I spent the evening working out. These words kept me going. The fact that Olisa don co-sign me for one. Then if you want to lose, bet against me. Not my words, but I am embracing it this season of my life. That and as you no dey for me, I carry my cross go Calvary. I told them not to sleep on me too. I too pray ooh. I been working to hard. So I no fit do mediocre. Premium be the swaga. I accept say I dey change. I no be the same person. And I’m not moved by what I see. I know who I be. I just want my peace. I go get everything I need. In my own timing. Afterall, Olisa don co-sign me. Know this and know peace.

At peace. Image from Nike Art gallery.

Imagine being on the shoreline, crucial and alone. Imagine doing so to open a world rigidly closed. Imagine instigating unlearning, as you stimulate learning with words turned radical in the practice for freedom. The past one year I have been on a journey that I never could have imagined for myself. Two years ago, I walked away from a mentoring group that helped me grow. I walked away unsure of a future without the steady wisdom I had grown accustomed to. The hurt, the pain, made me wish I never instigate the hurt and pain I know I caused as well. My mouth often speaks in ways that end relationships and so even as I walked away from that group, I secretly wished that things would have been different for us. Leaving though, meant I was now a bird ready to fly on my own with wings unsteady, but ready to fly. We flew and landed straight on our face. We never lowered our gaze. Rather we got up and faced our fears. It was in that moment I turned to grant writing for the freedom it had offered to me. I knew some of the rules. The regulations were also inconsistent and I was determined to succeed or fail on my own terms. So I started blogging. While this blog was an attempt to keep something about my work and life as a black woman in academia, it offered opportunities to turn language into life or dreams, the highest point of my life. These days grants are an offering of dreams which means each attempt at dreaming for the public is all online.

I have been instigating trouble in my summer program. You will if your remember that you are the ones we have all been waiting for. The ones who live at the shoreline, standing upon the constant edges of decision, crucial and alone. I gift you the power of grant-writing as poetry. These words came out of my mouth unprovoked but led by the spirit. My intentions were to equate grants to stories. Most of my lectures and discussions often describe grant writing as storytelling. But when asked to describe grant writing in one word, I watched my lips utter the word poetry. I didn’t know how to take it back so I let the spirit say things like a litany for survival as only Ms Audre Lorde would or even our souls, solar and soldering as if Amanda Gorman was me and I was her. The idea of grants as poetry has never ever crossed my mind but it did as I lectured about funding your dreams and now I get to live at a shoreline knowing and remembering I was never meant to survive. Yet I will on my own grant writing terms.

Motherhood is not only a noun, but a sound, a state of being, history, culture, memories, mine, theirs, evenings with a sigh, mornings with a smile, all of me, some of them. Something full of complexity, enormity, anything that personifies thing. It’s that thing that is terrible, yet we do in stride, with strength to speak for those yet to speak, stories yet told of loves black line mind who mother in stride.

Like those of my grandmother, a woman, history will never know. Not as a book or a star etched to the ground. Yet memories of her being, bloom in my being. For when I think of motherhood, I see her. My first example of being. Like raindrops falling on my head. The truth nestled within each drop, every single one on my head, is a way of being, she personified so well. Juliana was her first name. Iwegbu her last. Yet, when I speak, you hear her words oozing from my lips, as if she was me in flesh, wearing bones again, and her words break out through me to remind me of all the ways she didn’t falter.

Everything she did was with intention. Even now that she insists we say her name. Juliana Iwegbu. This day was bound to come. She welcomes you in these bones with words that insist on living, a picture of blackness blessed. A picture of the one she birthed. Standing in front of anything. Standing, smiling, saying nothing, doing nothing. But standing. Unapologetic for the thorns that witness how life insists on being born. That to me is motherhood, the idea of doing, being, seeing, not for yourself but for those that would speak of your ways, long after your way of seeing the world, your way of understanding it too, ends, or begins through those who now stand even in the rain.

Happy Mothers Day to all.

I stand because of so many mothers!

If writing is thinking, discovering, selection, meaning, awe, and reverence. Then, how might we create a future where writing is excellence? For me, these days, writing is dreaming, like flowers, blooming.

Peonies are on their way, like writing steeped in dreams!

I see flowers taking shape all around my home. They are connecting me to a life where I stand tall and light. They are also serving as a reminder to look always at all the places and spaces where I begin again, like flowers, to bloom again. Flowers are giving me the space and opportunity to tell stories deep within me waiting to bloom. They are helping me to uncover a voice, time and space plus people almost tried to hide. Flowers see me. They see me just as I am. Naked, open, waiting for moments where I become my own. They are in the purest form, all the ways I hope my writing can be. An act of dreaming, becoming, awakening, opening, of something, sleeping, waiting, still for the moment, when we bloom. Keep flowers in spring. When they bloom, they are like writing steeped in dreams.

We are waiting eagerly!

I am seeing and feeling what it means to be nestled knee deep in a winning season. This is my winning season. The enemies came from left to right, up and down to throw we off his plan. They succeeded at first with causing me to waste time. Then I remembered who ordered these steps and got right back to work. The journey for me has always been long, always been full of joy, always included hurdles, yet at the same time, even as the scales fall and dust settles, it has always been full of grace. It brought us this far, kicking and screaming as we choose life as it is lived. This is the meaning of life. The idea of remembering your origin, being aware of your limitations, yet still rising above them all. May these words, all of them I write, steal into your most innermost corners of your heart. May they also remind you of how no thoughts or theory of life can take the place life well lived. I am on the verge of letting faith, and assets within guide me as I tilt my bloom.

Image by Radiant health magazine.

I have been encouraged to dream, to do so with no filter, to stand outside in a vast field, listen as trees whispers, leaves and branches too. Just as clear-minded, just as strong. Though leaves waver with passing winds. Though branches fall off on their own, to the ground, now on their own. Yet, seeing the journey, seeing it through, whether through trees, or leaves, or branches, is the anything life lived as dreams, offer.

Keep dreams!

My baby boy hugged strangers today. I tried to stop him, but he hugged their back a little tighter. I proceeded to apologize for his touchy feely ways but the strangers, two African women turned around and hugged him back. I smiled. Then he he told them his name. Shared the name of his brother, his mother, his sister, his other brother and his grandma. The women smiled and shared the same. We were at a festival focused on tasting the best of food from a people far from home. But truly, through the eyes of my son, the eyes of two African women we met, strangers at first, we tasted the best of humanity.

I took a long overdue trip outside the country to Lusaka. Where we are staying is breathtaking. So is my current state of life. Change is coming, like peace.

So I’m cleansing myself.

Someone told me to remember always the small things. I did and saw a small African butterfly, black and white, fluttering my way this afternoon. Such transformation from struggle to greatness is the reassurance unleashed along the way.

Instantly, I was reminded that I am living my best life, the journey is still long, few are invited, and in these rare moments, may bliss be our portion always, amen.

May peace too be our portion, for those never created to worry. Those never created to fear anything. Definitely not people, and definitely not change. Rather, we will do what makes our heart at ease.

Keep seeing some world…

Become known for profound illumination, plain speaking, spare elegance, deep thoughts, practical wisdom, a poetic voice. Then dwell on 91. Thousands will fall around. Tens of thousands. But you will not be harmed. Angels are in charge. They protect even your feet from stones. The same feet that trampled down lions and fierce snakes.

So become known as the one he protects, the one he saves, the one he will move mountains for, because he called you by name. That your claim to agency is firm, that they pass you by while others elevate you is clear, that you stay creative even in the face of their torment is grace. The joyful truths of these moments are yours. Enjoy it your way. The hidden and hurtful ones too are yours. Keep it for one day.

Until then, know that you are sacred, you are blessed, you are loved, and you are valued. And your children, all of them that surround your table even now, with the one he called to save you, the ones screaming from Zion, are all that matter. For them and always, Iwelunmor. If you know the meaning of my name, you know everything. Keep it.

My son made flowers for me. I have everything I need!

First, they shoot. They dismiss your look, dim your light, all to erase your name. They succeed. Or so they think. You may stumble, you may fall, you may bleed, you may weep. But your name remains. The thing they can’t destroy. The name they can’t uproot too. Not when the ground belongs to you. The earth and even them too. They exist because you live. They die even as you live. Every single way you restore, you rebuild, you reduce their hate to love. So remember your essence, remember love. That is the power of you, the one named Ralph. The one who endlessly starts over and over again, full of embers, that never die, full of light, that never dies.

One song has been ringing in my head lately. Tiwa Savage’s Stamina. The idea of living to fight another day for one is a plus. That and the fact that there are still so many things to do. So it matters that I have the stamina and freedom always to show what I carry, my way. When you abuse that freedom, get in its way, or even attempt to thwart it, then I pray you have stamina too. Either way, I am living to fight another day.