Call Your Mom!


Boston (Photo credit: Bahman Farzad)

I found out about the bomb at the marathon because a friend posted a link about it on my Facebook page.  My parents are visiting the states from Barbados.  They’re in Boston right now where I was born and raised.  One of my best friends lives in Boston and does the kind of work that could bring him to the marathon. Another high-school friend from there is a photog and could be there covering the event.  I still have friends that could potentially be at work near Copley also.  Heck, I’d just been there for a gig on News Years Eve and walked around at a parade before heading to perform at the party (a now eerie memory).

An enlargeable relief map of Barbados

All of these people flashed into my head at once.  I called my parents first even though I was pretty sure they wouldn’t be anywhere near there. “Oh, we just got back from BJ’s,” my Mom’s voice assured me.  I sent a double text to two close friends, put a post on fb & then clicked around to check on some people.  Thanks to the power of social media, I knew all my people were alright in just a few short minutes.

It got me thinking though, were they not alright, I would have been a hot mess.  I don’t really like talking on the phone.  I’m a text-er. So, my Mom was recently giving me a hard time about calling so seldom.  I haven’t spoken to/visited one of those friends in a long time.  In New York, life is moving so fast.  I am moving so fast.  I am in love with almost everything I’m working on right now so I can get in the zone and stay there 12, 16 hours without pausing.

But yesterday served as a good reminder to me that I have to do better about connecting with my real life friends and family.  My heart goes out to everyone who was down there.  To even bear witness to something as awful as that has got to be painful.

Boston Skyline

Boston Skyline (Photo credit: brentdanley)

Why does it so often take some senseless tragedy for me to remember these things?

The moral of the blog (a note to self) is: Forget all the criticism about how the story is covered.  Who did what right and/or wrong, etc. etc. etc. and Call your Mom and everyone close to you as often as you can while you can!

ESSENCE REVEALED – Essence Revealed is first generation Bajan born & raised in Boston.  She got her BFA at NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts and MA at NYU’s Steinhardt School of Education.  Her writing has appeared places such as $pread Magazine, Corset Magazine, and 21st Century Burlesque.  She’s been published in two anthologies: Pros(e) &  Johns, Marks, Tricks & Chicken Hawks.  She now performs & teaches nationally and internationally both solo and as a member of Brown Girls Burlesque.  Her favorite thing to do besides reading is to lay on the beach in Barbados to rest up for a night of calypso dancing.  Help Essence get to the Milan Burlesque Awards!

Intimacy in Relationships


This week the slowdown continues.  The dismay of those hit hard by Sandy continues.  There are no words.  Yet, there is an intimacy in relationships that has emerged in different ways.  Parts of New York  look untouched.  Others look like a literal 50 shades of grey.  It’s cold and snowing outside tonight.  Many are without heat or electricity.  Too many are without homes to return to.  Yet, people connected, often with strangers.  New Yorkers showed up in droves to volunteer.  So much so that at some sites, there were calls for more resources and less volunteers.  Shared info via the web which could then be shared word of mouth or via the phone to those without connection.

Red sofa

Other people opened their homes.  My apartment is below someone I’ve known since I was 18.  She is one of my longest friends, yet we can go weeks without seeing each other.  She opened her apartment and it became a safe haven.  I spent a great deal of the storm up there.  We spent time together.  We talked to each other.  We shared music, online videos and stories with each other.  We cooked for each other.  There were several moments of joking and making each other laugh.  Other people came by to warm up, get online or simply break up the cabin fever from being wherever Sandy had landed them.  It was really nice to have true human connection between the anxious checking of the news reports.

There were moments over the days when we all tuned in to doing our own thing. This one watching some streaming program or other.  That one listening to music and social media surfing.  Another one on the phone.  Someone drawing.  Me eating Almond Joys.  Yet, we were all together.  Because time had been spent fully engaging with one another, the moments of shift to individual activity didn’t feel like being ignored.  How much time do we take these days to fully engage each other? I can admit this was the first time in a long time I relaxed into not having a busy, tightly booked schedule.  I gave myself the permission to not do anything productive.  I even had some really fun e-mail exchanges with friends and had time to click on links before I reply (yes, it’s the little things sometimes that hold the most weight).  I gave myself permission to take care of myself.  I wasn’t feeling well but hadn’t really slowed down enough to do true self-care.  I gave myself permission to do nothing but care for myself and the people who were around me.  For example, I was bartender, chef, jester, listening ear, crafting buddy, rehearsal mate and allowed the same to be done for me.

Gnocchi Bowl

I’ve had constant questions swirling around in my head.  This Presidential campaign alone showed me in Technicolor how much time we spend telling other people that what THEY believe is wrong and what WE think is correct.  How often do we take the time to be present and really connect?  No cell phone, no laptop, no technology, just being a focused presence for one another.  How often do we really have conversations?  Are we able to be friends who listen and offer support as opposed to criticism?  Can we hear an opinion that is the polar opposite of ours and simply hear it without feeling the need to defend our own opinions?  Are there times where we exchange what we know to help someone else get where they want to go with no strings attached, expecting nothing in return?  Are we able to really hear when loved ones tell us what they need?  Do we even bother to ask, “How can I support you?”  How can we make our connections romantically, with friends, co-workers or otherwise more intimate?

questions to me

These past few weeks have me savoring the value of truly being present with each other.

Self Care

Self care is a good.  Starting the day with sinus pain is bad.  Balance seems futile.

Sinus pain has been a constant part of my week.  I wake up feeling like I’ve had a cuh-ray-zee night out drinking but I did not.  I do a sinus rinse, if i can get an appointment, acupuncture works wonders.  This pain laughs at over the counter pain medications.  Yes, even the ones for severe migraines.  Nausea likes to come along for the ride.   I have no choice but to surrender to the N word:  Nothing.  This pain usually hits me once monthly but it’s been making more frequent appearances lately.  Have I called the doctor whose number I got months ago?  No.

The first part of the day is spent brooding over all the productive things I could be doing if my sinuses would just love me & leave me alone.  Then I feel sorry for myself because my partner is away so I have to go buy my own soup & make tea for myself :-‘(.  I go between sleeping & looking at social media sites.  Then late in the afternoon something clicks.  I just submit to it.  I am not feeling well.  The only thing I need to do right now is take care of myself.

A homemade chicken noodle soup with bread

I put on my comfy, fuzzy sweats.  I bundle myself in winter gear & go for a walk.  I get myself ginger for tea, sinus pain medication that worked one time & chicken noodle soup.  I walk slowly.  No New Yorker pace for me today.  When I get home I make a doctor’s appointment I’ve been putting off.  I finally call the E.N.T. (ear nose & throat) specialist a friend suggested & left a message.  I climb in bed with my beloved pillows.  I cancel work for the night.  I rest.

As I lay waiting for the pain to go away, I think about how seldom I allow myself to do nothing.  It’s so easy to work, work, work when one loves the work one does.  However, down time is just as important.  I always make sure to have a charger on me for my phone.  One lives in the house & one lives in my bag.  I make sure that my phone has ample battery power recovery time.  Yet, I run as if I have  limitless battery at times.  We all need to recharge.

So, I am asking you Gold starto join me this week in doing ONE self-care thing a day.  I even printed out a little chart.  I am going to buy myself some gold star stickers like back in elementary school too.  Don’t judge me.  I printed this calendar out on an index card in business card size.  I’ve decided that morning meditation is the ONE self-care activity that I am absolutely committing to for the week.  It is extremely useful  for me to start the day this way.  Here is a list of 50 ways to practice self care without a dime if you’re stumped on finding your ONE.

I’ll post about how it goes.  Let me know how it goes for you.  Sometimes enlisting the help of others aids us in accountability.  Being accountable, especially to ourselves, is important.  Someone I know always says:  “Hey, even penguins get cold”.

So, I lay down my superwoman cape & pick up a warm hat & scarf.  Let’s Go!

This is my star card as of Friday 4 for 4 in my morning meditations:

How goes self-care week for you?  What did you decide to do for you?