Miss Direction: Which way is home?

When I laid eyes on this photo, I felt an immediate identification via a deep sense of uncertainty I wrestle with daily. There are some things I know:  My name, place of birth, general location on the planet earth at this moment. There are  things that I do not know:  Whether I’m going to raise enough money to attend this program I want to so badly.  What am going to do if I fall short of my financial goals and don’t end up going? What I’m having for breakfast? Lunch? Dinner?  As usual, its the what I don’t know that’s eating my lunch right now.

Like the photographic subject I am a soldier in the middle of a war.  Unlike the subject, my war is unfolding between my ears. I battle myself for my attention constantly. I battle to stay focused  on the task at hand.  “Eyes. On. The. Prize.” has been my mantra lately. But with atomic bombs of distraction going on, it makes it pretty hard to stay in the fight.  If I played the sound track  to the feature film Inside Stacey’s Fugged Up  Mind, you’d hear the sickest mash up of shit that makes absolutely no sense together. Broadway tunes, story ideas, to do lists, disaster scenarios, positive affirmations, negative affirmations, and *clears throat* unnatural/unhealthy desires are all doing the shimmy shake around my psyche.  It’s a wonder I can walk, think, and breathe at the same time.  Some how I manage to.

I first try to remember that I have tools that point me in a Good Orderly Direction.  Prayer, meditation, a network of people that love me. It’s just making myself use them! It’s riding out the feelings of not  falling back into my old familiar boobie traps like my ex-husband or the Cheddar Chicken Melt at Cook Out. When I do use my tools and I don’t do things that are going to make me feel like shit about myself later, it gets better.  It doesn’t always free great, but I avoid self made disaster scenarios that often lead to me hitting the self-destruct button and checkin’ out all together.

Mostly, I just want to be at peace.  I want to feel “at home”, which I’ve not felt in a long while.  If I had to guess I’d say it was before this whole grad school process began.  Hell, maybe even before that. Riding out emotions straight no chaser is definitely not for the faint of heart, but bit I’m doing it. I’m glad I know that nothing impermanent is certain. I am practicing the art of war against self. Against the false belief that my happiness can be born from anywhere else but right inside of me. Understanding all this on a gut level? Well, that will come with time I hope. According to Mick Jagger, it’s on my side 😉

Rosie.

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Good Grief.

Today my city lost a well known and well loved visual artist by the name of Carlleena Person.  I had, unfortunately only gotten to know her briefly.  I was planning a show that incorporated various art forms that centered around hip hop.  Carlleena contacted me on Facebook to let know that she was quite interested.  Her enthusiasm and willingness to jump in on my random ass project without even knowing me and without any solid guarantee of payment let me know that she created out of the pure joy of doing it which, in turn, instantly endeared me to her.

We communicated via Facebook and email in the days leading up to the show.  The piece she created entitled Have U.N.E. More Pull was a retelling of a Black Sheep song by the a similar  name. It is beautiful (see below).  I was in communication with her the day of the show, and she said she’d be dropping the piece off.  As fate would have it, she had a car accident that day and gotten banged up pretty badly.  When I contacted her to check on her, the first thing she did was apologize for not making the show. Amazing.  I immediately hushed her, and shared with her the story of my broken ankle encouraging her to rest. She told me how truly grateful for my concern she was and said that we would meet in person soon. We never did.

Hearing of her passing today was like a blow to the gut, and I barely knew  her. For me, the pang of grief comes from knowing we have lost someone that was such a light of optimism during these cynic riddled times.   I cannot fathom the grief being felt by artists who knew her and worked with her directly.  What I do know is that this process,  this grief process that we’ll move through as a community of artists can only make us stronger.

We artists are such emotional beings.  We can’t be anything else because it is that which allows us to create work that touches the emotions of other people.  Some of us run from our emotional side. Some block. Some hide, but it’s always there waiting for us, and it sometimes takes the nuclear blast of death to force us to feel. Grief deconstructs and reconstructs simultaneously. It excavates all the shit we no longer need (resentment, doubt, anger, and fear) and sets it out for us to face. Then wrestle with. Then accept.  Then we rebuild (hopefully) on a new foundation with a renewed respect about the frailty of life.

Carlleena will be sorely missed, not only by her family and arts community that she left, but by the planet that she help to light with her art work and tremendous spirit.

Rosie.

“Have U.N.E. More Pull” by artist Carlleena Person

Mom too much?

When I gazed upon the recent cover of  Time Magazine, my initial urge was to vomit.  The churning of my guts was not however due to the overgrown child latched firmly to his mother’s teet.  That was unsightly enough. No, my disgust was brought on by the title of the cover story “Are You Mom Enough?”

Hell, on most days I wonder I’m human being enough, now I have to worry about if I’m mom enough?! Geez!  Okay Let’s see:

  • I don’t cook for him nightly.
  • I DO provide unhealthy fast food substitutes. (*wonder if I should just breast feed :/ )
  • I use foul language around him.
  • BUT I use that language in complete sentences.
  • I’m short tempered with him.
  • That temper usually flares up when he’s not doing what he should in school.
  • I’m ALWAYS busy.
  • I’m ALWAYS willing to drop everything when he needs me.

Well mom judges,  How am I looking? Did I mention I’m a single parent?! That’s gotta get me a bye!

Dammit! Motherhood has been turned into a high stakes game with no clear winner. Do I win if my kid goes to college? If he doesn’t go to jail? If he does both? If he goes to jail, but comes out and is a productive citizen there after? If he goes to college, but his entire life is meaningless? There are just too many damn variables.  I love my son dearly, but I’m not sure if I’m cut out for this Motherhood Hunger Games shit.

So here’s what, I hereby advocate for self honest guilt free parenting (okay… maybe guilt lite).  I don’t need detailed instructions from a some highfalutin MD either.  I’m going to raise my son to the best of my abilities. I will make mistakes, but try my best to avoid the biggies (e.g. neglecting to feed, clothe, or nurture him). Even if I fall on my ass I will vow to get back up and continue giving him all the love and support that a selfish self centered letch like me can :).

Rosie.

What are you afraid of?

When I was a kid, I had asthma. The kind of asthma that kept my school nurse’s itchy dialing finger pointed toward the phone in anticipation of having me carted out of the school via ambulance … again. I breathed thin and narrow. One wrong move. A twitch, an overly ambitious fit of laughter could send me into the throws of throat narrowing brochospasmodic suffocation. My childhood existence was racked with anxiety and the fear that my next asthma attack would be my last.

As I got older, my asthma got better, but my fear never strayed too far. Most of my young adult life through my early 30s, I lived my life based on fear and made all decisions accordingly. Change is indeed possible though, and growth is necessary if one is to survive a fear based existence. Much of my “healing” came through art and written expression. My Poeish existence did serve to enhance my imagination and to some degree has made me the theatre artist I am now. A fairly cool trade off I must say.

Tomorrow, if you are anywhere near my fair city (Charlotte, NC) you can check out the programing at The Mint Museum of Art as some of my favorite arts folk (John Hairston, Antoine Williams, and Quentin Talley) answer the question “What are you afraid of?” through visual and performance art. Enjoy! 🙂

Rosie.

(oh did I mention it’s FREE)

;

Stardust Melody

“Baby?”

“Yes, Nana?”

“Did I ever tell you about the time yo grandpa played clarinet with Glen Miller.”

“Only about a thousand times.”

“Glenn Miller said that your grandpa …”

“…blew that clarinet like nobody he’d ever heard before. One minute it’s Glenn Miller, the next Count Bassie, Louis Armstrong. Nana, are you okay?”

“What you mean am I ‘ok’?  I’m fine.  I’m trynna tell you somethin’ and you keep …”

“You need to eat.”

“Go in the top drawer over there and fetch me out that box of pictures.”

“Nana, you have to eat.  I’ve been here two days and you haven’t eaten more than a cup of ice cream.”

“I like ice cream.”

“Can you please just eat this applesauce? Please?!”

“I’ll eat every mouthful if you go over there and get my box of pictures out that drawer.”

She goes to get the pictures for her grandmother

“Here.”

The old woman fumbled through the box of photographs and pulls out the one she’s been looking for.

“There he is!”

“That’s grandpa?”

“Yeah! He was just a youngin’ here.  Handsome.  This couldn’ta been too much more before I met him. I sure loved him in that uniform.”

“I …”

“You look jus like ‘im. ‘Specially when he was young.”

The two stare at the photograph, lost in their own thoughts.  Her grandmother begins to sing.

“ ‘Sometimes I wonder why I spend such lonely nights …

“I got the pictures. Now we eat. That was the deal.”

“ ‘The melody haunts my reverie. And I am once again with you.’ ”

“Nana.”

“Come on sing wit me Baby.  I know you know the words. ‘When our love was new–”

“ ‘Each kiss an inspiration.’ ”

They both sing.

“  ‘But that was long ago, now my consolation
Is in the stardust of a song
Beside a garden wall
When stars are bright!
And you are in my arms
The nightingale tells his fairy tale
A paradise where roses bloom’ ”

Now there is only one voice.

“ ‘Though I dream in’ … come on Nana this is the best … Nana?”

Silence.

“No. No. No No No No No. No. Nana wake up please. Please wake up.”

Silence.

“Baby. Finish the song.”

“I can’t. Don’t leave me, not now, I need you.”

“I ain’t neva goin’ nowhere. I’m gone always be here.  Now finish it.”

Silence.

“ ‘Though I dream in vain
in my heart it will remain
My stardust melody
The melody of love’s refrain’ “

They are together. Now one life.

Rosie.

Gorgeous 🙂