When Me and God Were Atheists 11/22/18

Nicholson’s third book and the second collection of poetry.

I’m on the phone with my mother, it’s 2am. We both have colds. I’ve been sick since last week. She is worried and keeps saying I don’t sound like I’m getting better. She interrogates me about what I’m taking. She tries to force me to get up and make some tea.

She’s trying to boss me around from Vegas. She tells me to hang up and go lay down. I’m like, the cold medicine makes me drowsy, so I’ve actually been sleeping all day. I tell her I don’t like the way being sick makes me feel.

Looking back on the conversation as I’m typing now. Does some part of me think some people like feeling sick? That seems silly to say out loud, it’s like stating the obvious. I’m angry I’m not doing more, while I’m sick.

Moments like this, I wonder if I shouldn’t be more guarded. Should I really write everything I’m thinking? I miss words when I’m typing this fast. Maybe I type faster than the cursor and it doesn’t put out all the words? Nah, I’m lying. I totally miss words.

My mom and I are building a new relationship. She’s changing as a person. I still don’t feel like I can tell her everything I’m thinking. Maybe our relationship means we should have secrets. It’s weird how many times I switch the subject. Some part of me knows not to go down certain paths. I don’t know how I know either. It’s a block that forces me in a different direction than I’m thinking.

It was almost 5am my time when she practically hung up on me. I was telling her about my dad. I was telling her how I let him read some of a draft.  I tell her we started comparing scriptures to what he thought. How as a result of this exchange, he no longer attends church. How that wasn’t my purpose with this book. I just want people to consider what they really know about their beliefs.

Now I’m thinking about how he wasn’t there for my book release. How he completely forgot the day. How he brags on me but loses track of days. How sad he was he missed my book release.

I’m thinking about how I wished I could have missed my own book release.

I’m writing through the layers of my fears. The layers of all the things holding me back. I’m writing through my thoughts and letting them materialize on paper so I can strangle them in ink.

I have more to say than I’m willing to type at this moment.

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I’m tired. Too candid. I should keep more things to myself.

I’m a writer. I’m an open book. Sometimes I free people just by being. Sometimes I lose opportunities.

I still haven’t figured it all out. No one really wants us to be honest. Hard work doesn’t actually pay off. And well, I have questions. Why are we taught how to be fair, when life isn’t fair?

Sigh… me and my false expectations. Maybe I shouldn’t be talking about this right now.

Building My Family Tree 6/16/18

I call my Dudda “ThinZel Washington” cause you can’t tell him he’s not the cat’s meow. My mom looking on proud. 2006

Last night I dreamed I was at my paternal grandmother’s house. Warm pots on the stove. She was talking with her hand on her hips, looking someone directly in the eyes. Not as a threat, but she had an aging coke bottle shape. It was the natural way she stood. She stirred food on the stove with one hand on her hip. We called her Granoe. Well, other’s did. I called her Ann, which really annoyed some of my dad’s siblings. Looking back now, with this huge amount of respect for my elders, I see how that was perceived as audacious.  However, my dad called her Ann. It was how I was taught to address her. It feels strange even now to call her Granoe, though my first cousins did… Or Mama, they called her.

I am sifting through all sorts of memories this morning… Doing Google searches. I did learn something. I found her brothers obituary, where they named all her siblings including her and their parents. I wanted to call and ask my dad about her, when she was born. At the same time, he went through a major break down after his mother’s death. He just recovered from a few years ago. she died in 1996. It took almost two decades for him to grapple with a life without his mother.

Recently, I asked him where she was buried. He brushed it off and said he didn’t want to talk about it. I didn’t push.

I recently took a picture of her in a frame with my grandfather, at my aunt’s house. I was living in Las Vegas when she passed. I sometimes go to where my maternal grandmother’s resting. She died when I was older. She’d taught me how to cook. Sometimes I’d call just to talk with her a few times a week in adulthood.  We had a relationship so I miss her all the time. I drive buy the house I spent my early years in, picking wild strawberries from the back yard… Seeing my first apparition. While my father’s mother passed when I was still in high school. I didn’t get to go home to the funeral. I’ve been thinking about her a lot and how I don’t really know my entire family. Mostly, I had no relationship with my mother’s father, no relationship with my grandmother’s father and only met him once in my life.  Only to find out I had a cousin living in the same apartment building downstairs, I played with often. I met my paternal grandfather when on my way to a funeral and my dad met his father also for the first and last time that day. I woke up today, moved to work on the family tree I’ve been building.

My grandmother Shirley, my mother Frances and me. There’s a story I won’t get into here. These weren’t our clothes. LOL! 2003ish I’m thinking.

 

I’d like to trace my family tree back four generations. On both sides.

Maternal:

Great Great grandfather:

Great great grandmother:

Great grandmother: Nancy Koger

Great grandfather: Unknown

Grandmother: Shirley Bell Nicholson

Grandfather: Captain Nicholson

My mother: Annie F. Nicholson

I’ve always felt my never fully accepts how beautiful she is. This is us. 1980’s baby!!!

Paternal:

Great Great grandparents: Who had Tom Hill

Great Great grandparents: Who had Mary Kirkwood Hill

Great grandfather: Tom Hill

Great grandmother: Mary Kirkwood Hill of Sledgewood, Mississippi.

Grandmother: Mary Ann Elbert, maiden name Mary Ann Hill.

Grandfather: Lewis Brown (maybe he spelled his first name like Louis) I can’t find anything on him.

My father: Kenneth Elbert

 

I’m putting names, hoping the dynamics of the internet will work in my favor and any family members searching will find this blog.

Shirley Bell Nicholson ( I don’t know her maiden name) born in Brooksville, Mississippi. Has eight other siblings still living with the last name Koger. However she was/is the oldest and had a different father. She was named before my great grandmother met and married a Koger.

I don’t know anything about Captain Nicholson. I’d like to trace his siblings and their children.

Catalyst For Change

My Dream Purple Manual Typewriter

I spend a lot of my days defying odds, breaking rules and ignoring objections. This sounds horrible. I am trying to be in a space where I don’t feel obligated to explain myself and just be… At the same time, this is a blog, so I can’t just be like, “I don’t follow rules” without speaking to why.

Everyone is afraid. Everyone lives in what they believe to be true. I ask tons of questions. I want to know who told you we couldn’t do it. I want to know who made each rule someone is trying to enforce.  Believe me, I feel like an asshole when I’m asking a million questions of someone just doing their job.  I stress people I love out. At the same time, I make them proud. I force them to see the entire world with different eyes and in a way, we’re all getting free.

So, I want to know how the rules I follow are valuable. I mean, at one point it was normal to own people, trade and sell them like cattle. This was legal. I’m mentioning this, because laws don’t always make sense. Like in some states it is still illegal to have sex in any position other than missionary.  At one point, women were considered burdens. Which is why the father paid to give her away. Through out history, women were also property to be used as leverage. It was normal to beat one’s wife or have poor women sold into harems. My point is, just because something is culturally and socially accepted doesn’t mean it is right, or that it’s conducive to us growing.

I’m obsessed with religion, it is one of the most fascinating creations of man… It’s complexities give hope we will one day get beyond superficial superficial boundaries. Religion actually challenges the status quo by inspiring people from all walks of life, on every economic level and from any cultural or historical background to see themselves as familiar. While, unfortunately, dividing the more common bonds native to man.  Which means, people who look alike and speak the same language may not see their similarities while being completely at home with foreigners. Belief makes people feel at home with strangers and treat family strange.

I don’t follow what I’ve been taught to believe. Instead I follow my knowing.  God still speaks. The ancestors are real.  I meet people in several different religions who share my faith and practice. The knowing bridges us over superficial boundaries. I was lost following some written set of rules, denying myself and spending my days preparing for death. As I’ve embraced life and found what I was initially taught isn’t true, I’ve started questioning everything. Turns out, there a lot of other untruths that go unquestioned.

Now, people look at me like I’m crazy. People have fought me tooth and nail over a false belief.  Observation and rational conclusions are met with hostility, even when there is proof… Side note: Googling shit is like the best thing that could have happened to my generation. I have to be careful with saying this though, cause we can’t believe everything we read. There are already tons of books that have no credibility being held as an authority, way beyond their usefulness and our evolution.

I like writing because it calls me to critically think. When you can Google anything, when your sentences are finished for you and you stop speaking to people… We lose so much. I’m trying to find the balance between technology, common sense, spirit and scientific proof.

Life for me has changed drastically. Everyone around me is changing too. All of these changes are a result of an unconventional way of existing. I’m constantly self-evaluating and questioning.

I am so grateful to be moving within life instead of outside of it and against it.

6/8/2018 Blogging Again

It’s 7pm. I decided to write a journal because I’ve been writing in journals on paper, that I will probably never read. It’s this technique I’ve learned from a book called, The Artist’s Way. It is freedom. It’s not writing for sharing but for making the unconscious tangible. Then deal. I never knew how many things were limiting my choices. Three pages a day helps you move through other levels of being. I’m grateful for this lesson and practice.

I have failures. Many. I am a year late on a book I was suppose to release last year.

I worry as I write free form… If I’m not too open. I am trying to remember the boundaries we should have when writing about self. Don’t mention anyone you know by name, protect their privacy. I’ve always been an open book. I’m so open people feel freer with me and at times I’m told things no one else is. I’m fully present. I’m attentive. I use to think what I see is obvious. People say I have a gift for fully comprehending them, sometimes better than they grasp themselves.  I’m objective and compassionate.  I don’t really believe in bad traits. People reward me with their trust and by being more of themselves. Still, I’m wondering how do I return to blogging in a way that is helpful but also respectful of my own being.

I do have a lot to say. I’ve learned a lot since I was here last. I’m still learning. I have abandoned some fears and unfortunately realized others. These new ones are clearer and easier to work through, I tell myself.  What I tell myself is the absolute truth, even when it isn’t.

So… I’m here. Hearing. Rendering whatever I’m being told.

Love

She’s Gotta Have It

The 2017 Netflix Series Cover.

Spike Lee has a new show on Netflix, “She’s Gotta Have It.” I’m researching polyamorous relationships and pansexuals.  I was excited to see a free-spirited black woman in this Trump era.  The trailer made a lot of promises.  I loved that the lead actress is brown with thick hair.  I loved that she was an artist.  She’d have to be to be evolved enough to live free.  I think polyamory, though I am not is a type of freedom that requires a higher level of responsibility.  Freedom is responsibility.

Not long after I pressed play, I wondered if Lee knew any polyamourous pansexual people.  The Lesbians I know swore him off after “She Hate Me,” even after I tried to save him by saying, his sister is a lesbian.  It was like saying, no that man can’t be sexist or patriarchal, he has a mother and sisters. It didn’t go over well. I thought “She Hate Me” flipped the script and made men commodities.

More importantly, he seems to be a cool person with good intentions. I’ve been to one of Lee’s talks.  He’s the kind of person you’d love to catch dinner with and just hear his thoughts on politics, religion and the economy.  He feels like family.  On top of that, he supports black artistry and introduces unknown actors and musicians.  I love that he employs black people and gives us an opportunity to see our complexities.  Crooklyn is still one of my favorite movies.  What he did with Malcolm X made me forget what the real Malcolm X looked like for a while.

Chi-rock… Lawd.  As an artist though, you have to take risks.  Most filmmakers use what they’ve learned about motion photography to tell a story.  Lee uses his own interests, passions, heritage, family, and friends to tell his stories. I can’t tell what film directors made certain films and that’s their skill set.  I always know when it’s a Spike Lee Joint and that’s his genius.  Still, with all the love I have for Lee I couldn’t make it through the first episode.  Disappointed with myself, I’m thinking I didn’t have the right context or mindset.

I forget that Spike Lee’s films are art.  Most of his projects feel like stage plays with the world as its set.  The mood is set by black and white stills, amazing music, and monologues.  I looked up “She’s Gotta Have It,” because it sounded familiar. It is.  This Netflix series is based on Lee’s 1986 movie with the same title.  Now I want to see it, maybe first.

Original 1986 “She’s Gotta Have It” cover.

Based on previews, Lee’s series is following the movie closely.  Except Lee had some regrets about the 1986 “She’s Gotta Have It,” that he addresses. I hope he uses his freedom to imagine Nola Darling as an actualized individual.  I am looking forward to seeing the 1986 version to see what has changed now that he is older and has a larger budget.  I’m interested to see if it would have been weird if there was more showing than telling?  If instead of having Nola start the series narrating, she was speaking in her head the way we all do.  Let us hear her thoughts as she lives her life, rather than have her narrate… I’ve always felt narration was for books written in the third person or where the character isn’t’ honest.  It’s difficult to do this well, it’s a skill.
Without any background and forgetting Spike Lee’s style, my initial feeling was… This is so heavyhanded. It insults the audience’s abilities to follow the storyline.  Still, maybe after both Spike Lee and I am long gone, people will recognize and celebrate Lee’s genius.

I plan to come back. Maybe let it play in the background and hope it will pull me in. Some of my favorite musicians have collections like this.  You fight getting into the groove because it’s the wrong vibration for that moment.  Sometimes, we even fight parts of ourselves and then we realize we are flawed and that’s why we’re beautiful.

Give Voice to Your Pain

Give voice to your pain.

My heart is heavy. It hurts when racist bullies play the victim after being called out. It’s difficult for me to grasp this isn’t the Twilight Zone, where some people don’t have to take responsibility for their behavior. Even worse, they have the power to force people of color to console and comfort them while victimizing us… This is another kind of trauma.

This trauma grinds the spirit. It demands you smile and interact under attack. Forgiveness doesn’t need someone to take responsibility or even less just acknowledge they’ve harmed. Forgiveness is for the forgiver more than the forgiven. Forgiveness allows us spiritual freedom. For me, the spirit grinding has to stop so I can find peace within myself. I need space to grieve the reality of who these racists really are and the death of my own false perceptions. They’d bullied me, but I thought they were just mean. I need to be allowed to be silent, hurt, angry, disappointed and frustrated without being vilified.

I need to feel my own feelings without being told they are inconvenient, immature or unprofessional. I need to feel my own hurt without being told someone else is hurt or uncomfortable. Especially when they are the cause of all of our suffering. Telling me to make someone else comfortable while I’m hurting feels like their humanity is valued over mine.

I want to move into forgiveness, for myself. I am a crying mess. The initial behavior was far more tolerable than the results of addressing them. I have regrets. I understand why people of color remain silent. Silence is self-protection in a system where you can’t win.

Another thing, our false beliefs about how racists and racism manifest undermine our ability to recognize and acknowledge destructive beliefs, language, and behaviors. I include myself in this. I inadvertently defended racists. I didn’t want to believe people who I would have called allies to people of color were racist. I didn’t support a person of color by whitesplaining why their feelings, hurt wasn’t valid. I know, I’m shitty. I feel hella guilty, as I should.

To be clear, if you are consciously protecting a racist hurting people of color out of loyalty to that racist, you are also racist. Protecting a person from the consequences of their racism is… ding ding ding supporting and perpetuating racism. Inevitably, you’re part of the systematic racism crushing people of color.

Racism is spiritual violence. Character assassinations to alienate or vilify the person or people your behavior harmed is spiritual violence. Disconnection feels like armor. Speaking the truth feels like retaliation. When it’s normal to draw back from being burned, scowling and saying “that’s hot!”

I’m tired. I’m emotionally exhausted. I feel like I did something wrong. I’m afraid. I am broke. I am struggling. In fact, me saying I was starving and broke somehow opened me up to a racist discussion. One meal, one discussion has changed my life.

Today, I’m heartbroken by white privilege. Period. I wouldn’t even call an elder for advice. They’ve learned you can’t win in this system ages ago. They will probably say this is my own fault. They will probably say this is why people of color must wear a mask. They will say this is why they never get too comfortable with white people. White people see this separation as “reverse racism.” I’m starting to fully understand how it’s self-protection in a system where we cannot win.

I’ll probably be punished, for not smiling while I’m hurting. For not masking my scowl of frustration and disappointment. For not being open while feeling defensive. I don’t know how or want to learn how to comfort racist while tending my own wounds. So, I’ve decided to go down in flames. I will not be silenced.

This is… I guess… my own revolution.