crawfish.

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it’s starting to feel like spring, here —

warm with dreams of hot crawfish dumped on a table and

I smell it heavy in the air driving home past the big vats of them,

soaking in that spicy water:

garlic, cayenne, celery (and loads and loads of salt)

a hell broth that reminds of the times I learned about Jesus.

 

It is far away, sometimes.

Everything lately has been LOUD.

With the sounds of guns,

with the sadness of losing my uncle to cancer.

But I’ve planted some seeds, didn’t you know?

I’m watching them grow. They are wispy like the hairs

on the tip-top of my head.

 

Every season is renewal.

Of dying and growing.

Of being thankful,

and often times full of sorrow.

You meet us there, in that field.

I read that once in a poem.

I imagine you there always,

some great peace in the midst of all the grinding

and working wheels and decaying dark things.

 

Yep.

I see the seeds I’ve planted starting to burst out of the ground,

because the conditions were just right.

I can’t help but feel so green and raw with them,

hanging on for dear life because it is always so new!

Whatever it is we feel, it’s always something new.

 

But honestly, what I really want right now?

Hmm.

Peace, mostly. In my heart and for everything,

but actually, if I’m being true to this one moment,

I want to rip open a flimsy brown bag full of steamy hot crawfish

and wipe the sweat from my forehead.

 

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use it

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This is a hard chunk of life.

It almost seems like grace isn’t enough for all of this. I don’t know what is enough for all of this. I could have a million words and it would not convince a person filled with such hate for another person.

I’ve been without my phone for a few days, which means I haven’t been keeping up with everything, all the time, everywhere. Some part of that is very liberating. But then I got home and turned on my computer and saw the things you saw and were already speaking out against.

It breaks my heart. I know it breaks yours too.

Your silence also breaks my heart. More importantly that some of you have that hatred in your belly, and while you don’t adhere to these practices, you live it all the time. Sometimes you teach your children or grandchildren the ways that you hate something and you plant an idea into their innocent bellies. No one is born with the knowledge to hate another.

So you are responsible for the love and hate you speak. Always, forever and ever.

If you are silent about injustice, you are not on the side of the oppressed.

No, you don’t have to hold up signs or go to rallies — but you can, with a small word or change of heart, heal something much bigger.

White folks — this isn’t about being a hippie anymore. It’s about doing what’s right. You love and pray to God for peace and for all things to be made whole?

Well guess what — it is up to you now.

None of the “world has fallen/man has sinned/we are forgiven” excuses that make you comfortable in your recliners at night. We don’t have time for that anymore. But you do have time to speak love and teach younger more innocent things what love is and what love can be.

And if you don’t believe in a God, that goes the same for you. Being human is a real thing. And we are seeing the ugly underbelly that never rests. Truth is, it’s always been there. Always will be there.

But, you are a light and you are a voice.

use it.

use it.

use it.

 

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enough.

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January is just too long.

It’s a recovery month, I think. At least that’s the way I see it.
Everyone is adjusting to a new year, and regaining some composure after the blast of late year holidays.

I, however, am in the midst of some funky stuff.

When I was in counseling and seeing my doctor regularly, I was picking up tools to use. Granted, it would be nice to have that sort of thing here, but Mississippi lacks in what I would consider a more holistic style of healthcare. But the tools I did gain, keep me aware of my body processing the world.

What I ingest, both physically and emotionally, takes a huge toll. I keep that at the forefront.

The sad parts of my being are craving physical touch and connection. I’d say more of a longing than actual sad, sad. Though I think feeling sad is important. I think there’s plenty of poetry there, some marrow, and perhaps a bigger part of our life force.

Restlessness is something I feel.
As a person who is in constant thought of something bigger, I have a hard time adjusting to the slower seasons.

Lately, I’ve been learning to adjust to my own expectations. Of basically every damn thing.

My cooking. My attractions. My belly which has been eating a lot of carbohydrates (read: delicious things) the past week.

More so, my expectations of what falling in love looks like. I’m having a hard time separating the things I know of that kind of love. Granted, I am not in that season and don’t imagine it happening here any time soon, but what I have been noticing is my fear of intimacy.

I feel some fear in my belly. For losing someone again, even though I haven’t much made an effort to pursue. I am influenced heavily by the elements that surround me. I get knocked down a few pegs when I feel a little too confident and remember why it’s so good to be humble. I enjoy who I am. Truly.

I don’t own much. I don’t make much. I don’t need all that much.

I’m in the in-between, as far my spirituality goes. I crave that Great Mystery, but for some reason, I cannot grasp it. Like some pit I’m falling into, trying to grab hold and it’s just too slippery. I feel it may be my undoing some days.

Not God-fearing enough.
Not confident I am tough enough to handle this industry.
Fear of being an asshole, because I have asshole thoughts.

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I am a messy form of a human. I know we all are, at least I know that’s probably what you’re thinking. But I want my beliefs to be a bit more firm. I suppose seeing more of the world, and more of the worlds of people, I am swayed to believe that we are all floating forward towards the same sorta thing.

I float around not really conforming to this or that. I will not judge you for your lifestyle, as I hope you won’t judge me for eating a Christmas tree cake even though they are out of season. (Which, in my book, is never true.)

I can tell you that I love fried catfish, and a nice medium rare steak.

I love eating hash browns on Sunday with poached eggs and hot sauce.
I love being there for people.
I have a hard time taking without the weight of giving back.
When someone orders food when the kitchen closes in 10 minutes. Ugh.
(But really, it’s fine. Really.)

These things are true.

There is nothing I enjoy more than learning how to cook better. Hanging my head over a pot of kombu and dried shitakes, wondering, “Is this right??”

Maybe that’s the idea that I’ve known all along.

A longing of sorts, of tasting and nodding.
Adjusting,
Adding,
Taking away,
asking,

is this right?

I’m not quite sure.
But I’m always asking.
Always tasting.

And today, that is enough.

time and light.

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A few weeks ago, I read a story about a young woman who is choosing a physician-assisted suicide.

I read it a few times, actually.

She is choosing when and where and will be surrounded by her loved ones, after deciding the pain of her terminal illness was getting to be too much. I realize there is a lot in that, and what’s been on my mind, is not so much the politics or the religious aspects of such a decision.

More so, the power of her choice.

I think about how hard all of that is.

And yesterday, I felt pretty whooped — physically, emotionally.

Busy week in the kitchen, mixed with a whirlwind of everything else.

I sat in the deep sadness of this young woman’s situation. Her life, and having to choose something so terribly difficult before her peers and family.

I sat and wondered if I had one week to take all of life in, what would I notice?

I let it sink in a little deeper, and deeper. Until my eyes started to water, and I looked up at a blue sky, with a few scattered clouds. I thought about how beautiful and rich everything was. There were some birds involved, a slight cool breeze and the sound of crunchy leaves blowing against concrete.

I sat for a minute to take it in. To simply, notice.

I let in the good and the bad. My absolute joy mixed with my worst pain.

The faces of the poor and the sick, and the butterflies of having that first kiss.

Everything came flooding back into my world.
How lucky I am.
Though I find myself existing in all sorts of worlds, I think about the fact that I was able to live in such a great love, and to also experience the great sadness of loss.

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You realize that the world starts feeling like a t-shirt that has stretched beyond repair. And when you put it on, it is familiar but it doesn’t cling to you like it used to. You hold loosely to your attachments because time tells you that things come and go. That there are good years, and bad years and in between years.

I’ve personified time as my friend, as of late. I hold it close and thank it for giving me space in this little baby blue world.

I accept all these hard decisions. To move on in this world and the next, and to find that great peace we’re all constantly working to live in.

I think about her, and the fact that she’ll be surrounded by her family and loved ones. My heart breaks. But there is light all over when that happens, pouring into the cracks.

peace be with you, Brittany. sending my love and God’s love and warm and fuzzies your way. Thank you for your light.

 

medicine.

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The South can be a spiritual and emotional place by nature.

It wraps you up in the language of grace and the blessing of hearts.

And I’ve gone through many seasons of both.

Sometimes people talk about God as though we’re all believers in the Divine, yet there is so much that I’ve seen and felt. I listen, regardless. If it’s important to you, it’s important to me. I can though, move in and out of it as I need to. As much as that doesn’t seem to make sense, I get tangled up with you and your words. I get lost in your story and I want to know how.

I dwell in a community of people who believe in a lot of different things.

I feel their love shine on me the same.

They’re all working on those things. Figuring out how to raise their kids.
They are tired, but looking for meaning in the day to day.

We sit and eat as a way of oneness, as a way of sharing.

Equals, we are, sitting at the great big table.

Still, I find myself lost in it all.

I’ve found a great comfort in not knowing. That is the space that I dwell in.

I see your hearts, living with intention and moving in the ways you need to move. I remember it. I remember it for my own life. I feel how you love, and I still feel what it was like to move in certain ways.

We all kind of lose a bit here and there.

Most of us wish it was our weight. These damn bellies…a physical reminder that we’re all a little soft. I like to remind people that I’m built for comfort, not speed.

I suppose, as I remind myself to submit to a place while I am there, this is what I see.

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There are times that the future freaks me out. I start thinking myself into someone, someone who doesn’t even exist yet. No wonder it’s so overwhelming to dwell in future things. It’s not who you are just yet.

We’re all slowly becoming.

I like that.

That’s a little like medicine, to me.

We have to give ourselves time. I heard someone once say that life is short, but that it’s also long. We have a lot of time to miss our mark and get back up.

I’m always talking about giving yourself time and space. To sit in your own presence and to dwell in it. Sometimes, I do this when I’m surrounded by piles of dirty dishes and smelly cooks. I’ve learned to do the humble work because there is some beauty in its simplicity.

I’ve seen a container be full and emptied and cleaned so many times.

I recognize myself in the same light.

A container, a vessel for something kind of holy and delicate.

I’ve lost it, and gained it back time and time again.

I will continue to do so,

and I will notice myself slowly becoming.

Because that’s a little like medicine to me.

 

dolce far niente

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When I was in India, there was this book that I saw so many Western travelers reading. I suppose, given the nature of said book, India was a great place to eat, pray, and love.

I read Miss Gilbert’s book. Well, at least half of it. I get distracted easily.

I also watched the movie, and recently watched it again.
I’m a sucker for a writer’s story. And specifically, one who was coming off a messy divorce.

I find myself in a lot of those bits and pieces. I also see myself on both sides of the story.

There was the anger. His anger, in particular, when telling her that she didn’t give him a chance to change.
There was her prayer to God on the cold bathroom floor.

My belly started to hurt.
Especially at his anger.
“I made vows! I wanted this! You quit! You quit! You quit!”
All over my body, I felt that confusion, and brokenness.
You always remember how that broken heart feels. It sits on your chest like a lead vest.

The other part of me gets why she wanted out. A lot.
Enough to where she didn’t care what she lost. She just wanted out. She wanted…needed something different.
And with all my heart, I do see it.

A big part of me wanted what she got to do. Travel, get fat in Italy, pray to God in an Ashram, and well, find some love.

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I get ahead of myself, quite often. I get an idea stuck in my head and at times, I am a stubborn fool. I have my ways, and I’d like for everything to follow in those lines, one after the other. “Yes, you go there, and then this and that. Perfect. Thank you.”

And then there’s reality, where maybe 10-15% of the time, you get what you ask for. Even then, it’s never as polished as it is in your head.

But then I started to reflect on this time. I’ve been given such a luxury, to plant myself firmly and to rest and eat and rekindle. Your heart is a muscle, and when it goes through a lot, you gotta give that thing some time to straighten out. Let it rest while you catch up on TV or books or that trip you’ve been wanting to make to the coast.

Give yourself an abundant amount of grace.

Give yourself time.

loads of time.

Build a house out of lincoln logs and go fishing for an afternoon.

Things won’t always get put back together. You will break it, and it will never fit back just right.
I think this is a hard truth. Those things you used to put yourself into, are no longer able to hold you.

I like the idea of the permeable membrane. I’d like to say I am just that. I dissolve into people, and when I do, I will give you everything. And when it’s over, I am wandering about until I can dissolve into another, or another thing. There’s a lot of good in that. I suppose I’d like to work on some balance, for the in between times.

Things are just starting to feel okay.

Okay that I’m alone. Okay that I’ll be living by myself. Okay that my narrative has changed.

There are chapters ahead I hope I pay attention to. Because really, they’re all important. The good ones and the bad.

So while I run the risk of processing Eat, Pray, Love in the same way thousands of others have, I must say that our stories take turns. God becomes the love inside of you. Food becomes romance.
And love,
hmmph.

love is always there,
calling you back to where you belong.