I Celebrate Myself…

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The Power of Forgiveness

I was in the midst of reading an Op-Ed piece in The New York Times regarding The Seed Public Charter School in Baltimore. This is the second of its kind and interestingly enough, I volunteered at the first one in DC when I was an Americorps volunteer. In the middle of reading it I was overcome with emotion–it was gratitude, mixed with sorry and a sense of urgency.

Having lived in Baltimore during my graduate school years ( I just graduated, it wasn’t a long time ago), I know the need that is in the city and the possibilities that are there as well. So, I was struck at the idea of only 80 slots being available for the numerous amount of children who all deserve a good education in that city. Thomas Friedman, who wrote the piece, illustrated the desperation of parents, some of who could not read and write themselves, wanting the best for their children. I was overcome with that emotion I described earlier because I have witnessed that desperation and but for the grace of God… I am here, graduated with a professional degree.

I proceeded to send the piece to my email and made the attempt to email everyone in my address book– friends, former friends and acquaintances about this new found epiphany of inner gratitude and that I was sorry for the things that I did in my life that I might have caused harm to them and so forth. Then, I stopped myself because I came to the realization that the forgiveness doesn’t lie within those people, the forgiveness lies within myself. The relationship that I must nurture is the relationship with me, and in so doing will nurture the relationship with God. For me, my relationship with myself is not separate from my relationship with God…in acknowledging Her, I am acknowledging myself. So, the power of forgiveness lies within me.

So, how does this connect with the Op-Ed piece? Well, I understand the power of opportunity, my life has been a complex one and could have ended up in various ways. However, I am here on the verge of something great within me. I say this not out of arrogance but with the utmost humility. I have been afraid of this gift, afraid that I was not worthy of it because of my background, just like the ones of the some of the kids described in the Op-Ed piece. I acknowledge now that I am worthy, not in spite of or because of my background but because, just because– I am worthy.


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To New Discoveries

I have been discovering new music. I love to discover new things! Two artists in particular, Feist and Alice Smith are awesome! I have had Feist on constant replay since my friend sent it to me last week. Then I listened to Pandora tonight and came across Alice Smith and her song, “Woodstock” (I heard it before, but I thought it was a song by India Arie ). I was held captive by her voice and immediately I began the search for more songs. I came across her other songs, loved them and decided that I needed her cd this summer, just like I need Feist this summer. I need some powerful, real and pure music this summer. I am loving what I am hearing so far.

By the way, I discovered Aaron Douglas today at the National Portrait Gallery Museum. I haven’t been touched by art like this in a while. I visited a couple of exhibits but Douglas’ work felt like coming home. His work was varied and complex but yet there was a common theme. It showed the interconnectedness of the African Diaspora, the beauty of the human struggle. He infused jazz and dance into his art… I am in love.

The picture above may seem simple, but it does not do the actual piece justice. Up close and at a distance it speaks volumes when you view it in person.

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Trading In

Wrote this while listening to Feist. Awesome music to listen to while cleaning your room, ironing your graduation gown, packing, browsing the Internet, texting friends and just plain loving life…

So, I think I am going to trade in my romance novel for Lahiri’s book or even Diaz’s. Am I wrong? Well, I am still thinking it through. I cannot wait for my summer in New York! I can visit Strand and get my books at insanely great prices!!! Yippee!

By the way, I’m graduating tomorrow…

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Romancing the Stone

So today in Borders I decided to buy me a hardcover, against my better judgment, because it wasn’t a hardcover that I have been eyeing all semester like The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao or Jhumpri Lahari’s new collection of short stories… no, it’s a book called Twenty Wishes. I read the insert in Borders, I wanted to read it and I bought it. So tonight I began to read it and when I looked at the back of it to see the genre and I realized that it is a Romance novel, go figure! I haven’t read a romance novel in a long time. My last recollection were the days when I use to sneak them from my aunt’s bookcase when I was around ten years old. Now I wonder what drew me to the book? Well, first the book is about a woman who is fundamentally at a turning point in her life and decides to make a wish list…ahh, yeah , I think I know what the connection is. 🙂 My friend told me that I need a little romance in my life and I think I took him up on the offer– I bought a romance novel.

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Living a Month Perfectly– Each Day

Lately, I have been in between highs and lows emotionally. I am graduating this weekend and although this is something I feel I should celebrate, I am dreading the walk across the stage. I was excited when I first opened up my gown–I have achieved a goal. However, this is the first in a long time where I feel out of control of things and it’s scary. Yes, I am thankful to have a family to go home to and friends who care about me. I do not want to trivialize my emotions either, they are real. I sat on my bed yesterday and my mind was in constant thinking mode and then I caught myself and thought, “I have to stop this incessant mental discourse!” And so I walked and on my way my family called, more information about graduation and hotel room reservations…

So, where am I going with this post? Ah, here is the answer, I read a post by my “soul blogger and she talks about “a month of living life perfectly.” I like that idea– five things that you can do to live your life in a perfect way, each day, for a month. I made my list and while making it I realized that these are the things that make me happy, the foundational things that make me centered– yeah, that’s a better word, “centered.” There are things that make me happy that are not on this list but these make me feel centered. Interestingly enough, I am not doing any of these things, outside of writing and that isn’t everyday. So, I think I am going to do this in my birth month, June and see if I can continue past that time:

Whn I have dreams of living my best life, I always see mysef running-- running strong.

Living a month perfectly–each day

1. Exercise
2. Pray/ Meditate
3. Cook and Eat Healthy
4. Sleep 7-8 hours a day
5. Write

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How do I harden my heart,
And remove you from my memories?

You have lived in my head for far too long
As if to challenge me
Jeering at me that you can linger
You will… linger

I search for you in crowds
And my heart skips beats
When my eyes play tricks on me
Another mistaken to be you

I see kids
Whose parents look like you and I
And I wonder about our own combination

I am angered by the sudden revelation
That maybe you are not “the one”
That if you were
You would be…here

I am often stifled by my own desperation
Stuck in the story of what was(nt)

I seek songs that would best illustrate my feelings
So complex, a huge mash up of
Lang, Chapman, Kelis, Van Hunt
Is often enmeshed with anger …and hunger

I am enraged with passion
I am torn between the bliss of denial
And the havoc of reality

It no longer suffices—hope
For if you knew me
If you really knew me
You w/couldn’t stay away…

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My ‘To Do’ List

It’s 6:05 in the morning, who knows what time it will be when I actually finish this post. I realized that I haven’t posted in a while. I go through my spurts of growth in writing, as I do in life, I suppose. I was reading a fascinating blog that my friend told me about. He thought that I would love it because of the way she lives her life. I agree with him wholeheartedly! I love her morning runs and yoga poses, the pictures that she takes of “Bean,” her son and DH, her husband. I especially like the way in which she writes about the simple things in life and just through her words she shows how important and meaningful they really are– like making pancakes, making easter eggs, washing a glass at the kitchen sink. She’s a writer as well and she began her blog specifically to improve her writing, like I did. So, I guess I have a soul blogger…;)

In one of the posts she wrote a list about what she wants to accomplish in her life. I too have a list like this and so I will like to share, because, I am just in a sharing type of a mood this morning:

Love this picture. When I was a child I would make wishes after catching some it\'s fragments. Sometimes if I see a piece floating in the air I try to catch it and make a wish (without looking too silly now, I\'m an adult)

My Life’s “To Do” list, Inshallah (God Willing)– In no particular order.

1. Run a 5K in August and then a 10 K within the year

2. Write a short story and get it published

3. Move to a country to learn Arabic and French for a couple of years

4. Become a BIG sister (mentor)

5. Join the Peace Corps (It would be cool if that coincides with #3)

6. Take writing workshops

7. Travel around to the most exotic bookstores in the world

8. Take Hip Hop, Salsa,Ballroom Dance and Traditional Indian Classes

9. Make yoga a part of my life

10. Take more pictures

11. Buy a camera

12. Stronger Deen (My Religion)

13. Buy a house with a garden and a big kitchen

14. Trips to India, all the countries in Africa possible

15. Have an awesome study!

16. LOVE with my heart

17. Live in truth

18. Rock Climb

19. Learn to Row

20. More Hikes

21. Camping, “ruffin’ it ” at least one time

22. Learn how to drive ( I know seriously)

23. Learn how to ride a bike (I know seriously)

24. Learn how to swim (diddo cubed)

25. Earn another degree

27. Pray (Salat) and Meditate more frequently

28. Learn how to ski correctly, just to swoosh down the slopes once

29. Write a book, get it published

30. Find a job that I am passionate about

31. Write essays like Baldwin and hooks and get them published

32. Travel twice a year internationally

33. Have weekend getaways where I can discover more of America

34. Be better at giving back- consistent volunteer activity once a week

35. Read my poetry on a stage once

36. Have fresh flowers in my space frequently

( The list may be updated as I learn and grow)