Recommendations that I don't want to forget

The subtitle of my blog used to be: "a savings account for things I love." That's still what I primarily use this blog for, to save things away so I can find them again, or rediscover them if I forget.

Songs/albums

I am . . . Sasha Fierce | Beyonce
(I know, it's crazy that someone had to recommend this to me. Feel free to judge.)


The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill | Lauryn Hill


"Waves" | Mr. Probz


"Already Yours" | Bahamas


"Ojala" | Silvio Rodriguez


"Adoro" | Armando Manzanero



Food

Buddha bowl





















Rose and pistachio love tarts

Resolutions 2016

I realized today that I am exactly who I want to be. Of course this doesn’t mean that I am perfect in all of the ways that I would like to be, or that I have mastered all the virtues that I believe are important. But I do think that I have found a set of values that are core to who I am and what I see as vital in the world around me, and I have, without really noticing, begun to shape my life around them. Importantly, I have done this in small ways. I have felt, more and more, a responsibility to reduce my consumption, to be more aware and grateful of what I do have, less envious of what I don’t (this is especially true when it comes to less finite things, such as social grace), and more conscious of the impact that I have on the world around me.

I am currently sitting at my gate, waiting to take a plane to New York, where I will meet my best friend at the baggage claim. I have missed her. We talked this morning about our goals and plans, our love for each other, our struggles, brainstorming how to improve difficult situations. We talked about the men we love, about school and work. I just graduated, last week, with an ‘impractical’ degree that I was passionate about, and, thankfully, very little debt. I am going to live in a city I love, with the freedom to pursue meaningful work—or work that pays the bills that I will make meaningful.

I was thinking about these building blocks of my life as I was sitting in an airport café ten minutes ago. I was thinking about my one-way ticket, about not returning to my university after New Years, about my new home and my new life. I was thinking about transitions.

I was thinking about how much I love beets—I really love them! Who knew? I saved the beets from my salad; they were sitting on my plate, each round, thin, burgundy slice atop the other, in the middle of a dish that was now too big for them. I ate them slowly. I looked at the plane. I thought about transitions, and about blessings, and about how grateful I am.

I used to abuse myself for not being the girl I thought everyone else wanted me to be. I was too loud when I thought I should be demure. I was too quiet when other girls commanded attention and admiration. I didn’t say hello. I laughed too loud and spoke too soft. I was always pulling at my shirt. Nothing seemed to fit right; I didn’t fit right.

I realized, over time, that I wanted to be the person who could enjoy her food—every bite, slowly. I wanted to be a person who read meaningful books and knew about politics. I had to accept that I would be the person who has opinions, who will never be demure when it comes to something I care about (which is many things). But I learned not to silence others’ speech; I learned to appreciate pauses, especially those I created and found comfort in. I learned to incorporate my values into my routines, slowly. I turn off the water while I rub soap on my hands at the bathroom sink, and I take a mason jar on the plane so I don’t create more trash. I eat more vegetables—no, I learned to love vegetables (remarkably).

It’s not the action but the love, as always. I learned to listen to my body, and to be kind to my personality. I’m not perfect, obviously, and even though I ignore my own voice from time to time, it is a voice that is nonetheless familiar to me. I recognize that this is easier for me than for many. I had to battle the voice in my head; others battle the derision of ‘expectation.’ What a horrible word, expectation. It ruins what we would enjoy. If only we would let life be what it is without it holding up against an empty ‘should.’

So this year, I resolve not to expect, but to create. I resolve to be kinder. And I promise to see the selfhood of others, to strive, not necessarily to understand their struggles, but to listen. I resolve to listen, and to believe them, to believe in their best intentions. I resolve to believe in my own best intentions, too.

I resolve to fend off the tyranny of 'should' in order to make more room for me.

That is my resolution.


*Note: Alarmingly, I have not written resolutions since 2012. You can read those resolutions here. They were definitely written by a past version of me, but I still very much enjoy reading them.

¿Quién me ha robado el mes de abril?



One of the best parts about dating someone from another country is that you have so many new things to share with each other. Last night Chicho and I spent a significant amount of time just showing each other songs that were famous or that we loved. He had never heard of "The Devil Went Down to Georgia" or Johnny Cash, and I had never heard of Joaquin Sabina or Chavela Vargas.

It was a good night. And then we watched iZombie, because that's what we do every Tuesday.

Ripeness

So maist thou live, till like ripe Fruit thou drop
Into thy Mothers lap, or be with ease
Gatherd, not harshly pluckt, for death mature:
This is old age.

Paradise Lost, Book 11 (1674 version)


                                              Men must endure
Their going hence even as their coming hither.
Ripeness is all.

King Lear, 5.2.9–11 (Arden edition)

"Language is a virus." —Susan Sontag

Yellowstone

By October most campgrounds are closed at Yellowstone, only Grant Village and Mammoth Hot Springs are open. We stayed at Grant Village, which was really quiet and beautiful, near a large lake.

It was a perfect weekend.


















Us, Black Women by Natasha T. Miller






Us, Black women
Like samples at a grocery store
Set out to be picked over and never fully paid for

Us, Black women
With vaginas that still smell like unwanted mixed babies
Blood
And four hundred years of forced entries

And this nigga ask you
Can he hit it
As if it hasn’t already been beaten

Outkast goes to court with Rosa Parks
Ludacris makes a diss record about Oprah
And rooms full of upstanding black men say, hell, we don’t know what happened in that car
Rihanna may have given Chris Brown a REASON to beat her down

I take it you don’t have little sisters
and there must be shrapnel in your back to replace the spine that once made you a man, see
I’m not mad at you for your opinion
I’m just hoping
that we are never two pop stars alone in a car and you get mad at me for mine

I can still hear the cries of all the babies that had to get left behind by their own mothers
I’ve got the tongue of Harriet Tubman I can still taste the blood of all the wounds she licked to get us here
And we are constantly trying to get back there
Then you say that she don’t like her own people
Because she built a school in AFRICA
Nigga, you must have forgotten your roots
Do you think that we only exist here?

I’ve never seen you leave a penny in a gas station
You couldn’t imagine the pain of raising a Black Panther, only to hear your son calling you bitches and hoes on the radio
You are no Afeni Shakur


Your jaw couldn’t walk a Miles Davis inside the mouth of Cicely Tyson
And you question the charity of a black woman
While this man asks
can he hit it
As if it hasn’t already been beaten


We have been running this world since it started
Have yet to receive a day off of our feet
There are no holidays dedicated to us
Just a bunch of poems used to undress everything but our minds
Millions of songs played to make us feel like we were born to be called everything but our names
And cemeteries, dressed up like videos, burying our images every other T.V. station

We get one Michelle every 44 years
We get one African American teen pregnancy every 44 minutes
And little Wayne says that he wants to fuck every girl in the world
Sarah Goodes takes part in inventing beds
Trey Songz says we gone think he invented sex
How disconnected we are
Yet hanging from the same umbilical cords we clipped you from

Stop asking “can you hit it”
Take your mother flowers for no reason
Stop making excuses for you putting your hands on us

Stop
Putting your hands on us
Stop
Running out on us
Stop
Running over us
Stop treating us like samples at a grocery store

Do not touch us
If you have no plans on making this home.