Natasha Ria Speaks

     Natasha Ria Speaks

observations, dwellings, ponderings...

The Juice--RAGDALE RESIDENCY 2016

I am a night owl. It is 4:39 am and while I don't generally have the discipline to wake up without the repetitive use of the snooze button, I have no problem staying up until dawn. I have tried to break this habit on multiple occasions and sometimes I just force myself to go to bed but most times, this is when I get my juice. There is something magical about the midnight hour, not only for lovemaking but for my creativity. I can literally feel the vibration of the Earth doing something vastly different than when I am awake. I have an unmatched patience with myself at night, probably because I am only competing for the time I should be in bed. There is no negotiation in this space, I simply get to be me. I know that I became this way because of motherhood. It was during the late night hours I would half-way finish chores (because are they ever realy finished) and then stay up to read, chat on the phone with fellow night owls or those not requiring a solid night's sleep.

 

Since day one at Ragdale, I have found myself awake more than not at 5 am, to sleep. I usually wake up around 1:00 pm, have some coffee and "breakfast" and then work until the 6:30pm dinnertime. I hang out some and visit with those who have already done their writing for the day and then after it gets even quieter than it already is, I fall into the sound of my key strokes breaking the silence of darkness. I am so grateful and reflective during this time. What I would like to do is free myself of the guilt I feel when people have asked me, "What did you do today?" I want to tell them that I started at midnight and ended at 5:00 am because it just feels right. 

Ragdale Residency Day 10

This is the thing I have dreamed of since I was 14. I remember reading or hearing that Alice Walker went away to residences to write her books and that Maya Angelou would check into a hotel room, lock herself there and write her books. I salivated as I listened to bell hooks discuss that she recognized her privlege in being able to write books and to be an academic. Writing, like my relationships, were something I more romantisized about rather than actually did. Me and my greedy lovers steal time all the time, when we should be doing something else but can't help ourselves otherwise. I remember my friend Treasure Shields Redmond once told me she probably thinks about writing much more than she does it. Once, in a question and answer period with poet and novelist Angela Jackson I said, "I have these children and I am raising them and I never seem to get to write," and her reply was, "children grow up, you will get to write when they are grown."

 

So here I am, with not quite grown children but with a daughter who is away at camp as long as I am away at this prestigiious residency. I have made some jokes about the shades, nature and decor but honestly this place has housed many heavy hitters and the group of 13 are incrediby talented, creative and diverse. I am so proud of Ragdale, as my residency has more artists of color (7) and majority women (11). Many of the women here are like me, mothers, some of them even with teens my son's age and others with littles as young as four. It should feel like heaven, right?

 

When I went to Cave Canem I knew I had to be ON, I had to produce and I had to be ready. At Cave Canem I woke up just in time for lunch and then to our daily group workshops and then I would stay up visiting with other poets and working on my poems. Each night for a week, for 3 years, I wrote new poems. I never missed my children either. I was proud to be there, away and it was only a week. That wasn't even long enough to get sad. But this, this is such a different experience. Here, I am literally left to my own creation and instead of finding myself buried and unshowered writing until my fingers fall off, I find myself wondering around the small downtown, studying the ways of rich white people and thinking more than writing. In fact, the first seven days I was just trying to get used to being in a new space, a mansion no doubt, with no shades and a strange sense of privacy. 

 

What I have learned about myself is that I am not the kind of woman that can just say, "fuck it, I am off the clock." I actually care about the people I left, their mothers, hospitcal visits, school trips, business meetings and etc. I don't like just being away. Sure maybe 3-5 days, but longer than that I want to at least check in. What have I become? I thought I was a feminist! I thought I knew how to check out and make it about me and only me. So this discovery has been both irritating and enlighting. I am glad that I care for others and I feel like if I actually sleep for 12 hours it is probably because I need it. Can you really over sleep?

 

The silence here overwhelms me. The quiet community is void of youthful bodies running up and down the stairs, random songs being sung, TV on the weekend, general conversation. Some friends have let me go easily, while others won't stop texting. These people are a part of my life and breaking them off feels more like a punishment than a break. 

 

Then there is the business. How can I just up and abandon the team when we have worked so hard together up until this point. Sure, others had taken off but this is different. No one has been gone a month. I think I have worked just as much if not more since I have been gone for Rollin' Grocer. I also realize I am not a solo drinker. Alcohol for me was about fellowship and laughter. Why would anyone drink alone? I have never just had a drink alone, in a room, by myself. A bar or restaurant but just me, alone, that has not happened.

 

I have learned that my time away from nature has not made me long for it. The idea of Lyme Disease, being confronted by deer, which has happened twice, and getting lost in the 50 acres of prairie behind the estate doesn't appeal to me either. What I have learned is that the constant sound of great Starbucks playlists of all genres and the grinding of industrial expresso machines make me focus and there is nothing that gives me joy like fast wifi and eavesdropping on people's conversations with my perfected mother's ears. 

 

It is Day 10 and I finally feel like I have some kind of rhythm. Many of us came with the clear intention of what we were going to work on but we have found that we may need more time, that we aren't interested in the work we proposed to complete and that we have found something in our work even more interesting. I haven't written any new poetry but I have written a lot of prose. I am actually writing a blog and semi-reading books. Ohhh the books I have never completed. I have closed tabs of podcasts I have finally been able to listen to and enjoy, articles I have flagged to read, lessons and workshops I have wanted to plan. Lyrics to songs I wanted to breath into my skin.

 

One of the residents shared some insight about why I may have struggled the first few days. He told me I had not gotten myself into the mindset of the residency. He was right. When he told me how he prepared that was not my reality. I was literally throwing the kitchen sink into my suitcase, overloading laundry baskets and Coach bags with all the stuff I fantasized about needing. My last minute decision to bring my prized electric blanket has been my saving grace. I couldn't leave out my custom new fountain pen and my 40th birthday present, a purple handmade snood from my best friend.To my dismay I left my spices at home, even after my mother and son insisted I should bring them, in case anyone wanted my famous wings. I got up after sleeping only 3.5 hours and drove here highly caffeinated.

So I'm here now. I have connected specifically with two women who have so many similarities and differences, we are all women of color. We care for each other in group texts because we all decided it was odd not to since we lived on the same floor, we drink crisp white wine, patron, and Crown Royal Apple blends together. We leave each other and work in silence for 16 hours out of the day. We joke a lot, ask the hard questions, talk about our work but never share it. I know I will definitely miss them when this is all said and done. 

 

This is my first residency and it is its own culture even within the literary world. I am grateful that I get to grapple with all the things that make writers produce. The joy, anxiety, fear and frustration of the self, ideas, memory and identity. We come to these places to escape our lives, to long for our partners, to find new love, to selfishly enjoy coffee and video games on our phones. Then, we create. Something magical comes out of our time here and we make it happen, we flourish and leave a piece of ourselves for the next person who comes in our place.

 

 

The Girl I Love Keeps Breaking My Heart…

“Whatever you do, just know, Mom, listen to me, we can’t talk about it,” 

“But…but…what about just a small gathering of close friends maybe?”

“No party, tell them to send gifts but no words and no party.”

 

This is how many of my discussions go with my beautiful 11 year old daughter. This fourth wave feminist who would never call herself a feminist is on the quick and wild ride of puberty. This was a ride that I happily travelled with my mother, showing her every single new hair, new smell, new clot, new everything. To this day my mother is still the person I call for all those tricky body issues. She even attempted, but failed miserably to give me an enema for my prep for the magical hysterectomy. I told and tell my mother most everything, probably more than she wants to hear, even today. Sharing with my mother freed me from my secret guilt and it reassured me that I was absolutely ok in the world and in my body. My mother didn’t have this experience and she broke a major cycle with me but my daughter, well, she is clearly more traditional and wants to return to the, “no one will see me naked unless I am giving birth or dead” victorian way of life. The girl I love just keeps breaking my heart. 

 

My daughter is private. In fact, I think I only know her for what she shares. Sure I can snoop around but much of what is on her mind is kept in her heart. She tells friends but heck they are quiet too. They just get together to be quiet. How on Earth is an extroverted Mother who dreamt of us laying in bed together singing folk songs and giggling about her boyfriends, or me holding her while she cries is supposed to survive when she has been destroyed by the girl who simply knows how to comfort herself and needs nothing but the time and space to be alone during changes? 

 

My approach is simple and it ain’t magic. I used to be really confused by my daughter but my mother told me something that has stuck with me. She said, “Tasha (my family name), you have to love her for where she is and who she is, not what you want her to be.” I have given this advice to others and found it so effective in raising a textbook introvert. The reality of this summer baby is that she prefers to process with my best friend or other people in our community, she loves babies (and I am terrified of them), she needs her space, her habits and enjoys hanging out with her brother and male cousin talking sports more than she does with me. The only time I see her naked is if she has sliced a limb to the bone and is bleeding to the point of fainting. I have to knock on the door of the dressing room or close my eyes while she changes. My son, age 15, is that total and complete opposite. He is also an extrovert. He is also conservative, clearly, someone else’s genes live in these children. Too bad he doesn’t help out.

 

We all have to be able to be who we are. That means that the feminist can have conservative children and have to honor them. That means that the feminist mother will have to only get those hugs when she is ready, that means the feminist will not be able to throw a first moon party of any kind, ever, for her daughter. The girl I love keeps breaking my heart. 

 

I share this story because I want parents to know that it is work to honor your children. It is work to let people be exactly who they are, even when they are close to you, even when you almost died giving birth to them. She is my daughter, she is not my possession. I do not own her personality or her expression. My job as a parent is to put an amazing human being into the world who honors not only who she is but also who others are, even if they are completely different from her and I am doing that. My baby girl is tolerant, patient, and is graceful. She is private and benevolent. I am learning from her each day and I have truly learned to love her for exactly who she is, not who I want her to be and in about 10 years, she may think her loud and boisterous mother is really revolutionary and she benefited directly from me being me and allowing her to be her.

 

I seriously want to throw a party like this, when I asked she said, "If you want it that bad throw it for yourself and make sure I am not home." Well, boom, just shoot down my little dreams.

The Power and Beauty of Kwanzaa

When I was 9 years old I was given a stack of books by a visiting minister at Linwood United Church. She had the books tied the way my mother’s generation carried books to school, strapped in a leather belt. I was given a word “NIA” in all caps, and then “purpose” was written next to it. I had a lengthy paragraph that followed that I read and reread so that I sounded like a 7th grader instead of a 3rd grader, luckily, I pulled it off. My multi-racial, multi-class church prided itself in celebrating all holidays and faith traditions as a way to make everyone feel welcomed. It was pretty hilarious throughout the years but I realized that one of my most sacred cultural traditions was first introduced to me in church.  

 

Fast forward to the 8th grade where I first started to discover and name my feminism, my Black Feminism. As the Universe always does, I was introduced to people who became my political and artistic family, the Kansas City Chapter of the National Black United Front. Within this organization I was introduced to African American literature that was not in the KC Public Library or in my school. I was around men, women, and their children as I learned African words and rituals. None of it ever felt foreign to me, in fact, I was able to clearly tie it to my own family traditions that I had not named. This was the community that supported me when I went natural in 1992, a time before internet families or even natural hair products. The women helped me and connected me with the black owned products I needed. This same community supported my marriage and the birth of my children, they also mourned my divorce. All in all, I knew that I could count on them for advice, resources, and support. 

 

Over the years, I have celebrated Kwanzaa each and every year in a variety of ways. I have had home celebrations, attended other’s celebrations, and my favorite, the NBUF community celebrations. The principals of Kwanzaa are easy to get down with, they make sense and I can see how any community can use them yet for African Americans, they are so special. I try to remind people who say they don’t understand, get or appreciate Kwanzaa because it isn’t “real” which I think they mean it is not “old” enough to be considered tradition. I remind people that many holidays are “new” meaning, someone just a little older than them can remember a time when they didn’t exist. 

 

I am so grateful for the people who came into my life to show me how to properly set up a Kwanzaa table, how to pronounce the principals, and how to live by those principals. I am grateful for all the historical and spiritual libations I have heard and for the courage to do my own over the years. I am grateful for understanding I am a part of the African Diaspora, and that women like me are spread all over the globe and that we are interconnected through our language, food, dance, and untainted cultural knowing. I am an African and I am certain of this. It is not difficult or unusual to express. When I am nude and I look at my skin, my hair, my body I see and feel an African woman. I am not afraid of her and I embrace her fully. I love her deeply. 

 

Our home continent is vast and I am grateful to have friends who represent all different countries and tribes. I tell my son and daughter to embrace their beautiful African bodies, minds, and expressions. That they too, should be proud of their heritage. African Americans were not supposed to survive slavery. The oppressive owners and nation’s leaders hoped that we would die off and that they would not have to deal with us. We, African Americans survived the brutality of chattel slavery, broken history, and shamed lives to become some of the most artistic, intelligent, and beautiful people on the planet. WE MADE IT! WE ARE MAKING IT! Yes, we are under attack, but when Kwanzaa comes around, we don’t have to feel isolated or alone in the world. Muslims, Christians, Rastafarians, Hebrew Israelites, Free Thinkers, elders, intellectuals, new borns, women, and men all come together to celebrate being BLACK. Sometimes you just have to celebrate who you are as a people and as an oppressed people who were DENIED self love and self expression; it is a miracle the drums are with us, music is with us, and that we still wear the color of our homeland on our skin. I give thanks for Mother Africa and my ancestors. 

 

If you have never celebrated Kwanzaa, and live near or in Kansas City, MO, please come out and join the community Kwanzaa held each year at the GEM Theatre on 18th and Vine. It is free and open to the public. Visit the vendors, enjoy the program and be filled with self love as you enter the new year! Also, join a few families and share in a Kwanzaa celebration of your own, there are plenty of books out there to help you get your table and Kinaras ready to celebrate our rich legacy as Africans who have and are living in America! Peace and Love!!!

 

Ain't I Still a Woman? My Hysterectomy Journey

We all get to have choices and decisions that we can make about our lives, the quality of our lives, and how we show up in the world. It is one positive aspect of being a mindful feminist, realizing each decision you make has in it an element of choice, even when it doesn't always feel like it. I have always been plagued with reproductive issues stemming from God knows what but something led me to even start my cycle at 7 years old. There was no sexual trauma that I can remember outside of having a pap smear at that tender age and feeling like my head would explode. So from the 2nd grade until September 8, 2014 I have struggled with long and intense cycles, painful period cramps, clots, and two miscarriages.  From my womb I have been fortunate enough to produce two beautiful and healthy children. I have had my share of very bad sex to the most amazing sex that keeps me giggling with my girlfriends at Starbucks. In short, I feel that I have used my womb in all of these amazing ways; I feel like it has had quite a journey.
 
In Sojourner's Truth's famous speech, she challenges all the normal ideas of what womanhood was. Much of what she mentioned was tied to the strength of men yet she proclamation rhetorically, "Ain't I a woman?". As a heterosexual, married, pregnant woman I questioned many things but my womanhood but the essence of my womanhood was never in question to me. Then shit started happening:
miscarriages, loss of interest in sex, too much interest in sex, divorce, cutting off long hair, weight loss, weight gain, all these things that were aligned with traditional "womanhood". I made the bold move to have the Nova sure procedure, which ended my cycles. I went from having a natural childbirth to a epidural induced c-section  only to find both were tough, rewarding, and required new parts of me to be successful. These things also required old parts of who I was to be successful. So when I sat in my trusted OB-GYN's new office (which by the way is completely fabulous) he looked at me with those sweet and tender eyes and said,"The truth is, we have tried everything to save your organs and this has been an issue for a long time." Just days before I sat in the ER crying my eyes out because of intense pain, throughout the night with one of my best friends, I literally thought I was going to die that night. Not even childbirth had been that painful. My mother wasn't too sympathetic though. She had a hysterectomy at 32 and it changed her life for the better. "Natasha, just get it. It is not like you are going to have anymore children..." But the reality was that I just didn't want to give it up. The historical implications of voluntarily turning over my organs to the man just really scared me. Had I truly and completely tried everything? Everything? Had I endured being a woman, had I earned the right to say, "To hell with nature?" 
 
By the end of the conversation my kind doctor let me know that I could keep one ovary and that I would still be able to achieve my own lubrication and I would have the same sexual desire even with only one ovary. It became a numbers game and then I was convinced that I would be ok. No periods, no cramps, no pain, and I still get to be a hot mama while going through natural menopause in about 12 years. I talked to my Mom, the kids, the Universe, various friends, the Moon, and then I released. I said goodbye. I made love a few more times with all my parts in tact, (including the pain) and then I surrendered. I would become a dangling participle and an exclamation point down there. My mother, in her infinite wisdom and cut throat humor shared a story with me as I was driving down the street the day before the surgery. I asked her what was sex life afterward and without a flinch she said, "Amazing!!! I waited the 6 weeks and then I went on the hunt to F*&^ everything that was standing up and I succeeded!" We both cracked up laughing and I know for sure that was her way of saying I was going to be ok. I always believe my mother, I am still that kid, and I let go, again. Letting go for me was an ongoing process. 
 
Back in high school, my friend Amy had this shrine in her backyard. She told me it was where her mother's uterus was buried and she thought it was pretty ridiculous. I couldn't wrap my head around it then but I was really intrigued by it. I wanted to sit on the bench but I never ventured out to the sacred place. As I went through my release process I tried to decide if I wanted to keep the physical contents of my body. I talked with my Mom about it and she said, "Why the hell would you keep it unless you plan on beating the shit out of it or using it for target practice. Why are you holding on to all that pain?" After laughing hysterically and watching my son shake his head, I looked to him and said, "how do you feel about your first home being target practice son?" He replied, "Mom, I still have you and that is what matters..." He is good at handling these complex issues far better than I am. That is what I love about young people.  In another conversation with one of my best friends she sent me to a website: www.hystersisters.com to provide some support for my type of hysterectomy. She also talked to me about how she never tied her womanhood to her organs because she was never in her body the way I was. We really processed through Facebook, which is hilarious because I see her each week, and she showed me a tender side that I don't see often because we are always laughing and joking in person. I think the point of that conversation was that I can always go back to it if I need to. I received other inbox messages of friends asking if I was sure I wanted to let go of the womb, conspiracy theories, and me being less of a woman. More interesting though, I was flooded with stories of women who had recently had the surgery, were about to have the surgery, or needed the surgery. They were grateful that I was being transparent about the process and that my processing was helping them. The women who had their hysterectomies, some 3 months to 30 years ago reassured me that I was ok, still a woman, and that it changed their lives for the better. 
 
Men chimed in too. The sensitive ones had mothers, wives, and sisters who went through the process. Women they knew and loved intimately and saw their struggles. Men who were there throughout the entire process. I valued their opinions as well. They were supportive and non-judgmental. In my 24 year feminist journey men often challenged whether I was a real woman because of my feminist views and so I came to value all that physically that made me a woman. I valued giving birth and being married as a see, I am a real woman, I am a black feminist, I am your friend, I just want my freakin' rights and equal pay. Now, soon to be wombless, I felt that all of that was becoming a question, at least one to consider. 
 
The procedure was flawless, painful and quick. I spent one night in the hospital and was surrounded by my friends. The nurses were so kind and we laughed a lot. My "special friends" checked on me and made sure I was well and looking forward to my return. I appreciated their concern and them giving me my space to process. I needed most to be surrounded by people who didn't have a care or need for any part of my reproductive system and organs. My daughter was pretty traumatized. Much like how all girls are when they find out a baby actually has to be pushed out of a vagina and you know for sure how small yours actually is and how large babies are. She stayed close but mostly silent. My son never came to the hospital and I didn't force him to. It was rough seeing the Mama Bear down. His question impacted me most, "Mom, do you feel empty inside?" My answer was, "I don't know yet, there is still so much pain." My friend who took me to the OB/GYN also created a meal train for me and for 4 weeks people on my inner and outer circle provided a soul train line of food to feed my entire family, including my nephew who came to stay with me to help. At 2 weeks I was still in so much pain and didn't drive until the end of 4 weeks. took me 8 weeks and one day to return to work. I needed one more day before I felt I could tackle the classroom with stamina. I am nervous about my return but tomorrow is the big day (and that is a whole 'nother blog).... 
 
SEX, SEX, AND MORE SEX: At the end of 4 weeks I started getting horny but of course did not have sex, or rather full intercourse. We were creative and it was actually very endearing, reassuring, and patient. I wish I could tell you that sex the first time was SUPER AWESOME but it wasn't. All I could imagine was, am I wet enough, OMG the top of my vagina is sewn shut, what if his penis busts through, is that pain I am feeling, am I still sexy, am I still a woman, should i get lube, is this ok, do I feel the same? I was so in my head and tensing up all my body that I couldn't really let go the first time although it felt good, everything worked and he was pleased I had worn myself out with the monkey chatter. He even encouraged me to let go and just be ok, that I felt the same. Even if that was a lie, it was the lie I needed to hear. As I get back into the swing of things sexually, I realize the mental work is far greater than any physical work I have to overcome. I need to feel ok in my body, trust that it can move and that it is still healing.I need to trust that I am still all that I was before my uterus, ovary, cervix and a tumor were pulled out of my vagina and it was sewn at the top so it wouldn't float into outer space. With each beautiful sexual encounter, I know I will get stronger in who I am as the sexual beast I have always been, but without pain. I repeat this to myself... I am whole, healthy, sexual, open, and free.
 
So was it worth it? Hell yes! Has it been hard to sit down and not try to maintain some unrealistic standard for someone who has been cut open? Hell yes! Was it fun being taken care of? Hell yes! Was it hard to be taken care of? Hell yes! Was it scary having your 22 year old nephew responsible for all driving duties? Hell yes! Do I recommend taking all your pain medication on time, every time? Hell yes! Did I realize that the pace of my real life is ridiculous and overwhelming? Hell Yes! Do I have to rediscover myself? Hell yes! Am I scared that something will get weird in the coming months? Hell yes!
 
Yet with all the questions, doubts, fears, release, and joy of this entire experience, I've come to understand that all of these things, the beginning and end of them couldn't happen unless I was a woman. My womb experience has been rich and powerful. It is the most complex creation known to the Universe and I value this journey, even the joy and complication of it. In fact, I may be even more of a woman than I ever was before because I am literally tied and untied to it by this transformative experience. Yes, Sojourner Truth, hell yes, we are definitely, positively women!  

Upper left section: scar tissue blocking the view to the uterus. Upper right: Enlarged uterus. Lower left: healthy ovary. Lower right: enlarged ovary and tumor removal.

 

Give it away! 10-16-2013

THIS BLOG IS 1 OF 3 ENTRIES FROM MY WEBSITE THAT NEEDED TO FIND ITS WAY HERE. I AM EXCITED IT HAS JOINED THE REST OF ITS BLOG FAMILY!
 
Have you worn that sweater that has been in your closet for 4 years? What about those tennis shoes, a super cute pair of heels?  Are you saving something for your grandchild that won't even be recognizable in 20 years?  What in the world? How long have you had this? Do you really still need this?
 
Have you ever noticed how the Universe works. We are not in a place of lack. All of our needs are taken care of yet we hold onto things that are of no value to us anymore. Many people say we live in a throw away society, but what happens when you really just don't need something any longer? I receive great pleasure by seeing someone take something that is no longer of value to me. Sure, I will sell big ticket items but many times I give away high quality stuff. If I know someone who is in need or really likes something I hardly use, I pass it on. I don't hold it for some magical moment when I will remember to use it again.
 
This is a work in progress for me. I am not great at getting rid of things all the time and sometimes the stuff I hold onto has no real value, not even to me. When I find myself in that space I always ask, "Natasha, would you replace this if there was a fire?" This simple questions helps me in letting go.  Also, if you have a problem letting go, just watch the look on someone's face when you give them something of yours they really wanted or needed, that alone should make you feel like a super hero.
 
When we release, we make way for new things!

Self-time as self-love 10-24-2013

NOTE: THIS IS 1 OF 3 PREVIOUS BLOGS THAT I WROTE ON MY WEBSITE THAT I AM NOW MOVING HERE FOR PROPER BLOG VIEWING. ENJOY!
 
Low self esteem is not an issue for me. In fact, I probably think highly of myself more than most African American women because I understand the history of this country, the impact of chattel slavery, and the concept of religion over spirituality. I have loved myself for a very long time. I went natural at the age of 15 in 1991 when no one at my school had natural hair. I have always adored my dark skin, my full lips, my African self for a very long time. I know the opposite of this too. The intense teen years when my body was getting way too much attention from potential molesters and not enough from my Dad. Having to squeeze my hips into boys basketball shorts instead of shorts now designed for women. Yep, I have been there and I rejected all the European notions of beauty around the body and myself pretty early.
 
So you can understand who when people start talking about trying to love themselves I just kind of roll my eyes on the inside. It's so easy to just look at yourself and say, I am beautiful, right? Of course, but as I have dug deeper into my own spiritual journey, I realize that self-love can take many, many forms. As a single mother with 2 very busy tween and teen I am constantly on the go. I mean constantly. I never stop. I sit to eat and to sleep. Most mornings I am dragging out of bed, being coaxed to get up so we can all be on time. It is a broken record. Not once, until recently, did I tie self time to self love.
 
My intentions are always good. I always plan to meditate, chant, workout, and sleep more. Those are the things that I need more of in my life and for me that is self-love. I am not the person who doesn't speak their mind, or won't wear bright colors or strapless dresses. I always hit the dance floor first but pause time is not and has not been my specialty. I feel guilty when I sleep in, when I check out, when I don't answer my phone when in reality, that is exactly the self love I need to be engaging in on a regular basis. I don't tend to myself daily enough. Sure I get regular pedicures and haircuts, I even get massages but have I really given myself time to just me.
 
My children join me in the restroom, last night my daughter watched me chant and each morning they jump in my bed. Slowly, I am weaning them off Mother-time-is-my-time. I am reclaiming my bed for sleeping from my daughter who vows to sleep with me forever. I am incorporating my prayers and chants throughout the day, I am well, even doing this, blogging during my morning break. Heck I am actually taking the 2-15 minute  breaks at work and a lunch. I am meeting with a personal trainer, I have a Nanny whom we adore, I am going to mediation service on Wednesdays, I am teaching poetry and using the money on ME, not the kids or a bill.
 
I recently purchased a trip to Branson, MO and decided to go alone. I decided that I had already taken the children but that I had not been out of town alone that wasn't for business or art my entire adult life. If I have a boyfriend, maybe I will take him, but for my birthday, I am going alone, to shop, to write, to rest. I know it will be hard to slow down and I might have 3 anxiety attacks but between now and then, I am going to work at it and I am going to look forward to it.
 
At the end of the day, I still find time for my children. We all eat, talk, laugh, sing, shower, and go to bed. I am a work in progress on my self-love. I got the other stuff down, but now it is time to take it to a higher level, and well, taking care of me is a very very good look, in just a few weeks I see the difference in me. I see how little time I was actually spending on myself and I see how spending so much time running the kids around is a way to cover what is ultimately dressed up fear. I am peeling away the layers and I am seeing more of the person I dream about.  How can you enact more self-love into your life?

He turned 15... 03-14-2014

PLEASE NOTE: THIS BLOG WAS CREATED ON 03-14-2014 BUT WAS 1 OF 3 BLOGS I CREATED ON MY WEBSITE. I AM MOVING ALL OF THEM HERE.
 
Yesterday my oldest son turned 15 years old. He and I joked about him having some sort of celebration to mark this huge rite of passage, but instead he opted for a dinner at Red Lobster and an Oreo milkshake from Sheridan's Frozen Custard for dessert. Since his sister was out of town, he was able to talk uninterrupted for hours on end this past week. Granted, I did have to share my time with his phone but he knows by now when to check in and when to check out of the phone. We refer to it as "unplugging" and we use that term often when we are ready for undivided attention.
 
The night before his birthday I just couldn't sleep. It was as if I was going out of town or awaiting some hot date the next day. I was restless and even a little irritatble, but mostly, I was very excited. I just kept saying, "15, my son is turning 15" in my head and eventually fell asleep. This is a huge milestone because I don't just have an average kid. I have an African American male who has to navigate life with a hypersensitivity that many of his peers do not. His white male peers at his elite private high school really don't ever consider who is watching their every move, who they eat with in the cafeteria and who they hang out with. Instead, they go through life with a sort of ease that I am often envious of.
 
I was so nervous to find out I was going to have a son and I still have that same nervousness when he goes to the movies with friends. His other African American male friends are just as smart and beautiful as my son. They are also strategic and never walk into a movie with more than three of them in a group. They wait to get inside the theatre before they interact and they even sometimes put a row between them depending on the sitation. No one wants their child to have to think of these things to go to a damn movie, but the truth is, all parents of African American boys should.
 
I want my son to hold my hand while I leave this planet, I don't want to ever stand over his dead body. I pray for his protection, but I also let go. I don't live in a fear but there is an anxiety. I pray for all his friends too that share the same racial legacy. I want them to just be able to be their goofy selves, their cool selves, their innocent and loving selves. No one should be able to take that from them.
 
So guess what?  My son wears a hoodie every day, owns his 5'11" 135 pound frame, shows off his muscles on the basketball court, in cross country and track, and flexes his intellectual strength in his high honor roll and standardized test scores. He isn't and won't be boxed in. He heeds my words of protection, but he refuses to live in fear. "Mom," he says, "they will do what they will do anyway, so I might as well live the life I want," well hell, and so it is.

Listen To Your Mother Kansas City 2014

To be honest, there were moments when I was just overwhelmed by the experience, and not in a good way. I just was not accustomed to that many people crying at once, and for the first time, feeling guilty about also not crying. Motherhood, in her pain and glory, was just never that sad to me. Seriously, I cry about once a year, maybe twice, over sadness or being angry.  How else are you to survive in this world as an African American woman if all you do is cry about every challenge.  I don’t come from crying women. In fact, one of my best friends told me crying was how she processes her emotions and that good or bad, the tears come and I looked at her like she was crazy and even she busted out laughing. I had to really, really process that truth for others and this experience helped.

 

These women cried on demand, even the producers, each time they heard the story.  What have I become, I thought? How did they know they would cry before they even heard the stories? Am I that callous to the world because I don’t or better yet cannot cry?  I did feel intimately each story and even felt some of the tragedy from a deep place, but never any tears.  Along the journey with the sisters of Listen To Your Mother a few of us were even cited by a fellow cast mate for maybe being too light, too jovial, but most importantly too sexual in our posts and responses after the producers shared important information with us. Some of us were having too much fun while others were processing their stories, their very heavy and personal stories for what they felt was all the world to see. The producer were awesome, giving each person the space they needed to feel safe and to share, even the wild women.

 

Like most great things in life, they never come at the right time. They come when you have lost a job, moving, starting or ending a relationship. They come when clearly your focus needs to be somewhere else. That is life, and that is definitely motherhood. All these lessons, condensed in a beautiful way over the last month and a half. I learned several things about myself while being on the cast of LTYM and I would like to share them. 

 

1. Motherhood binds us to each other. No matter our affiliations, if you get a room full of women together who don’t know each other, their motherhood is a way to connect them and sometimes make instant friendships based on similarities in children and/or in parenting styles. Motherhood and the total love/hate relationship with Spanx (I took mine off and left them in my gym bag, I earned these jiggles)!

 

2. Women, amazing and beautiful women, bold and daring women, always find a way to make it all work and come together. I was surrounded by resourceful and creative women who have patched their careers together like a quilt so they would be available for their children. I was inspired by the women, some affluent, some middle class, carving out their lives as writers, wives, single moms, and women to create the existence they desire for themselves. Meeting them has lit fire under my doubtful booty too since I admittedly play it safe when it comes to career because I am terrified about not being able to provide for my children. 

 

3. It is so important to stretch yourself out of your comfort zone. I am pretty sure most of the women in our cast would have never crossed paths unless all of them attached the email and pressed send, showed up at the audition, revealed themselves and was selected. There was always a host of advice and resources floating around the room each time we gathered. Not just recipes, but things discovered that would significantly make a life easier to live, and they all shared, gave freely and with love, the way only mothers seem to do (btw I totally subscribe to mothers being perfectly flawed human beings).

 

4. Women are amazing and motherhood makes you even more amazing. I always tell women not to rush into having children, to make sure they are ready because motherhood is awful and painful, it’s true. It is life changing but I tell you, to see a woman as a mother is one of the most beautiful things on the planet. Though it is hard, I am so grateful that I choose to be a good mother and I choose to love it. It makes a difference in their lives of your children to choose love and flawed perfection!

 

5. I am not a crier, and for that, I will never, ever apologize. I may not be the shoulder to cry on but I can definitely get you out of there alive. I am a warrior, a strong and emotional warrior whose poems are her tears and her sexuality her healing.

 

Thank you, my unlikely sisters, for keeping me laughing and learning through a very challenging time in my life. Thank you so my new soul sisters who I shared an immediate connection with and will be in my life forever, I am sure. Thank you to the producers, all so wonderful, kind, and serious about making Listen To Your Mother an event no one will want to miss. I suspect, as the years continue, the balcony will be full too.

February 2013 Newsletter

Greetings Fans, Family, and Friends!

Wow! What an exciting time to be alive! Well before I go into my narrative, let me give you some dates and times to add to your calendar if you haven't had a chance to see me perform or read in a while. Please try to attend if you are able to because artists need patrons, people to support their art so they can use their art as business. Thank you in advance.

 

THIS Thursday, February 7, 2013, 5:30 pm

University of Missouri-Kansas City

Poetry for Personal Power in conjunction with the Males of Color Initiative

Poets are welcome to strut their stuff, please look at the link below for details on FACEBOOK

http://www.facebook.com/natasha.elscari/posts/10151235900981046?comment_id=24264841&ref=notif&notif_t=feed_comment#!/events/229640750505129/?fref=ts

Not on FACEBOOK, why not, just kidding, see the link below of details.

http://poetryforpersonalpower.com

FREE AND OPEN TO THE PUBLIC

Parking does cost at UMKC. Also, this will be my son’s first time sharing some feature time. I have no idea what this poem is about but he told me it is entitled, “Perseverance”

 

THIS Thursday, February 7, 2013, 7:00 pm

American Jazz Museum Atrium

Jazz, Poetry, and the Civil Rights Movement

*Yours truly will be sharing this time with many artists about the Civil Rights Movement. I will be sharing an original poem and a poem by the literary great Sonia Sanchez!

FREE AND OPEN TO THE PUBLIC (I THINK)

 

THIS Saturday, Feb 9, 2013, 7:00 pm

GEM THEATRE

Lauryn Hill and D’Angelo Tribute

If you can’t attend any other event this year this is one you DON’T want to miss. My best friend Lee Langston puts together THE BEST tribute shows featuring all LOCAL artists and musicians. His attempt is to celebrate the music that we love in a way that honors the artist. We will stick VERY CLOSELY to how the artist has given us the music with a touch of exactly who we are. If you have never heard me rap, here is your chance, it won’t be happening often. These shows are a repeat because they sold out EACH time. Lee is kicking it up with VIP seating and awesome food and drinks with VIP tickets to both shows catered by the Holistic chef Ms. Myra Harper. There is no bad seat at the GEM, coat check, comfy chairs, and yes for the grown and sexy! Please support one of the HARDEST working men in KC.

For more info on FACEBOOK:

http://www.facebook.com/natasha.elscari/posts/10151235900981046?comment_id=24264841&ref=notif&notif_t=feed_comment#!/events/588177431198127/?fref=ts

and for a casual taste from rehearsal last night:

http://www.facebook.com/natasha.elscari/posts/10151235900981046?comment_id=24264841&ref=notif&notif_t=feed_comment#!/photo.php?v=10200480901048868&set=o.588177431198127&type=2&theater

 

Friday, February 15, 2013, 7:00 pm

Center for Spiritual Living

Chocolate Love

I think it was a few years ago that Monique Danielle and I did an event together filled with love songs and poetry, it was such a joy to share the stage with the BRILLANT singer. If you are looking for a perfect love on yourself or date for you and your lover, this is THE perfect event. Yes, it is at a church but we believe in love, love songs, and love making as a Divine expression of God. We will not be recruiting you for committees, for money, or for anything other than enjoying the evening. This will be grown and sexy, complete with chocolate!

Tickets are available on line or at the door: http://cslkc.org/store/index.php?_a=viewProd&productId=649

OPEN TO THE PUBLIC AND ALL FAITH AND NON FAITH BACKGROUNDS

 

Saturday, February, 23, 2013

LINKS-Topeka, KS

Glenn North, Marcus Brown, and I will be the feature poets at their annual Black History Program. In addition to returning for our second year, we will conduct an intensive writing workshop with 6 selected young poets! This was a wonderful event last year and I am so excited to return and stay the entire evening!

CLOSED TO THE PUBLIC

 

Sunday, February 24, 2013 6:00 pm

Prosperos Bookstore

1800 W. 39th Street

Kansas City, Missouri 64111

Natasha Ria El-Scari FEATURES

http://www.prosperosbookstore.com/?page=Home

$3 OPEN TO THE PUBLIC

I am excited to have a full feature at our beloved local bookstore. I will be sharing poetry surrounding the African American experience especially for African American History month. I will be sharing some poems from what will hopefully be my manuscript, SteeLife.

 

Sunday, March 10, 2013, 7:00 pm

Grand Street Café

Sosha Oshyae and Company

This event promises to be another option for those lovers of local soul and jazz to experience powerful and sultry womanhood through music and poetry. I will host and perform at this event and well hopefully, fingers crossed it will happen twice monthly. Why would you want to miss the grand opening?

http://www.grandstreetcafe.com/

COST TO BE ANNOUNCED

 

Friday, March 15, 2013, 8:00 pm

Michael Harper Symposium

Missouri United Methodist Church

204 South 9th Street

Columbia, MO

http://michaelharpersymposium.com/schedule/

One of my poetry mentors and co-founder of Cave Canem, Cornelius Eady is sponsoring, in conjunction with the University of Missouri, an event honoring the life and work of his mentor, poet Michael Harper. Scroll to see a complete list of the events. I will be sharing  an original work inspired by the work of Mr. Harper and reciting one of his poems from, “Dear John, Dear Coltrane”. Glenn North will also represent the jazz poetry community at this event. I am humbled and honored to be included in this event.

 

Other Exciting News:

KC MAGAZINE http://www.kcmag.com/ named its Top 100 Kansas Citians and guess who made the list, ME!! Can you believe it? Check me out on page 72 paper copy is available mid-month.

 

WEBSITE CHANGES

I am revamping my website, this could take months. I am open to any and all suggestions. Looking to present a streamlined and “cleaner” look. Open to suggestions and ideas. My goal is to blog at least once a month. I have a ton of ideas but trying to get the time to do them.

 

Tony’s KC

Please read my latest blog if you had not heard about this situation.

When Ugly Enters

http://www.natasharia.com/apps/blog

 

 

FOOD FOR THOUGHT

I am thrilled beyond belief to announce that I have, after 5 months of being unemployed, have full time employment again. I absolutely loved my job before but now I REALLY love my job. It was time to move on from my 12 year stay at UMKC and I knew and was moving forward but with the grant ending I HAD to really get out there and apply. I just want to encourage everyone to keep their vibrations high. No matter what people tell you about a changing market and competition, just ignore it. You can be polite but just focus on your goals and your purpose. Do not allow other people’s challenges or negative experiences determine yours.  In a recession I have witnessed and experienced HUGE amounts of prosperity from new jobs, better jobs, house purchasing, house selling, scholarships, grants, relationships, and peace. Know that you can always call on a higher source to gain the prosperity that you want in life.  

 

Being the new kid on the block was exciting, but then the little girl in me kicked in. Oh no, brand new colleagues!  If you are working somewhere and a new person comes, go out of your way to be nice, kind, and helpful. It isn’t like you have a chance to play outside together to get to know one another. I am grateful to all my new colleagues but particularly one, who went out of her way to bring me up to speed on little things without being a gossip. She taught me just what I needed to know to learn my way and I am grateful. You are looking at the proud Project Manager of the T4E Grant at Kansas City Kansas Community College! Peace and love, more goodness later.

  

 

 

Common Gifts are a Gift!

 

As an ordinary woman, a woman with common looks or average boobs, as a woman who maybe can’t sing or even dance like Beyonce it is sometimes difficult to see the gifts inside of one’s self.  When “talents” or “gifts” are often solely based in entertainment, especially for African Americans, it is hard not to compare yourself to the person who has a team of people to make her fabulous. Beyonce is amazing, her gifts are amazing, but what about the people behind her that build her shoes, have her skin through makeup appear flawless, and of course the most important part of the Beyonce brand, the wind controller.  Those people are gifted, right?

 

I am writing this blog to a very good friend of mine who was struggling with the idea that she didn’t have any real talents and gifts to share in the world. I was so hurt by her idea that she wasn’t amazing that I started to point to allllllllllll of the things that make her amazing. I won’t share with you what those are (for fear of releasing her identity) but I will say that the list was long, and well, common.  

 

I always tell people that dandelions are my favorite flower (though called a weed, as many flowers are) because they take various forms, grow in an awesome abundance, give children great joy, a yummy soup can be made from them, and they are dramatically strong. The dandelion is symbolic of the power in commonness. People have decided they don’t want or need dandelions and so we have all jumped on board, but the dandelion in itself, is breath taking.

 

We get so inundated with concepts of better and best that we don’t even have an eye to take in the beauty that naturally occurs around us. When I was a graduate student and new mother struggling to find my way in the world of sleep deprivation, breast milk, and baby poop, I discovered that I was very good at something--swaddling.  I learned the swaddling technique from the international mothers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in family housing. Women from all over the globe were either in school or helping their husbands get through school. They taught me so much about being a mother and I am so grateful for those forward thinking and traditional women. I first read about swaddling in my first grade reader about the Navajo people (some things just stick with us) and I thought it was really cool but it was in the forced community of mothers, some new, some vets that helped me to see my gifts. The women were gentle with me as they shared their tricks of the trade. Immediately I was praised for my ability to swaddle a baby so tightly and comfortably that any former NFL player could have had a flash back and throw a baby across the room if it was passed to him by a mother who held her pee too long. I prided myself in this process and celebrated the one thing I thought I did well. One mother even had me swaddle her little one (now that is trust)!  When my daughter became the mother of African American dolls, I would swaddle her babies as well.  She would bring them to me and say that no one did it like I did. I was and am still proud of my swaddle abilities. Sounds ridiculous?? Possibly, but just sit and think about it.

 

I want to encourage anyone who reads this to stop thinking that talent has anything to do with how high you can sing. I mean sure, that is talent, and one that is valued heavily in our culture but can that person hold down an elementary classroom, always keep their grocery visits under $100, stay organized and fight clutter, be patient with an elder, cook a mean peach cobbler, make a person smile each time they enter the room? 

 

I am not taking away from the talent of anything around the power of music, but instead I want us to think about the person who does sound, lighting, internet hook ups, websites, wardrobe, cleans our toilets well, those people have talent too and they should be celebrated. Ever had someone professionally clean your home, tutor your kid, detail your car? I admire all those gifts but I admire them more when people where it with swag! 

 

One common gift that I possess is being in touch with my sexuality. Sounds simple, and it is, but I have discovered for some this gift is more than a notion, and well, most of my lovers would agree. No tricks or secret stripper moves, but in touch, a listening and feeling lover. This gift has afforded me the opportunity to counsel men and women, assist people in coming out, help people when they have reached sexual fears they can’t get past, or helping them understand their fetishes in a non-judgmental way. Let’s be real, everyone is not going to seek a counselor about their “stuff” but they can sure appreciate a person who can listen without judgement and to not use those things against them. I get to help and Spirit knows we need healed sexual beings in the world.  

 

Are you feeling stuck? Do you feel like you aren’t living to your highest potential? Well make a list of all the common stuff you do well and then ask your friends and family what they think your gifts are and what you do well. Ask them to explain and then cry in their presence that you have been lost all this time and they could have saved you, just kidding.  Then, make a list of what you desire to do that you aren’t doing and form a list on how to get there.  Remember, you are a perfect expression of God, and you have limitless gifts waiting to be uncovered but you must first be grateful and recognize all the common gifts that are right there in your beating heart.

2008 Mom took some old jeans and beautiful African material and made me and the little one matching skirts. Cheesy? Absolutely. A plus sized beauty able to dress like her half pint cutie for a day, PRICELESS!! Common gifts y'all!!

 

Ambitious Mothering, Ambitious Life

 

02-18-2013 

 

Last night I was talking with two friends of mine who were breezing through town after a prosperous move that relocated them to neighboring city. I was sharing with one of my friends that a colleague asked me what were my career goals over the next three years. I answered him in quick sincerity stating that my goals included getting my son through an elite high school, paying for braces for both the children, and having a job that allowed the flexibility for me to attend all their activities and games as well as supporting my art.  My colleague looked confused, and he waited with a blank stare on his face. I was confused and reflected his glance. He said, "No, I mean what do you want for your career," and I said, "that is what I want, to provide a great life for myself and my children while serving others."  Luckily the conversation came to a peaceful end, as I am sure he was all confused around mentioning my children in my personal career goal. I sat with that and thought, "OMG, I have turned into one of those moms"!

 

My friend, partnered and childless, asked me why I didn't think that being a mother was ambitious. She shared that she believed I was looking at my life from a perspective to reconsider. "Mothering is ambitious, and you move like an ambitious mother," wow I thought. I think it was something about her, childless outside of her almost human like pet to give me the idea that being a mother is ambitious. Too often I struggle with the idea that because most people can become a mother without any qualifications that it isn't too honorable. I realize this is a very capitalistic way of thinking. Just because something is in abundance does not mean it isn't valuable. I appreciate my friend showing me that again. (Hold on one second, the kids need me...)

 

Mothering is a selfless and sacrificial experience. If endlessly serving others for no specific personal gain but to put good people into the world, mothering is very rarely about me. I should also say I was just as overwhelmed with mothering as a single mother as I was as a married one. The act of mothering is truly a verb and for me, it controls even the smallest of actions. When I think of the word ambition, I think of the self. I rarely think of being ambitious with my children. My friend encouraged me to look at how I was raising my children, the exposure and choice I allowed them to have and how they were manifesting their own dreams through none other than my money, resources, time, transportation and love. "How could that not be ambitious, Natasha?' she asked.

 

So today I woke up thinking about how to come to terms with mothering. Each birthday I think about how I am just as overwhelmed today as I was the first day we brought my son home. I think about how enjoying a cup of tea is usually in a thermos or while cooking dinner or doing laundry and that very little time is my own. In exchange for this, I have a 13 year old who likes to read Frederick Douglass aloud and a daughter who has the best sense of humor and care for all living things on the planet. I get to witness, each day, two unique expressions of God, and they sometimes allow me into their lives in an intimate way in both their joy, pain, and secrets. It is ambitious to desire to raise free spiritual beings who honor and know their body and heritage but also know their bodies inhabit their spirit which is free and endless. It is ambitious to teach them to do so many things outside their culture but to also completely wrap themselves in the love of their people.  It is ambitious to have 2 children in 3 activities each, year round and to teach them it is okay to check out, get some rest, and come back renewed. 

 

Thank you dear friend, dear sister, for reminding me thatambition can wear many faces and being present for my children in a direct way is ambitious in a world that expects and celebrates so much less of me and of them.  I m grateful for a community that lifts us up and reminds us to stand in the brilliant light called family!

Joy and Pain: Family Pic 2012

Photograph by Syronica Henderson picssyronicahenderson@yahoo.com 

 

 

February 2013 Newsletter

Greetings Fans, Family, and Friends!

Wow! What an exciting time to be alive! Well before I go into my narrative, let me give you some dates and times to add to your calendar if you haven't had a chance to see me perform or read in a while. Please try to attend if you are able to because artists need patrons, people to support their art so they can use their art as business. Thank you in advance.

 

THIS Thursday, February 7, 2013, 5:30 pm

University of Missouri-Kansas City

Poetry for Personal Power in conjunction with the Males of Color Initiative

Poets are welcome to strut their stuff, please look at the link below for details on FACEBOOK

http://www.facebook.com/natasha.elscari/posts/10151235900981046?comment_id=24264841&ref=notif&notif_t=feed_comment#!/events/229640750505129/?fref=ts

Not on FACEBOOK, why not, just kidding, see the link below of details.

http://poetryforpersonalpower.com

FREE AND OPEN TO THE PUBLIC

Parking does cost at UMKC. Also, this will be my son’s first time sharing some feature time. I have no idea what this poem is about but he told me it is entitled, “Perseverance”

 

THIS Thursday, February 7, 2013, 7:00 pm

American Jazz Museum Atrium

Jazz, Poetry, and the Civil Rights Movement

*Yours truly will be sharing this time with many artists about the Civil Rights Movement. I will be sharing an original poem and a poem by the literary great Sonia Sanchez!

FREE AND OPEN TO THE PUBLIC (I THINK)

 

THIS Saturday, Feb 9, 2013, 7:00 pm

GEM THEATRE

Lauryn Hill and D’Angelo Tribute

If you can’t attend any other event this year this is one you DON’T want to miss. My best friend Lee Langston puts together THE BEST tribute shows featuring all LOCAL artists and musicians. His attempt is to celebrate the music that we love in a way that honors the artist. We will stick VERY CLOSELY to how the artist has given us the music with a touch of exactly who we are. If you have never heard me rap, here is your chance, it won’t be happening often. These shows are a repeat because they sold out EACH time. Lee is kicking it up with VIP seating and awesome food and drinks with VIP tickets to both shows catered by the Holistic chef Ms. Myra Harper. There is no bad seat at the GEM, coat check, comfy chairs, and yes for the grown and sexy! Please support one of the HARDEST working men in KC.

For more info on FACEBOOK:

http://www.facebook.com/natasha.elscari/posts/10151235900981046?comment_id=24264841&ref=notif&notif_t=feed_comment#!/events/588177431198127/?fref=ts

and for a casual taste from rehearsal last night:

http://www.facebook.com/natasha.elscari/posts/10151235900981046?comment_id=24264841&ref=notif&notif_t=feed_comment#!/photo.php?v=10200480901048868&set=o.588177431198127&type=2&theater

 

Friday, February 15, 2013, 7:00 pm

Center for Spiritual Living

Chocolate Love

I think it was a few years ago that Monique Danielle and I did an event together filled with love songs and poetry, it was such a joy to share the stage with the BRILLANT singer. If you are looking for a perfect love on yourself or date for you and your lover, this is THE perfect event. Yes, it is at a church but we believe in love, love songs, and love making as a Divine expression of God. We will not be recruiting you for committees, for money, or for anything other than enjoying the evening. This will be grown and sexy, complete with chocolate!

Tickets are available on line or at the door: http://cslkc.org/store/index.php?_a=viewProd&productId=649

OPEN TO THE PUBLIC AND ALL FAITH AND NON FAITH BACKGROUNDS

 

Saturday, February, 23, 2013

LINKS-Topeka, KS

Glenn North, Marcus Brown, and I will be the feature poets at their annual Black History Program. In addition to returning for our second year, we will conduct an intensive writing workshop with 6 selected young poets! This was a wonderful event last year and I am so excited to return and stay the entire evening!

CLOSED TO THE PUBLIC

 

Sunday, February 24, 2013 6:00 pm

Prosperos Bookstore

1800 W. 39th Street

Kansas City, Missouri 64111

Natasha Ria El-Scari FEATURES

http://www.prosperosbookstore.com/?page=Home

$3 OPEN TO THE PUBLIC

I am excited to have a full feature at our beloved local bookstore. I will be sharing poetry surrounding the African American experience especially for African American History month. I will be sharing some poems from what will hopefully be my manuscript, SteeLife.

 

Sunday, March 10, 2013, 7:00 pm

Grand Street Café

Sosha Oshyae and Company

This event promises to be another option for those lovers of local soul and jazz to experience powerful and sultry womanhood through music and poetry. I will host and perform at this event and well hopefully, fingers crossed it will happen twice monthly. Why would you want to miss the grand opening?

http://www.grandstreetcafe.com/

COST TO BE ANNOUNCED

 

Friday, March 15, 2013, 8:00 pm

Michael Harper Symposium

Missouri United Methodist Church

204 South 9th Street

Columbia, MO

http://michaelharpersymposium.com/schedule/

One of my poetry mentors and co-founder of Cave Canem, Cornelius Eady is sponsoring, in conjunction with the University of Missouri, an event honoring the life and work of his mentor, poet Michael Harper. Scroll to see a complete list of the events. I will be sharing  an original work inspired by the work of Mr. Harper and reciting one of his poems from, “Dear John, Dear Coltrane”. Glenn North will also represent the jazz poetry community at this event. I am humbled and honored to be included in this event.

 

Other Exciting News:

KC MAGAZINE http://www.kcmag.com/ named its Top 100 Kansas Citians and guess who made the list, ME!! Can you believe it? Check me out on page 72 paper copy is available mid-month.

 

WEBSITE CHANGES

I am revamping my website, this could take months. I am open to any and all suggestions. Looking to present a streamlined and “cleaner” look. Open to suggestions and ideas. My goal is to blog at least once a month. I have a ton of ideas but trying to get the time to do them.

 

Tony’s KC

Please read my latest blog if you had not heard about this situation.

When Ugly Enters

http://www.natasharia.com/apps/blog

 

 

FOOD FOR THOUGHT

I am thrilled beyond belief to announce that I have, after 5 months of being unemployed, have full time employment again. I absolutely loved my job before but now I REALLY love my job. It was time to move on from my 12 year stay at UMKC and I knew and was moving forward but with the grant ending I HAD to really get out there and apply. I just want to encourage everyone to keep their vibrations high. No matter what people tell you about a changing market and competition, just ignore it. You can be polite but just focus on your goals and your purpose. Do not allow other people’s challenges or negative experiences determine yours.  In a recession I have witnessed and experienced HUGE amounts of prosperity from new jobs, better jobs, house purchasing, house selling, scholarships, grants, relationships, and peace. Know that you can always call on a higher source to gain the prosperity that you want in life.  

 

Being the new kid on the block was exciting, but then the little girl in me kicked in. Oh no, brand new colleagues!  If you are working somewhere and a new person comes, go out of your way to be nice, kind, and helpful. It isn’t like you have a chance to play outside together to get to know one another. I am grateful to all my new colleagues but particularly one, who went out of her way to bring me up to speed on little things without being a gossip. She taught me just what I needed to know to learn my way and I am grateful. You are looking at the proud Project Manager of the T4E Grant at Kansas City Kansas Community College! Peace and love, more goodness later.

  

 

 

When Ugly Enters...

 

01-22-2013
 

 

Recently I had an opportunity to grow, yesterday actually. This, ironically enough, all came to a head during a historical day; the 2nd inauguration of President Barack Obama and the annual observance of my favorite holiday, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Day.  I experienced the low vibrations of hate manifested in racism and sexism, a heaping dose of stereotype, the type of things that remind us of why we struggle, why we fight, why we live and why we teach. I say "we" because every step of this process my community was here for me and they remembered that in all of this, I was/am a human being. I will include the link so that each person that reads this has an opportunity to follow the attack and then the positive responses that my community and others that  I don't know provided. I solicited the comments of 9 of my close friends that I felt would have the time to respond solidly but also peacefully. I wanted people to know that yes, you can make those comments about me but ultimately, I am a part of a community of people who love and support not only me, but my family and my art. Though marginalized in their mind, I am at the center of a sacred life and that my influence and interaction with my community is of value.

I am still putting my feelings together on all of it but what I will say is that yes I am a human being and that even though the remarks shared could not be further from the truth not only about me but about the other African American women of all classes that I know, it still hurt. What hurt was the idea that people take the time to spew words of hate at someone who wasn't even addressing anything that could warrant (not that ANYTHING could have warranted that type of response) that type of discussion.  One person mentioned that these people could easily be people in positions of power, influence, and people that have to serve the people that they so easily dehumanize and that is why I have to respond.

I immediately thought about how Gabourey Sidibe felt about the attacks on her and even, most recently, Serena Williams' body being put on display by one of her "friends" and tennis colleagues making a mockery of her body right before a tennis match.  The precious Obama daughter's natural response of a yawn being politicized and used against her father and ultimately herself.  What I always have known but was reminded that in addition to being a feminist, many people, because they are uncomfortable with their own bodies, get very angry about a large woman being comfortable with her body and sexuality.  They are angry because I don't allow their judgement to control my actions, my outfits, where I go, how I party, and what machines I use at the gym. Being overweight is something that I have, it is not who I am and I realize that my willingness to talk about it, address it, and to be unabashedly unashamed makes people uncomfortable.

Tony's KC is on my shit list. It has been on my shit list before this incident. Some years back a friend of mine experienced this "unknown man's" negativity. I believe that he purposely chose my video, not because he loved it or even appreciated it but because he knew that his readers would be able to discuss the hate that they want to place upon people. I contacted the gentleman who posted the video and asked him point blank his affiliation with this person.  We had what I believe is a healthy conversation though I will still be watching, always watching.  Yes, I believe strongly in free speech (and I am expressing mine right now), but I think it is something all together different when you are using someone's image and words to attack them personally is different. Yes, art can be looked at critically but none of the comments were about my art. A few implied they didn't like my poem but none of them could have even listened to the entire poem.  Tony's KC set up my image and art to be attacked and the vultures went in.

When I shared the story with my daughter her simple 9 year old response was that those people must be drunk because normal people don't act like that. My son and I sat at the computer together and I scrolled down to show him the comments. My children will not be caught off guard, they will know who they should watch and who they can trust. My son looked at me and said, "none of those things are true, and I am glad you already know that." I am grateful to have written "A Pussy Letter to My Daughter" 7 years ago and that many women and men said it helped them to even open a discussion about the power and fear behind our awesome existence. That is what I have always wanted my art to do and clearly, though negatively at first, has prompted some discussion.

What I am most grateful for are the private notes and calls, texts and drop by visits to first and foremost to see if I was ok. These people actually waited for the cues to see if their friend had been impacted and how they could help. The love and support that came in the form of Facebook comments and inbox messages from extended arts community and "new fans" inspired me completely. I have had the chance to hear things that some people never get to hear until they are dead. So Tony's KC, guess what you did? You made a strong woman stronger, you made a wise woman wiser, and you inspired 3 generations of people to discuss how they are impacted by racism.  In my spiritual belief we always say that each person is a reflection of God, entitled to a life of love and joy. This lesson is easy on some days but today it was much harder. But I get it and I also know that it means I can tell Tony's KC to kiss my big, black...heart.

As far as my art is concerned; my pussy, your penis and all of our sexualities are points  of interest, topic, and discussion for me. My art will always address the items I care about and want to address. I will continue, in my life, to do what I have always done, write and perform apologetically, show up as exactly who I am regardless of who likes it or not.  Audre Lorde, one of my favorite feminist writer/warriors once said, "your silence will not protect you". I know, through the example of both King and Lorde how to peacefully speak my truth, and shut the bullshit down. 

If you would like to weigh in on this issue, please feel free to exercise your first amendment rights but remember, only love conquers hate.

http://www.tonyskansascity.com/2013/01/kansas-city-lady-parts-poetry.html

 



 

Fall 2012 Newsletter

 

Greetings Friends, Family, and Fans!

 

It has been too long since the last newsletter which is exactly what I said about the last newsletter. At this moment I am preparing dinner, engaging in middle school talk and grateful for an awesome tutor helping Naeema. It is a busy time in life with a lot of changes, both great and challenging. The biggest change is that I am no longer employed at UMKC. After 12 years of service with the Upward Bound Program our grant, along with 252 other programs nationwide was not refunded. I am currently seeking fulltime employment and it is taking a lot of time, effort, and energy. I am grateful for a supportive community.

 

What’s been happening…

 

KC Urban Film Festival —“Natasha—Portrait of an Urban Poet” was featured at the Black Expo as a part of the KC Urban Film Festival. It was a horrible set up at the Expo but my film was shown twice. We are still teaching people how to appreciate local artists.

 

Rhythm and Ribs Festival —For the first time ever POETRY was included at Rhythm and Ribs. The good news was I was included along with Glenn North and Shavonne Standifer. It was a night of Soul music, poetry, and an awesome good time. Lee Langston, Soul’s Poem, Sosha Oshyae and Kevin Johnson provided the vocals NeoSoul Lounge.

 

URGE PROJECT —I am excited to announce my first official voice over work with such an important organization. It stretched me out of my comfort zone and that was fun! http://urgeproject.com

 

ROCK THE VOTE (KC PUBLIC LIBRARY)— It was a blast to share the stage with Shane Evans, Rob Herron, and the staff of the KC Public Library to inspire young people 18-25 to get out and vote. I shared poetry to an attentive multi-age crowd. I even ran into a former student, it was beautiful.

http://www.kclibrary.org/event/rock-vote

 

Beyond Words-A Fusion of Poetry, Visual Art, Jazz —Thank you to Harold Smith for recording this and always making sure the history is documented. If you have a chance to go out and see the entire exhibit and stop by and love on my piece too! It is in the Changing Gallery from October 5, 2012—April 26, 2013 Please go out and support this free exhibit at the American Jazz Museum. A big congratulations to Glenn North for his first time curating an artist event.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l_68AdVzddk&feature=youtu.be

 

UPCOMING EVENTS

 

Lauryn Hill Symposium —

NOVEMBER 1, 2012

7:00 PM

THURSDAY

KANSAS UNION—KU

FREE!!

My dear friend Dr. Tony Bolden is sponsoring this event to highlight the work and contribution of Lauryn Hill. There will be a combination of women scholars and artists including yours truly, MC Storm, and Jessica Care Moore. Come on out to an awesome free event. The drive is a nice break from the bustle of a mundane life.

 

 

Estrogen Rush!!!

November 14, 2012

Wednesday

Uptown Arts Bar

7:00 pm

$5 Cover

Brainchild of Mz. Angela Roux, this will be a dynamic show of around 10 DIVERSE women doing original poetry and then a group poem. You won’t want to miss this groundbreaking event. Come feel the power of WOMEN!!!!

 

In Progress…

 

Black Archives of Mid-America in Kansas City

http://www.blackarchives.org

I am happy to announce that I have been announced as the new POET IN RESIDENCE at the Black Archives of Mid-America in Kansas City!! I am thrilled to have this prestigious honor and I am certain that during my term you can look forward to some great FREE workshops and hopefully the production of my play! More to come…

 

Poetry for Personal Power

If you have never made it to one of the Poetry for Personal Power events, all held at various Missouri colleges and universities, please take the time to check them out. The brain child of KC poet Corinna West, Poetry for Personal Power is an awesome event. I have been the feature artist at several universities and look forward to an assignment for this year too.

http://poetryforpersonalpower.com

 

Final Thoughts…

Over the last few months of being a part of the 10% of unemployed people in this country, I have learned more than ever that my source is from a divine place and that people, when they answer the call, allow that divine to move through them and help others. I have learned that even in my own need, I am able to help others achieve their dreams.  Divine order does not mean that everything will make sense, it just means that the infinite wisdom knows more than we could ever know. Yesterday I was alone with my nephew who was about to return to school and he wanted to talk about his mother. If you know him, you know that he rarely speaks about his mother but he had questions about her life and death. The one thing that really stood out was when he said, “I don’t know why she had to leave us, but I know that we are all better people, we are closer, and we love harder than we did when she was here,” those words reminded me that I am not to understand everything as it happens but if I am patient, wisdom and understanding are often revealed, this time it took seven years and came through the mouth of a new 20 year old.

 

Wyclef Jean

I want to leave you with something to listen to or ponder and these are my picks!

Wyclef Jean, one of my favorite rappers, has released a book about his life. Here is an interview about it. Ignore his sipping of some drink that could have been edited but wasn’t…Hip Hop is bigger than what you see on TV. Running time about 27 minutes

http://cnnradio.cnn.com/2012/09/28/cnn-profiles-wyclef-jean/?hpt=hp_abar

 

Alice Walker

30th Anniversary of the Color Purple, a book that moved me and continues to move me. I love to hear the artist’s words and reflection of a work that truly was the groundwork to my African American Womanist thinking. Running time is about 10 minutes.

http://www.democracynow.org/2012/9/28/alice_walker_on_30th_anniv_of

 

Trayvon, Nazr, Raymond, Drake...

Recently, I posted the following status on Facebook in the wake of the Trayvon Martin's murder, which unfortunately, is still not a an actual case, but I digress: "Don't think I haven't noticed Black Boys almost have to live in a bubble in order to be safe. If you don't pick what your son wears, carefully, you have no idea what it feels like to be a Black mother. It does not matter how polite they are, what kind of grades they make, if they have never had a fight, let alone an argument with anyone other than their little sister, they are endangered. So when they want to be natural, stretch, grow, hang out with friends, meet with a girl, go to the store, sometimes you hug them like you will never see them again because you may not. Someone may believe the lies told about your people, their own people, those people and act in fear for no reason, taking away promise and hope, even the good ones fall victim. You really don't know fear, until you become the mother of a Black teenage son.

 

 """"  "A""   After I posted this, several of my white friends, both men and women inboxed me, texted me, or called me about the post. They wanted  me to know that they were struggling with what I wrote, how real it was to them, and how they couldn't imagine this happening. I am grateful for all the friendships that I have, including those with my white friends where we can talk candidly about race, a place where we can both be angry and both talk about solutions. I was as shocked as they were, that, as my friend, they only see my son as he is, my son. It had not registered with them that the boy they see growing into a teenager and eventually a man could completely be seen as a threat and the racism he faces as he comes of age. Here, for many of my white friends, Travyon becomes the black boys they have known and grown to love. They feel a sense of community, oneness, of loss. Still, they don't have to live in that place long. They get to go away as soon as the empathy ends. 

 

I cried when I found out I was having a boy. Not only because I was terrified of having a child but knowing the gender made it real.  I was having an endangered species. I felt that way, I saw it, my students confirmed it, as did my then husband. We all knew that bringing a black boy into the world is dangerous work and that the road could be rocky.

 

What I need for people, particularly white people to understand is that Black boyhood is NOTHING like white boyhood. Your son, like mine, could be an honor student since kindergarten, born of both parents with Master's degrees, live in a safe neighborhood, attend a high achieving school, test in the top percentile on standardized tests, do well in sports, have a spiritual community, a sense of humor, good looks, and on and on (can you tell I am a proud mama) and STILL, STILL, STILL be gunned down before the age of 25.

 

As a parent, it is not just about selecting a "good" school, something is usually given up in the life of a black boy. If one moves to the suburbs there is always a fear that someone will demonize a consenting sexual act and yes, she is usually a white girl with disapproving parents. Never mind that you want your black boy to be around black girls and to date black girls.These black boys may have access to a rigorous course of study but they may have to constantly fight school racism. If they stay in a homogenous environment they may not have equal access to educational resources because of the clear distinction between "black" schools and "white" schools, especially in Kansas City. If a black boy can be admitted into an elite prep school, then class is an issue that has to be addressed daily. Where is the win for our beautiful black boys?

 

My son asked me yesterday to ride his bike, I told him to stay on the block and to wear his helmet. Of course he doesn't want to wear his helmet because it is too "white boy" but I insist, he resists saying his locks are too thick. I don't let him ride past the corner. I time him while talking with a friend to see how long it will take him to pass the house again, making sure he stays on the block. This was not my experience, by the time I was 13 I was biking all over town, hanging with friends and going to the mall. We were safe, for the most part, and always in a group of either all girls or boys and girls mixed. This is not my son's reality.

 

It is a possibility that my son could be involved in black on black crime too. After all, he has witnessed 2 armed robberies (one at McDonald's with his best friend at the age of 9) and had a neighborhood boy pull an unloaded gun on him. He has been been questioned about stealing when he was doing a price comparison for Advil while I was in the next aisle and he has been followed through stores, pursed clutched as he passes with his 5'7' 110 pound fram. I do not hear, in general, about my white friends, with white teen boys, having these same experiences. They collect in groups, with their skates and skateboards with little to no fear of their presence, even when they are using profanity or acting inappropriately. This is what teens do, right?

 

I tell my son there is little room for error in the life of a Black boy. Each crime holds the heaviest consequences, because of race except when he is the victim. I am happy that people are talking about it, engaging in discussions about the lack of justice but I am more interested in solution, the institution of racism itself. We will be attending the rally, my son, my daughter, myself. We will bare witness to the parents of a fallen son for no damn reason at all.

 

African American History Month or else...

 

Recently I was asked to be a part of a mentoring program for college students. I was excited about the chance to officially mentor, considering I always participated in mentorship of young people and students. I shared with the organizers of the event that I would prefer to work with African American female students first, and then African American male students. I also shared that I noticed this population had a high and unique set of needs in a particular area. I went back and forth with the organizer and ultimately was asked not to be a mentor. Why? Because I put the needs of African Americans at the forefront of my discussion.

I am blogging about this because I feel that it is so important to honor the African American History Month and the current African American condition. This month, I dedicated every Friday night to watching the Roots miniseries with my children and a few friends. My 8 ½ year old daughter was completely impacted by the idea of having to be removed from family and forced not to wear cute clothes. In her mind, the removal of adornment, the choice in clothing and food were tough to bare. Trying to explain rape to a 3rd grader is also tough considering she has not experienced anything around that trauma, and hopefully never will. My son, age 12, compared the Roots experience to some dynamics he has seen in his life and was able to compare directly, the choices African American made in order to survive. We all agreed, that it was important for us to honor our ancestors, even if we did not agree with every choice they made. My daughter has been nicknamed Kissie, for her own fighting spirit and when we want to give a name to identity issues we call it a “Kunta Kinte”.   

I am sharing this because I believe that it is important to always honor the AMERICAN history that creates African American history month. One African American president does not remove the need to shed like on our history. African Americans’ existence and importance is questioned consistently, our motives, our desires, our needs as a people. One white President or 43 of them does not stop white people from celebrating the 4th of July, President’s Day or any other race or nation based holiday. Women as CEO’s, able to complete college, and free to buy property does not remove the need for women’s organizations, am I being clear? Just because Latino’s are a growing population in this country does not mean that they should cease fighting against unjust immigration laws. All of us should KNOW and UNDERSTAND the many histories of this country and celebrating African American History Month is but one small way to highlight our contributions as a people.

African American History Month is like a taste test. Just because you have seen a movie on a subject doesn’t make you an expert but it should whet your appetite for more information. Watching and discussing Roots doesn’t make a person a scholar surrounding African American History month but it does and should give you information to begin to form opinions about certain matters surrounding slavery and race relations. I am never in favor or eradicating anything that brings attention to underrepresented groups, and dang sure not in this country, swollen with the history of retelling, or as I like to call it, lies as truth. One African American filmmaker discusses the removal of African American History Month and his journey on figuring it all out. I think this film is important to watch, you can view this film for one more day on pbs. http://video.pbs.org/video/2197967045 

 

 

 

Single Awareness Day--Valentine's Day Bull

I was torn about writing this because, well, I felt it might make me look some sort of way. The good news is I really don't care, I want the world to know...I LOVE LOVE!!!! I do believe that we are all here to express love, be love, experience love, drown in love. Drippy, soppy, wet, loving love. So tell me, why do I hate Valentine's Day so much. Yes, I know the history, the cannibalism, the European holiday stuff, I know, I know, but I am such a sucker for this day. I literally want to hide, not because I feel like I should but because well, what if the guy I am dating thinks nothing of this holiday. Recently, in a discussion with him about why the day was important to me he said, 'Men just have to accept there are some things they will just have to ride with when it comes to women and this day is one of them." I agree, wholeheartedly. It's like watching football. If you aren't a football fan and your partner is, you gotta at least learn the game. Valentine's Day is the same. I loved his answer but well, what will he do, anything?

I don't want to go to a resturant and wait for hours, heck I don't even want candy until the 15th (it is a recession) but I do want you to acknowledge in some significant way that I am loved by you, my man, my almost man, my kinda man, uhhhh, my, my special friend.  I want to know that you think I am important enough to be cheesy and show up at my job with SOMETHING! If you want me to do the same I would be more than happy to but guess what??? YOU HAVE TO TELL ME!!! I am intuitive but not a mind reader.

Still that isn't the point of this rant. Instead I want to discuss how horrible V-Day is when I am single. I just get downright blue about it. I don't want anyone giving me sympathy candy, asking if I have a Valentine, or someone feeling like they are better BECAUSE they have a Valentine. The holiday alone implies that if a person is coupled somehow they are better than those who aren't. Where is the holiday that honors single people not looking for love or single people hurt by love or the cat lady or dog man or serial single soul...oh yeah, that's mardi gras.

Bottom line, I love my home girls, my sisters, my guy friends, and former lovers who still say what's up on Valentine's Day but I don't wanna hear crap about "the love starts within" when in all truth, I just wanna be loved.

 

My son hates me, or at least he did 5 seconds ago, now he loves me...

I have a middle school son. Recently, I was in the kitchen and I heard a very masculine voice come from around the corner, as the shadow appeared, I jumped! It was my son, who I live with, standing eye to eye with me with something fuzzy crawling across his face. He looked just as startled, I couldn't even make words. I was proud and sad all at once.

 

Today my son loved me, at least he did this evening. I think he even touched me, was that a hug, maybe even a hug. Nothing makes him happy. He hates his sister, he hates me, and the ONLY thing that matters is his disappearing lotion bottle, his iphone, his best friend, and his business, the secret one he is starting. The one where he asks what I think and is then emotional when I tell him.  He jumps into conversation like he hasn't been ignoring me for 8 hours and I am supposed to just be right there, and I am, every single time.

 

WHERE THE HELL IS MY SON!??! I promised to never be a mother who missed the young days. They were exhausting, I was sleep deprived, wearing poor fashions and had a tough time with, with everything. Now my house is filled with 103.3 (WHICH I HATE) large feet that keep emptying my account and someone who is just downright mean.  I don't necessarily want my BABY back, but can I get someone who is not insane. There is only one insane person allowed, and it is me, me!!!! Wrong.

 

So I have been a little sad, a little hurt by this changing relationship. He hates me when I make him give up his phone, when I make him go to bed, when I make him empty the trash, clean his room, sweep the kitchen, help his sister, scrub their toilet, when I make him grow up. I hate that he sits in the front seat. I make him hold my purse, he wants to listen to "The Heat" on satelite radio, I wanna listen to Sade, I know too many damn Rick Ross songs. I AM THE BOSS DAMMIT. 

 

Last Friday we went to visit my 90 year old grandmother. I said, "Nana, he hates me, and I hate him too" she said, "well look at him Tasha, look how big he is getting...he doesn't even know what is going on with himself, how in the world do you expect him to explain it to you..." my grandmother is always right on time...always. She also told me not to get a husband until the children were grown...I'm just saying....

The the documentary screening. I had to force him to take this picture....

 

Red Tails and Black Masculinity

I am thrilled, absolutely thrilled with the movie, "Red Tails". Now, I must admit that I come from a very biased perspective but the good news is that this is a blg and therefore completely appropriate for me to spew unfounded or proven evidence. Yay! I have been wanting to blog about many things, I even have a list of things that I want to blog about, mainly my obsession with the trials of motherhood, love, and life, but I digress....

All I can say is, "it is about damn time!" Finally, a movie that has men, African American men full of self pride and respect, complex emotions, vices, confidence, insecurity, frustration, the fullness that I know our men to have inside them displayed on screen in a series of colors, textures, regions, and personalities. IT'S LONG OVERDUE!! I never stop being amazed by the highlights I catch at the gym of great athletic feats of African Americans, namely men because they only rarely show women in ANY sport on TV; but this movie was so different.  It was around a cause, and though I do not consider myself to be patriotic, for the first time, I truly understood why both my grandfathers fought in this war.

I missed a portion of the movie though. I just can't handle the level of violence that we have been so de-sensitized to. Are women really that different that we absolutely hate violence. My mother also had her ears and eyes covered. At one point we planned to leave the movie but something kept us in our seats. It felt like when I watched Schiender's List, as the ONLY African American in the theatre, I felt compelled to stay, though in the 8th grade and terrified because the story actually happened. 

I also loved that it showed how each man addressed his masculinity in reference to racism. How each one dealt with their frustration, how African American men loved on and chatised each other. This is what I see in the men that I love and know. I don't care if Lucas did the movie because his wife is African American, in fact I believe that is all the more reason to do it. Our partners lives and interests should be shared by us. When I was married, I read a host of Kwame Nkrumah because that was exactly what my husband was into. That is what a partner should do, male or female.

I also loved the eye candy, no drug selling, no pimping, no none of that. The exemption of African American women? Problematic indeed. Can we see a picture of the wife at least, damn, some nappy headed children? Trust, I NEEDED the love story to offset the violence but I also would have liked to see the men getting a letter from their wives too.

My hope is to see African American men sporting outfits that are similar to what we saw on the set. Wanting to attend HBCUs and wanting to learn more about the contribution of African Americans in the war.  The sequel can and should be about the women left behind, how they had always worked, worked double, and kicked it on 18th and Vine, and how, like my own grandmother fought sexual harrassment before it was called that in the war plants and how she had to get rid of everything red when my grandfather, a medic, returned home from the war, even her favorite pair of red heels.

 

The amazing cast of Red Tails!

 

 

Ovary inspired, long overdue...

I recently experienced a miracle. Sometimes you have to make a change, do something different when you experience miracles.  Miracles occur even if you aren't religious or spiritual, even if you don't deserve it. I went to Same Day Surgery on Monday, October 31, 2011 to have my right ovary and a questionable cyst removed. It took literally 10 attempts with 4 inserts of lanocain (get used to my horrible spelling), to get my IV started. 4 nurses and the anetheslogist failed numerous times to plug me. I was scared and now, very irritated. Still, I did what I have always done, I hug and kiss my OB-GYN (any man that scraps my cervix must hug and kiss me) explain to him what my deepest desires are for me to come out of surgery with at least one ovary. When I woke up I was told that I had both my ovaries and that they were pretty sure there was no cancer. I was thrilled and grateful that my doctor actually has a bedside manner and listens to me. It is true, I often feel that the healthcare industry still sees the Black Body as chattel and that THEY are constantly looking to eject our parts into outer space without permission (yes, it has been done before)!  It is also true that though I had prayed and released my ovary, I was really afraid to let it go, I was having real issues about my juice box, didn't want to give up any of my "womanness" because of losing an ovary. I was reassured that nothing would change, but I was also concerned that I would feel lopsided. Still, it had to go, something had to change. Being laid up for nearly a month with unexplainable pain changed my attachment to my ovary, surely being a woman wasn't about pain, at least in my book. So the miracle, in brief is that there was a webbing over my enitre reproductive system that had to be removed and only discovered once I was cut open. The surgery took longer and required 3 instead of 1 entry points. What could this webbing mean? Was my umbrella of protection about needing to be lifted because I no longer needed it? Pain, when you don't need something, anything long term even when it was orginally designed to protect you can become harmful, means it is time to release and let go. Damn that was a poorly constructed long sentence. Anywho, this is my blog. It will be random things and it will be released at all types of times. Currently, I am under the influence of percocet and my daughter is turning flips while talking with my cousin and pretending to snore...this is my life, and I want to invite you in to experience a little, starting with the miracle of the ovaries

picture of my ovaries side by side...what we didn't know was there was a webbing over my ovaries, not an enlargement. I think it looks like a ghosts angry eyes, lol

 

 

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