Some Whine for Your Cheese: A Release


I am exhausted and fighting illness. I’ve been drinking echinacea tea, emergen-c, popping zinc pills and doing the absolute minimum at work today. Taking care of Bean for the week she was sick stretched me to my limit. And it’s not like she hasn’t been sick before. But it’s the first time in a very long time where I had to devote so much of my energy to taking care of her, working my full time job from home, working my side job from home and keeping the house clean so the germs wouldn’t spread. All by myself. Where is Calgon when you need it?


I’ve worked since I was 11 years old. The events that took place around my 14th birthday forced me into adulthood. I. Is. Tired. And it feels like whining to express it. Cause who ain’t tired, yanno? And tired or not, life, work, obligations . . . it goes on. It never stops. But this week, more than anything, I just want to leave it all behind. Work, motherhood, endless violence against my people, giving a fuck. I want my island with the blue house 2 miles from the ocean and my loving partner who lives next door and the local village market that I can walk to for breakfast lunch and dinner every day. I swear I was born into the wrong social status. I keep telling myself to start playing the lottery, but I’ve seen my grandmother and aunts spend their last dollars on improbable hope and it just aint for me.

I feel so alien. So alien. I want to sleep and never awaken. And not in the since that I wish to die, but I want to Rest. To dream endless Afrofuturistic dreams on location in outer space and under the sea. Writing helps – and I have to recommit myself to do more of it. Writing and music. I find myself searching for new artists to give me that familiar feel that comes with new energy. Revitalization. I’m not depressed – I know what my depression feels like and I have been there many times, but this is not it. This is…something else.

Pause to celebrate the fact that I have not had suicidal thoughts in over 10 years…

I am trying to get comfortable with the nagging loneliness that comes from, well, life. I am trying to get comfortable with the work that goes into being my own greatest love. I have a lot of internal work to do, and I know that when I am partnered I pour into her, and too often do not receive reciprocity. I love spending solo time, love my reclusivee ways, love having the bed to myself and not shaving my legs and acting out in silly ways that I only do when it’s late at night, and no one else is around. In many ways, that’s when I’m happiest. But there is something in a kiss from a lover who thinks you hung the moon and would do anything for the solar brilliance of your smile. There is magic in the love from a woman who, though knowing it may not last forever, just wants to see how far we can go. There is liberation in a good fuck steeped in devotion. I am a woman of fairy tales and imaginary worlds where you can find soul-piercing love, and I used to antagonize myself about it. But I realize now that my way, my desires, keep me from drowning in this world that is all too real, too practical, too full of irrelevant obligations. So alien.

I spent my 36th birthday with a group of magical queer Black women who made me feel submerged in love and light.  I’m so grateful to have them in my life. They’ve made Atlanta much more bearable and I don’t know – don’t even want to know what the alternative would look like. They hold me up even when communication is down. They stretch me in new, different, healing ways. Challenge me to gently uncover old childhood wounds and breathe life-giving, forgiving breath into them. I love them.

Pretty much on cue, I’m feeling that my style/wardrobe will be changing soon, and not just because of the changing of the seasons. I hate wearing pants but those jogger/hammer pants that are loose in the crotchular region? oh honey, they give me Liiiiiiife. with an oversized sweater (or crop top w/a cardigan) and my fave brown boots. I’m excited just thinking about it. It’ll be a slow shift, because minimalism. And the freedom and simplicity of dresses & skirts is profound. But I feel like I’m leaving my Lisa Nicole Carson phase and entering my Lisa Bonet/Cree Summer phase. Hippie, mother goddess who listens intently and only speaks when she has something of importance to say. Time will tell, I suppose.

If I know nothing else of myself, I know that I am resilient and I have an overflowing abundance of love to give. I am a mermaid, a daughter of the sea. On days like today, these are the truths that hold me.

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Eat, Play, Tune In

May 2014 held my first vacation in over six years. After graduate school, having my second child, and relocating from Kentucky to Atlanta alone with my babies, my first trip to Miami was a necessary intervention. I dyed my hair Nicole Ritchie Purple, got my first (and last) bikini wax to celebrate my escape, and floated through the airport looking and feeling every bit of my Black girl magic.

As we ascended to 10,000 feet, I closed my eyes and exhaled six years’ worth of residual stress. I wanted to sleep – that sleep that only comes when you get a rare, real break from parenting – but I was too excited. So I pulled out my journal and recorded my random thoughts: the daring beauty of wildflowers . . . what if we’re flying through the clouds, entering a parallel universe and we never realize it until we get back home and the answers appear to us in our dreams? No grocery lists, no to-do lists, just me.

Sky Fairyland II Clouds outside my window told stories of bear-driven chariots and exploding volcanoes. A woman’s face took shape – she was beautiful, and had a quiet fire in her eyes that held me as if she knew me. I thought about how long it had been since I laid on the ground, searching for stories in the clouds – since childhood, I’m sure. A cumulus shape-shifted into a dragon, and as I pulled out my Kindle, ignoring the twinge of guilt for betraying my dedication to real books, I made a mental note to spend more time lying in the grass.

We stepped off the plane to somber faces waiting to board. They looked so pitiful. I didn’t know it at the time, but it was a foreshadowing. I’d be sporting that same face when it was time to return to Atlanta.

But for now, I was over the moon. The taxi driver cheating us out of five dollars couldn’t even kill my vibe. Rae, my best friend and travel buddy, attempted to set him straight, but I just wanted to go. I gave him the money and after 15 minutes of searching for the hidden entrance, we walked up to our studio flat. It was so cute. AirBnB had done us right. It had a simple elegance that made perfect use of the small space. We didn’t take long to admire the place; we wanted to explore. And eat. Rae picked a random direction and we headed south down Washington Avenue. We crossed the street and came upon a blind old man waiting at the crosswalk. I moved to walk around him and he turned in my direction.

“Hello? Can you walk me across the street?” I love old people and he was so charming, plus I’m a sucker for Caribbean accents and his was thick. I felt honored. Chosen. I slid my arm in his, and across the street turned into down the block and around the corner to the bus stop. We spoke of his children and grandchildren, the years he’d spent in Miami, and where to get good, inexpensive Cuban food. Las Olas became my breakfast go-to for the remainder of my trip, and as later trips to Savannah then Puerto Rico would reveal, helping an elder on the first day of vacation blessed the remainder of your stay.

Rae and I roamed the streets, in and out of shops, ducking under awnings to watch people run, walk and dance in 10 minute downpours. I didn’t realize how fast I walked until she had to tell me (several times) to “Slow down, Shawty. We ain’t got nowhere to be.” I’ve never been a watch-wearer, but I’ve always been time-conscious, so the freedom of not knowing or caring about the time was delicious.

The city is a magnet for some of the most beautiful people in the world. Like, unrealistically gorgeous. Miami helped me realize the truth of my fluid Queerness

georgewith George, the Dionysus at Hotel Victor’s Passage Bar, whose mojitos anointed my existence. Miami freed me and returned me to myself. The sway in my hips returned. I could breathe again. I could play again. I rediscovered the beauty – and necessity – of disco naps. Necessary for maintaining the energy to dance all night with that sexy andro-femme Latina with the dimple piercings. Necessary for standing in line at four in the morning at Krispy Krunchy Chicken for bangin biscuits and chicken that made me doubt my mom’s reign as the best to ever fry a bird.

We didn’t have an itinerary for our trip, but being the mermaid that I am, every day at the beach was my one requirement. I hadn’t been near the ocean since I had gone to Trinidad over ten years ago. Since then, I’d spent a lot of spring and summer days at lakes, creeks, and swimming pools, but it wasn’t enough. There is nothing like the power of the ocean to cleanse you.

La Siren. Yemaya, Mami Wata.

I ran into the water, salty tears falling to meet their Mother. Abandoning the shore, slowly lowering myself into the water to adjust to the cold, I promised Her that I wouldn’t stay away so long anymore. She embraced me and we danced for hours. Hunger and fatigue left me; the ocean fed me, gave me rest. I floated on my back, tilting my head so that my ears took in the sounds below the surface, and my mind left the topside world. I relaxed and let the water carry me wherever it pleased. Being weightless and giving up control to such a powerful entity was unnerving, but peaceful. I let go, and gave all of myself. I was tempted to float forever, until the waves pulled me out and called me beneath the reach of the sun’s rays. It was enticing. The ocean holds a powerful calm, and water sirens are real. When I emerged from the water, my hair was no longer lavender. The salt had turned it silver, the color of Wisdom, and Magic. I had been kissed and crowned.


The day before we left, my cycle started. So I was able to go into the ocean on the first day of my cycle during a full moon. Taking advantage of the divine alignment, I spoke all of my desires into the water. She responded with large, powerful waves, too rowdy for peaceful floating. She tested me, knocking me down as I walked against the force of the waves. I swam parallel to the shore, then stood and repeated the ritual. When we’d finished that test, I just swam. Diving under the waves and pushing further each time. We tussled, determinedly, until I was called back by the lifeguards. I had ventured out too far, taunting the rip tides, challenging my own limits. I swam then walked back to shore, tired but triumphant. I was ready to face the world again.

My final treasure came in the form of food. Of course. Oh, how I love thee, Havana 1957. They had a roasted chicken, rice and beans and plantain dish that still gives me foodgasm flashbacks. I haven’t been able to find a restaurant in Atlanta that can recreate the experience. God, my mouth is watering right now, just thinking about it. It was the perfect last meal to have in Miami.

The next day demanditmeed our return to reality. Our departing flight required an 8am airport arrival, so we woke early enough to catch the Sunrise on the beach. I presented my offering to Yemaya before meditating and watching the pelicans search for breakfast. I was tempted to lament the end of my vacation, but I was filled with so much gratitude. Miami pulled me back from the edge and hit the reset button. My wanderlust and inner Wild Woman had been reawakened and I could be nothing but thankful. For the ability to just be there, to be alive, and to be free.

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“We’re All Mad Here” – New Doors, Black Rabbits



Writing fiction is a new hobby of mine. I love doing the journal type stuff, but over the past year, I’ve been doing short stories and flash pieces, and they’ve been fun to write. Using only my imagination to create something, and not being afraid to journey to the dark parts of my mind has been a bit of an adrenaline rush. They could use some outside editing of course, but I think they’re pretty good for what they are. Once I feel like I kind of know what I’m doing (does that ever come?) I’ve been thinking about collecting them and making a book or something. Kiini Ibura Salaam’s Ancient, Ancient was a big inspiration for that idea. Loved that book.

But I’m realizing that as much as I like bringing my own imagination to print, I’m more interested in getting into other people’s heads. I’m naturally curious and observant (what others might call “nosy,” but whatever), and I’m sure it has something to do with being a psychology major. This was, of course, after I majored in early education, and before I was an English, Undecided, and then Pan-African Studies major. Like I said, curious.

Copy editing, reading and writing book reviews have allowed me to feed that curiosity, to get into the minds of other writers, see what makes them tick, and sometimes find reflections of myself. It’s also a bit of an escape from the labyrinth of my own brain. Sometimes it gets a little too weird in there. Like Guillermo Del Toro weird.  Did I tell y’all I once had a dream that I was inside a house that was made of images from his mind? CUH-RAY-ZEE. I loved it.

So anyway, I recently got to add to my method of the exploration and unearthing of the creative mind. Elixher magazine, for which I’d written book reviews in the past, contacted me and asked me to interview two authors whose books were soon to be released. I was intimidated at first. I’d never done author interviews. Hell, I’d only done a few work-related search committee interviews, and I didn’t enjoy those at all. But I was up for the challenge, because fuck it: it was an opportunity to have a new adventure, and I’m always down for that. It also gave me a chance to read something that wasn’t on my radar, so I agreed.

The first book was a collection of poetry. Now, I’m not the biggest poetry/spoken word fan, so I wasn’t excited … until I started reading. Humanity Maintained, by Shanell Bklyn is a beautiful piece of art. Heartbreaking, redemptive, powerful. I saw myself all up in it. I felt like we were soul sisters. Like, I wanted to travel to New York and continue our conversation over red wine and pizza, and … so maybe I developed a bit of a crush. But good writing will do that to you (And she’s gorgeous to boot.. You know how us Leos do). But more importantly, I discovered that I do like poetry (or spoken word. maybe both, I still don’t know the difference). But like anything else that matters, it has to speak directly to me – it can’t just be something highly touted by the world because it’s written by someone I’m supposed to like. Aint nobody got time for that.

In my 2cent opinion, a good book – whether YA, Romance, John Clancy or Omar Tyree (what up Flyy Girls!) – helps you find yourself. It takes you on new adventures and sparks new questions, thoughts, beliefs, and ways of maneuvering in this world. Seeing myself in other people, and being able to see other people in me, has helped me become a better friend, mother and lover. And much of that has come through reading. As a copy editor, I get to see creative work that is raw, unfinished and imperfect. Being given this access is humbling. Writing book reviews helps me give other readers an introduction into new worlds.  And bonus, it helps me remember what I’ve read, so that I carry it in my soul and act accordingly. And now, with author interviews, I get to go right to the source, and hopefully ask some questions that challenge the author to journey into the shadows of their mind to find forgotten, whispering pieces of themselves. Liberation through literature.

You can read my interview with Shanell Bklyn here, and hopefully, you’ll learn something new about yourself.  Go ahead and get lost in a new jungle. “Sometimes you have to lose yourself before you can find anything.” That was from Burt Reynolds, so you know it’s true. Deliverance was a crazy ass movie. People are weird.

Loved the caterpillar. He threw much shade. "Who ARE you?"

Loved the caterpillar. He threw much shade.


Simple Signs

I woke up in a really bad mood today.

angry lioness



I’m trying to become a morning person, so I’ve been setting my alarm clock to 6:00am. I think I finally gave the snooze button a break around 6:50. I really just wanted to stay in bed and listen to the rain. When I went to my closet and reached for my jeans, I knew the struggle was real. Even in the winter, I’ll put on a sweater dress and some boots. But today it was my solitary pair of jeans, a T-shirt and some black combat boots, the look says, “I give absolutely no fucks. About anything today. And probably not tomorrow either.”


Surprisingly enough, my bad mood didn’t extend to the kid. I was more patient than usual as she agonized for 10 minutes over what to wear and what shoes would look best. I picked out her clothes yesterday and she still hadn’t forgiven me for making her look like an Eliot boy, whatever that means.

Oh, so apparently, this is Eliot Kid. Um, okay, I kind of see it….


When we stepped outside, the ground was wet. This was a problem, of course, because when I woke her up for school, I told her it was raining. “And it’s not raining so you lied to me mommy,” thus sabotaging her outfit choice and crushing her creativity. “Lying” and its various conjugations are her new words for the week, and I don’t know what it is about that word that gets people so riled up (we teach our kids to say “fib” or “telling a story”), but hearing her accuse me of being a liar raised the hairs on the back of my neck. But I ignored it, took a deep breath and ushered her down the broken cemented path to the garage. Somebody somewhere was looking out for my child this morning, cause . . .

On my way out of her preschool, I nearly walked face first into the wall. I wasn’t on my phone or anything; I was looking straight ahead, walking a path I’ve walked almost every day for the past 18 months. But my depth perception was off and right as I turned the corner, the wall decided to move and jump out at me. I stopped in time, saving myself from embarrassment in front of the other parents and teachers. And of course the children who would take great pleasure in the slapstick comedy that is my life.

It was obvious by now that I was in serious need of an espresso and a syringe. I made a beeline for Starbucks for my dirty chai (soy hazelnut with a shot of espresso) and perfect oatmeal. There was a new guy. And something told me to repeat my order to him and have him repeat it back to me, but I didn’t listen to myself. I was too tired to listen. When I got to the office, I realized that my chai wasn’t dirty, and my perfect oatmeal tasted perfectly like crap. The saving grace was that the office was quiet and my coworkers know not to speak until I give them the sign. I wasn’t sure if they’d get it at all today.










So let’s back up a bit. Yesterday, a woman came into my office, to set up an appointment to speak with me about a project I’ll be handing over to her. I wasn’t aware that I was handing the project over to her, but I wasn’t trippin, because I didn’t really want to deal with it anyway. So I told her to come by anytime the next day (today). She said she’d come by in the morning. In my world, “morning” means between 9am and 11:59am.

At 8:27am, I looked up from my disappointing breakfast and saw the short, coffee brown woman who wore her cinnamon sisterlocks twisted into a crown. Her eyebrows were snatched for the gawds, and she had a warm, patient smile. She looked like she was about 55, so she was probably 75. You know how we do. I have a natural reverence for elder Black women. Knowing what they’ve seen and been through, I can’t help but give them the respect they deserve. So even though I was still in my morning funk, I tried to smile through it. But I knew she could see it on my face. “I’ll let you finish your breakfast and I’ll come back a bit later.”

About 45 minutes later, my mood was pretty much the same. I had given up on my breakfast and I drank my chai out of obligation. She walked back into my office with that same smile, and when she came around to sit next to me, a soft exhale escaped from my lips. There was something about her . . . She was calm and soft-spoken, and she wasn’t internalizing any of my bad mood; she was countering it with her positivity, without shoving it down my throat. I also noticed that the more I looked at her, the more I realized she resembled what I imagine my mother would look like at her age, without the effect of the years of drugs and abuse to her body.

After we finished discussing the specifics of the project she was to take over, she asked me about the pictures of my daughters pinned to my cubicle wall. We started to talk about my life: what my kids were like, where I grew up, how I liked Atlanta. From there we began to establish the connection I needed to get me through the day.

I mentioned my desire to leave the U.S., and she encouraged me to do so. Traveling the world is one of the best educations you can receive, and the feeling of finally finding a place to call home is like none other. She told me she was born and raised on the West Coast (the Best Coast!), but she never felt at home in the U.S. After graduating, she traveled around the world, finally marrying and spending time in Sweden and then moving to Liberia, West Africa. When the Liberian Civil War broke out, she evacuated back to the States via Bermuda. She talked of the West’s involvement in the war, survivors’ guilt, and the pain of privilege: being American-born allowed her to leave her war-stricken home with ease, yet she was leaving behind people she had come to love and consider family. She has considered going back, but she knows it will not be the same as it was before she left.








We chatted about the state of the world today, how crazy people have gotten and how our education system is failing us. She believed integration to be one of the worst things to happen to the Black community, because we’ve lost our sense of connection and belonging to one another. She told me that one of the biggest lies we tell our children is that we’re all equal, and all you have to do is work hard and you can do and be anything that you want. She told me to be careful, because living in America as a Black woman makes me a prime target; my life can change in any second, due to no other reason than my existence. The prison industrial system has changed and there has been an explosion of Black women prisoners over the last decade and a half, so I have to know my rights, and stay aware.

We talked about my children, and she reminded me that I cannot mold and shape them into who I want them to be. They are their own forces of nature, and it is simply my job to guide them. They were sent to me because I have something specific that they need from me, but it is not me who makes them who they are.

We talked more about moving, living abroad and exploring the world with my girls. I wanted her to stay and talk to me forever, but she promised to keep in touch. Before she left, she looked at me and said, “Your babies deserve a mother who is completely at peace and full of happiness, so whatever you need to do to get to that point, do it.”

When she rose out of her chair to leave, she reached to shake my hand. I stretched out my arms and gave her a hug. I wanted to cry, and maybe if I was stronger, I would have. Her presence touched me. It was everything I needed today, and she came at exactly the right time. I’m still sleepy, I’m still feeling oppressed and constricted by these tight ass jeans, but there is some sunshine and a little bit more peace in my heart and spirit today. I’m re-energized to keep pressing toward my goals, as simple and few as they may be.

It’s funny how the ancestors work. It’s like they said, “Here. You need this today to get your mind right.”  As I was walking into work, a mourning dove flew right over my head and landed next to me. I watched it as it jerked its head toward me and walk in the opposite direction. Taking another moment to breathe before I walked into the building, I made a silent note to pay more attention to my natural surroundings and receive the messages that the Universe is sending me. Because I knew that would help me get out of my funk. It is said that mourning doves are a symbol of renewal and peace that come into your life to remind you to stop and breathe. Find stillness within the chaos, find peace by appreciating the simple things in life. Simple things like an unexpected morning conversation with an elder who looks like your mother.

Mourning_Dove_b13-32-033_l_1 (2)


Today, and Every Day



write something.

write something of importance.

write something of importance that speaks to your heart. something that pulls at your soul.

write to heal. write to get to the core of your insecurities and work that shit out.

because you are better than all the lies you’ve been told about yourself. all the lies you’ve been harboring, for fear that they are your foundation. knock them down. obliterate them bitches and stand on your truths.

truths created for you, by you.

you’re better than the impact of all the people who failed to see your light. or who saw it and tried to stomp it out. or who saw it and ran from it, and left you vulnerable and alone.

Starstuff lady, you are an entire universe. you have the power to create and destroy any thing at will.

bad ass mutha fucka. you the baddest disney villain. maleficent learned from you.

you are the darkness of a black hole. reflect nothing, just be. consume all who dare to come near. leave the masses wondering, intrigued and afraid.

all the mysteries and unknowns are waiting for you to drop those insignificant distractions of your life and explore the galaxy of your mind. your heart. your soul.

be a hyper nova. destroy and create everything in your path, and those that stand light years away will be paralyzed with awe at the effect you have on them. and even if they’re not, you still are.

so get to work. we are waiting on you.


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Blue in Green


Standing in an open, colorless field, I looked out onto the horizon and saw three skinny funnel clouds dip down from the grey sky. They danced around, taunting the few people who were scattered about, seeking cover to avoid Oya’s wrath. A fourth funnel – a brown dust devil – touched ground and shifted into a stocky, turbulent man in a bowler hat, and as he floated toward me, I looked into his winds. The bright, bursting stars that swirled around in his face turned black, swallowing all light. He blew past me as I ran into the entrance of a building just ahead.

I crossed the threshold, then turned back around to look out onto the field. Color was restored to the world and I walked down the dark hall, following the sound of whimpering dog. Inside a sanitarium-white room, a naked man lie trapped under a blue shipping container, his ear stuck to the frozen ground. He saw me and his whimpering turned to sobs. He attempted to raise his head, and the sound of flesh ripping from his face filled the room. “Please help me,” he begged. “I’m a musician, I can’t lose my ear!”

I didn’t know what to do, if I could help him, if I should even trust him. I walked toward him and a scream filled with anger and the promise of revenge exploded from the pit of his stomach. I fell back and as I picked myself up, I turned to see a middle-aged, red-haired woman in the corner of the room, smiling peacefully at him. She turned to look at me and the corners of her mouth turned down in disgust. I moved to escape the room and found myself inside the shipping container, mid-air, freeing the man underneath. My freedom for his. I looked up through the open space, the blue sky above me littered with thick shape-shifting clouds. The woman’s voice rained down from above: “Just as I’d hoped.” Her voice was sandpaper across my skin.

The shipping container began to fall. As it crashed through the floor, I kept my eyes on the retreating clouds, and stretched my arms and legs, bracing myself against the walls of the container. My body slammed against the container wall as I landed on a frozen pond. The ice began to crack and I reached through the open slit and grabbed a black bar that appeared out of nowhere. I pulled myself through the slit, my skin tearing on the opening. I swung from the bar and landed in a lush green field, just as the icy abyss swallowed the box whole. The field overflowed with light and dark green broccoli, the bunched mini trees covered in enough blood to satisfy a nest of starved baby vampires. I ran back toward the building, and found the naked man standing at the entrance. Fully dressed in an unbuttoned white shirt, slate grey pants and a matching vest, he was exquisite. Appetizing. A diamond earring shone in his once-threatened ear. Smiling, he reached his hand out to me. As I placed my hand in his, I turned back and looked at the field, longing for something I could not name…




Getting Free

I am a warrior, and I will fight for my inner peace to the death.

"Don't Take No Shyt" by markusprime http://web.stagram.com/p/680673533356920377_431039082

“Don’t Take No Shyt” by markusprime

My battle with depression as an adult – thankfully – is not the same as it was when I was 14. 20 years ago (sheesh, 20 years?) I felt I had absolutely nothing to live for.  I’d tried cutting my wrists, but my tolerance for pain at the time was very low (it’s amazing, the changes pregnancy and childbirth bring). So I wrote a suicide note to my dad and stepmom and downed a bottle of cold medicine. I thought it’d do the job – instead, it made me sleep all day and gave me a horrible case of diarrhea. When it wore off, my parents drove me to a mental recovery center where I spent the next two weeks trying to understand the source of my depression and looking for ways to cope with it. After another month of weekly visits to a therapist, I felt cured.

Seven years later, I was making a night run to the store while my two year old daughter spent the weekend with her father. As I sat on the train tracks waiting for the light to change, I thought about not moving. I wanted to stay there until the train came along and swept both me and my car into an unrecognizable mass of metal and flesh. I stared at the red light, listening for the whistle, stilling myself to feel the vibration of the train’s wheels against the tracks. The light turned green, and I saw my daughter’s face. Heard hear laugh. I thought about the effect my death would have on my baby girl. My mother became a drug addict and abandoned me when I was eight. The unanswered questions it left me with, the anger, guilt and confusion that I dealt with – still deal with – I saw myself passing that on to my daughter. I eased my foot onto the gas pedal. I didn’t know how I’d do it, but I was going to break that cycle. On that night, my daughter saved my life. And on that night, I learned that depression cannot be cured.

I no longer have suicidal thoughts. That night was the last night. But I still battle with depression on a regular basis. I still deal with hopelessness and a complete lack of motivation – the craziness of this world will make you question what it’s all for. But for me, the questions are the answers. The confusion of life is simultaneously the beauty of life. Curiosity, awareness and the experience of living is what it’s all for.  Today, I only go as far as the overwhelming desire to leave all my responsibilities behind and run away. Even then, my children keep me in check; I’d never abandon them.  Lord knows having me as a mother is going to give them enough reason to see a therapist.

My oldest daughter (Peachy) is now 15 and battles depression and social anxiety. And sometimes I can’t help but feel like it’s my fault. I understand that depression is genetic. Both my mother and father have it. But they’re both still here. We’re survivors; we find ways. Yet because my parents never discussed their depression with me, I realize it’s up to me to break tradition. I try to do that with Peachy, just let her know that I understand on a real level, what it’s like to be in that space and that you can come out of that space, and use it to heal. She said she’s been meditating, and it’s been helping in her fight to save herself. It brought me so much joy to hear that. Mostly because she’s finally listened to something I said. I didn’t know teenagers did that. I sure didn’t.

But I’m still learning how to be honest with her about my experience when I’m in the thick of my depression. What do I tell her about how I deal with it now? Because lately I haven’t been practicing what I preach.

What I’m going through now, I wouldn’t say is depression. It’s more a very light, sometimey blues. But the thing with depression is that it can down-spiral at any moment. And that’s what you have to be aware of. That’s when you have to armor up. But I’ve noticed myself allowing the enemy to sneak into my camp (sorry, I’ve been binge-watching GoT). I distract myself with television. I stop writing. I haven’t meditated in over a month. I haven’t exercised in almost the same amount of time. I spend all day scrolling my Twitter timeline and cyber window-shopping. This only makes things worse, because I’m focusing too much on needless things.

Aside: I’ve been really distracted by trying to “perfect” my appearance, the image I want to project, with clothing. And it’s really overwhelming, not to mention financially draining. Lately I’ve desired an “all black” wardrobe. I think it’s due to a combination of factors: working around architects all day. That’s ALL they wear. It’s actually kind of sexy though. Black has the ability to make you both stand out and fade into the background. And there’s also the fact that I really want to be a witch. Thank you American Horror Story: Coven for reawakening that dream.

Anyway, I slowly feel myself coming out of it. I’m making minor attempts to get back to me. I’m counting down the days until my trip to Miami where I’ll get to sit on the beach and commune with La Siren for the first time in six years. And I’m taking steps to eating healthy again. I’ve given up chocolate (pray for me yall! Light a candle or something), and sodas, and I’m trying to incorporate more fruits and veggies into my diet. I lose myself in a book. It helps to read others’ lives, other people’s internal and external battles. It makes me feel connected, even if the characters are products of someone’s imagination. For the purposes of my healing, they’re real. These are the things that I know work for me.

My relationship with writing both contributes to and treats my depression. When I’m depressed, I avoid it, even though I know it’ll help. Just a paragraph of a journal entry can make me feel better. But when I write something to submit and it gets rejected, I feel lost. I doubt myself. And I stop writing for a while, and that cycles back into depression, which makes me not want to write. But I always come back to it. So I’m learning that writing for me, and not for public consumption, is where my peace comes from. Thus, I’ve committed myself to writing a little bit every day, and only sharing when and where I feel comfortable.

Listening to my soul’s calling and really paying attention to the things that bring me joy, the things that bring me peace, are my way of fighting. They’re my way of taking care of me and my girls. Because that’s all that I really want for my life: joy, peace of mind, happy kids and the ability to travel. All these other distractions are not for me. Not on a spiritual level, anyway. Saving the world, the simultaneous act of trying to run towards and shy away from a spotlight, feeling accomplished and successful (by whose standards?), it’s all ego. And the more I feed the ego, the more my spirit starves. And that’s where my depression kicks in.

If you’re not careful, this world will deprive you of your sanity, and it’ll take great pleasure in it. It will make you believe that you’re weak because you’re not like the rest of them. Right now, there’s so much focus on the superficial, and not enough respect for or push towards emotional intelligence or spiritual growth. It’s intentional. We live in an ego-driven society. And if you’re not with the program, the world will threaten to leave you behind. But the truth of the matter is, the more you work on your soul’s calling, the more attention you give your intuition, the more awareness of your higher self, the farther ahead you are.

My survival, and the wellness of my children depends on my ability to filter the constant messages the world sends me, and use that which feeds my soul and keeps the ego in check.

Know thy self, know thy enemy. A thousand battles, a thousand victories.”

I am a warrior raising warriors. And we will fight to the death.

Maybe that’s what I should tell Peachy. Apparently, she listens…