The Release

The Easter bunny was not as gripping as Santa Claus for me, nonetheless, as a child, we still decorated Easter eggs and our parents hid them as we searched anxiously throughout grandma’s yard for them. Whoever found the most was the “winner,” though winner of what, I’m unsure, aside from a warrant to boast. And I really loved boiled eggs – still do, though not as much as I did as a child. I especially loved when grandma would devil them up, er, make deviled eggs – I wonder why they are called deviled?

My dear mother was born on Good Friday, my aunt, brother, and mother’s birthdays have all fallen on Easter at some point in history and I am far from religious. Today, I do not celebrate this holiday. When you’re a kid, you’re more concerned with whether or not the Easter bunny is going to bring you a basket full of crap that’s going to “rot your teeth out” as the elders would quip. As an adult, you come to realize how deeply religious this holiday is and I’m just not one of those people that you’ll find sitting in a pew one Sunday out of the entire year.

I do miss the family gatherings, however, and there’s nothing like a holiday to make me realize just how much I miss them. I’d give anything to dye some eggs and whip up a home cooked Easter dinner with my mother right about now. It’s a beautiful, sunny Spring day in Los Angeles and the sounds of gathering families are plenty while the scents of their fruitful meals they’ll sit down to soon waft through the air.

Holidays just remind me of how I lost my family, gained one, and then lost that one, too. Dramatic sounding, I know, but it’s the truth and I kind of hate admitting how lonely I can be on days like today. I hate how speaking the truth can sometimes sound like I’m looking for sympathy when really I’m just looking for a release. And what good is the writing if I can’t release the truth and unload the weight that has burdened me for so long for shoving it deep down inside?

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The Power of Energy

I haven’t written in quite some time for A Righteous Revival – I’ve had plenty to say but various things have stopped me from starting and finishing a post. Tomorrow marks what would be my mother’s 62nd birthday and I’d be lying if I told you I haven’t cried tonight or earlier this week when she talked to me in a dream. I’d be lying if I told you that I am okay.

We live in a world filled with too much small talk and not enough feeling. Somewhere in history, “how are you,” went from being a sincere question that warranted an honest response to small talk that merely expects a one word answer like, “fine” or “okay.” If you actually divulge your true feelings, people become closed off and uncomfortable, wondering how their small talk made a right at the serious corner. We’re not always fine and we’re not always okay and that is okay.

Tonight, as I’m loaded up on antibiotics and over the counter painkillers as well as plenty of red wine, I remember my mother for her sincerity. I remember that every time she asked me how I am she expected a full report and if that’s not what she received, she would know it. We were that connected.

Nope. C’mon, what’s wrong? I can hear it in your voice, Linds,” she’d summon the flood, if you will.

I remember my mother for her candor. If she didn’t like something or if she was passionate about something, not a person in the room was a stranger to how my mama felt because she made it known. Sure, she apologized for it at times, but I think, as women, we grew up in a society that unfortunately taught us to do just that. I think my mother grew up in that society even more so than I did. I’ve since learned as a strong female, I should not ever apologize for strong convictions or even my presence, no matter how untimely it may be in a given situation.

My mother made everything so simple in a crazy world – she was a ray of light when the storm clouds rolled in and when the sun was shining! I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t angry with her for her untimely absence. She’s been visiting me in my dreams excessively over the last couple of weeks. I’m not sure what it means but I am certain it’s a testament to how intensely bonded our spirits are.

This is the 5th birthday of hers that has passed since she died and I still can’t tell you how I’ve managed to continue on without her. After she died, it became evident just how much I relied on my mother, how much I leaned on her for support through good times and bad. Somehow, still unbeknownst to me, I have paved my own way, put one foot in front of the other.

Oddly enough, my mother spent a couple of years leading up to her diagnosis brushing off her symptoms as a mere sinus infection, which I have been suffering from for over a week now. A few months after she died, I was diagnosed with mononucleosis, the same illness a piece of shit, hole in the wall clinic in Shawnee, Kansas, misdiagnosed my mother with when she was actually dying from stage four metastatic lung cancer with multiple tumors. Last week, she came to me in a dream to inform me that the antibiotics I was on were not going to work. Sure enough, I later discovered these antibiotics were part amoxicillin, a drug my body has grown immune to. I can’t say it enough – this is just how connected we are and have always been. Maybe that’s what keeps me going – the power of energy should never be underestimated. Happy birthday, Mama. I love you more.

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She and I Against the World

The majority of people in my life assume that I’m fine, that I’ve “gotten over it.” The truth is not a day goes by that I don’t feel the absence, the gaping deficiency in my surroundings, and the dark, irreplaceable hole in my heart that used to be filled by my mother.

On a recent trip back to Kansas City, I obtained a portion of her medical records, which revealed some things that I wasn’t privy to, for example, her depression. I had no idea of my mother’s depression prior to her terminal cancer diagnosis and I could go on and on about the guilt that this ignorance instills – how couldn’t I see or recognize that the most important person in my life was depressed, but this isn’t about me. It simply brings to light pieces of the puzzle I didn’t know existed, pieces that I hope to find a home for but understand may never find their resting place.

I began A Righteous Revival as a means of keeping my mother alive. This blog has grown and blossomed into so much more but carried her memory in every post. It was just the other day, I text a close confidant in my life, “My mom was the best. This world seriously lacks without her.” Everything I do lacks without her, but she lives through me. I often ask myself, “What would my mama do?” I recall past conversations with her or imagine what current conversations might be like. This is particularly difficult because I’m not one to comfortably assume, however, I do know my mother would not have voted for Donald Trump and would express passionate opposition to his first three plus weeks as so-called leader of the free world.

My mother spent much of her youth and adulthood feeling like the black sheep of the family and I heavily identify, especially as of recently. I am the young, willingly sterile, divorced, west-coast liberal, travel enthusiast who you’ll never find lying down like a doormat or settling for anything less than I deserve or know to be right. Oh, how I wish my mother were here to witness the legacy she began, to find comfort in our similarities, and to feel that I am not alone in these sentiments.

Too often, I have found myself in situations where people are mistaking my honesty and my passion for anger or aggression. It doesn’t always pay to be direct in this world and I know that’s something my mother could relate to. So often, I’ve found myself in situations where it feels like I’m being told to shut up and sit down like a “good woman” would do, being put in what a large portion of society feels is my place. I never shut up and sit down, but it sure is exhausting to do the thing that others don’t want you to, to stay true to yourself.

The political climate of America today has a way of bringing about these desolate feelings more often than usual, especially when you find yourself surrounded by conservative white folk who turn a blind eye or likeminded liberals expressing complacency and defeat. I don’t fit into either of those categories just as I haven’t fit in to so much of my life. If only mama were here to break bread, smoke a joint, and mull over current events with. The world truly was a better place when she walked it, when it was she and I and not just I against it.

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What the Hell

“What the hell, ma?” I sit on my living room floor, at my coffee table, staring at my mother’s photo in the frame, questioning the day by day, the events and the chaos, the life that has continued on and never ceased to continue on since she took her last breath. I’ve found myself in this position many times. The “what the hell” is sometimes out of anger that she’s not here to see me through it all and sometimes, the “what the hell” is a nod to her struggles that I am now experiencing firsthand. I have found that history most certainly repeats itself. Most of the time the “what the hell” is a genuine question that I desperately wish she could verbally answer.

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A Forest Fire

She’s mad but she’s magic. There’s no lie in her fire,” Charles Bukowski so eloquently once wrote about a woman or women or who knows but I know I am magic. There is no lie in my fire. So many, including my ex-husband failed to recognize this about me. They failed to acknowledge the magnificent fire that burns within me, around me. They failed to fan my flames leaving me to wonder if there is anyone in the world willing to do so, better yet, desiring to do so.

I have spent thirty-one years fanning others’ embers, inciting a forest fire but rarely succeeding because unfortunately, not everyone is magic. I may sound like I’m speaking in circles or sideways but I’m speaking musically, metaphorically, reminiscent of great works of some of my favorite artists.

Bon Iver and James Blake wrote,

I’m saved by nature
But it always forgets what I need
I hope you’ll stop me before I build a wall around me
We need a forest fire

I have been approached twice now since being single and in both advances, I immediately responded with adamant, “I am not interested in dating right now.” This is the present truth but it goes much deeper than any potential suitor may realize. I am not interested in dating right now but I also foresee no viable future in which I am interested in dating at all.

These sentiments remind me of my mother after she divorced my father. She never sought out companionship with anyone and if she were around today, I would seek out her emotions and thoughts during this time in her life. This makes me angry that I cannot do so now. If I’m being completely honest, it’s like how come I was there for her when she was going through what she was going through but she’s not here for me when I’m going through what I’m going through? Cognitively, I understand it was out of her control but my brain and my heart are two very different animals.

I simply don’t believe anyone will recognize my worth the way I recognize my worth – no one will see my magic and treat it accordingly. Many have seen my magic and have been willing to fan my flames only once all is said and done and this provokes so much rage, it’s inconceivably difficult to describe. It leads me to believe I am nothing but a lesson in this lifetime. People only belong in my life for a short period of time, long enough to exchange a valuable lesson from each other. I want more. It only makes me human to want more. Surrounded by so many who have more, witnessing the more that so many of my loved ones possess, I, of course, desire this, too.

I need a forest fire.