One Stitch At A Time

These last 18+ months have taken a mental toll on many of us. Far too often we are unable to take much needed rest because of life’s obligations. Jobs, children, aging parents, even pets have all still needed us performing at an optimal rate. But what is an optimal rate when burnout is looming around the bend? How do you protect your peace of mind and recharge yourself before spazzing out on an unsuspecting person? What can you do?

I don’t know about you but I have tried returning to my poetic place of solitude… nope. My inspiration tank was as dry as my mother’s first Thanksgiving turkey πŸ¦ƒ 🀣. Love you, ma. That in itself was concerning to me because poetry was always my go to place of relief and release mentally. Next I tried baking. Cookies, cakes, bread and pies. Delicious πŸ˜‹ things smelling up my kitchen and swelling up my waistline 😭. No good. I tried forcing myself to interact with others outside. I attended some vending events, showed support for some of my IG friends in real time but it just didn’t do it. I still felt blah.

Ok, I thought to myself. Music is always a sure fire mood lifter. I scrolled through Pandora. Nope. YouTube Music. Nope. I even dug out my box of old cds from the late 90s-early 2000s. Not a happy toe tap to be found.

I couldn’t kick the funk I was in and it was seriously affecting my interactions with everyone around me. I was always irritable and cranky (and no, it was not that time of the month) and was ready to snap on anyone at a moments notice. Work pressures didn’t help. At that point I did 2 things. I called a friend for a referral to a therapist and I picked up my knitting needles.

I am so glad I did. My therapist is down to earth and real. She listens. We meet weekly through video chat on Duo and I couldn’t be happier with my choice. And since I’ve picked my needles back up I have been knitting consistently for the last 2 months. Today I decided to bring my current wip (work in progress) to work with me, to work on during down time. My commute was crazier than normal this morning (3 road construction slow downs and 2 road closures with a clogged detour) so instead of sitting in traffic frustrated as normal, I picked up my project and started knitting at every stop light and slow down. πŸ€— I wish I had thought about doing this sooner. Now I look for the red lights so I can knit more stitches and my irritability is fading one stitch at a time.

Vanilla Sock Pattern by The Crazy Sock Lady

Knitting may not be for you, but then again it might. You won’t know until you try. My sure fire recommendation is to try something new to you. If you like it, go for it. If all else fails reach out to a professional for help. It’s confidential and that may be just what you need to release what’s on your mind. At the end of the day be good to you because today is yesterday’s tomorrow…

Quiet Inflection

It has been several months since I last posted. I am still learning about me. It’s a scary journey looking into the dark corners of myself, but necessary for my growth. Usually when I go into retrospective mode my pen comes alive and the words flow like a beautiful river but not this time. My river bank of poetry was dry. I started to panic. And then I grabbed my crochet hook…

Amongus Mini Crewmate pattern by Why Yet

Years ago I taught myself to crochet and to knit using kits I’d found at my local Wal-Mart. Learning these skills was a challenge as the patterns were written in a language I didn’t understand and I knew no one who could teach me. I understood the basic crochet and knit stitches and mastered how to make knit scarves and crocheted hats. Patterns for baby outfits and clothing terrified me because my understanding of both languages was limited. So I allowed my fear to stop my progress.

Here I am, almost 20 years later, reading patterns, following patterns and crocheting and knitting garments freehanded with less fear (the fear hasn’t gone away completely). What I learned is that my perception of my ability to learn and understand the language of knitting and crocheting blocked my growth. Making mistakes is how we learn. Mistakes, when acknowledged and learned from, is how we grow.

Chunky-Knit Cardigan pattern by Ashley Lillis

I have been inspired these last couple of months to grow through needlecrafts instead of poetry. At first, I was nervous but with each project I’ve completed and shared, I have gained confidence in my understanding of the language. I have realized that other areas of my life are no different, complete one project at a time and learn from any/every mistake made to grow in confidence. I plan to challenge my fears one at a time and hope this helps someone remember that we are not expected to know it all. Enjoy the process. Today is yesterday’s tomorrow, be great today.

Chunky-Knit Sweater Dress pattern by Why Yet

Is It Justice?

Many are excited because the verdict is in… GUILTY! I would like to believe justice has been served but my experience as a black woman in America has taught me different. When I saw the images of Derek Chauvin’s face during the reading of the verdict, I burst out laughing. Not because of his demise (albeit self-inflicted) but because of the pure shock on his face that he is being held accountable for his decision to murder a man in cold blood.

His expression is purely American Arrogance. Sounds like a cologne sold at Macy’s with the snobby perfume lady who scoffs at anyone who approaches her area with brown toned skin. That expression says, “What? How dare you correct ME?! I’m white! I DO the correcting, not the other way around.”

The memes will be in full swing by tomorrow morning but the scary truth is, even with the murder filmed on tape, had it not been for the major upheaval of protests, riots, and boycotts over the last year (and numerous other cops and civilians murdering black people) Derek Chauvin would have gotten off like soo many other cops. Rodney King anyone? I was in middle school when the gang of L.A. cops snatched him off of his motorcycle and beat him within an inch of his life. I’ll never forget following that story for social studies homework. Every one of those cops walked away scott free.

I find it funny how the police system (which was sown and harvested with the soil of hatred, violence, abuse, and murder) was started by a group of people who committed savagery across the planet from country to country.

But then, in that context, their fear makes sense. If I kidnapped, beat, raped, enslaved, and murdered massive amounts of people while teaching others to behave as hateful and violently as myself, I would be deathly afraid of retribution. Continuous oppression to stave off the idea of retribution would be my only recourse because to apologize and correct the issue would mean I would have to openly admit to being wrong AND I would have to make reparations for the long-term damages I caused.

So, instead of dismantaling the imbalanced and unjust justice system I’ve created and rigged to benefit those who only look like me, I’ll throw a little snippet of something that can pass for humanity… this time.

America, you have the potential to be soo much better. I am done dating potential. As my late grandmother used to say, “Shit or get off the pot.” America your time is up. Healing can only begin when you stop the damage being done and correct the cancerous mistakes from your past.

Feel The Fear and Do It Anyway!

When the pandemic shut the world down last year I felt angry and relieved at the same time. I was angry because I was drafting a plan to cross a few travel plans off of my bucket list. I was relieved because I was challenged to interact more on social media via video. I felt (at the time) that since the world was shutting down, everyone’s forced to stay inside, so nope, can’t do it.

That was my fear speaking loud and clear. Fear had my full attention. The world (as we knew it) was ending, people were stockpiling bleach, toilet paper, soap, spaghetti noodles (but no sauce) and microwavable dinners from the freezer section of the market. 🀦🏾 But fear had me gripped, worrying about whether or not the world was heading into Book of Eli/Mad Max territory. So, streaming live on social media was the least of my concerns… or so I thought.

Chatting on line with a friend about the current state we were in, they casually said “How about you go live and read some of your poetry?” *insert record scratch* What now? In the middle of a pandemic? Read my poetry, on camera? I was shaking in my pajamas at the thought of it. I immediately started to panic. I hadn’t performed any of my poetry live since 2018 and that was at a church’s open mic night event in my neighborhood.

I started to say as much but instead replied with “that scares me.” I hought that would be enough to back them up until I received these words that stuck in my mind like Gorilla Glue, “Face the fear and do it anyway.” A few days after that, I took a deep breath (I was considered an essential worker and still had to report in) and started live streaming during my morning commute. I did this for about 16 weeks before I stopped as I was receiving static from work. Smh.

But as I think back, I had fun. It was scary but I did it anyway. In this digital age I know I will have to return to it, but until then, should there be anyone considering jumping into the live streaming pool (no matter what social platform), give this article a read Learn To Live Stream , you’ll be glad you did. And if this helps, drop a comment below!

Compassion is Free, Retribution is Not…

Prayers for safety go out to everyone holding on in Texas, my heart is with you. It is appalling that government officials would allow citizens to freeze in an unexpected snow storm – that businesses are allowed to control public utilities and decide, DECIDE to shut power off in the midst of a nasty winter storm. There are too many instances where profit is put before people. Those businesses who jeopardized thousands of lives need to be shut down and the remaining power companies ought to be strictly regulated to prevent gross negligence like this from happening again. Compassion costs $0 but retribution is costly.

A sad day when humanity has become a line item on a balance sheet. An expense on a profit and loss statement. A topic to debate the worth of… Oh wait – this IS AMERICA. The country built on genocide, kidnap, rape, murder, enslavement and extortion. Humanity has been on the auction block for centuries but when the bodies are brown there’s silent acceptance. Again, compassion costs $0 but retribution is costly.

The Golden Rule is older than the King James version of the bible, but I can’t see it here in the “land of the free”. What are we “free” to do? The bulk of citizens are grossly overtaxed to make the uber-wealthy comfortable barely paying tax. Too many families working full-time jobs and still can’t afford to pay for living expenses AND food. Greed and self-service has been on the menu forever but those not at the table are told to work harder, pay their share… Those hard working Texans trying to figure out how to make it in the dark with no heat in the worst winter storm in God-knows how long, are they not working hard enough?

Compassion costs $0 while retribution is costly…

Another Solar Return

Today, I am grateful. Blessed to see another solar return and on the heels of a powerful full moon no less. A celebration of my birth, thank you mom for delivering me into the world πŸ’œ. For many years my birthday was a time of excitement, anxiety and depression all mixed together because I yearned for acknowledgement from my father that I would never receive. Friends, family and loved ones wished me well, but my attention (even when I desperately tried not to) was focused on my father’s lack of attention.

Acknowledging that feeling I harbored used to encourage anger, sadness and shame. It took many years of deep reflection (meaning I was still running from myself, lol) to recognize why I still held onto the pain. As much as I hated to admit it, it was easier to hold onto the hurt, anger and pain than it was to let it go.

That thought was my *aha!* moment. It was easier to hold on and stay stuck, than to let go and be free. I still love my father, and always will. But my father has chosen not to get to know me as a person. Not like I’d hoped. It is an opportunity lost to him – not me. I do not say this out of malice. I have finally moved beyond that. I no longer hold onto the entrapment of my perception that without his acknowledgement I cannot grow or be loved or be deemed valuable. I have already proven myself wrong on that – and gladly so!

My solar return is a celebration of my growth and my acceptance of me – as I am as well as a challenge for me to achieve who I strive to become. I am ready to conquer my next round of growth. Happy birthday to me! πŸ‘‘πŸ’–

β™’Aquarianβ™’

Reflecting and Preparing…

I have been following some of what’s been occurring politically these last couple of weeks and I am ashamed of humanity.

While many are still unemployed or grossly underemployed, businesses are receiving thousands to continue to run. Politicians, meanwhile, have debated for months over whether to give people $600 – $2,000 to live on. You can learn all you need to know about a country’s policies based on how they value their women, children and elderly – mainly who are the most devastated groups during economic upheavals.

This pandemic has exposed the financial fallacies ingrained in society. That led me to increase my personal financial plan to be more prepared for any future upheaval. What I fully realized is the lack of financial education available to the children during their formative school years like basic budgeting and balancing a checking account.

One of my goals this year is to assist at least 60 people to understand how to create a budget, balance a checking account and draft a savings plan. That’s 5 people a month. You may be thinking that’s not many people, but many people are ashamed to discuss personal finances. I’d love to be proved wrong though. I also started a virtual bookkeeping business, MBunn Services LLC, where the services I offer include account cleanup, bank reconciliation, tax preparation and notary public services for the Philadelphia, PA area.

MBunn Services, LLC

If the pandemic and political mayhem has you feeling out of sorts, just know things have the ability to get better. Hey, if you invested in Bitcoin over the last 9 months you have something to smile about. I don’t have Bitcoin but my new 401k isn’t looking too shabby. Set goals and follow through so these public displays of aggression don’t weigh you down.

Happy 5 Years!

WordPress reminded me that it is my 5 year anniversary. Wow! 5 years! I didn’t even realize it had been that long. Thank you for those of you who have been hanging with me since the beginning as I tried to figure out my footing on this platform. I am still figuring out my footing but you’re still here with me, so thank you.

These first 6 months of 2020 is nothing like what I had planned for as the year began. Social and economical chaos has been served up regularly all year and I am exhausted by it. Humanity has been anything but humane, especially this year. America’s skirt has been snatched and all of her personal business is exposed. Saddening. Instead of cleaning up her business and making herself presentable, America is choosing to flaunt her ratchetness for all of the world to see.

What I want for the remainder of 2020, is for people to recognize that we all have our own perspectives of life based on our experiences. Unfortunately too many experiences are created by hateful individuals who feel like they have the right to dictate where someone may live, shop, walk or jog based on their skin color.

Those individuals are suffering from low self-esteem. Classic bully syndrome. Those individuals need to be checked – HARD. To let them understand that they do not own ANYONE nor do they have sole dominion over this country. Only collectively can we survive this cesspool of chaos we are currently in by using common sense and a sense of community. How else do you think the wealthy will take us seriously? Those of us who are not wealthy are the majority and when we unite we can change the direction of things. There is power in numbers and in unity.

Self-Actualization in America

During my early college years I studied about educators and psychologists who had similar lines of thought – that each individual’s primary goal in life is to reach the pinnacle of self-actualization. You know, that moment of clarity where you understand the purpose of your life and your role as a part of the collective called humanity. Each person’s subconscious desire is to reach this nirvana of understanding within us.

I spent the last two weeks grappling with understanding what I was witnessing in real time. Murder, mayhem and lies broadcast far and wide. George Floyd was murdered. By law enforcement. Nothing can justify that. The collective of law enforcement had refused to even arrest the officers involved – that is – until massive amounts of people spoke out about it. Murder. And law enforcement shrugged like – eh, it happens.

So the first amendment allows for freedom of speech and the freedom to peacefully assemble. So the people did just that. Assembled peacefully. Law enforcement took to the protests as though it were a war cry and suited up in military-grade tactical gear (wait, where’d the money for the upgrades come from when there’s no money for education?) complete with tear gas, shields, batons, rubber bullets and fireworks. Yes, they were shooting fireworks at people!

Agitators were sent in to disrupt the protests (which spilled across the nation from coast to coast), pallets of loose bricks were left in plain view (and not near any construction or demolition sites), and police used their bikes, batons, horses and cars to assault protestors. Even the reporters felt the attacks. One reporter was shot in the face with a rubber bullet and lost her vision in one eye. Several protestors from across the nation decided to form a group for those who lost an eye from being shot with rubber bullets (as of 6/9/20 there were at least 8 who had found each other on Twitter).

The devastation caused by gross abuse of power is a major and deadly deterrent to achieving self-actualization. How can we become our best versions of ourselves under the domestic terrorism of our law enforcement whose sole purpose is supposed to be to protect and serve the public?

Photo by Pexels

To My Children…

Thank you for choosing to begin your journey through me. As the vessel to nurture you and bring you forth into this world, I accepted the responsibility. Not a light one either.

Each day from the moment I knew of you, my decisions have caused me anxiety. Am I teaching you the right things? Am I nurturing enough? Do you REALLY know how much I love you?

Even now, as the ‘original kids’, you have reached that milestone of adulthood and I am terrified. Did I show you enough love? Was I affectionate enough? Did my failures in love dissuade you from seeking it? Did I inadvertently pass down hurts that were passed on to me?

My alpha and omega, Tyrice and Chava

Motherhood is a strange emotional ride. The never ending roller coaster. More so for me as I am still trying to figure out my combination lock to life. It feels like the calculus class I took multiple times as a freshman in college and never passed. Some days I feel like I am drowning in the center of the ocean and other days I feel like I am sprinting down the coast with warm sand under my toes.

Amidst the tears, uncompromising expectations (of self) and unpredictability, I wouldn’t change being a mother. It took 20 years to appreciate my stretch marks, but I earned every one. Thank you to all of my children for choosing me to be their mother.