WakeUp Wednesdays

I’m not sure where the connection to want to know more, this intrigue, this time and space that intersects in what seems to be more than just coincidental dates is happening.  Maybe I’m an over analyzer of sporadic and random coincidences, because deep down I believe everything happens for a reason so I try to make connections so that I can know the reason.  Sometimes reasons for coincidences take so long to reveal themselves that we don’t make the connections.  Other times the impact of the coincidences are so profound that the recall of that time is forced to the forefront of our minds with such energy that it leaves you enlightened.  Such as the time is this; I am in the beginning stages of fascination with a group of people called Move from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA.  I’m not sure where this fascination will lead me, I suppose it will lead to moments of profoundness and plethora of emotions that I will have to dig deep to explain to myself.  Mainly, I’ve already experienced these things so I will continue without expectations.  And maybe it will lead to nowhere, and just simply leave me aware.  But for me, Awareness is a desired destination.

My fascination began when I decided to watch a documentary directed by Marc Evans called, “In Prison My Whole Life.”  I had seen this documentaryimages (13) numerous times in my Netflix movies feeds, but never took interest to watch it even though it would always grab my attention.  Finally one night, after what felt like hours of trying to find a movie to watch, I decided to watch it.  The narrative of the film is a British man, William Francome, who is born (December 9, 1981) the same day that Mumia Abul Jamal is arrested for the murder of a Philadelphia Police Officer.  Mumia’s journey can be compared to the journey of many black men who have been wrongly accused of committing a crime in the United States of America, especially during a time where the law, without shame, upheld the disregard of Black peoples’ lives.  Mumia’s case, however, has been thrust into worldwide view and still has not acquired justice.  This documentary is filled with disgusting arrays of injustice to a man who has spent a quarter of century in solitary confinement awaiting execution.  I felt so angry, hurt, misguided, abused, so many emotions as I watched the devastation of a man’s life crammed into 90 minutes.

The Civil Rights Era ended, in what seems like what is viewed in the opinions of Americans, the law upholding injustices against Black people.  My parent’s experienced segregation, “Whites Only” signs, “For Colored’s” signs.  Surely, by the time I arrived in 1980 the heinous way Black people were treated by United States Government had been rectified.  Yea, sure there were isolated incidents around the country, but nothing that made national headlines, nothing that still to the present time of 2014 has been so blatantly left wrong.  Please don’t believe that I would be so naïve, but that is what our public school history books would have us to learn.  So please understand how my entire being was floored, as if I’d lived without gravity my entire life, when I heard about the bombing of 6221 Osage Avenue, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA on May 13, 1985, for the very first time in 2014.  A bombing carried out by the City of Philadelphia against its’ own citizens, American citizens.  This bombing claimed the lives of 6 adults and 5 children, causing a fire that was allowed to continuously burn, destroying 60 surrounding homes of a Black neighborhood.  Now, I will never claim to be a Black History historian, but I was at first angry that I had never read about this in a history book in school, and then left disappointed with myself because I have obviously failed to educate myself, properly.  Do not be misled, I have and still do read, research, and promote the understanding of being aware of Black history as well as our current situations.  I am not an activist by definition, but my spirit relates, perhaps I am.  In any case, it was hard to swallow the emotion of never hearing about the Move People.  From the little knowledge I have acquired about Move, I do not agree with everything about them, but it takes an empty soul to not be able to feel the grossness of the mistreatment of these people…..They were HUMANS, People, Individuals, men, women, children who desired life and the pursuit of happiness that which has been given as an American Constitutional right, but that which is first and foremost a God-given right.

After watching, “In Prison My Whole Life”, I felt compelled to write Mr. Mumia.  I’ve been anxiously awaiting a response before publishing the letter I wrote as a blog post.  By now it is 2:30 am on a work night (meaning I have to get up at 7am) and I’m up reading everything I can find on Google about Mumia Abu Jamal.  To my surprise I found an article announcing the voting to deny Debo Adegbile, President Obama’s nominee, the position of leading the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division; a current event I was totally oblivious to that had a direct connection with Mumia Abu Jamal, the man I just found out existed an hour ago.  The direct connection with President Obama’s nominee, Debo Adgebile and Mumia Abu Jamal is that Mr. Adgebile was an attorney on the NAACP Legal Defense Fund during the filing of a 2009 court brief stating that the jury on Mr. Mumia Abu Jamal’s trial was discriminatory, which was found to be true (go figure).  Two weeks later the Senate voted 47-52 against the appointment of Mr. Adgebile.  This man committed no crime, yet he was denied a prominent position because he was able to prove a portion of the injustice on Mumia Abu Jamal’s case.  The filing of that court brief, which was found to be true, resulted in the death penalty being dropped against Mumia.  Justice being accomplished 30 years and many attempts later, should have been what awarded Mr. Adgebile the ability to hold the title of chief of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division; instead it led to his demise.  Finding justice for a grossly injustice situation was punished.  What is moral and just about that?  It literally leaves me nauseated.

Weeks go by, as I wait and anticipate receiving a letter from Mumia Abu Jamal.  I’ve shared what I found with others, and my emotions die down.  Until looking for movies last night, Netflix suggests, “Let the Fire Burn”, a documentary about the 1985 bombing of the home of the Move organization that resulted 11 people dying and 60 homes burning down at the hands of the Philadelphia City Government.  This time I was left with the desire to know more about Michael Moses Ward aka Birdie Africa, the only child who survived this catastrophic injustice carried by representatives of the United States Justice System. I was left emotionally drained.  While Googling him, I found he recently passed away while vacationing aboard a Carnival Cruise Ship, September 2013.  I also found a blog post by Michael Awkward (http://newblackman.blogspot.com/2013/11/the-traumatic-return-of-michael-moses.html ) that allowed my thoughts to somewhat adjust to the way I felt.  It’s hard to explain the process of emotions as you watch the complete devastation and destruction that hatred causes people to bestow upon another group of people without any remorse; without blinking an eye.  To be able to even WANT to justify such a horrendous act, there were children in that house, those people were made to burn to death!

I emotionally don’t have enough space to continue with this post.  But a few random thoughts of coincidences that keeps me drawn to this moment in time that transcends generations.  I often think of the domino effect of the events that create the type of atmosphere that some of our Black communities are forced to live through.  Wakeup Wednesdays are for those who are still asleep.  And yes, forced is the correct description.

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On the rUn

I throw my bags in the trunk, jump in my pony, slide in my Nneka, “Concrete Jungle” Cd, roll down my windows, and let the journey begin. images (18)  Music is important on a road trip, unless you’re in dire need of silence, so my playlist was strategic.  Until, I couldn’t find my Erykah Badu cd.  Urrrgghh, hoping this wasn’t a sign of times to come, I frantically looked through my cd book only to stumble across Nneka.  I found this Nigerian indie artist when I first began my natural hair journey.  As if I knew her personally, I proudly watched her work the crowd with her fro blowing in the wind, as her soul baring lyrics spoke to my heart.  One of my coworkers overheard the music and came to see what I was watching, when she saw Nneka’s hair she said, “I love her hair!  You should totally wear your hair like that.”  At this point in my hair journey I was desperately trying to find the nerve to begin to wear my hair natural.  Other than looking at photos and watching videos of black women who had already confidently stepped out in their natural glory, it was a white girl who gave me the push I needed.  Yes, there is a strong presence online of black women encouraging each other to step out into your natural self, but I had no one in my life who supported the natural hair movement.  I was completely surrounded by creamy crack addicts who joked women who embraced their natural hair.  And while I’m usually not the type of person to care what other’s think of my decisions, wearing my hair in its’ natural state made me nervous.

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Well, this has become the making of another post.  The point of Nneka’s music being the soundtrack of my road trip to the beach is the significant role that she played in my natural hair liberation journey.  As soon as I heard the first beat drop I was taken back to a very liberated time in my life.  I felt so free driving down the highway with the wind blowing through my flow.  My mind was free and I was able to just be.  40 minutes later as I crossed the Wright Memorial Bridge into Kitty Hawk, the smell of salt water flooded my nostrils with excitement.   I am at the beach!!

My first stop, and really the only place I decided I had to be, was at Outer Bean Juice and Java (http://outerbean.com/ ).  I entered into this cozy little café through a screened in porch type of door.  As it slammed behind me I thought of my childhood summer days at my Grandmother’s house in the country. IMG_20140412_140135932_HDR The air inside is filled with aromatic fragrances of coffee and foreign spices.  Outer Bean Juice and Java also sells lunch and dinner with vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free recipes.  There are a few chalkboard full of various organic juice and coffee treats.IMG_20140412_135931039_HDR  And your juice is made from right in front of you allowing you to know every ingredient in it.  Local artists’ artwork can be found on the walls throughout the café.IMG_20140412_140126972_HDR  This place instantly becomes my new favorite spot.  At first I’m overwhelmed with the overflow of options that I can choose from, but my eyes repeatedly fall on the Lotus Juice.  So Lotus Juice it is!  My first sip was filled with smooth tangy deliciousness; the tanginess of the strawberries with bold flavored blueberries smoothed over with soy milk and sweetened with honey.IMG_20140412_140040635_HDR  This berry bomb of a smoothie explodes deliciousness all on your taste buds.  My stomach grumbled as I inhaled exotic aromas of something cooking.  I ordered a Veggie Panini and as I waited, Necla (pronounced Neshla) brought me a sample of her homemade Red Pepper Soup.  This soup is made from scratch, so Necla tells me all the organic ingredients she’s used, all veggies and spices.  My mouth is in love with the food and drink and my soul is delighted with the ambience of Outer Bean.  The dark wood tables and chairs and vanilla colored walls create a warm and calm atmosphere while the splashes of bright colors from the art work and the fruits and veggies and plants leave you feeling vibrant and alive.  I could have listened to Necla (Outer Bean’s owner) for days as we laughed and talked about traveling and finding light thru experiencing life.IMG_20140412_140047530_HDR  Her accent made me feel as if I was home in a foreign land.  Soon I am served with my veggie Panini, my mouth waters at first sight of it.IMG_20140412_141001111_HDR“Veggie Panini: Spinach, kale, squash, eggplant, roasted red pepper, Chipotle Gouda and  olive-roasted red pepper tapenade, sun-dried tomato pesto on focaccia bread.”  I swear this Panini tastes as if it was specifically made to caress my taste buds with delectable goodness.  I experienced light at Outer Bean Juice and Java and my taste buds were indulged delightfully.  Travel, expose yourself to creative and inspiring places, listen and engage with new people, move outside your comfort zone.

The next stop was at De’ja’ New, an unplanned stop at a cute little artsy store next door to Outer Bean.  This space was full of creativity with eclectic finds, hand crafted items, and refurbished furniture decorated in beachy pastels, bright bold colors and intricate patterns.

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IMG_20140412_145518709_HDRIMG_20140412_145505767_HDR         I felt as if I was on a treasure hunt as I looked through the various items on display.  One treasure I found, that would be the keepsake of my journey, was a necklace with a box trinket that said “Love U” on one side IMG_20140501_122917658 and

“More” on the other sideIMG_20140501_123318

It was the perfect piece.  This journey of finding myself and allowing myself to just be; allowing myself to only be involved with my thoughts, desires, and direction.  I need to be mindful of who I am, who God created me to be.  As an individual, God has a purpose for me.  I am a member of the body of Christ with my own gift and function that I must nurture and master to operate for His glory.  My failing to do so not only affects me, but the other members as well.  In loving myself, I love who God created….Me.  And so I have found the path to loving me is knowing and understanding how much God loves me.  He has desires that I live in abundance, that I am fruitful, that I have peace and grace and favor; that His love for me is endless.  God is love and in order to find myself and love myself, I must first loose who I am now, in Him.  Complete surrender to God and His love; that is the true journey, the true path, the true treasure.  Experiencing love with the Creator is the greatest awe-inspiring moment of your life.  Love you enough to experience Him.

By now, I’m ready to succumb to the beckoning call of ocean waves and warm sand!  But first I have to check in.  I reserved a king size suite at Best Western Ocean Reef Suites, much to my delight, I was upgraded to the Penthouse Suite.  After joking around with the front desk guys, who made me feel like a celebrity on a business trip, I was off to explore my room IMG_20140412_154156881 IMG_20140412_154210780

and the roof access.

IMG_20140412_154145558 IMG_20140412_153953856  I checked everything out, threw on bathing suit,  grabbed my beach bag and towel and ran for the sand.  Northeastern North Carolina’s winter had been brutal, so a warm sunny evening at the beach was simply paradise.  Although the water was still chilly, I was able to layout and absorb the energy of the Sunday (vitamin D is a necessity).

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At the beach, I’m able to turn the rest of the world off.  I have no thoughts outside of the present moment.  No stress, no worry, no need for solutions because, here, there are no problems.  I played Bob Marley as I attempted to read a chapter of Thich Nnhat Hahn’s, “The Path of Emancipation.” IMG_20140412_160830347 It’s a conversations from a mindfulness retreat that Mr. Hahn conducted.  Although he is Buddhist, his teaching of mindfulness has given me an understanding that has been most valuable in my walk with Christ.  However, I couldn’t focus enough to read, as if my mind just wanted to be; no thinking, just be.  So I did this, mindfully.  I watched a father throw a Frisbee with his toddler son, which was very entertaining; watching him trying to catch and run away from the cold icy waves.  Some of Blackbeard’s crew staked their flag and convened for a while not too far away. IMG_20140412_160943372 That was interesting in a weird kind of way.  I say weird because I didn’t realize that pirate men dressed in corsets and skirts.  But hey, whatever floats your boat. LOL.  Ocean waves and singing seagulls inspired written words IMG_20140412_160804380 and I indulged until hunger demanded I make a move.  The sun was setting as the wind blew in a crisp air chill, so I had to jump in the Jacuzzi for few minutes to warm up on the way back to the suite.

I showered and headed out in search of food, and ended up at Dirty Dick’s Crab Shack.  Their calamari, seafood pasta, and corn hush puppies more than satisfied my seafood craving and ushered me into the ultimate food coma.  I spent the rest of the night in my suite being lazy, watching tv, and dancing to Bob Marley.  I sat out on the balcony gazing at the beauty of the night sky as the stars and moon’s light shimmered across the ocean. IMG_20140412_184437921 I fell in love with being able to just be.  I went to bed feeling refreshed from my day and allowed the sound of the waves crashing against the shore to lull me to sleep.

Morning came fast and I missed the sunset (typical me).  But the day before was a day well spent.  I went back out to bond with the beach for a few more hours before heading back home.  I loathe leaving the beach, but I missed my family, so you give and take and head on home.  My weekend was awesome.  I ended my beach trip having lunch at Chili Peppers Coastal Grill, IMG_20140413_141700791 my OBX version of a jungle hut near the shore.   It’s the straw roof hut I envisioned myself to be at as listened to Necla’s accent at Outer Bean. When I walked in and saw the rooster on the wall, IMG_20140413_145535653 I knew it was meant to be (because I love roosters).  Usually I’m anti beef consummation (I’m a wannabe vegetarian), but I ordered this huge beef burger with mountains of caramelized onions, mushrooms, oozing with gouda cheese (which seemed to my weekend’s theme cheese), and the thickest slice of hickory smoked bacon I’ve ever had. IMG_20140413_142519314 I can’t claim to be a burger connoisseur, but this monster burger has to be one of the best ever made!

On the way back home I jammed out to Jr. Gong and Nas’, “Distant Relatives” album.  I felt like I found a gem the first time I heard this reggae/hiphop infused album.  When I read these two were collaborating I was so excited.  This album’s significance is that it I found it during my time of liberation, and so it felt meant to be when I found it stashed in the inside pocket of my Nneka’s cd case.  This weekend was liberating for me.  A time of embracing freedom, bonding with God, and introducing myself to me.

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This weekend Run Away was not about running from problems.  It wasn’t about abandoning family to indulge in selfish acts.  It’s about spending time with yourself.  No expectations, no opinions, no suggestions, no input, no catering to others; it’s all about you!  In the silence of just being, you may actually hear what God has to say.

So pack light and rUn!!