Tag Archives: Love

Death to Silence

18 Jun

I’ve been quiet for a while for so many reasons. I worked a lot of hours. I was tired when I got home. I lost my voice. I didn’t have anything interesting to talk about. I lost interest in myself. It didn’t matter that I would talk to my friends and say something quirky or cute and they would tell me that would be a great topic to talk about. It just didn’t stick. Nothing stuck

And then a visitor knocked on my family’s door.

My Uncle had been suffering with brain cancer since 2009. Here’s the backstory: My Dad had leukemia. He needed a bone marrow transplant and his youngest brother donated his and it was a success. That was September 2009. New Years Eve of that year, I received a call from my Aunt that Uncle was not doing well and she was taking him to the ER. Shortly after that, brain cancer was the diagnosis. While my Uncle started undergoing treatment, my Dad’s health was slowly deteriorating. March 6, 2010, my Dad passed away. It was the first time I heard that flat line sound for someone I loved. It was the first time I held a body until it turned cold. My Uncle could not attend Dad’s funeral due to his health issues, but sent a soulful letter to be read describing their relationship and sadly saying his goodbye. It was heartbreakingly beautiful.

Fast forward to 2014. Through the years, I visited with my Uncle as often as I could. I sometimes wrote letters and called until the only response I heard over the phone was his breath. It was hard to see again another man in my family deteriorating before my very eyes. If you know me, you know about my Uncle and his family and what they mean to me so when I received the call on Sunday, April 27, 2014 that he only had 24-48 hours to live, I jumped in a car and drove the 5.5 hours from Atlanta, GA to Biloxi, MS. I was going to be with my second family – my second Dad. April 28, 2014, we witnessed my Uncle take his last breath and the old wound from my Dad’s death felt fresh once again. I couldn’t escape my grief and I couldn’t capture my peace. He had a well-deserved military burial later that week and we did what we should do – we moved on.

Once more, that visitor knocked on our door.

My cousin called me June 11, 2014 to tell me our Grandmother was ill and that she was taken to the ER. The doctor diagnosed her with having diabetes at the age of 94 and sent her home with medication to rest. Then my cousin called me back one minute later to tell me that she passed away. My Grandmother – mother to my Dad and Uncle. The Matriarch of our family – is now gone. My anger was speechless. My shock was loud. I couldn’t release any grief or tears at work because I was numb. My Mom told me to keep it together and pull from my Grandmother’s strength until I got home. She was right.

When I finally arrived home, I opened a bottle of red wine, drank four glasses, and cried myself to sleep. I allowed all of my grief and other emotions to have their place and space and I let it all out. Here’s the thing: I’m not dating anyone. I’m not even casually dating but I’ve always had a vision for my wedding day. I always wanted to get married in Jamaica so my Grandmother could be in attendance. Another one of my Uncles (who is a Priest) was going to marry my betrothed and I, and my Dad walk me down the aisle. Once Dad passed, I immediately placed my Uncle in my Dad’s position. I still thought I had time and that it was still a great plan. But within a month, I’ve lost my other two major components of my plan. I was devastated. While I wailed in grief for them, I grieved for myself because I’m not where I want to be. My plan will not come to fruition with them gone. Where is my husband? Where are my kids? Where is my house? Where is this life I envisioned? Will it ever happen?

The next morning I woke up with a hangover, crusty eyes, and cotton-mouth. No tears were left. I was at peace. I said my prayers and left it with God. In 9 days, I travel to Jamaica to bury my Grandmother. After it is all over, my life will be what it will be. I will strive to live it to the fullest. I will do what I was born to do. I finally broke the silence and here I am today. Writing again. Another chance to do what I love. Another moment to share my heart with you. How many times do we receive chances? Each time a chance appears, do we take it or shy away from it? My angels are talking to me and I’m listening. I’m not getting any younger and I have to live my life. What will it take for you to live yours?

Rest in Peace to my Angels: Raphael McIntyre (Dad), Rhoan McIntyre (Uncle), and Mary McIntyre (Grandmother). Thank you for your life, your love, and your legacy.

dad and i                                        uncle and i                                                    mama and i

Advertisements

Hairtastic

9 Jun

As a yougin’, I did not have a lot of hair. My Mom told me I used to pray every night for more hair. In the meantime, she would plait my hair and however it landed, is how I went to school. I don’t remember when my hair started to grow but I do remember my first perm – a kiddie perm. You know, the colorful box with the little girl with the slight toothy smile and long flowing hair with the ribbon on the side. Yeah, that. By that time, my hair had grown to my shoulders and I left the salon with that same bright smile like the girl on the box.

During my long hair era, my family vocalized their views about length.

“Men love long hair.”

“Never cut your hair.”

“Your hair is your crown and glory.”

Blah, blah, blah.

I soaked it up. I believed it. I would perm my hair and wrap it at night so the next morning, it would cascade against my shoulders. I had big curling irons and rollers for when I wanted to go curly or extra bobby pins if I wanted to put it up in a French Roll (remember that?). I would run for the nearest bus or train when it rained and curse the sky.  I liked when the guy I liked would play with my hair. My hair meant everything to me.

When I turned 16, I decided to cut my hair in an A-symmetrical style (like Salt n Pepa) as a surprise and declaration of early independence (or so I thought). I came home to show my Mom and when she saw it, she nearly choked me. She said she was ready to get the scissors to cut off the other half. After she gave me a tongue lashing, she sent me to the back of the house to retrieve her some ginger ale and when I went into the back room, some of my close friends were there to say Happy Birthday and instead of squealing with delight, I wailed with devastation. The next few months were difficult to say the least with my Mom rolling her eyes and the snide comments and my Dad shaking his head in disgrace, but my hair eventually grew back and I was back in my family’s good graces.

Then in 2004, I had a hairdresser in Brooklyn who was amazing and trying to get me to cut my hair. I vehemently shut her down. Folded my arms, rolled my eyes, huffed and puffed and told her to just perm the damn thing and let me go. One day, I left work on my lunch break to see her. I don’t know what came over me but when she asked me what were we doing today, I said:

“Cut it.”

She said what?

“Cut it…cut it. Cut it!”

Ok Ok!

She didn’t hesitate to start going Edward Scissorhands on me before I changed my mind. We didn’t even discuss how she was going to cut it. The end result was the ‘Halle Berry’ cut. I left the salon feeling awkward and free. I went back to work and loved the jaw dropping attention of my fellow co-workers. I secretly worried what my Mom would say but at this point, it didn’t matter. I was 29 and it was my hair. For the next few years after that, she and my relatives would ask if I was going to grow it back or if I missed it. I didn’t. It was my choice and with each head turn I received, I loved it. It just meant I had to perm or cut it more frequently to keep the back looking ‘laid’. This go round, I didn’t let people play with my hair. Do you know how much it cost to maintain? Chile, please! You better admire from afar!

In 2011, I started another transition. Going natural. I was curious about the texture of my natural hair and started the transition of leaving the creamy crack. The withdrawal was tough at first but eventually got easier. I noticed how often I looked at myself in the mirror. I also noticed how often I play with my hair. All the time. No really. I am always touching or twisting it. It still amazes me the different textures on this small head of mine, and how it is a combination of both of my parents. I love it. I love me and I’m not turning back.

As I’m still on this hairventure, I’ve noticed that I’ve attracted a different caliber of men as well. Before, I received looks and compliments from my brothers, but now, I am getting looks and compliments from across the board AND I LIKE IT! I admit, it confuses me sometimes as I want to ask them ‘is it the hair?’ but I know it is deeper than that. It’s the confidence and the love that I have for myself as I still discover…well…me!

hairvolution

 To all my natural sisters out there, what other changes do you see about yourself?

The Resurrection of Letter Writing

28 Feb

handwritten

It was a beautiful day outside. I opened the blinds and welcomed the sun into my home. I thought this would be the perfect day to go for a walk, see what the world was doing, and just take it all in. As I was walking towards my closet to get my sneakers, I glanced at my college ruled notebook on the chair. I picked it up and started skimming through it and thought about that time in my life and the people involved. I smiled at the memories and the next thing I know, I was writing a letter.

Three hours later, I finished writing five letters.

I couldn’t help myself. You know how you log on to Facebook or Twitter and you lose yourself to time and sometimes foolishness? (Yes, you do!) Well, I lost time expressing my thoughts and sincere love for those people in my life. I didn’t miss going outside for that walk. There would be more sunny days. Writing those letters flooded my thoughts of memories of passing notes in class in elementary school all the way to high school. I remember feeling the imprint on the paper because we would write with such intensity. My friends had to know I liked so and so; or if we were meeting up later and where. We used any paper we could find – even the paper towel/napkins in the bathroom would be the foundation of our monologues expressing grief of pages of homework or whom we loathed that week. I was especially fond of receiving letters from my family in Jamaica. The first thing I would do is close my eyes and deeply inhale the letter. My Mom would look at me with furrowed brows as I blurted, “It smells like Jamaica.”

I don’t think Mom understood what that meant to me. Those handwritten letters evoked strong, personal emotions. They helped me to relive my visits with my loved ones from playing hand games with my cousins to eating mangos with my Grandfather that he specifically cut up for me. The paper also literally would smell like the country where they were produced. Letters propel you to write and think more with your heart than your brain. They are a beautiful surprise to receive in the mail amongst the junk and bills. You can’t rush through a letter. You must take your time to read and absorb it.

I wish this blog were handwritten so you could know how I feel for this lost art. I implore you to write a letter to someone today. So what your handwriting looks like you write with your knuckles, it’s ok! Go. Write. Today. There are so many pros to writing. Everyone is happy – ok well most are happy…ok, I’m happy. There are only two cons I can think of: writing a letter that delivers horrible news and buying stamps. I would like to think people would deliver horrible news in person or over the phone (not via text) and people can go to the Post Office to purchase a book of stamps. They’re stamps! So what? They’re self-adhesive so you don’t have to lick ‘em!

When was the last time someone received a handwritten letter from you? I would tell you to write me but I’m not giving you my address.

Core Lessons From A Seven Year Old

22 Feb

heart

I do not have children but I have a very dear child in my life that I affectionately call my favorite seven year old. And when his birthday comes around in a few weeks, he will then be my favorite eight year old and so on and so forth until he tells me to stop. Maybe I’ll stop when he’s in college but for now, it’s our thing.

I salute and admire his mother for the way she is raising him.  She has made great sacrifices to ensure the best for his future.  They share profound and mentally stimulating discussions that can perplex even the most educated person on Earth.  This young person has an old man living inside of him. He is intelligent beyond his years, a logical thinker, a giver, and the “mayor” of his school.

He also loves Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Power Rangers, and Bey Blades.

Any time I spend with him, I always leave with morsels to chew on. When I babysit him, I constantly texti his mother of things he said or did. I don’t know why. She lives with him. She knows. Yet, I am always amused how my favorite seven year old brings me back to reality and he has no idea the incredible impact he has had on my life. Here are a few lessons:

Loyalty and Love

This kid is fiercely loyal and protective of his Mama. He should be. Being raised in a single home, they only have each other and they protect each other equally. His love for her is tender, strong, open, uninhibited, and unconditional. He’s not selfish either. He shares these qualities on different levels with people in his circle and I’m fortunate to be one of them.  When he is around, I am not afraid or embarrassed to tell him I love him. I feel a natural protective instinct arise within when we are in public. I don’t even want to play the radio when he is around because I don’t want to corrupt his ears. His youth and innocence is so pure that I want to shield it from the elements called life but I know it is a gift and I cannot be selfish with it. Now if I could do this with adults…

Slow Down

Children do not have a sense of time except bedtime. Any time before that is their time. If I look like I am distracted with work or anything else, he makes suggestions. “You know, you’re more than welcome to watch TV with me.” “You know, I know how to do a cartwheel and you can watch me do them.” “You know, you’re more than welcome to eat food from our fridge.” (Guess I have been looking thin). I will stop what I’m doing to pay attention. I want him to know he is important to me and what he has to say or wants to do is important to me…even the current events of Bey Blade (Lord help me).

Manners

Please, excuse me; thank you, and no thank you go a long way. Period.

Laugh and Dance

This kid has me watching Disney, Nickelodeon, and The Cartoon Network. I admit, they have some funny stuff.  Quite a few of these shows are on On Demand therefore they are on repeat and memorized. After we laugh at them for the third time, he proceeds to show off his moves in the dance routine from the shows and then I’m invited to learn the routine with him. Endorphins are released and all is right in the world.

Hanging with my little homie definitely brings balance to my life and when too much time goes by, my little heart misses him.  With so much bad in the world, am I wrong to hold on fiercely to this little good? I’m looking forward to our next fruitful moments to see what new seeds he will plant in me.

 

What life lessons have you learned from that special child in your life?