I made an investment today, for a future that once seemed impossible. My state of being and all that I hoped to become fundamentally changed with this investment. Possibilities of life, all of which that enable me to voice and imagine more than I can be, allowed me to make this investment fully. There will be moments like this. Those those that defy words. Yet, this investment allowed me to see the beyond my being. Visualize your dreams, I say these days. Do all you can to even dream and the execute them fully. If you do, you too will be making an investment with a life that only practices freedom. I am free because I choose LIGHT.

It’s here. This investment is everything!

I made an investment for a future that once seemed impossible. My state of being and all that I hoped to become fundamentally changed with this investment. Possibilities of life, all of which that enable me to voice and imagine more than I can be, allowed me to make this investment fully. There will be moments like this. Those that defy words. All because this investment allowed me to see beyond my being. Visualize your dreams, I say these days. Do all you can to even dream and then execute them fully. If you do, you too will be making an investment with a life that only practices freedom. I am free because I choose LIGHT.

It’s here. This investment is everything!

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.

Sometimes grants come to me as poetry. Often disconnected from reality, I am learning they enable me to be persistent with reality. The tools for grant-writing belong to masters whose noose can be tight around your neck if you don’t understand their intent. I do. So, sometimes, grants come to me a poetry. For hidden realities, for extreme emotions, those where people take, those where I give. Grants come to me as poetry. And truly when I listen, they are louder than storms.

Who takes my ideas, takes not a leaf that falls with every wind that blows. Rather they take the beat of a barren woman’s heart. A heart seeking the gift of a beat. Persistent, resilient, pleading, waiting, knowing, one day, Onyelo.

Who takes my ideas, takes not some random thoughts strung together. Rather they take the thoughts from the sweat of the one who walked through rivers for Onyelo. Into deep, forests, thick and green. Restless, praying, questioning, watching, hoping for the mere knowledge of Onyelo.

Who takes my ideas. Takes ideas birthed in perseverance. The unquenching fire that burn through delicate and thin air. Determined, persistent, relentless, Onyelo.

From our garden. A source of ideas.

I spoke to my husband the other night about ideas and what to do when they are taken from you in ways you have no control. He reminded me that I birthed the ideas and when I doubt I should never forget Onyelo’s story. It’s my own too. The name alone makes complete sense once you know my history. Onyelo is all I ever need to remember for moments when even my own ideas are released to the world, out of my hand. I birthed them no matter what. So Onyelo.

My daughter cut her hair off today. It was by accident and she has been crying ever since. At first I was angry. I told her to go to her grandma to remove her braids. Grandma has always done so before. She felt she could do it on her own and didn’t need any help. I actually agreed and watched as she went back to her room to begin removing her braids. About an hour later, she came downstairs crying. I looked at her hair and about 40% of it is gone. There is also no point saving the remaining 60% as she cut it all out unevenly. At first I felt anger, which turned to disbelief, then hope, then peace. All sorts of emotions were running through my head honestly but these personify my mood. First I canceled her hair appointment for tomorrow because there was nothing to save. She cried through that but there are consequences for every action. Then I proceeded to use this moment to teach.

We all have to get rid of certain things that weigh us down and honestly for little girls in America, hair is one of them. I grew up with low hair cut at her age and never really understood why I had to do anything to my hair. It allowed me focus and I came into my own, never worried about what I looked. I share this to say, at her age, I also had no hair. I would have preferred we approached this differently but since this is the bed she decided to make, well, I look forward to making the most out of this experience with her, with joy, with pride, of all that she can be, just as she is meant to be. In the meantime, to encourage her of potential looks she could carry with her short hair, I googled for black girls with low cut hairstyles. Try it yourself. There are none. Only young or older women.

That black short hairstyles for girls are not even visible on the internet is the very reason I am proud she will bravely carry this short hair look this summer. It’s different for sure and requires some getting used to, but I’m elated for representation and visibility of all that she can be with or without hair. Keep black girls with their low cuts visible.

Thoughts of things simply the best come to mind on a day like today. I gave the lecture of my life, lead a program I truly love, sold our dreams to a funder, then played drums on old paint tubs with my kids. Life was indeed the best, better than I could ever imagine. Though you are gone, you will always remain the best Ms. Tina Turner. Totally stuck on your legacy for you are the best. We will keep rolling on the river for you.

They say it heals and persevere. Writing. They say to use it to keep what matters. Anything from golden brown meat pies to the perfect strawberry smoothies. They say to use it to amplify and acknowledge, express and experience, cope and chronicle, reflect and resist, solve and save, pray and persist. For we are empowered to express. Emotions, honest, and true. For creativity and support. For wellness and well-being. Anger or change. Radical or necessary. Anything we note, begin with words we first keep, like the opening of peonies.

What awakens you to life? Questions. Mysteries. Love. Hurdles. Happiness. Fire. Advice. The other day my mother-in law, gave me an advice that I needed to take to heart. Today, my husband shared a token from a patients family with advice that I also needed to hear to take to heart. Life is short. All of it. Whether it’s 10 years or 80 years. It’s short. So, lick a spoon.

I did today. I really did. This reminder, awakened something within me. It’s not the people we meet along the way. Those that stop to say hello or those that hurry on by. It’s not the papers we write. The grants too we write. It’s this moment. Times where I get to reflect, these days that matter. Everything else seems simple and small, right next to the vastness of thoughts that awakens you to the possibilities within. Every deed, every sight. Things heavy, those deep. What we do now? What we don’t? All of it for this moment. Not for anything else. But this thing I call my own. What awakens you to life. For me these days, everything, and a spoon.

So I wrote a grant in one day. I know. I surprised myself too. I started yesterday morning after dropping the kids off at school. The topic was clear in my mind but I needed literature to guide the grant writing process. So I spent endless hours looking through papers, for anything relevant. I book-marked papers, got key statistics here and there and tried but failed unsuccessfully with putting even half a page together by the time I needed to go get my kids from school. This was a five hour day wasted at least from the grant writing perspective. In between I had meetings, about 2 of them, one of which was a training program and all of them interrupted my flow with grant writing.

By 2:45 pm when I was getting no where, I stopped, showered and went to pick my kids from school. We got popsicles with his kindergarten class, then went grocery shopping at the African market. By the time we got home it was around 5pm and my day seemed to just go on with still nothing to show for it. We made dinner. I watched as the kids played outside and tried to write but still nothing. Then after dinner, I went to my room and hid myself. Grand-ma was with the kids so told myself to commit for at least 2-hours to get an aims page done.

We did. I was satisfied and went to get the kids ready for bed. I bathed my baby and tucked him nicely in his bed. Then I went back to my laptop to try to write again. It was around 9 and I wrote till around 10:30 pm or so. I took my night shower, put everything aside and committed to at least drafting some of the approach section. By this time I had some aims page and some rough significance.

I also wrote on my blog about something that tickled me earlier during the day. I belong to many academic circles, but one of them has been quite different of late. Imagine all of us writing a paper, but you really dislike me so much that you forget to tag me in your tweet about the paper. I really have no words except to say as I noted in my blog, ignore me at your peril. While they were being petty, I was committing to writing yet another grant that illustrates all the ways I survived and yes I did more than survive that group. Nonetheless, I can be petty too and so I blogged about them, got that out of my chest and went to bed.

I woke up around 5:34 determined to finish some aspects of the grant before my kids got up. At first I was slow. The words were slow and I struggled a bit and kept writing as much as I could. The words started to fall in place. The grant too started to make sense. My kids got up around 7 and I was half way through the approach of aim 2. By 10am this morning, I finished the grant in its entirety, added even the references, took a shower and went to buy groceries.

I am keeping this here because I literally wrote a grant in a day, never mind being a mother to four children and a wife to a very busy guy who literally saves lives. This year has been trying. To think that as the year comes to and end, I am still defying odds keeps me speechless. I still managed to take my kids to piano lessons today and yes, Saturday laundry is ongoing alongside making dinner for tonight. Black women like me are truly primary. We know who we are and we are prepared to show up and show out always. Ignore us at your peril. We are focused on all the things that make us full.

Art by Mikenzi Jones.

When flowers tell more truth, beating rain too, wild grass crumple underneath your feet, all so you never forget their itch to destroy all that makes you indestructible. See as they honor you too with subtle tones and commas, tweets, and phrases because they simply can’t fathom all they ways you survive. And yet, you always do more than survive. You do and the only thing left, are things their hunger for your ways betray. Try as they may, there will only be one you. Your dreams will come true and your bruised hands will write of all the ways you came, you did, what you came to do. Flowers and rain.

While they ignore me at their peril, I sit by my peonies known for good fortune…

I may not have planted you. I did not water you. But I love you every Spring, with the joy of a thousand seeds. I did not plant you, but in you, I uncover things long buried within, happiness, devotion, eternal Spring for a seed planted and watered with care. I did not plant you, but I soaked up your beauty, during days of pleasant dreaming. I did not plant you, but under your reign, I uncover a new being, under your shadow a new me, one open to destiny. These days, everything you see may not be my destiny, but they are the foundation, the land of my womb.

More plants are blooming!