe in myself too, and that matters more. The other day I wrote two words on a post-it and stuck it on my mirror. 

“You’re enough.”

If I was going to do this, like really do this, it would be done in the most honorable and efficient way I knew. I was going to place it on my mirror and watch it every day. I was going to facilitate a cyclical routine that ensured our eyes met periodically. To establish responsibility for what I create in this world and in myself. I would walk past it every morning, conceiving a new home for myself with only love, one that housed peace, honesty, wisdom, and faith just like my mother did with the grayish blue house, fourth down, on Diamond Head Dr.

Committing

Life is good, pleasant. You are entering into a new beginning. One where you are unsure of how long you can hold on away from your element, before letting go, reverting, and re-adapting to the lessening of life within yourself. It’s entirely unclear which elements are most conducive for growth right now. It seems much more comfortable being in and out, balancing commitment to travailing while simultaneously dedicating oneself to mediocrity. Here you are, standing in the middle of a road, soul set on journeying, yet your heart hovers over your knees, and your head remains harvested. Will this lead me to my greatest desire? You continue to shove half baked promises down your throat and impose unrealistic expectations on your becoming. But what we choose to obey will always weed out our amble attempts. It leaves you with a premature end to an opportunity for rejuvenation. And what a terrible defeat, to have lived half erected. Are you satisfied with only having the capacity for a fulfilled life? “Here lies a wanderer, rich in imagination, suffocated by apprehension.” From where you stand, is fear still your comfort? Is it not far less terrifying to face the consequences of an oversaturated ego than to brave the commitment to prosperity?

Braving

Today I showed up.

I don’t show up every day.

Some days I can show up, but my body and soul revert against me.

Other days I have every intention to show up but forget to leave everything else behind, forget it takes work, forget it requires blood.

The other day I purposefully held myself back, as to say, I’ve come this far… You do the rest.

I remember one time showing up and telling myself the whole time that I didn’t deserve to be there.

More often than not, showing up gets lonely. On those days, I would almost prefer to spiral out of control, to elevate my ego and resurrect my pride.

One thing that remains the same, regardless of me showing up or cowering down, is fear. Fear of stepping up day by day, climbing, and persevering only to lose all my efforts, only to stain them with the insincere version of healing, I’ve convinced myself can plant roots.

But today, despite what may be the truth and in between all the lies, I found the courage to show up, to be here, and to belong to something real. To belong to the journey and the failure. To accept that there isn’t one without the other.

Yesterday my thoughts were flooded with self-hate.

Today, I showed up in all my glory, in all my imperfection. Today I trusted not in how I felt or how I would get where I’m going but in what I needed to be true:

You aren’t alone. You are loved. Your destination will never be here, so enjoy the journey.

Today I enjoyed my individual journey, tomorrow I hope to do the same.

Leaving home

The further I stray from you, the more I can love you.
I need for my heart to remain unhinged,
to fail at love and discover a new way to let love in.
I need to search for you in every man I come across,
to convince them to love me so I can convince me that I am lovable despite what you’ve preached.
I need to be lovable.
I need to love myself,
despite your judgment or the people who stand on your side.
I need to be okay with you not being okay.
And that has been the most challenging decision of my life, choosing me.
And that has been the most difficult decision you’ve had to accept, the absence of me.
I need to be wrong about love
I need a loss to deepen my understanding of tenderness.
But I don’t know if your lack will bring me back to us or simply be the loss of you.
I need to find out; to be absolutely sure.
I need to know who I became with you isn’t who I am,
that I can become someone without you.
And if I must love someone else to see who I can be, that’s what I will do, to be more for you, more for me.
If you are my forever, I will always return.
You can never get lost on your way back home.

An Ode to the most Dangerous City

Author Miss Parisia B.

You weren’t always this way, my forgotten lover.

You weren’t always so vacant and lacking in people to discover your towering buildings and soaring dreams.

So many people warned me against you

Said you had nothing to offer me.

Claimed that surely I would find fear in your streets and terror by the meeting of the people who walked them.

“Nothing is there,” they mocked.

“Nothing is left,” they ridiculed.

And when I showed an ounce of excitement to meet you finally, they demolished and jeered at the little hope I had for you.

I won’t listen to what they say, my wounded soldier,

I won’t let their fear stand in my way.

What do they know?

Their widen eyes seek only the bad, and their shut eyes miss all the good.

They saturate themselves in workloads and greed wrapped in betrayal.

They claim to know that you’re no good,

Yet ignorance is spewing from the flanks of their hood.

A hood once created by you,

A vision that you produced.

But people forget my love.

You have fallen out of the social trend and no longer serve them.

Keep your head up my legendary orbit

You were once the bounce to this kingdom.

You housed men and women who weren’t the same but of culture and assortment.

People flooded your streets with grease on their faces, exertion on their hands, and transformation in their minds.

Buildings erected, and its people remained in such a state.

The best of Europe could be found in the aroma of the city,

Yet the innovation and blend of true America stood at every foundation.

Keeping us hungry, you fed our minds and told us stories of visionaries, educators, and art reformers.

They chose you to tell their stories to unfold a history that would never be forgotten.

I’m sorry that they disregard you now my florescent steel,

That they spit and spew things that aren’t true.

That they add you to lists entitled dangerous and forget you created the list of determination.

Numbers prove that hate lives within your city

People flee, curse you, and add to your descending name.

They do their absolute best to attract all the negative attention towards you

But we all have hate swimming through our blood.

You see it lives inside me too distant lover

Distinct hate that I reprimand upon myself, and that is why I love you.

Allowing the hate because you think it’s what you deserve, just like me.

But we don’t, and oh how you’re still worth discovering my love.

I am here my towering burden, I see you.

I know you are coward by the emptiness of your streets

I see your shame in the hidden neighborhoods that house regret and shadows of what was once there.

I hear the bitterness in the voices of your people who haven’t got a clue

I happen upon the effects of your rise and fall

You have flooded the city with your impact and residuum

Your stories of evil take precedence and inspire disquietude

You penetrate me with your silence and leave me to rivet with no way to comfort you

But you forget I’m not like all the rest who do their very best to evade you

I am here to invade your body for the beauty I know survives.

Your wild wind blew in my face

Your art drove me wild.

The Museum of African American Art was breathtaking

The taking of my breath left me rising with soul.

I ate your Coney dogs left and right

I ate up the conversation during the long drive.

I stayed where culture woke me up and kept me warm in the night

I stayed searching through the list of where to go next, the parts of the city still in the fight.

Viewing of the 2016 International Film Festival kept my eyes widen

Viewing of people in your city despite the rainy discharge got me amplifyin.

And the Eastern market, oh the food, oh the culture, oh the company

And the Heidelberg Project, oh the strength, oh the beauty, oh the influence.

This is an ode to you, my most dangerous city.

I see the way you encourage your youth despite the discouragement they feel

I see the way you decorate your streets with renovations, and upcoming change reveals

You still got it in you, the determination still shines

Though they have taken away jobs, your city still grinds

I know it won’t be long before you take everyone by surprise

Because even though you are a forgotten city, together you still rise

This is an ode to you my dangerous city

I’m so glad I didn’t believe their exploit

I’m glad I challenged a common belief

Because the only experiences worth taking in life are the ones, you deem worth having.