Category Archives: Uncategorized

Childhoood

Honeysuckle innocence

Walking to Shawnee park, avoiding cars, unsupervised

Running to get the merry go round to go really really fast

Fleeing neighborhood dogs

Purchasing candy, (or a hamburger) from Andy’s-which is no longer there

I remember walking around campus with my beautiful mother. I thought everyone’s mom was called Doctor. 

I didn’t drink koolaid. No sugar in my cereal

Just hamburgers and milk- and chocolate chip cookies…

On Purpose. . . and perseverance

I had a bad day.  (I know. . .it’s been that type of year.)

I got angry, and wanted to quit. But, after speaking with my  mom, I realized . . . it was just a bad day.

I am here for a purpose. I often think it’s crazy how I got to my current position.  I find myself constantly surrounded with people who are “officially smart.” (And know it. . . and don’t want anyone to forget it.) Those who do what I do generally had the best grades in law school, and were real standouts.

Not, the girl who just gets by academically, (at least my first year- my grades improved significantly after that, but the funny thing about law school is that your whole trajectory is often determined in your first semester, and cemented by the second)  spending her free time with her boyfriend and at the school’s dance studio, taking all the dance classes she can fit into her schedule.

I was literally Elle Woods from Legally Blonde (minus the blonde, privileged, sorority life- and the good grades in law school)- I woke up one morning, decided I was going to law school, and then, I went. I had no idea what I was getting into, or really, what I was going to do. That lack of focus followed me into my first year, and the results were less than stellar- but nonetheless I finished law school, graduated, and started a job as an assistant prosecutor in my hometown.

So, here’s my point. We don’t always know why we are doing the things we feel compelled to do.  Sometimes, along the way we find ourselves having REALLY bad days, having to re-adjust our goals and our focus, and we may ask ourselves, why am I here?  Why am I doing this?  Well, I believe we are where we are for a reason.  That everything comes together for our good and for us to cement our purpose here on earth.

Literally, every experience that I have had from law school- including the experience of not getting great grades, has served to help me help another person. I can explain to students that I know what it’s like to study really hard, and still struggle- and how I overcame that experience. I used to explain to clients that I understand what it’s like to make a stupid decision- and look up and realize the consequences took me down a road that I never anticipated- where I hurt others- and was called to the carpet to atone for my actions. I can look back to where I was, and where I am now, and realize that I never imagined that this is where my life would take me- but I am so blessed and fortunate for it all.

So, I’m still finding my purpose.  But, I move forward optimistically, and with flexibility- on purpose.  I purposely strive to be a better me- every single day.  Even on bad ones. . .

Namaste

Lady in Yellow

 

On body ownership and autonomy

What makes me angry?

I’ve lost weight.  I practice yoga three or four times a week, sometimes at the studio, sometimes at home. People started commenting, “you look good! What are you doing? ” “Yoga” I would say. “Lots of it, you should try it, it’s awesome.” (I was a yoga convert, fully engaged in my yoga evangelism.  Yoga for everyone!!!! ) Often the person would smile and say, “ok.” Or, “I tried yoga back in the day.” But, too often, the response is, “Stop losing weight.” My response:

robert downey jr

Excuse me? I like my body.  I like myself big, and I like myself small. I’m at a healthy weight for my somewhat petite frame.  My clothes look good on me.  I’m not dieting. I split oreos with my two year old,(and I shouldn’t but you see, she likes the icing and I like the cookie, and we fit together perfect like that, me and my Nay) more often then I  should.  I drink Dr. Pepper every. single. day. I do not, and have never counted calories- even when I was at my biggest.

And that paragraph above?  That right up there. . . is a part of the problem too.  Why do I have to explain to someone who does not pay my bills, medical or grocery, about my own body?  Why do I have to justify my body to my “friends.” Look, when I was bigger, people would make fun of me- sometimes outright, but mostly little comments and digs.  They would comment on an old picture that I don’t look like I used to, (all skinny and stuff), or they would make subtle digs to imply that I wasn’t as fine as I thought I was. . . (like I said, I think I’m sexy regardless of my size. . . can’t tell me nuffin). . .

im-sexy-and-i-know-it_813

Now that I’ve lost weight I’m still getting digs, “When are you going to stop losing weight?” “Why are you losing weight?” “Don’t lose any more weight.” And it’s really ticking me off.

Why is it okay to comment on another woman’s body to their face?  No, really?  Why is it okay to say to a bigger woman, “You need to lose weight. You aren’t healthy.” I’ve seen it happen- in public. Why is it okay to say to a smaller woman, “Don’t lose anymore weight.”” Why are you getting so skinny? ”

And the commentary doesn’t stop with weight.  Before I was married I was constantly asked, “when are you going to get married?”  Then, we married, and I was constantly asked, “when are you going to have a baby?” and, “Dang, Bunmi, You don’t have any kids yet?”, Then I had a baby, and now its, “When are you going to have another baby? You know you need to give Nay a sibling.”

My sweet, sweet girl gets the ownership thing right.  She is quick to tell you, “No, my hair.” When she doesn’t want her hair touched, and   “No, my hand.” when she doesn’t want her hand held. She will not kiss you just because you ask.  She will not hug you just because you ask.  She will not speak just because you speak to her. (Okay, I’m working on the last one. . That’s just rude.  . but baby girl knows herself, and what she’s about, and she ain’t studying most of y’all.)

She is just learning that she is her own person, and that she doesn’t have to sacrifice her body or feelings just because someone else would prefer it. She speaks up for herself, but I wonder, how long until she gets the message that as women, in this country, our bodies are not really our own?

You see, in our culture, women are constantly placed on pedestals of scrutiny.  Not only are people who are relative strangers often comfortable commenting on a woman’s weight, appearance, or intelligence, women are often judged and admonished for the choices we make.

Wear a short skirt and something bad happened to you- You shouldn’t have been wearing that skirt.  You are advertising-What can you expect?

Wear a hijab- You’re being oppressed! How dare they make you cover your hair!

There is a lady I follow on instagram-Amber the Activist. Amber was traveling in South Africa to raise awareness about rape, and invited a “friend” to take a shower with her.  That “friend” raped her. The response- How dare you take a shower with a man, and then complain of rape!!! You don’t have the right!!!

So, rather than condemn her rapist, she is blasted for her choices.  As a woman, how dare she believe that she is free to be herself, and to have a non-sexual consensual nude encounter with another person.  I say, what the hell is wrong with society?

Why can’t women be free?  Free to be whatever weight I want.  Free to love whoever I want.  Free to be free from unwanted touch and commentary about our bodies and choices?

Have you had this experience?  What’s the loving way to deal with someone’s overt judgments about your body, or your decisions?

 

Le sporting-club de Monte Carlo (for Lena Horne)-James Baldwin

The lady is a tramp
        a camp
        a lamp
The lady is a sight
        a might
        a light
the lady devastated
an alley or two
reverberated through the valley
which leads to me, and you
the lady is the apple
of God’s eye:
He’s cool enough about it
but He tends to strut a little
when she passes by
the lady is a wonder
daughter of the thunder
smashing cages
legistlating rages
with the voice of ages
singing us through.

On law school. . . and marriage. . . in that order. . . after my miscarriage

I graduated from law school eleven years ago.  At the time, it was the biggest accomplishment of my life. I was twenty-four years old. I’d set my sights on a goal and marched towards it.  There were times I thought I might quit. When I was fighting and arguing with other women, when my friends excluded me, and made fun of me, and that had nothing to do with my school work- which was grueling, challenging, and mind-altering.

I made it through. And purchased a pair of mulberry stilleto heels to celebrate my graduation. I’ll never forget meeting a lady during a reception after graduation and she looked at me and said, “You are the one with the shoes!” .  .  . I loved those shoes. I finished law school, walking across the stage to shake the hand of our speaker and the dean, my family watching proudly as I became the first attorney in our family in those shoes. (More to come about life and law after graduation. . .)

Fast forward eleven years later. I had an early miscarriage a few weeks ago. I was down. After the miscarriage,  I was struggling with my blog. . . how do I encourage when I need it all for myself.  My cup was empty.  I was grieving. My husband had planned a photo shoot, and between work and healing up, I just hadn’t had much time to put into coordinating outfits, or really anything. So, the night before we ran to Macy’s and I bought a dress. But the day of, I still didn’t have my footwear together. On my way out the door to the shoot, I grabbed my graduation shoes. I’d worn them a lot in private practice.  But heels and yoga don’t mix, and heels and toddlers are a joke, so I RARELY wear heels anymore.

It’s our fifth anniversary tomorrow. It has not been easy. Marriage is really hard y’all. But we made it. Just like me, limping from the brand new  heels on graduation day, (ummm so there was this tradition that involved walking with our walking sticks across the damn campus. . . and the heels were not broken in. . . ) bruised, battered, but victorious, I thought it wasn’t inappropriate to limp through this photo shoot in those same silly shoes. We have been through so much- lay-offs, illness, miscarriage, a baby, new home, new jobs, there’s more. .  . but we’re still here. We made it through. So, we celebrate this moment. And we appreciate what we have. And we love. . .

Namaste

Lady in yellow

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A woman speaks- Audre Lorde . . . Thursday’s Woman Poet

A Woman Speaks

Moon marked and touched by sun
my magic is unwritten
but when the sea turns back
it will leave my shape behind.
I seek no favor
untouched by blood
unrelenting as the curse of love
permanent as my errors
or my pride
I do not mix
love with pity
nor hate with scorn
and if you would know me
look into the entrails of Uranus
where the restless oceans pound.
I do not dwell
within my birth nor my divinities
who am ageless and half-grown
and still seeking
my sisters
witches in Dahomey
wear me inside their coiled cloths
as our mother did
mourning.
I have been woman
for a long time
beware my smile
I am treacherous with old magic
and the noon’s new fury
with all your wide futures
promised
I am
woman
and not white.

Friday’s Poem- Nikki Giovanni

CHOICES

If i can’t do
what i want to do
then my job is to not
do what i don’t want
to do
It’s not the same thing
but it’s the best i can
do
If i can’t have
what i want . . . then
my job is to want
what i’ve got
and be satisfied
that at least there
is something more to want
Since i can’t go
where i need
to go . . . then i must . . . go
where the signs point
through always understanding
parallel movement
isn’t lateral
When i can’t express
what i really feel
i practice feeling
what i can express
and none of it is equal
I know
but that’s why mankind
alone among the animals
learns to cry

Nikki Giovanni

Mommy guilt… And other minor annoyances

Do you think your baby cares if the dishes are done?

Mine doesn’t although she’s generally a neater soul than I.  My sweet girl comes behind me and fully closes the refrigerator door, and savagely clears clutter from her belongings and her bedroom.  Do not place your purse in my two year old’s chair.  It will not go well for you. . . But anway,

I was ill.  I’ll tell you about it later, but I was down.  Like, “in- bed” down for days. I’m not the type of person to really take time off of work or yoga for my illness, unless I don’t have a choice.  After work, I would come home and lay down.  On the weekend, I could barely get up.  I wound up taking a few days off. I’m better now that I’ve given myself time to rest and rejuvenate.  But through it all, I felt so much guilt.

I felt guilt over the time I didn’t spend with my daughter painting, or playing or cooking, or  enjoying the beautiful weather. I felt guilt about turning around and going to work, dropping my girl off at pre-school, only to have her come home to a mommy who was drained-with no energy to play or go on adventures.  I worried aloud to the Mr. that I was not fulfilling my duties as a mommy, that Naomi would feel unloved and abandoned, that I was messing this whole motherhood thing up. . .and it wasn’t even my fault! I couldn’t help that I was sick.

But, it was all in my head. My sweet girl may have noticed mommy was not okay for a while, but it changed nothing, save a few extra heartwarming, “Mommy, are you okay?” questions throughout the day. You see,  my baby doesn’t mind spending an evening in bed with mommy.  In fact, she thinks it’s fun.  She plays in the covers, jumps all over me, and ultimately falls asleep in her favorite place, mommy’s arms. She doesn’t mind when mommy orders a pizza for dinner, lacking the energy to prepare a home-cooked meal. She’s thrilled about the pizza. And she doesn’t care about whether the dishes are done. She would much rather mommy use the rest of her energy to play a game, or practice yoga poses, or do a mini dance a thon around the living room.

Our expectations, are just that- OURS.  And regardless of the reason that we fail to meet our own standards, that doesn’t mean we have to feel guilt.  It just means that life is happening.  LIFE IS HAPPENING. And by now we should know that it is unpredictable, and uncontrollable.

So, be the best mommy you can be and screw the haters, even if the hater is you.  Push through your own difficulties with your head held high.  Show your children that life may not always be perfect, but the love you have for them remains the same.  It’s really all that matters.  I’m sure you guys don’t have this problem,:-) but if you do, share the strategies you use to combat it.

Love y’all

#SoYellowToday

Tea at the Palaz of Hoon

purple-flower

 

Not less because in purple I descended
The western day through what you called
The loneliest air, not less was I myself.

What was the ointment sprinkled on my beard?
What were the hymns that buzzed beside my ears?
What was the sea whose tide swept through me there?

Out of my mind the golden ointment rained,
And my ears made the blowing hymns they heard.
I was myself the compass of that sea:

I was the world in which I walked, and what I saw
Or heard or felt came not but from myself;
And there I found myself more truly and more strange.

-Wallace Stevens

Haters gonna hate-Love your way through. . .

haters2

We all have them. Haters.  Sometimes, they come disguised as friends, co-workers, hell, even family.  Sometimes, it’s the random hateful racist at the grocery store who makes a comment- loudly, to someone right near you- about how much he loves Donald Trump, and how Trump’s gonna fix this country with his wall. . . after you show this person your id with your “funny” (not-typical American) name (and maybe drop more $ than you should on pink champagne and seafood. . . but hey. . . a girl is gainfully employed and likes nice things).  Sometimes, you see them coming, and are able to gird yourself, and laugh it off afterward. . .

But what about those other times?

When the unexpected, unadulterated, hateration comes out of the blue from someone you love and trust? When you go to share good news with a friend and they choose to dump all over it? When you are at the mall and encounter someone so negative, so nasty, that it has the effect of a cold blanket, drowning you in confusion and despair? No?  Just me? Ah well, then I’ll write for me.

This is one of my biggest challenges.  I really hate to spend too much time on haters, because I’m trying to be super-positive right now, but my spirit is telling me to write this, and if I’ve learned anything over the last 35 years, it’s listen to spirit man. . . It knows what’s up. So, how do you keep your energy up when you encounter someone who would rather shit on your parade then dance in it?

Love them.  Love the crap out of them.  In my love studies I came across information regarding  Dr. Ihaleakala Hew Len. Dr. Len took a job at Hawaii State Hospital, in a ward where they kept the criminally insane- (much like your haters. . . I mean who could hate on your loveable self?). He worked there for four years. When he started, there was a really high turnover rate, because the members of the ward were so troublesome.  After a few months of Dr. Len’s work, the patients healed. Medications were reduced, shackles were released, patients were released! Here’s the kicker- Dr. Len DID NOT see the patients. He would review the files, and work on himself. . .  Dr. Joe Vitale, who co-wrote a book with Dr. Len, stated that when he asked Dr. Len, “What was it you were doing that caused those people to change?” Dr. Len said, “I was simply healing the part of me that created them.”

WHAT??? !!!! You mean to tell me we create our haters?  I know, I know, this sounds super crazy. Dr. Len  was applying the Hawaiian healing technique of ho’oponopono.  This starts with the idea that we create our own reality, and that we are totally, one hundred percent responsible for this reality.  That means everything- EVERYTHING- is our responsibility.  Even the craziness of others.  We are totally responsible.

Why does this work? Because by accepting responsibility for suffering, your own suffering, and the suffering of others, you place yourself in a position where you can do something about it.  And that doesn’t mean that you can make everything better, right now, all over the place.  Man, I wish I could love away poverty and ignorance. But, I can change myself.  I can work on myself.  I can love myself.  Through that love, and the vibrations that come from that love, I can help others, heal others, and maybe even change things. So, can we apply ho’oponopono to our daily lives?  Can we work on ourselves, and as a result heal the haters?  I’ll tell you how you can apply this amazing technique in my next post.

Meanwhile, let me know how you deal with your haters. Are you working on loving your way through? Do you just forget them and move on?  Do you use them as your motivation to move forward? Do you cuss them out and never speak to them again?  I’ve done all of the above, but this gal finds more peace when I love my way through.  More to come on how you can get your Hawaiian healing on, and help change the world in my next post.

haters

Love y’all,

yellowgal