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Deep Roots

I rolled over in bed and quickly realized that was a huge mistake.

The whole side of my body morphed into fine goosebumps and I was awoken to the crisp Chicago night and freshly pressed bed sheets. Streaks of moonlight creeped through my blinds and splashed parts of my bed. It was eerie but serene at the same time. I pulled the covers closer to my body and gazed out the window. The warmth was rushing back towards my body as I bent my legs towards my chest to trap it in. I saw a silhouette of the tree standing in the front yard. During the day it stood in solitude and most of the time barely noticeable but tonight it looked intimidating, fearless and beautiful. The daytime suffocated her true self. She needed to release. The tree was simply stealing the night in order to display her true brilliance.

We all steal in one way or another. I thought to myself.

I took in a deep breath of the chilled night air and reflected on the desires of the human spirit. My chest rose as thoughts stirred in my mind. I needed the tree to share the night with me. So I stole a bit of it for myself.

I did so unapologetically and without shame.

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Life feels full, but nonetheless very enjoyable. At 28, I feel like I am reaching a point of self-realization. I am growing into myself and feel more confident with the woman I am becoming. I have had opportunities to be independent, extensively travel and pretty much “do me”. It always amazes me the turns that your life can take. I always tend to think that I control the major and minor occurrences in my life. Now, don’t get a sista wrong… I firmly believe that Allah has ultimate control but I think we play a huge part in how our lives turn out as well. In my early 20’s I would have never thought that I’d be unmarried and globe trotting.

For real…

We all walk different paths that may converge with that of our family and friends and sometimes they never converge at all. People get married in clusters then they start getting pregnant in clusters too. Think of it like this, in every group of friends there is that one person who kinda does their own thing. The one who is going against the grain of expectation and normativity.

Society dictates what you’re supposed to have, when you’re supposed to have it and how you’re supposed to get it. Are people just cookie cutters of one another? Should people be labeled or pointed out when they don’t fit into what society expects of them? As women we get stuck with this big time. Once you reach a certain age (normally after 30) certain “things” are expected of you. It’s almost as though many of us have an expiration date that is shadowed in the fear of not fulfilling those societal demands. Once we get into our late 20’s we’re in a rush to get our lives “together”.

Life is not set up like that. There is no “set” age or time to get married, have children or even to be settled in a career. I’m sure those things work as motivators for many people but I refuse to live my life in the cloud of societal demands.

That’s mad stressful!

I think about my life and where I see myself in the future inshAllah. I certainly want to get married and have a family, but quite frankly I am enjoying my life. I’m living in the now and attempt every day to be conscious of the present. The past is long gone and the future awaits me, God willing.

Right now is what counts and it is the only thing I can control at this given point in time.

There is a time for everything in your life. I recognize the chances of me finding someone as mobile as myself is pretty rare. I will have to adapt certain aspects of my life and the older I get I understand that people become less flexible. So don’t misunderstand a sista because I know that time is precious and it must not be wasted.

One must strike a balance of living for oneself as well as understanding the realities of life. This balance can be hard to achieve and it is something I work on quite often.

Right before bed and in the early hours of the morning have always been a time of reflection and thought.

Many researchers have said that trees are some of the few plants that can show physical manifestations to outside stressors. Air quality, soil conditions and limited space can inhibit their growth. Just like the human spirit trees need space to fully flourish and reach their highest potential. If not they remain stagnant and eventually die. One must be rooted in the knowledge of self in order to grow.

Remember, there is no growth without firm and planted roots.

I take my time to grow and breath so that when love comes my way I am ready for it to plant itself deeply within my heart. Until then, I steal pieces of the night and patiently wait for the daylight to bring its lessons on life.

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love, personal

The first time

I think I was around seven years old at the time. My family had relocated to Switzerland and I was attending grammar school. Switzerland was small and cramped. The streets were brick and narrow. Every corner had a bakery and the air always smelled like pine. Despite the fact that the country still had neo-nazi tendencies I felt safe for the most part, as safe as a seven year old could feel I guess.

I was attending school and I remember when he first sat next to me. He would follow me everywhere. You see, the Swiss are very holistic in their approach to elementary education. The day would start off with putting my slippers on (yes, we wore slippers to school) and handing Frau (Mrs.) Schafner an apple. She would then carve a silly face into it smile at me and give it back. That was breakfast. The rest of the day would consist of playing, laughing and making small crafts. I was happy.

One thing I remember about him was that he had a head full of almond colored hair. It was curly and framed his face. His skin was pale and he had bright brown eyes. He said I looked like cacao (chocolate in German). This was when I realized I was the only Black girl in the class. Coming to terms with the fact that you are “different” is always an interesting process. Before that I never paid attention to it. He said it very innocently and matter of factly. You know, the way kids typically state things. Almost every time we paired off he would slyly scoot closer to me. We would play together. He’d follow me. We’d fight. He would get on my nerves. Then we would be back to playing the next day.

Basel was a small city so you would run into people you knew all the time. One time I was walking with my mother and I heard someone scream my name. He ran up to me and pulled me to the playground. I liked to be with him. He made me happy.

Later that year, we moved back to the U.S. I never saw him again.

I think about this experience from time to time. The innocence that accompanies childhood is so pure. You love without reason or consequence. You love wholeheartedly. You are too young to realize the pain and hurt that comes along with love.

As adults, what if we loved like this?

Take away all the rational and self reasoning. What if you solely paid attention to how your heart was drawn to others. As children we were drawn to one another. Can one ever question matters of the heart?

No.

I can’t even recall his name but the experience stuck with me.

That was my first time.

The first time I fell in love.

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