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 🦃 🤣. 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 😋 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. 🤗 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.

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

Black Violin Groove

Happy Friday! We are at the end of February and boy did this month fly by! I have been grooving these last couple of months on music from my favorite violinists – Damien Escobar and the duo, Black Violin.

Only those super close to me understand how deeply music touches me and many of Black Violin’s tracks have touched me in a way that can only be felt, not explained. Let me start by suggesting some of the tracks in my current rotation:

* Triumph

* Virtuoso

* Magic

* Showoff

* A Way Home

* Impossible Is Possible

Now all of these tracks can be found on YouTube so don’t fret. This group is also on twitter and instagram (I know because I gave them shout outs a few times). Who knew violins could get so… deep?

I kept thinking these last few years that this is the time for the strings as in the early 2000s the saxophone had everybody grooving in the jazz listening circuit (especially me) but I have always had a love for the strings and bass. I guess that influence comes from seeing my father’s guitar as a child and being fascinated with Prince in the Purple Rain movie.

Back to Black Violins… I love how they pull you in with their openings and then wrap you up in their melodies. They will be in concert in Wilmington, DE on March 28th. That would be awesome to see them play live! The way their music makes me feel…

Life is Important

As I celebrate my new year, a return to my sun rising, many are mourning loss. And as I empathize with the pain, I already understand the importance of showing love to those you love everyday because you don’t know when the last time you see them is the last time you see them. So for those you love, make the time to see them. Make the time to call them. Make the time to tell them how you feel or clear up any misunderstandings. Time is precious and stops for no one.

That is why for my birthday this year I chose to do something just for me. My birthday has been like a rose bush for me, pretty but painful, for too long. The short version – my father never bothered to remember my birthday, ever. He remembered my brother’s birthday which is 2 days after mine. From 1987 on I do not recall one birthday call. So my birthdays have always been bittersweet…

Fast forward to 2020. My birthday has returned, the bitter has lessened and the sweet is increasing and for those who choose not to see – well, it’s their loss not mine. Our time in these bodies are not infinite. So I choose to walk into my new decade, into my new season, leaving any and every thing behind who does not honor or cherish me as the divine being that I am. I am here on purpose and for a purpose.

Happy Birthday Why Yet 💜

*photos courtesy of Sean Lassiter Photography*

It’s Cold Outside!

I don’t like winter or winter-like weather. I feel the cold beneath my skin, into the bones. I need warmth. I like warmth. Cold air makes my body retreat into itself.

On the upside, winter makes for good cuddling if you have a cuddle-buddy. Hot chocolate or warm apple cider and a good movie or two while bundled in a warm blanket makes for a comfortable evening. Throw in some bulky yarn and your choice of needles or hooks (my fellow yarnies know what I’m talking about) and you have a recipe for heaven – for some.

But me, I like the yarn and chocolate and cuddles yet I’d rather do without the freezing temperatures. I don’t like opening my front door to Sub-Zero yelling “Finish Her!” for three – six months out of the year. That is not my cup of tea!

But since I am on the East coast of the United States, there’s no getting around it. So I’ll just bundle up, stock up on yarn and hot chocolate and knit my way to summer! Stay warm in the meantime.

Dear Why Yet…

First, I have to apologize to you. I have exposed us to years of unnecessary heartache and pain through allowing your innocent vulnerabilities to be taken advantage of. You are a loving and powerful woman. I did not trust you enough to allow you to spread your wings and grow. My fears kept you bound to those who could not give you what you needed and deserved to fly.

My fears kept me from believing there was anything better for you out in the world. You deserve the world. Your smile cheers up those you share it with and you share freely even when you are crumbling inside and I appreciate that. I love you for that.

You put others before yourself when they are in need. You give even when you are in need. You are fiercely loyal to those you love, even when they hurt you deeply. And when you want to retreat and heal I have interfered, and for that I am sorry. When you needed to sever ties and heal your heart I interfered and for that I am sorry.

Even in pain you still emit a celestial beauty through your writings. Everytime I read your poetry I feel your memories and cry your tears. Thank you for sharing your words, not only with me but with the rest of the world.

Continue to shine your brightest light because I need it. I thank you for being the woman you are.

Love,

Why Yet