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21 more things = 42

The last post was the 21 things I KNOW at 42. At the end I said I'd consider writing 21 more things to make it 42 in total & then ...


Shoe Personality of the Week: 2/20/2011

Today marks the eve of my Personal New Year. Thanks for the term, ZingaLing. The Kulcha Set is all into Sun cycles and whatnot so my revolutions begin again. Tomorrow will be the first day of 365 more days that I get to revolve around the Sun, earning my degree in the University of Life.

Where many dread the approach of another birthday, fearing the equation of +1 instead of focusing on the beauty of what all can happen in a year, I love these annual opportunities to refresh & reload. It’s a continuance if need be or the inception of a new idea or goal. Birthdays are our very own genesis or the prospect of stepping up to the next tier of knowledge & experience (=wisdom). That almost led to a 5%er moment. Caught it. Thank me later.

This year, I’m reflecting on my purpose more than ever before. I work with children daily who have a stew of random syllables stirred together and called a name. My parents purposefully chose my name as a reflection of what they knew to be my destiny or simply to guide it. I’ve noticed a huge difference over the years in children whose parents decided that their favorite wine or car sounded cute vs those who actually researched & considered what their children’s lives would mean. As a child I recall being quizzed on the meaning of my name over breakfast, ensuring that I lived & breathed it, fully identifying with the power behind the words themselves, before I ever even understood what they mean. A gift.

I was the first Life my parents brought into this world. I was an event, their 1st major science project, group art. They honored the occasion by naming me Life. The 1st grandchild on my father’s side of the family, I was the new generation. I'm sure it's deeper than that, as every family's 1st child is their 1st Life. This message still remains lost in translation. Maybe my Cracker Jack decoder ring will come in handy for this mission. Until then, I'm enjoying watching the deeper meaning unfold.

As my mother lay in her hospital bed, looking down into the face of what she had earlier thought was gas, I imagine she nuzzled me & discovered just how cottony Soft I was & smelling Sweet after being cleaned & fed. It could have been a general reaction to me as a baby or the secret whisperings of a mother to her child telling her what she’d need in this life. A woman is supposed to be Soft & Sweet. Knowing full well the kind of women I descend from, my mother must have known that I’d need a reminder to be such a woman, a woman capable of soothing & buffering for some as yet unidentified male counterpart. No man wants to rub up against a woman who makes him look twice at her to make sure she’s not rockin’ a Johnson like him. I'm not quite sure how she knew but my mother intuited that the "go hard" in me, deriving from her tree, could certainly choke the life out of any others. Be Soft & Sweet, daughter, it'll serve you well. I'm still practicing.

Mommy & Daddy have always been people who have commanded Respect. They’ve also been very good at showing respect to others. My sister & I have been raised to always carry ourselves in a respectful manner, demanding respect from others, but also taking care to show it as well. Wise parents that they are, 1 or both of them must have anticipated that this would be a challenge for me, especially. I got hung up on the part about reciprocity. I’ve given respect to others & had the return be quite the deficit at times. This has especially been the case with some elders. I haven’t bought into the concept of people deserving respect simply because they are elders if they have proven they behave in ways that don’t warrant it. Initially I can give it because of your elder status. At the point an elder shows his/her ass, my mind switches to peers & my mouth switches to… Yeah, uhmmm, so my parents gave me the name Respect to help me overcome this weakness. It’s my very own sticky note to self to #simmadown when it feels to me that they are beginning to unwind & get a little too loose with me. I hear you, Parental Unit.

My last name, a name on neither of the parents’ birth certificates, is all about the importance of Family. They were hoping to reinforce that sense of connectedness. I love my family but I haven’t been so good at the connectedness piece. My mother’s side of the family is disjointed at best & I honestly don’t know very many of them. Contact with the 1’s I did know as a child has cooled & I’ve gotten comfortable with that. I have cousins with children I barely know & feel really bad about it. My father’s side of the family has always rallied around the children & it’s something I wanted to do for the younger cousins. I’ve only been able to get there with 1 of them, contact with the others remaining limited. The people on my father’s side who’ve always been there for me….well, life happened & we’ve all kept living it. Holidays are staples, but past that, none of us does a good job at making the hour trek to 1 another. My grandmother will be 81 this year & there’s no excuse for me—us—not making better use of her remaining time.

So…I’ve got to stop living like this

(on my individual steez) & reconnect with my people. I’ve really got to force myself to actually use the phone & to put the miles on this car I HAD to have. I can use the time as the necessary occasion to sloooooooooooooow dowwwwwwwwwwwn. The back history on these people I come from rests there & could serve to be inspiration for an interesting tale in the future. Who knows? Even if it isn’t, it’s worth it just to be able to feel the warmth radiating off people who love you simply because you exist, & moreso once they know you. My family loves me incredibly & it’s the well I need to return to, quenching this thirst I carry these days.

As African names go, I don’t have the grand sentence that connects me to the Gods & the Earth. I wasn’t named after any Freedom Fighters or any stops on the Underground Railroad. I do, however, walk with built in reminders of WHO I am & WHAT I need out here in these streets to be OK on this Life walk. Every time you call my name you reaffirm my purpose, helping me stay on my path. I thank you for honoring my name in this way.

Watch me move.

1 comment:

  1. I could not have said it better myself. And you know I can write! Love you Dearly, Dear Daughter.

    Love you!