Poem from the past~

I wrote this poem in the early 2000’s and didn’t date it but found it in a ruffled pile of papers, things I wrote finished & unfinished. I decided this evening to post this poem in honor of Dr. Maya Angelou who passed this week. A great poet, writer & humanitarian who I admired for not only her prose but her ability to speak & everyone listen, really listen. I have always admired that trait in her and other women with such strong a voice and to this day, aspire to be…heard
Her work sometimes lacking perspicacity, however will always be works of art to her admirers . A little something I wrote years ago yet still fits in today’s climate of wannabe’s. Please excuse & pardon my use of the word (ass)…this word is now used on tv & radio all day and it’s no secret.

OUR PRETENDING ASSES-

Our pretending asses lying about how far our cash gets us, but all it gets us is
On a train to nowhere.
Do we even care? About the people we pretend to?, fabricating what our men do, just to look better?

Is life all about the cheddar? The next event, how much we’ve spent on Gucci handbags and glasses of Moët . Our pretending asses.

Washing away our dreams just to pass and be like white folks who still poke fun at our wanna be Puff Daddy lifestyles?
We would all die if we didn’t rock the latest designers: Rocawear, SeanJohn, Dolce & Gabbana, a mirror looking in on a hip hop persona.

We always go around in circles like the chrome rims that spin on the Bentley’s of our dreams!

Why can’t we believe that life is something more without the make believe? Our pretending asses. Engulfed in shallow wine glasses, will continue to wallow through

Jungles of ice necklaces, steadily choking us while feeding us the same $1,000 plate fallacy.

As we keep shopping at Saks on credit and traveling to the Hamptons on a dare, nothing is reality. Forever possessed by the Bling.

Rest peacefully Dr. Angelou who inspired me to write poetry & just to write from the heart❤️

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You wont find happiness at the bottom of a Merlot bottle!

Happiness is one of those things that is hard to obtain for a person such as myself that used to believe that the glass was always empty instead of seeing it as always half full. A somewhat pessimist , a person who let my  so-called downfalls swallow me whole. I have lived life with a half assed smile, laughing to keep from crying so to speak.  As I’ve gotten older, lived life experiences (good and bad) , evaluated why I’ve allowed myself these lackluster emotions for so long and really just took a long, hard look at the “real” me. I have come to the conclusion that happiness comes from deep within. This motto has been spoken from the tongues of many, however it has to be truly believed within as well.Image

At almost 40 years old this is my realization. My revelation. We all go through trying times and everyday struggles.Life can have it’s way of turning you upside down and inside out with no light at the end of the tunnel. Normal things like bills, our children, work, the lack thereof and just everyday occurrences can stress us the hell out and cause happiness to go clear and straight out the window. Is there a pill one can take to get and stay happy all the time? Why no of course not , although B-vitamins, and St.John’s Wort help, along with the list of Pharmaceutical drugs on the market that can place you in LALa land. Without taking any pill or concoction, I’ve learned that you must look within yourself! How do you perceive joy? Do you feel deserving of it? and if you don’t ,why not? Ask yourself the hard questions so that you really get to know what you “really need” and how you can change in order to receive the things that you “need”.

I don’t know one person that does not want to be “happy”. It’s in our DNA, some people are just genetically wired to be happy folk , while the rest o us have to find our “happy” and bottle it. It can’t come from a wine bottle or carafe of Ciroc at bottle service, it has to be pure from the heart and soul search “happiness. You have to be unafraid of yourself. Look at “you” because only “you” can control your thoughts, feelings, beliefs. How do you perceive yourself? Your future, your past, your present? Do you hold onto pain, do you hold grudges? Do you view yourself as a victim? Do you feel worthy of happiness? Many people find it very difficult to ask themselves these questions . They also find it hard to simply look at the bright side of things in their lives because of the constant curveball that life sometimes throws at them. They throw in the towel and settle for the gloom, drinking cups of sour lemons, instead of enjoying the pink lemonade! Purposefairy.com states that ,”happy people fear less and love a lot more! They see each moment, challenge, and person as an opportunity to discover more about themselves and the world around them.” 

Those of us that aren’t in that group have to start looking at the blessings and positive things that we have going on in our lives . Tuning in to fearing less and loving more! Doing things that you love. Surrounding yourself with positive people who care about you and lift you up! Share ideas, engage in fun activities that boost up those “good endorphins’. Exercise and get out in the good sunshine for some natural Vitamin D! Heck share a bottle of wine with friends, but let me tell you wont find your “happy” at the bottom of it. It should be there before you pop the cork. I know from experience. There were times where I have felt angry or down about something and would pop open a bottle of wine with company, to feel better about things. It (does not) work! I now call it temporary joy because once the high wears off, back to square one. You can not drown your sorrows with a bunch of fermented grapes, or whatever type of liquor you fancy. It doesn’t fix the problem and you wind up feeling worse sometimes. I can admit I was one of those people not willing to embrace happiness. Grouchy, moody and negative. Not willing to do the “work” to turn my emotions around and let the light in. Like many of us falsifying our joy to please others! Be happy for “YOU”, no one else first and the rest of the world will thank you. Don’t do it to fake it til you make it on “Facebook”, or for a special occasion. This must be a lifestyle change for the long term! No one likes a “Debbie Downer”. It took me awhile to realize that being “happy” feels much better than being”sad”. I had to exclusively love myself and where I am at in life now, irregardless if I don’t really “like” where I’ at. Take it in stride that it could all be much worse. I am healthy , have a roof over my head , with clothes to wear and shoes on my feet! Life is good, I am blessed! How can I not be appreciative, happy, content. I have everything I need right now in this moment! happiness is an acquired taste and I am enjoying the flavors. 

As I write this blog, I can honestly say that I am now a “happy” person. Sure I have my bad days where I revert back to pessimistic thinking. I am human but I am also growing and learning. Learning to discern that happiness is where I should and will be because I know what it takes to own that mindset. I am finally adhering to the happy “me” that I was placed here on this earth to be. I smile more genuinely, curb stress better,  and the wine bottle is surely no longer, halfImage empty. Nowadays its just “full”. 

Education matters for all of us!

A good education should be a right not a privilege ! Children all over the world are denied a proper education and what used to be the richest country on the planet, the United States, certainly is no exception. Children here are far behind in test scores, attendance and are dropping out of school like flies. What is going on? Is there a problem with the curriculum, are there too many sub par teachers? Or are we dealing with an epidemic of this only being a major issue in urban Vs. Wealthier communities? Kids drop out of school everywhere, however it seems as if this is a more prominent problem in urban communities. African American students in particular have a higher drop out rate, mainly black males and in 2013 the rate was 9.6 amongst all. Very disturbing figures , however the California graduation rate increased in 2013 for the fourth year in a row and the drop out rate down 1.5 points from 2012. It’s 2014 and from what I can see in my community , amongst the folks who have children that they are “all” graduating! All you see on Facebook and other social media sites are news and pictures of the giddy graduates and their proud parents! This is from preschool, all the way to those receiving they’re graduate degrees from college! Lower income and middle class African American kids are graduating! Yes, our kids may have issues navigating through the school system, paying for books, receiving enough scholarship, and getting the amount of support or other resources needed but we are graduating and we are successful. Success and the foundation of the love of learning starts in the home. I have engraved it into my son & daughter’s head from the moment they were born . I am certain that this was and is also the foundation for those children who continue to graduate every year! Teachers are amazing and make a remarkable impact on the lives of the students that they touch. So are our mentors, they truly add significant richness to a students motivation and growth in and out of the classroom. New research is also showing that family and peer characteristics are far more important than geographic location. This goes back to my point that it all starts in the home! Yes, being in a rural , suburban , or urban setting is a factor at times , however family characteristics effect all in very similar ways. Most importantly, the impact of a two parent home particularly, ” biological “, is significant. In today’s society many families aren’t built that way. We have blended families, two parents of the same sex and many varieties of how we are living and how we are raising our children . I do believe that when a child has two parents who care in the home that they have a better chance of thriving and finishing school. I have been a single parent a short time after my divorce and it was really hard! It is hard period to raise a son alone and an African American one at that. It’s a challenge to get them in a decent school and a surrounding that appreciates who they are and doesn’t ” label” them so that they don not fall through the cracks. I put him in 100 Black Men Community school in 2012 when it opened for that reason. For him to get a “good” education without interruption or emphasis on his behavior . I wanted him to learn in an environment from men and women who he could identify with, who would lift up his talents, skills and abilities rather than just see them as annoyances. The school unfortunately closed earlier this year to everyone’s dismay , particularly us parents . Education is very important to African Americans. I learned that everyday I would drive my son up that hill. Many parents and neighbors and daycare providers driving from as far as Fairfield to get they’re ( sons) a valid education! We all had the same longing for our boys and felt that we belonged! That’s what a of our children want , to feel as if they matter. In an academic setting or otherwise, they want to feel validated and that they matter! Parents are the first teachers and this is what we must instill in them. I am fortunate that my son now has two parents in the home that love him and continue to communicate the importance of doing we in school and finding the right mentors and programs for him to be a part of. It takes a village, it takes resources! We may not feel like we have enough resources but as African Americans we must find them! Seek and yee shall find. Check social media, ask around, scour the internet! You have to be proactive in finding the tools that will gain your child academic success and empowerment! You can do it , you are the resource ! There is no excuse for the statistics to look like they do if we do the work ! And to quote ( Marcus Garvey) ” education is the medium by which a people are prepared for the creation of their own particular civilization, and the advancement and glory of their own race.”

We know what to do, see u next week! smooches …

A Mother’s Love

Have you ever heard the saying”If mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy?” this is a slogan I’m sure many mother’s have used a time or two as their motto including myself and my mom. Mother’s day is coming up on Sunday and most of us are ready to be spoiled and pampered by our loved ones. Being a mother is a tiresome, thankless job where you can never clock out. It can be the most agonizing position, as well as the most rewarding one! It is one of those God given gifts that swings in a split second from being the most glorifying thing ever, to the most agonizing! My wonderful mother can certainly attest to that! I am her middle daughter. The spicy, feisty black sheep. A rebel with a cause. I have always been the daughter who gave mom a run for her money, or for lack of a better word, a “headache.”
I’m the one with the “mouth” and strong opinion. I wasn’t a bad kid growing up however, I did have my moments where I’m sure my mama wanted to sell me to the highest bidder! A mother’s love is deep, it’s stronger than any amount of money and surpasses all understanding. It seems like no matter what your children do, you will always love them unconditionally. Growing up there were many times when I though my mom couldn’t stand me! Mostly during my teenage years when most mothers and daughters have their greatest fall outs. We were always at odds about something and she would treat me like a little bab y, waiting up when I went out late with friends. She’d embarrassingly yell out ,”Don’t forget you coat, you gon catch double pneumonia!” Of course she would scream this loud enough for the entire block to hear her, jacket dangling in mid air. Call it Southern love, no call it :A mother’s love! My mom is from Louisiana and they have the funniest sayings and doings but most mom’s in general are just concerned about they’re babies! She didn’t want me to catch a cold, and was worried about me. She always did those little annoying things that I wasn’t feeling as a teen but thankfully would later understand when I had kids of my own.

My mom is the most caring, hardworking woman I know! She always made sure we had the best , even on a low income. We would have three hot meals a day, sometimes Southern style which means (big) and mom was just very much into our education and extracurricular activities. She totted us to dance , talent show auditions and made sure we went to church every Sunday! She didn’t have that syrupy, sappy, kiss , huggy, all the time love but my sisters and I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that mommy loved us to pieces! We can all remember when mama’s love got “tough” and if it wasn’t that dreaded “whuppin”, it was the that blasted “fuss in” that went on and on like a broken record. My mama was the queen of fuss in on repeat. She would preach until she got tired of hearing herself talk. It was sometimes funny and how ironic that I have adapted my mama’s fuss in style. Oh my God, I listen to myself sometimes and I “sound” just like my mother! I always said , I’d never fuss at my kids like that! I’m sure my babies press invisible mute buttons on me all the time! I have now become the broken record princess! As I look back , I now view those “preachings” as ‘teaching” and am grateful for them. In those” fuss ins” there were jewels of wisdom that I now share with my son and daughter. Valuable lessons that validate the great mother that she was and is. She was doing all of this out of love, pure and simple “love.”

My mother’s love never ceased to amaze me. She’s put up with so much and has asked for so little which in itself is a thing of beauty. Through her selflessness and devotion to her kids, she has taught me how to be a better woman, friend, and mother. Good mothers move mountains and part seas for their children. The sacrifice and dedication toward their everyday growth and development is unparalleled. My co-worker Zaida says of her son who is now in his 30’s. “I cashed out all my PTO benefits so I could pay for his college books, he is now on his way to earning his Ph’d!” We do unthinkable things to ensure the happiness and security of our offsprings. Though a mother and son’s relationship differs from a mother and daughter’s they are both special and unbreakable bonds. The love of a mother is immeasurable. I miss my mom since she moved to Texas and can’t go more than three days without calling her, or her calling me. Even to hear some of the fuss ins ! Those fond memories of how she raised me will always stick dear to my heart. There is nothing I wouldn’t do to be 5 years old again. In a warm bed cuddled up under mama, nestled in the armor of her love. Smelling the cozy, familiar scent, captivated by the lulling sound of her grown up breathing, all was right in the world.

And even if we don’t always get along, knowing that she’s the ” She-Ro” of my life and the best grandma my kiddos could ask for, all still is.

Listen to your body!

I must admit, I have been a bit lazy with my writing lately. I have not even been brainstorming or contemplating when I was going to even write this post. What I have not been lazy with is in matters dealing with my health! I don’t know what it is about being 39 that stirs up emotions that your getting old and rapidly feel the need to check everything or so called fix everything about yourself as if you’ve already got one foot in the grave. I will be 40 in a few months and this has been commonplace for me strongly as soon as I turned 39. I’ve noticed this with my girlfriend’s as well. This is certainly something I’m sure most women do all over the world. 40 is a milestone ! Reaching that age and looking youthful and vibrant is the ultimate goal, sometimes by any means necessary. The pressure to look young, and thin is an American standard however when a woman is approaching 40 she seems to go a little overboard on maintaining that standard or achieving it. I can attest to all of this. I already look pretty young, most people say that I look like I’m in my 20’s, however i have been going crazy trying to look younger! Buying Retinol cremes, getting facials , using eye anti-wrinkle creme faithfully and slathering my skin with firming lotion! And don’t  even talk about working out! Before I turned 39, I never stepped foot in a gym. Of course I did plenty of walking and occasionally did a workout video but now, I am in the gym at least 3 times a week, walking the marina, (really) using all the tone up accessories that I recently purchased. Kettle bells, hula hoop, hand weights, jump rope. It’s like a light bulb going off and my mind is saying, “Cyn, your going to be 40, step it up girl!” I have never been over a size 10, my entire life except when pregnant with my second child so weight has never been an issue with me, I guess just the notion of being here for 4 decades strikes me as no longer being a spring chicken for sure. It’s funny how we women think about appearance and aging. The men don’t have these kooky thoughts and actions when getting older, or do they? I know there’s midlife crisis in both sexes but 40 year crisis?

It has gotten really bad when it comes to my health and nutrition. Again , I have maintained good health, decent eating habits, not going overboard with sweets, not eating pork or red meat, and drinking more water in recent years than I’ve drank in my entire life. It just seems like at 39 I am anal about what I put in my stomach. Of course they are putting more bad things in the food, and much of it is genetically modified and toxic! This has made me even more cautious of what I am feeding myself and my family. I am now on a low meat diet with lots of fruits and veggies! I read all food labels like a nut, and frequently check natural food websites on what to eat to cleanse my system and battle Cancer. My father was diagnosed with pancreas Cancer. This has been really hard news for our family, but I’ve used it as a positive to train my dad how to eat healthy as I do and also for research purposes. I educate myself and him on Organic eating and on holistic ways in which he can maintain his strength and well being. I have sort of become an advocate toward healthy living! Notice, I said “toward” healthy living. I am certainly not perfect with it! I eat sweets at times ( icecream ) is my favorite, oh, and chocolate chip cookies and I don’t always take my vitamins everyday but I am surely doing pretty darn good! I recently went to my doctor and had all my tests done, a full physical, and overall blood test including looking up my blood type ( never bothered to find that out before). I have been really listening to my body to discern if it needs care. I have these slight reoccurring pains in my side when i get stressed so I had that checked. Turns out its nothing wrong, the doctor said that just may be my spot where my body identifies that I am in a stress mode. Some folks may be the stomach , or they may get a headache or eye twitches when they get stressed out. Just listen to the signs, your body is talking to you, sometimes screaming for you to get that check up, order those natural medicines, or through away the fast food! With age I have learned that it’s not worth the damage that can be happening to your body by being lazy, or complacent. I understand, it’s expensive to eat well, some people may not have health coverage, or are afraid to go to the doctor because of what they may find out. I was afraid too! I may be an exception, being fairly healthy  and active all my life , but with my father’s diagnosis I too was scared. I was just recently spooked when Kaiser advice told me I had to wait for my M.D to call me with my results. The suspense of not knowing that I was A ok killed me! I couldn’t sleep and all sorts of thoughts ran through my mind. Thank God Everything was good and all my numbers were normal including my BMI ! That gym must be working!! Yes, it’s a drag to get older , not being able to splurge on goodies or drink the night away like you used to, but taking charge of good health, wellness beauty and having calm and peace in your life is essential for all ages! 40 is coming and I actually can’t wait! I am feeling great, more confident and self aware that it’s wreaking through my pores!! Celebrities like Cameron Diaz have said ,”I have gratitude. I know myself better. And as far as the physicality of it, I feel better at 40 than I did at 25!” Now that’s what we a want to be saying as we (grow up in numbers) as I say! And I continue to listen to what my body, mind and spirit says , even with my small ears! It all becomes transparent , and to quote George Williams Curtis ” Age is a matter if feeling, not if years”.