What does it mean to belong?
As a bi-racial woman, is it possible for all my many layers to truly feel welcomed in a white setting?
Who bestows this privilege and who takes it away?
This weekend I was reminded of my Blackness.
I traveled to the city for a workshop titled, “Opening the Heart & Mind of the World: Opportunities for Writers of Color,” hosted by The San Francisco Writers Conference. It was one of the few free events.
The conference took place at this hotel in Nob Hill – an area of the city that has long been the domain of the haves. During my climb up Powell Street, I was made immediately aware that each step brought me closer to the realm of wealth. The cars were European, peeks inside lit homes revealed sleek modern furniture, and on this Saturday night, well-heeled whites traveled in boisterous groups towards some area of fun that I could not fathom.
Upon entering the hotel, aside from the bellman and cleaning staff, most of the faces were white. As it had been some time since my last hobnob in the kind of place where doors are held open for you and a bounty of pens and notepaper are freely available for the taking, I was quite enjoying myself.
Sacred Waipio Valley. We hiked down to swim in the water and warm ourselves on the black sand.
I did not know when I booked a trip to Hawaii in December that it would fall in the middle of so many important projects – each like a precious jewel requiring constant attention and regular polishing.
How could I put one down for a frivolous vacation? Yet, I’m not one to go back on my word or undo plans already set into motion, and a part of me knew I was being called to the island for some reason.
I thought this trip was about reclaiming my power.
I thought it was about learning to live with a broken heart.
But things are never what you think they will be.
This morning I woke to the gentle drum of rain kissing giant palm fronds.
I have come to the Big Island – to the mother, to whisper to her the secrets of my silent sorrows and be held in her generous bosom.
My host, a dear friend who like me cannot believe it has been three years, is now sautéing sausages, onions and peppers for the first of many morning meals.
Later, maybe we will hike down to Waipi’o Valley to be with the velvety lusciousness of this place. Or, perhaps we will hear the power of Akaka falls and imagine swimming at its feet.
When the clouds part, a soft shore may emerge and invite us to recharge by the warmth of the sun.
I am here to connect, to be with the heart, with possibility and with reality. I am here to remember that things are not always as I’ve made them in my feeble mind.
When the time is right; when all has been said and I’m left only with what is felt, I will cast dreams into the ocean and watch them drift out, tiny and bobbing into the vastness.
I am so grateful.
Please be slow and gentle
Inspired and efficient
Curious and kind
I’m already scared of the doing
I’m thinking about morning routines.
Specifically, how might I create an environment that would help me start the day feeling prepared, confident and motivated rather than drowning in the overwhelm and anxiousness I experience now. Many days after waking, I wish nothing more than to go back to sleep. I lie in bed petrified of the day ahead, willing myself into a thin dreamy fantasy that takes me away from the world and all its troubles, the mounting projects, competing engagements, and people who need my time. Sometimes I’m in this limbo for 10 minutes. When there’s a particularly challenging something, it’s more like an hour.