Updated: Mar 4
There's this thing about memory...
If you don't use it, you kinda lose it. Not immediately, but overtime. You forget the essence of everything that came before the moment that you're currently in. It's not as urgent, although it is. This thought sounds very broad...Let me cut it into pieces, arrange and sew it up for you.
At the beginning of the year (2022), I ordered the wrong size journal. I accidentally got two of them. They were so tiny and much like other mini things in my life, I figured that I may as well keep them. Then a dear friend gave me a journal that was the exact same size and I thought it was a very strange coincidence. I threw it in my desk with the others and they sat there a while.
One day, I had the most pleasant memory about fire drills in elementary school. It came back to me so crisp and so clear. Just like that...I was small again and everything in the world was enormous...I was looking up at the grey sky in the gated school yard of St. Helena's Catholic School in the Bronx. I stood a part of the straightest line that any 6 year old could manage. The only thing better than a fire drill back then, were trip lunches, the Scholastic Book Fair, the holidays and Balloon Day. These memories materialized because, the fire warden came up to tell us that our office building was about to have a fire drill on our floor. The vivid memory of 6 year old Jas made me want to write all about it in great detail and so I did. I finally used one of the mini journals. I eventually used them all.
After a while, I became obsessed with writing down memories. Anytime something jogged my mind, good or bad I wrote about the experience that I remembered. I can't tell you how therapeutic it was. It was even better to go back and read them at my leisure, on a later date. Some memories made me exponentially happy. Others brought me to uncontrollable tears. I filled up two books in less that two months. It made me look at some of the people in my family differently. It made me look at friends, my child and even myself with more careful eyes. What I'd heard so many times before on Super Soul Conversations was starting to make a different kind of sense...We are all just spirits having a human experience.
Oddly enough, it made me pay more attention to the women than the men. That could be, because I'm a woman... I'm not entirely sure in this moment, but like everything in my life, I took it back to the root of me. This way I'd be able to stand on more solid footing right now.
My maternal great grandmother was 100 when she transitioned. Her daughter, My grandmother was 96. There is a great possibility that I may be here for the next 51-55 years. In saying that, there are a few things that I want to make sure I do to set myself up to become a proper elder. First thing's first, I need places that I own and can call H O M E. This is a very intentional decision for me as a black woman, because the places that I choose on this earth has to be safe not only for me, but also for all my children. The one that I had the privilege of birthing and all the others that I govern and will govern in the future. I need a home base that they can go to feel physically, mentally and emotionally safe in this world. To recharge when they are depleted or simply just to be.
In addition, for the last five or so years, I continually mention to the ladies whom I love, that I want one of these places to be an Old Lady Retreat. I had the opportunity to grow up around my great grandmother, my grandmother, my mother and my aunts. What I know for sure is, that we need safe spaces to take care of ourselves and be loved on by the people around us; who are like minded. People who we can speak to. People who want to hear what we have to say and put it to good use. There's no limit to the amount of time that we stay or when we leave, but no one gets in your way in a place like this. On the days when no one comes to visit we will at least have each other. This environment will be a creative space for us; providing music, proper silence, joy, art, healing, nurture, nature, farming, excellent food, physical, spiritual and mental therapy. It will be a soul space mostly. It will also be a place that we can pass on. A place where a few of our treasured things reside long after we don't. This way, our successors don't have to search too far and wide to find the memory of us. Among these things will be our memories in our own words, our art, song and service. I want to walk the floors, touch the walls , sit on the grass and land that my future people will do the same on. It will somehow make us more S T R O N G. I mean, we no longer do most of the things we used to. How awesome would it be for my great granddaughter or great grandson to read about me in a school yard in the Bronx in 1984 from my own words and in my own handwriting?! I think a thing like that would be extraordinary.
I just turned 45.
I've lived four whole ass decades and some more, so far.
I've been learning so much through experience. Some are obvious like riding a bike or saving money and some aren't so obvious, like living with RA, what it was like having fibroids, having a baby, making simple and enormous mistakes. What it's like to be a black woman all this time, during this time. Or a woman, period. I've learned a bit about people's behaviors and how I fit together with the individuals I know and the ones that I don't. This may sound a little heavy and maybe even a little mystic, but it's quite simple to me. I'm on a quest to maximize myself while I'm here. And too, I want it to be an enjoyable time. Our families have had so much hardship. I want the ones that stand with me and the ones that come after me to know that I've been places, and thoroughly enjoyed this life. I want them to know that I expanded myself as much as I could, so that they may be compelled to do the same, much more or even a little less (that's alright too). Mainly, I want them to know that we earned this... all the good things. The ones before us worked extremely hard (some without experiencing a life of leisure) for all of us to afford this new way of life. It starts in our minds and there's plenty for everyone. Going forward we can make it so much better. In my opinion, the first step is to know ourselves, the second is to relate and lastly, do your part. We can relate ourselves to one and other no matter the gender or the race. It's more simple than we think. It only seems difficult, because everyone wants to be the best something. Not realizing that we can be the best collectively.
I wish everyone could get a glimpse of what it's like to be me. I'm smiling when I say that. I'm so much more than a pretty smile with perfectly crooked teeth. However, my soul is so large that the grace grows within me everyday. For myself first and other secondly. Therefore, my glories far exceed my failures. I'm learning to really love myself and it's amazing. There's a bigger story friends - your soul is big too. You are capable of wonderful things. I want you to heal yourselves. One by one, I would love to know your stories. So you can get closer to your purpose and your Earthly bliss. I don't know exactly how it works yet, but it's worth every shot that we have in us to get there.
Treat the women in your life a little better than you did yesterday. We're going through so much. Especially those of us chasing or fulfilling our purpose. Remember that we are doing it while doing everything else like raising children and bleeding every 24 or so days. We are W O M A N! Hear us R O A R! Also be there with food and relief when we need it. Here's what I'm watching, reading and listening to:
The Color Purple (HBOMax) (Amazon Prime Video)
This movie came on the other day and I stopped everything and got comfortable and watched. Anytime this movie is on television, I have to stop and dedicate the nearly three hours to watch it. I just have to. I've also read the book about five times and each and every time, I cry like I've never seen or read it before. It's that whole and achy of a story. This movie is about sisterhood, womanhood, hardship, family, a promise and faith. It's a certified classic.
The Woman King (Netflix)
I wanted to be a part of the Dahomey Tribe. I saw this movie on the big screen with my sister, Tory and our cousin, Dionne. We were truly prepared to dress like a Woman King for Halloween last year. That's how excited and hyped we were. This story line was wonderful and based off of a true story. Viola Davis did her damn thing! I don't remember when I've seen women so physically fit. It was exciting. My favorite line from the movie is "To be a warrior you must kill your tears" - The General
I'm about to watch it again on Netflix.
Black Panther 2: Wakanda Forever
This movie incites a strength within me. The strength to continue to be great even in the smallest ways. I finally had the chance to watch it on a return flight two weeks ago and when I tell you I was in my feelings, just believe me. Watch this movie every chance you get. As a matter of fact, watch part 1 and then part 2. WAKANDA FOREVER!
These are my book choices for the month of March:
GROWN by Tiffany D. Jackson: Don't let the cover fool you. This book is a page turning murder mystery. Who killed legendary artist, Korey Fields? Could it be Enchanted Jones, a young up and coming artist? You'll have to read to find out.
Black Girls Must Die Exhausted by Jayne Allen: So, it seems that I'm into trilogies lately. Well, add these to the list. Black Girls Must Die Exhausted followed by Black Girls Must Be Magic, and finally another that is still unnamed. Catch up on the life of Tabitha Walker, who is on the right track to having everything she's ever wanted until she gets a diagnosis that upsets the plan of having children. With the help of her two best friends and her grandmother, Tabitha is forced to re-imagine her future and create a new path for herself.
Time Is A Mother by Ocean Vuong: This moving collection of poems was written by this prize winning poet after the death of his mother. When people feel pain and can articulate it in a way that others can relate to, it is absolutely astounding to me. It's like feeling it all in a new way...from someone else's point of view.
The Housemaid by Freida McFadden: I'm not sure what it is about being able to get a good glimpse into other people's lives that entices me so much, but that is why I chose this book. Also, I'm slightly addicted to how the help views a family that they work for and how they are treated. It's also another murder mystery! Two on one list, but this one sounds like it may be really really good. Read it with me since I'm still on chapter one. The way the author writes from the point of view from the maid tickles me.
Guess what...? It's Women's History Month! A whole month celebrating U S. Well, did you also know that on just about any streaming platform there are curated playlists especially for this? I'm a member on Tidal and they have 100 tracks on a playlist titled "Women's History Month". Here are some of my favorites.
I'm That Girl, Beyonce
Special, Lizzo (feat. SZA)
Woman, Doja Cat
Queen Space, Ari Lennox, Summer Walker
Lift Me Up (from Black Panther: Wakanda Forever), Rihanna
Girl Like Me, Jazmine Sullivan (feat. H.E.R.)
Girls Need Love (Remix), Summer Walker, Drake
I Wish You Roses, Kali Uchis
Treat Me, Chloe
Woman Like Me, Adele
Boy's A liar Pt.2, PinkPatheress, Ice Spice
Good Morning Gorgeous, Mary J. Blige
Needed Me, Rihanna
I Am Woman, Emmy Meli
Run The World (Girls), Beyonce
As a W O M A N my main goal to living my best life, is focus. I pray that I get to the end of the race and I have completed my purpose and too, I'd like to enjoy it as well. I'm doing my absolute best to constantly bring the focus back to myself, because I know that the mission, the love, the courage, the hard work, the diligence, the maintenance and everything else starts in the core of me. No one can dream a bigger dream for you than you and God can. Do what you want and do it well. Don't forget to write it all down or at least document it in some way. You'll need it for later.
P.S. Happy Birthday to my Mom!
Also, thank you to all of my family and friends for the birthday wishes, flowers, treats, gifts, concerts, travel and everything that you do to show me that you love me. I hold you dear and near to me. Thank you for also showering my child with love as well. To all the women I know, you mean the world to me. I'm so grateful that I get to do life standing next to your strength.
Here's a slideshow of how wonderful February was.
Jamaica with Tory, Dionne and Asha
Nas at MSG: King's Disease - One Night Only
Aja Monet at AfroPunk: HERStory at Lincoln Center
Wishing you everything good that your heart and head desires.