Maybe corny river metaphor

We are cramming into living rooms and meeting in church basements to talk about ideas. You say housing is a human right, right? Well, here’s what we’re going to do about it. We are imagining and making plans. We are challenging ourselves – actually trying to do what we’ve always thought should be done. And there is so much work to do. So. Much. Work. But it’s the kind of work that invigorates – that you don’t really know how to do, but when you realize no one else is going to do for you, you try, and you learn, and one day you wake up and you are doing it, and somehow this is your life. I hope. We’ll see, because I am still so young (but almost 25!) and so at the beginning of all things.

Here is a thing I fought against because it felt like a tired metaphor. But then I printed it and hung it on the wall of my creative nook a few months ago because even tired metaphors can still be true. Here’s to pushing off into the middle and celebrating this year. Amen.

There is a river flowing now very fast. It is so great and swift that there are those who will be afraid. They will try to hold on to the shore. They will feel they are being torn apart, and they will suffer greatly.

 Know the river has its destination. The elders say we must let go of the shore, push off into the middle of the river, keep our eyes open, and our heads above the water. See who is in there with you and celebrate.

 At this time in history, we are to take nothing personally. Least of all, ourselves. For the moment that we do, our spiritual growth and journey comes to a halt.

 The time of the lone wolf is over. Gather yourselves!

Banish the word struggle from your attitude and your vocabulary.

All that we do now must be done in a sacred manner and in celebration.

We are the ones we’ve been waiting for.

– a Hopi Elder Prayer


In remembrance

Now that the weather is cold and the holidays are upon us, I keep being caught up in memories of what I was doing this time last year. This coming week would be the one in which I moved out of the house M and I lived in together and filed for divorce. I finally felt the desire to start journaling about some of it last week, and although parts of it were obviously painful, I was mostly overwhelmed with thankfulness. I am healing up nicely and full of joy, and everything in the past usually feels like some other lifetime I didn’t really belong to. As I was writing I remembered several instances in which people almost strangers to me went out of their way to love and encourage me when I was far away from family and friends, and I feel the need to put them down in writing as a way of acknowledging this beautiful providence. Although I wasn’t apt to reach out for help or let myself come undone, these people somehow caught me with their small kindnesses even when I wouldn’t admit I needed catching.

1. Apartments were scarce in town, especially on such short notice. None of the places I called had vacancies, and I was starting to feel panicked when I got on the phone with Mr. Beech. At first he said he didn’t have anything available, but for whatever reason he took an interest in me — he asked about my job, found out I was from Nashville by way of Oklahoma and told me all about taking trips with his wife in their RV. I guess he decided that he liked the sound of me because he told me he might have a tiny studio about to open up and that I should call back tomorrow. I signed the lease on December 6th, but he only charged me half a month’s rent and worked out a 6 month lease for me. When I finally told him about getting divorced he said the same thing happened to his daughter but then her life turned out better than she’d imagined. And when we talked on the phone he always called me “girl.”

2. Mrs. Neely was our landlord. When M and I moved to town, she and her husband took us to dinner and gave us a tour. She was a veteran Home Ec. teacher in the same school district I was in, so whenever I went to pay rent we had long chats about school and took me under her wing a bit — she and her grandkids swam in our pool and we took food when her mom died. It was a small town and she owned the house we lived in, so when I had to tell her I was moving out, she already knew why. The last time I saw her, we sat at her kitchen table for a long time talking about life and our plans for the future. I was doing a great job of being matter-of-fact and was about to leave when she held both of my hands, looked into my eyes, and said, “I want you to have more happiness than you can hold with both hands.” And since that’s what I wanted, too, I cried shamelessly.

3. On February 25th we had to go to court to finalize our divorce. After M left, my lawyer and I walked back to his office get copies of some documents I would need. While we waited on his secretary, he sat me down, made me a cup of coffee, and told me about other young women who had come through his office in the same predicament – that we all deserved better and would find better. He basically told me not to beat myself up about it – that I was great and any man would be lucky to have me. which I needed to hear then. (Then he invited me to the singles class at his church, but I forgave him for that.)

The Occupation

I’ve been committing a lot of time to Occupy Nashville because I think it’s a forum to talk about things that need to be talked about — namely, how we should all be doing a better job of taking care of each other. Several of us collaborated on this statement to take to our faith communities, and I think it’s spot on:

An invitation to our brothers and sisters in Christ from members of the Nashville Christian faith community who are participating in Occupy Nashville

 Because we believe that all of the Law and the Prophets hang on the two greatest commandments to love God with our whole heart, soul, and mind, and to love our neighbor as we love ourselves;

Because we believe that we are called to feed the hungry, give drink to the thirsty, clothe the naked, visit the imprisoned, shelter the homeless, visit the sick, and bury the dead;

Because we believe that the Gospel of Jesus Christ is good news to the poor, freedom for the prisoners, sight for the blind and release for the oppressed;

Because we believe that no one can serve two masters, and therefore, we cannot serve both God and money;

Because we believe that in the beloved community that there is no longer Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female;

Because we believe that we are called to love our enemies and pray for those who persecute us;

Because we believe that faith without works is dead;

We have made the decision to celebrate the good news of Jesus Christ by participating in Occupy Nashville. As followers of Jesus, we can no longer sit idly by while millions of our sisters and brothers, children made in the image of God, suffer needlessly due to greed.

When the top 1% of households in this country controls 38.1% of the total wealth, we do not love our neighbors as ourselves.

When the top 10% of households in this country controls over 70% of the total wealth, we do not love our neighbors as ourselves.

When the bottom 40% of households in this country controls only 0.2% of the total wealth, we do not love our neighbors as ourselves.

When the false doctrine of corporate personhood is perpetrated in a manner that allows corporate control of the political process, we do not love our neighbors as ourselves.

When over 46 million Americans are living in poverty, we do not love our neighbors as ourselves.

When at least 1 in 6 Americans is without health insurance, we do not love our neighbors as ourselves.

When we fail to love our neighbors as ourselves, we do not love God with all of our heart, soul, mind, and strength. Therefore, we invite all Christian leaders and followers of Jesus the Christ to join us in Legislative Plaza, or to join with us in spirit by signing this statement of faith and support.  We do this because we believe another world is possible. We believe the Kingdom of God is among us.

And here are a few pictures:

me, cuffed and limp like spaghetti on arrest night #2

meditation circle on the plaza


snippets for katiebird

I was going to the social security office recently, and since I assumed I would have to do a fair amount of waiting, I thought it best to take a book. As it turns out, the only book in my car was 501 Spanish Verbs, so I did some studying and made the best of it. I came across a few idioms/proverbs that made me laugh — obviously loosely translated. (Katiebird, maybe you already know these, but if not, add them to a list somewhere (: )

¡Cuentasélo a tu abuela! : Tell it to your grandma. (i.e. you’re pulling my leg)

No tiene dos dedos de frente. : He doesn’t have two fingers of forehead (i.e. peabrain)

El que mal canta, bien le suena. : He who sings badly likes what he hears.

¡Cómprate un calvo y péinalo! : Buy a bald man and comb him/his hair. (i.e. Beat it.)

Maybe I’ll start using the English versions in everyday conversation and see what happens.Will be on the lookout for more.



back at it

These past few months have been a needed balance of fullness and also quiet — in that my heart and life have been full of joyous newness, but I’ve also had the time for reflection and creativity that I had been longing for. So much that I gladly stepped out of regular life (whatever that means) for awhile to enjoy it fully, but now I am on the cusp of a job and new responsibilities, and I welcome that, too.

I’m especially keyed up about life tonight because I met a bunch of great new people. I found a meetup group today that is dedicated to helping Nashville transition into sustainable living (based on this movement). It sounded like exactly the sort of community I have been looking to get involved in, so I made some salsa, went to their potluck, and learned a bit about fall/winter gardening. I was definitely the only person there under 40, and it was great. I usually feel more comfortable with oldish people anyway, and these were exactly the sort of oldish people I hope to be like someday. They haven’t checked out or let the world move on without them. There were a bunch of people my grandparents’ age discussing everything from beets & healthy bee colonies to community organizing and our society’s need for transformation and imagination in a time of unprecedented global uncertainty . . . . . They were passionate and inspiring. And even though it’s not one of my strengths, I made conversation with strangers and began what I hope will be many new friendships with very wise people.

I’m painting and sewing again. Yesterday I took my first tango class and signed up for Spanish lessons. I’m saying, “Yes.”

Because why not do the things I want most deeply to do? The only reason is fear — which is a shit reason, so I’m trying to give it up.

Ninjas and smelling like love

A few weeks ago I had the kiddos writing prepositional poems to practice prepositional phrases. Some of then really surprised me once I finally convinced them to be creative — Here are two of my favorites. Terrell is really awkward and loves video games and origami, but he will probably grow up to be the most interesting one of the bunch. Tiykeidra is just straight up crazy . . . but she’s gotten really into poetry with me in the last few months, so sometimes when we have a spare minute together we talk about our mutual love.


By Terrell

Sneaking in the night

Hiding in the trees

Masks on their faces

Hiding behind their enemies

Ninjas are everywhere and

Nowhere to be seen.

Fragrant Flowers

By Tiykeidra

On a Saturday morning

In my pajamas

Roses and flowers growing in the ground

Smiling at birds flying in the air

Nature all around me

Entering my nose,

Smelling like love

Enjoying my day with my friends

While I’m still a little girl

more music

1. A friend recently introduced me to Julieta Venegas. Even though I’m sure I don’t understand most of this song (and I’m sure it’s a little sappy), I have it on repeat. You know I can’t resist a sultry, piano-playing Latina.

2. I watched a biopic on Joni Mitchell (Joni Mitchell: A Woman of Heart and Mind) over the weekend and re-fell in love (?) with all that she is. It’s on Netflix instant watch. Recommended.


**Edit: I have more to say.

3. My weekend was as close to perfect as anything has been in a long while. Even though I got divorced on Friday. Saturday was beautiful — BEAUTIFUL, I tell you. Dear Megan drove down on Friday, and we ate delicious fried food, drank cold beer, and jammed out to the Blues. We had breakfast together before she left the next morning, the Bobcats won their final basketball games, I had fun with our cheerleaders, the sunshine was RADIANT so I took an excellent bike ride, and then I spent the rest of the afternoon singing, dancing, and preparing a rather fabulous meal which I shared with a friend that night. Yes. If this is what healing and moving on looks like (at least some of the time), sign me up. I am so taken care of. amen.

on sunny days and endings of things that aren’t supposed to end:

Yesterday was almost 70 degrees here in the delta, and forwarded mail finally started showing up at my apartment.

Both of these things let me know that it was time to say goodbye. I had been waiting for a warm day to go collect my bike (the last thing) from the M’s house, since I would have to walk over and ride it back to my place. Over the last couple of weeks, I’ve realized that M has moved on with great gusto, which has re-incited a lot of rage I thought I had gotten ahold of (which is to say, a lot of grief that I don’t know how to deal with, right?). I’m taking it as grace — a sign that I’m doing the better thing, and repenting of things like pride, which has given me the ass-kicking of a lifetime.

And I’m tired of leaving my heart susceptible to the same kind of hurt, so many times, so I left my house key. The bills are paid and everything is separated, so there are no more reasons for us to see each other or speak. (Besides that, it’s very eerie to speak with ghosts — if I can say that without sounding too dramatic.)

I spent most of the afternoon out walking through neighborhoods, listening to music, because I needed to be among living things, and I think sunlight has healing properties. See how healthy I am?

In a few weeks we will go separately (I hope) to sign the final documents, and that will be the end. somehow. People are telling me there will be a new beginning after that, which I mostly believe.

Also — I will be 24 on Friday? What a curious thing, this life.