Fiery Autumn Love

“The woman who is willing to make that change must become pregnant with herself, at last. She must bear herself, her third self, her old age.”

Ursula K. Le Guin

I love Autumn. I always have but it’s just now, in the last few years, that I’ve really embraced this love. Confessed this love to anyone who would listen. Maybe it’s because I was born during this season. Maybe it’s the feeling of beginnings I have for the season with the return to school. Or maybe it’s the array of fiery colours.

There is something about the light during this season which touches my soul and brings me hope with a tinge of sorrow. Each year, during this season, we used to travel to Barcelona for a week or so. And there, the light at this time of year, is even more pronounced. The nights are drawing in and the temperatures are lowering but when you get that light, that golden, warm light during an Autumn day, well the world doesn’t seem such an awful place. You can see and appreciate its beauty.

Many moons ago, I created a writing retreat in the mountains surrounding Rome, Italy, taking inspiration from the changing seasons within the landscape. The landscape’s on the change during Autumn and I wanted to explore this through creative means with others hence the retreat amongst the olive groves and rich colourful berries. Again there was a certain kind of light that would progress down the mountain through the day and rest into the evening with a creamy glow.

There’s hope during this season but also a necessity of letting go. We see this with the falling leaves, the flowers drooping , turning brown and crumpling into dust at the touch of a hand. There’s the ending of growth, death even, to make room for the next stage of development and growth and life.

I’m entering ( or could I already be there?) the Autumn of my life. In all honesty, I have been for the last few years. Since the pandemic, if not before, when there has been a great shedding of things, people, relationships, and responsibilities. I refuse to carry on, carrying the burdens of the world on my shoulders, trying to do it all instead of acknowledging the changes and entering this next phase of my life with grace.

This is what I’ll be exploring during this Autumn season. The beauty and grace and changes of the season. Within nature but also within myself. During Autumn, there’s a letting go, a surrender to what is, letting go of what was and a tenderness as there’s a slow progression into the next phase.

I’m not turning my back on my ageing process but I’m probably grieving the loss of youth, attention and usefulness. But this is the time, in that golden light, to embrace my condition of changing woman. Greet the transformations that are happening inside and outside of me with love. Like my love for Autumn. Autumn is here. She is beautiful and fiery. And definitely not silent.

Summer Loving

It’s been a short sharp second they’re since I’ve been here.

I’ve been enjoying the fruits of summer. The long hot days and nights. The light. The carefree feeling that a summer breeze brings. Being off the clock and not having to worry about the time.

I’ve also been busy working on the BALTIC commission and really enjoying the process. I’m loving seeing ideas come to fruition.

But this time can’t last forever. I know season’s change but so learning to live in the present with gratitude and grace.

I am learning to be an inner healer.

I am learning to heal myself.
I am leaning to turn pain into medicine.
I may be at another crossroads. And I may to taking longer to get up
as I am getting older and in need of rest.
But I am learning to walk in uncharted territory.
I am learning to let responsibility go.
I am learning to let the guilt go.

I’m learning to not be afraid of death.
I’m learning to accept myself.
I’m learning to love myself.
I’m learning to not limit myself.
I’m learning to be free.
I’m learning to fly.

I’m learning to shine my light for myself first and foremost.
I’m learning to shed past selves, past skins, past traumas,
in order to let my light shine brighter.

Really Pissed Off At The Moment

Land’s End, Cornwall

I’ve been missing in action. I’ve been going through the motions of getting up each day and doing what needs to be done. But I’ve been tired. Put it down to the 9 hour drive home Saturday/ Sunday from Cornwall.

So maybe because of this lack of energy, then my skin is thinner. My patience is none existent. Or I’ve just plain sensitive.

But some ways people are behaving and treating me is unacceptable and maddening and upsetting. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not accepting this treatment lying down. I’m pushing back and letting them know what they’re doing or not doing and how this is coming across for me/ affecting me. But that doesn’t lessen the sting. Doesn’t lessen the questioning that seems almost like a ritual I do through afterwards.

Why are they doing that? Why did they say that or not? Why did they not acknowledging my contributions? Why did they not thank me? Are they treating everyone else like that? Did they just do it to me? Are they doing this because I’m Black?

Yes. You might say, it’s not all/always about race. And I agree with you. But if we live in a white supremacy culture where we are indoctrinated into believing, thinking and behaving as if white people are superior to Black people then it’s second nature to dismiss, ignore, overrule, disregard what the Black person is saying or doing in the room. We are not seen as of value, of worth or even present. We don’t register on your radar.

So I won’t ask for forgiveness or apologise for bringing it up because for me these are daily microaggressions which depending on my current state of mind body and soul, cut deep or can be rolled off my back like water.

But this week. Today. Now. No way. I’m not accepting them. I’m not going to remain silent about them. As I’m here and I matter and I deserve to be recognised. Not because I’ve done or said something amazing or impression. Because, I am a human being, and I have a right to be here.

Here ends today’s rant and getting things off my chest as basically I was getting tired carrying them all ant

angtaround.

Word of the Year 2022 – OPEN

Every year for the past 6 or 7 years, I’m chosen a word to guide me through the year. A word that I can use almost as a beacon to lead me through the year ahead with purpose, focus and grace.

2021 saw we embracing the practice of ::SLOW:: after 2020 and pandemic forcing everyone to slow down. Once things started to open up again, to some degrees, I didn’t want to give up the space and creativity and peace I’d found in moving and being at a slower pace. So I purposely leant into slow in 2021, and it saw me well.

Each guiding word is not discarded at the end of each year but through practice they become incorporated, embedded really into my way of being moving forward. So 2022, will see me continue to practice ::SLOW:: because I have learned so much about myself and others through it’s adoption. It has changed the way I operate in this world and for the better.

So considering this, the natural progression for me, building on 2021, is to adopt {BE} OPEN as my word of 2022.

For me OPEN means being open to opportunities, vulnerabilities and ideas.

Using OPEN with {BE} is a reminder to go gently and with grace. Using {} around the word ‘be’ is giving me, my state of being a virtual hug. I’m hugging myself through this process of opening up more to opportunities, vulnerabilities and ideas.

{BE} is offering love to myself. {BE} OPEN is offering action to open, even though I know ‘being’ has nothing to do with ‘doing’. Being is just being, just being me. No need to produce or shine. Just be simply open to what is there right in front of me.

{BE} OPEN to opportunities is not to shut down straight away but to move out of my comfort zone if something is offered to me as a possibility.

{BE} OPEN to vulnerabilities is being more of an open book. Showing up more and more authentically me and not being afraid of sharing my emotions, feelings and thoughts. Having my honest heart on display and giving and accepting LOVE.

{BE} OPEN to ideas is continuing to be the life-long learner I’m accepted myself to be and to continue to play and experiment within my own practice. To remain open to new adventures and explorations and not be afraid to take leaps, even when I’m getting older and maybe stuck in my ways.

With 2022, I’m practicing how to keep an open mind, heart and soul to whatever comes next. Viewing being and developing myself not as a chore or battle but as a blessing.

Morning Water

A morning bath.

So close to my bleed but not quite there yet. Feeling the heavy but with grace.

Warming up after the sea. Rain and wind and lots of seaweed.

But I so so love it.

I’m going to be coming here more often from now on as I check out of all my social media account and focus on my internal landscape and what needs to come out.

I’m so looking forward to sharing my journey with you.

This journey of healing is never ending. But so appreciating the process.

Give me love any day of the week. And I’ll give you the core of me.

A Gratitude List

“My blessings always overflow.” Abiola Abrams

  1. I’m grateful for time away alone in a VW Camper. A dream come true.
  2. I’m grateful for the Autumn light on the mountains in the distance.
  3. I’m grateful for the sound of the sea shhhing me to stillness.
  4. I’m grateful for my babies being well and happy.
  5. I’m grateful for the people who come and go in my life.
  6. I’m grateful for protected boundaries.
  7. I’m grateful for money in the bank.
  8. I’m grateful for projects coming to an end, successfully.
  9. I’m grateful for the hot sweet potato and pumpkin soup.
  10. I’m grateful for the grey heron who’s hunting for fish just in my sightline.

Honouring My Wholeness

It’s nearly been a couple of weeks now since we, Olwen Wilson and myself, completed facilitating our online visual journaling retreat called Honouring Our Wholeness. For three sessions spread over six weeks, we created space for a self-care visual journaling retreat for women, feminine and non-binary people who are Black, Indigenous or a Person of Colour.

This was a unique and well-needed safe space for us to come together and just be. To let down our loads and know that we weren’t going to be judged but held. It was such a nourishing and nurturing space that without it, I feel a bit remiss. This space came along at the right time when I needed to take things slow and lean back into my visual journaling practice. What I need now is to remember what I learned from this experience and continue the journey; this healing journey I’ve been on for over six years now.

Six years ago, I started my visual journaling practice through a virtual course run by Lisa Sonora called Dreaming on Paper, at that point. It came into my life when I needed to explore my voice. When I needed time and space to get in touch, probably for the first time, with my true self. It provided me with an anchor when everything around me was disappearing, had been destroyed. Visual journaling kept me afloat, when I could have easily drown.

These are the things I need to remember when I do get a bit lost because of outside demands, or when I’m being far too critical on my own arse. Self-compassion. self-care and self-love are waiting for me when I open my journal and just play. Just try. Just turn up for me.

It was such an honour to be gather with these beautiful and generous people during Honouring Our Wholeness because that’s what we did for each other and ourselves, we showed up and offered ourselves compassion, care, grace and love.

All I can say now is MORE. I WANT MORE.

Emotional Labour

‘It’s hard to be calm in a world made for whiteness. ‘ Austin Channing Brown

My last post, Black Fatigue, was written in a moment of anger, hence all the mistakes. Not mistakes in the argument or feelings but in the spellings and grammar. But I make no apologies. Sometimes it’s good for the soul, or good for me to let the anger out that I’m carrying around, moment to moment, daily.

It’s probably one of the rare occasions, I’ve allowed myself to vent as I have learned through years and experiences being an angry Black woman gets me nowhere. But the flip side, where has being an amicable and amenable Black woman got me? Probably well down the road of mental health issues and questionable wellbeing.

A week on, and I’m still sick and tired of the things playing out in my life as I move through this world in the body of a Black woman but still not recognised or treated as a fellow human being. I could even say that things have gotten worse as with time, more slights and ignorance and lack of awareness of their actions and inactions accumulate. Continue to accumulate as I get older but also as I attempt and fight to be met eye to eye with others as a human being deserving of living and striving within this world.

I oscillate between exhaustion and anger. Being depleted and fired up. And the worse thing of all is those that cause this suffering are oblivious to it. And even when I take the time and energy to point it out to them, how their actions are being unfair, unjust, unreasonable, and not seeing the situation in it’s totality they get on the defensive, do not engage with the issue, but deflect it away with comments like, ‘ I won’t engage with you when you’re being so aggressive.’

I stand by my post Black Fatigue. I just wish I’d mentioned emotional labour too. I can see now, as I reach 50 years old this year, that I have spent my lifetime trying to fit in. That means trying to be white. That is the only way to be let / given an inch in this game/ society/ life. I’m expected to be white because this is the cultural way of being. White people believe being white is right and good. Anything ‘other’ is wrong and should do everything right to become more white.

Now as I continue to question this standard, the way of operating in society, in the world, I’m going to become more and more angry and exhausted because I’m constantly being judged for being a Black female in a world made for whiteness. Everywhere I turn, in the street, on social media, on the TV, my self-esteem is being chipped away while living with the disparities in job opportunities, health care, education, and in the justice system. And I’m supposed to be happy and grateful when someone white talks about diversity and offers a crumb as if it’s taking a risk.
And then if I have the audacity to ask for more, there’s tears.

I’ve taken a break from social media as I was falling into the comparison spiral trap as well as putting pressure on myself to produce. But I see now what I was doing was performing. This is my pain and this is my joy. I was striving for the viewer, for you, to see me, treat me, like a fellow human being. It appears it’s the only dance I know. I’ve spent a lifetime trying to be white at the same time as trying to convince/explain/ argue that I’m worthy, that I’m a fully functioning and feeling human being who deserves to be here for your discarded crumb. Fuck that for a game of soldiers.

I’m taking back control and my power so I can control my rage. Not to protect others but myself. I’ve got to make sure now that my anger doesn’t destroy me. I’m putting in emotional labour with me, for me now.