When I was in Kindergarden, I wanted to be a teacher & a judge. I had a strong understanding of the power of the word as being taught, read, & as a form of political justice. The tongue is fascinating. It creates opportunities, breaks misconceptions, asks critically, & unites & disempowers. Language destroys, rebuilds, & uplifts. It separates & kills & translates. The way that we speak to ourselves & others is the way we create a paradigm that can either cage us or free us.
In the wake of what’s going on in Ferguson & in the wake of my own homelessness, I have found that my own self talk is self-defeating. I feel isolated, although I am not isolated. I feel alone, although I am not alone. I find it very hard to connect with others. The connections that I have maintained comes from an upper level awareness of me knowing where I am at, what I am feeling, & the dangers of going in too deep. So, I have been numbing myself in a sense, so that I do not fall into a depression so deep that I cannot be present for my family, for my responsibility to my community, & to myself.
The last time that I can remember falling into a deep depression was when I was pregnant with Zi. I had just found out that I was pregnant & the reaction from her Sperm Donor was so negative that I did not eat, I did not get out of bed, I did not care about anything. I wanted my daughter because I was honored to be blessed with a baby, but I did not want to be a mom because I knew that I would not have the support of a father.
I was spiritually dead for about three months, until one day I went for a prenatal appointment & my nutritionist asked me about my eating habits. I was 98 pounds at conception & I was loosing weight. She flat out told me, you are starving your baby. Her response was a clap that woke me up & I started to laugh hysterically. It was an awkward moment. But, I became more mindful, because it wasn't just about me anymore. It was about ensuring that the health of my future daughter would be intact.
After the flood, & now dealing with homelessness & in a career that hasn’t been sustainable for me, I am in a funk. I cannot provide or take care of my own. I made a choice to be a mom despite the lack of parental companionship, despite the fact that I wasn't a college graduate, & despite the fact of not having my own home. This shit is NOT biting me in the ass, but in the heart. I am finding it increasingly difficult to care about anything. I am not angry at the police, white supremacy, patriarchy, or my mama. I feel nothing. I feel lost, outnumbered, & misunderstood.
For the past two months I have been trying to write this resume. Trying to calculate all the things that I have done that matters. How do I write in my resume that my whole life has been the very thing which I seek. I have been a program coordinator of creative survival. Between having a mom who can barely walk, on disability, & governmental assistance & living in impoverish neighborhoods with drugs, violence, constant patrol, harassment, & poor quality food, it is just a feat to wake up & live most days.
How do I measure the skills it takes to rise early, plan meals, transportation, develop & implement curriculum, plan trips, manage my schedule, my daughters schedule, and my mothers. That I taught my daughter how to read—something her own teacher couldn’t do. Now, she writes & reads her own poems & songs to the family. How do I quantify the work I have done working with students & people in their own suppressive trenches by using literacy as a way to identify, heal, & grow. How do I measure this war without a full-time gun. I feel defeated. I did not create poverty. I did not create this pain, this ache, or this flood.
However, I did create Zi & I can’t even give her the basic of food & shelter. I cannot give her stability or her own bed with the measly $18,000 I made last year. Isn’t that an accomplishment, surviving in one of the most hardest cities to live in? How do I write that in a resume or cover letter so I can land a job that pays at least $50,000.
Right now, Zi & I are sleeping on a couch. Since I’ve been back for the Dominican Republic, I haven't gone back to the shelter. I cannot say where I am because I am not supposed to be there. I have to keep reminding myself to take it one day at a time. I am still working on my resume, working part-time teaching, and trying my best to write.
I apologize for being inconsistent with my postings. I wanted to update everyone on what I have accomplish thus far since my last post.
- I have been abled to maintain a normal relationship with Zi. Before this whole ordeal went down, I enrolled Zi in a Dance & Theatre program for the summer. So, she had a schedule and something to do. I also knew early on that I would be going to the Dominican Republic for a poetry project so I made arrangements for her to hang out with my close friends while I was gone, so that she wouldn’t be bored in the house with my mother, who cannot physically take Zi out on playdate… I knew that Zi was great when she told me that she loved her life. She said this to me in the middle of the whole shelter experience. It made me present a little bit. It made me realize.
- Another goal that I had was to buy groceries. Through the generosity of my family both on and offline, I have been abled to eat & transport back & forth to camp. I was also abled to buy basic things for cooking & eating, like bowls, utensils, & spatula. I really needed those funds because not only did it help with the basics, but it uplifted my spirit in ways that you will never know. Thank you.
- The third thing I needed to do was leave my building because it is, till this day, still condemned by the city. Because of your monies, I was abled to rent a vehicle & storage space. All of our belongings are locked up in storage & I imagine they will be there until me & Zi find our footing.
- My fourth goal hasn’t come into fruition yet, which was to get a job that offers $50,000 a year.
- My fifth goal of finding permanent housing will not come about until I have the means to do so.
I guess 3/5 goals isn't that bad... That is what I tell myself these days... I also thank the universe a lot. I thank because I do not want to complain. I am alive. I am alive with my baby. I am alive in a home with my baby. I am alive in a home with my baby and I eat. I am alive in a home with my baby and I eat and shower. I eat. I can brush my teeth and shower. And these days, that is a mouthful. That is enough. I am enough.
I see the world wasting water on bucket challenges. I see myself trying to find my feelings, so I can lift them. I see Ferguson making some noise so that I can walk this earth without brutality... I see you. I am trying to find my own footing. Thank you.