Spring Has Sprung!

I don’t like Daylight Savings time for one simple reason: I lose sleep. My sleep is precious to me. I need it! But at the same time Daylight Savings time is a reminder that Winter is just about over. Yay!

The sun comes out and people seem more pleasant. I definitely like the idea of being outdoors in the sunshine. That is, until I read an article about palm-sized spiders paragliding on their webs coming up the east coast this May… 🤯 Wait! Paragliding, palm-sized spiders?! And the lantern bug eggs are hatching too! Are the murder hornets coming back as well?! This almost makes me want to stay indoors…

Speaking of which, the option to stay indoors is a privilege denied to some right now. While many are bracing for pollen season, some are bracing for military fighting in their hometown. While newscasters made it clear that they believed military insurrections are normal in African and Middle Eastern countries, they are unexpected and horrific in European countries. Wait, didn’t Hitler start a whole second world war behind racism and violence in European nations? Didn’t Rome become famous for it’s vicious violence in the quest to dominate Europe? Where did Hannibal conquer with his army of elephant riding soldiers? Excuse my McGraw-Hill textbooks from elementary through high school for the misinformation, if the information I learned was inaccurate.

Spring is supposed to represent rebirth and new beginnings and here we are, as the ‘smartest’ species on the planet, still having the same fight over our inability to treat each other humanely. And I mean ALL OF US. Here in the U.S. the House of Representatives recently passed the Crown Act, which makes it illegal to discriminate against someone based on their hairstyle or hair texture. Yes, in the year of our lord 2022 Black people are still being discriminated against because of our hair. I guess discrimination over skin color just wasn’t enough. But yup, spring has sprung! Take time to stop and smell the fresh air.

Parental Reflections

How often, as parents, do we really sit back and marvel at our children? We birth, nurture, protect, provide, and guide them into adulthood, but do we really just look at them? As the people they are?

Today I am doing just that. As much as possible anyway. As I type this, it is exactly 9:10 am EST in the United States. 20 years ago today I was pregnant with my twin sons and sitting in Thomas Jefferson University hospital being prepped for induction. You see, I had fed my twins so well during my pregnancy that they didn’t want to come out, lol. Yet, they were too big to stay in and I made the mistake of watching a cesarean section video on YouTube. Nope. I told my doctor she would not be slicing open my innards. I already had insecurity issues with my body so a C-section was a hard no for me.

I had gone into false labor twice (at work) over the last few weeks but at 3 cm dilated, the hospital kept sending me back home. My preschool students were fascinated at watching my body change over the months and had adopted my babies as theirs, especially since two of my parents were also pregnant. My co-workers were concerned about me working, the deacons in the church had been trying to convince me I needed to be on bed rest for months (because of how huge my stomach grew early on) but my doctor said I was perfectly healthy to work up until I deliver. In hindsight, I think my doctor was excited to see how far I could carry as all of her previous twin deliveries never exceeded 26 weeks. I was induced at 35 weeks.

My pregnancy was normal for me. No morning sickness but constant hunger, and constant cravings. I did experience nausea when I tried to eat some of my favorite foods like shrimp fried rice and any kind of chicken. My boys said those were hard nos for them, lol. Their personalities were distinct even then. My eldest was pretty chill. Twisting and turning mostly to get comfortable. My youngest was energetic and constantly hungry. My stomach growled as I was eating most times.

Now, as young adults, I see them watching to see which direction they want to go in life. They are quiet and introspective, for now, until they discover what lights them aglow. I am excited for when that moment comes and they flourish in their passion. I knew this phase of life would arrive but it is as bittersweet as the day of their birth. I was excited for their new chapter yet sad that our chapter, in that capacity, had ended. Work and bills will always be there as a reminder of responsibilities but remember to take time to enjoy your children before they branch off into their own lives…

What Does Depression Look Like to You?

As I celebrated my birthday this weekend I reflected on my life, how I gave away power in search for love and acceptance and strayed from discovering my purpose during this life time. I also reflected on the many blessings I have because the headlines have shown prominent individuals who reportedly committed suicide.

Whenever the topic of suicide comes up, many people ask what was wrong with the individual. Many state things like, “They looked so happy”, “But they were so successful”, “But they acquired (fill in the blank)”. There is no compassion, concern or understanding in any of those comments. Society has become so commercialized that many believe that monetary or social success equates to happiness. Social media has made it too easy to hide behind filters, on top of the societal filters we already wear daily.

Depression is not something only poor people or drug addicts deal with. It is a mental health disorder that does not go away. It has to be managed daily. Every person is different, with different experiences contributing to their particular situation. Medication is not a cure all for every case either.

Depression: n. 1. Feelings of severe despondency and dejection. Synonyms: melancholy, misery, sadness, unhappiness, sorrow, woe, gloom, despair, dejection, moroseness…

The former Miss USA, Cheslie Kryst passed away over the weekend with headlines stating it a suicide. Just a few days before, actress, Regina King’s son was reported to have committed suicide. Last month Sinead O’Connor’s son committed suicide. There are a lot of should have, could have, would have comments from people but think to yourself, would you recognize the signs of depression in any of your loved ones? If you struggle with depression, do any of your loved ones know or would they recognize the signs?

I lost a friend in 2017 to suicide and I didn’t recognize what was going on with him because I was wrapped up in my own battles. Now he is gone. Each time I think of throwing in the towel I see his picture in my mind as though he’s telling me “You better not even.” So I fight through for the both of us. It is a daily battle, so my goal is to plan how I envision my future, but focus on conquering today.

We all need to be able to have a safe space to talk about how we feel openly and without judgment. But not everyone has that person or place of safety to retreat to. If you or a loved one is dealing with depression, please talk to someone, this is a 24/7 mental health hotline: 1-866-903-3787. You are not alone. If you need help, please reach out to someone.

Another Cycle Around the Sun!

I have entered level 42 today and the lessons of the last 20 years have prepared me for today. I woke up thinking about drafting a knit pattern for pants. Also, the thoughts of how my experiences have shaped me as a person. It’s amazing how the most humble and empathetic people on the planet have endured and survived a variety of disappointment, abuse, betrayal…

Pain has a way of bringing the simplistic reality of life to the forefront of our consciousness. Amazingly, in the midst of that pain we have the ability to learn, grow, and teach through our experiences. Growth opens us to new levels of being, new energetic vibrations that attract individuals to us. Harmonious vibrations bring harmonious interactions and in my new year I want to be more conscious and intentional about my personal vibrations.

Over these last 6 months I have become more intentional about what I create with my hands. Crafting with love, being aware of the energy I craft into my projects. And being intentional about making time for myself. As a gift to myself, I have knitted a sweater and a matching Beret. One, because I wanted a new sweater and two, I wanted to prove to myself that I could successfully knit a Beret. I have done it and what a wonderful way to begin my new level, knowing without doubt that our biggest obstacle in life is mastering our minds and the thoughts we allow into it.

Knitted Beret and matching Sweater

Take this moment to reflect on the thoughts you allow daily and whether they help you or distract you. Then decide how you want to proceed. What would you accomplish with the mastery of your mind?

2022 is Coming Out Swinging!

We are 9 days into the new year and 2022 is not playing. Prince Andrew under investigation, Sir Sidney Poitier passing away, the Omicron variant shutting down 46+ schools in the Philadelphia area, my Instagram account was hacked by a group of folks out of Lagos, Nigeria and Covid mandates are threatening employment everywhere.

I feel like I am living through the live-action version of Animal Farm by Orsen Welles. If you haven’t read it, I highly recommend it. It’s available on audible.com. Our society is moving into very dangerous territory and most people don’t seem to notice.

These mandates smell the same as these outrageous abortion laws being passed in some states. How are these unyielding controls meant to benefit humanity? How are these laws meant to improve our lives, or are they just meant to exert control over our ability to decide for ourselves?

If you could decide on one thing that would improve society as a whole in 2022, what would you decide and why? What would you like to see improved?

Happy New Year 2022!

2021 refused to go away quietly. In a last ditch effort, the year snatched Betty White from us. I used to watch the Golden Girls with my mom as a child. As a curious 7 year old I couldn’t understand why Rose seemed so clueless. It angered me because I felt girls were always shoved in a box and told to stay there. “Don’t ask questions, don’t speak out, don’t point out wrongs, just go along with what you’re told.” As a young black girl in a world constantly telling me to shut up and sit down I wanted Rose to fight back. As I got older and saw Betty White in other acting roles, I understood. She has always fought back but in her own way. I am grateful for her being who she was.

For the past couple of days I debated whether or not to even write about the new year. I feel like I’m fighting the same internal battle I vowed to end several new years ago. But during part of 2020 and 2021 I did a short series of Facebook lives where I spoke my thoughts on current events and internal conflicts I had been working through. These lives were to release the conversations in my mind. I ended my lives with encouragement, more so for myself than for anyone else who may have watched. “Recognize you are dope. Share your dopeness. But be careful who you share your dopeness with because not everyone is equipped to handle it.” This is the encouragement my teenage self needed, so I share it for any who may find comfort in it.

Encouragement is more important now than ever before because the world has grown so desensitized to pain and suffering. Growth and progress requires quiet self-reflection and planning and that is not encouraged much in today’s world of chasing riches and fighting for survival. But during the holidays I came across a decorative piece that was simplistic and to the point: Progress Over Perfection. So instead of writing down an entire to-do list for 2022 I am choosing a theme for this year and progress over perfection is fitting.

May you maintain good health and a keen sense of what is right for you, and defend that firmly. Happy new year and may you create the life you’ve always wanted!

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!

Why Yet's Words logo

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.