Monthly Archives: May 2011

Alligators Among Us

Standard

Ok, so it’s a lie.  There aren’t any alligators.  But there is plenty of entertainment.  Monday afternoon, our family of three packed up enough of our belongings to entertain us and clothe us for one month.  You see, we are embarking on yet another adventure.  We headed to Panama City to visit with my sister and her glorious family, and then Tuesday morning headed to Deland.

We are currently in Deland with Zach’s parents.  It is a vacation of sorts.  Not the vacation of dreams, mind you, but a vacation nonetheless.   We left all of our belongings in my beloved New Orleans to head towards South Carolina for at least a month.  It seems so silly to me to go back to where we came from, but alas, desperate times call for equally desperate measures.

Don’t get it twisted.  I miss our family and friends.  However, I finally feel alive and free in New Orleans.  I am actually getting to be myself.  The self I’ve been hiding for so long at the risk of being “just another eccentric” in Columbia.  It is so refreshing to stop wearing black.  To be bright and colorful.  To wear tights and tunics.  To just be.  And NOLA is definately the place that allows me to feel that I can be all I can be!

I am excited to be in Deland with Zach’s parents.  Since arriving, we’ve had the Seibert staple of chicken and noodles, watched silly television, and laughed a lot.  Upon arriving to Columbia, there will inevitably be more of the same.  Good times with good friends is a non-negotiable.  Time with my family is going to be incredible for myself and my daughter, I am sure.  But, there is a tugging of my heartstrings from the city of my dreams.

The city that never sleeps.  The city where the Superdome always looks glorious in it’s golden splendor.  The city where street musicians gather on every street corner.  Crust punks galore.  Feathers and tamborines.  You see, it’s calling me back already.

Advertisements

One Plus One Makes Three

Standard

In a few short weeks, my daughter will be two years old. I cannot believe that two years has come and gone. Although it is cliché, it feels like only yesterday we were bringing our little bundle home. And little she was. She was only 6 pounds when we brought her home. My how things have changed! Now, she’s a big girl. No more calling her baby.

The path to motherhood was one I never gave a lot of thought to until after I got married. Then again, I never imagined I would get married. It wasn’t so much trying to find the right guy (although there were several bad ones along the way), as trying to find a man who could put up with my craziness; someone who would be willing to have a good time with life. And boy, did I find him! Zach has taught me to suck the marrow out of the bones of life. To really relish moments, even the terrible ones. To laugh loudly and with passion about everything, no matter how inappropriate. And because I was successful in finding and marrying him, we did what most other couples do-start thinking about having a family. Two years after we were married, we had Sailor. She was, and still is, the best thing that has ever happened to us as a couple.

As I said before, I hadn’t thought much about motherhood, including what type of mother I wanted to be. As a pregnant lady, I was miserable. Pregnancy does not suit me. It made me feel too full to bursting, nauseous, and terribly ugly. I don’t think I have ever despised myself more than when I was pregnant. Add to that being in my final semester of college, as well as my mother being diagnosed with breast cancer and you can probably deduce just how fantastic I thought pregnancy was. I was nervous, constantly consumed with what was going wrong within my body or what would go wrong once the baby was born. And then the day arrived. I was induced, and three hours later, I was holding the most beautiful baby girl there ever was (funny how all parents feel that way). And that is where the real adventure began.

I have never been a baby person. I didn’t babysit as an adolescent. Although I had changed many adult diapers, I had successfully maneuvered through 27 years of my life without having to change a baby’s diaper. I had never fed a baby. All I could think was, “what have I gotten myself into?”. Turns out, I wasn’t so terrible after all.

Reflecting on the past two years I realize just how far I have come. I breastfed Sailor for the first year. I became adept at pureeing baby food from scratch. I changed quite a number of cloth diapers, and did more laundry in the first six months of her life than I think I have done in MY entire life. I became a homemaker. A stay at home mom. A housewife. I learned how to treat thrush with Gentian violet. How to give her baths in ever increasing amounts of water. At the urging of my husband, I learned how to let my baby cry in order to teach her how to self-soothe. I made her first birthday cake from scratch, icing and all. Our electricity went out and I had to make simple syrup on a propane crawfish boiler. I packed her up and moved her 700 miles away with a broken ankle. I watched her take her first steps while I was on crutches. I’ve also picked up some other skills not relative to the baby at all, but definitely in line with how I hope she remembers me as a mother later in life.

 

I am thankful every day for her. She has brought to fruition something within me that was always lingering, yet never fulfilled. She has made me value life more. Value relationships more. Watch my tongue. Check my attitude. Smile a lot. Sing silly songs loudly. Blow lots of bubbles. Become an artist. Look at the world differently, and challenge her to keep looking at the world that way. A way that is beautiful in its ugliness. A way that keeps us all guessing what in the world will happen next.

Change Can Do You Good

Standard

 I’m yearning for change. A change in lifestyle, clothing, attitude, something, anything! And yet, I feel like I have already embarked on some journey of self-discovery, that not only did I not anticipate, but cannot turn back. That is scary. I find myself trying to figure out who I am and who I want to be. And of course asking, are they all that different from one another? I’m not sure that the two are not synonymous with one another at this point.

 I find myself remaining static. Standing still because I do not know in which direction I want to go. There are days, well let’s be honest, most days, when I feel that there is nothing more I would like to do than be a bohemian princess in flashy tights and feathered headdresses. As a matter of fact, my neighbor told me last weekend that he may be able to get me a chance to be a Mardi Gras Indian. That is a dream of mine, and I have long held out the hope knowing that because of my skin color, that dream may never come to be. Now, I think I may be devastated if it indeed does not happen. He should have never given me the hope.

 I also fantasize about being a Baby Doll. Dressing as a china doll one day a year and hiding out here in my neighborhood waiting on spectators to “find us”. I figure, that at least, is an attainable goal. Or maybe I could just take photographs and “be an artist”. Ha-ha. Pipe dreams, friends. Pipe dreams. Then, I start thinking of making true art. In fact, I started a piece a month ago. It is not yet completed. I lack inspiration. How is that even possible? In a city that inspires me daily, I cannot bring myself to finish my own project. I think I am afraid that upon completion, it will remain empty, no one reaping any emotion from the finished project. That would be devastating to me.

 I want to utilize my nursing degree. The problem is that I cannot stomach the idea of being a part of the system here that leaves the poor and uninsured out to dry. And I do not want to become disgruntled and completely disengage by taking a part in the free care system. The memories of how I was treated by the nurses within this system are still all too clear, and I cannot ride the unrealistic fantasy of thinking that I, alone, can change that system.

 Many times a month, I find myself looking at medical mission trips to Romania, working with gypsy camps and offering them medical care. I think I would like that. I think it would be fulfilling and helpful, not only to the people receiving said care, but in my journey to find my sense of self. Or, more precisely, my sense of purpose. Today, I spoke with my housemate about my misgivings. How I feel that everything is unobtainable, and so I stand still. I want to twirl, and stomp, and rise on tiptoes. Not stand still, watching as the world passes me by. I’m over this paralysis.

New Orleans, I’m Yours

Standard

It was brought to my attention yesterday that not only am I in desperate need of posting a new blog, but that I haven’t written about New Orleans yet. I started thinking about this and realized that maybe that is precisely my problem. You know, they always say to write what you know. And although I don’t know New Orleans backwards and forwards, up and down, I think I at least know it left and right. We have a ways to go, this city and I, but I am making headway. My love affair is only just beginning.

I live in the Treme, about 4 blocks from the French Quarter. And I love it! This may be the best neighborhood in the city. It is so rich in culture and personality, I think asking for more may in fact produce few results. Our housemates are encouraging, and spunky. Our neighbors are amazing. Last weekend, we celebrated our neighbor Joseph’s sixty-third birthday. I felt like we were with family. It was just what the doctor ordered. There is nothing better than grilling out, kids sidewalk chalking and dancing, adults laughing and eating jambalaya. But more than that, I feel like we are finally finding our place here. That has been the most difficult part.

Last week, I borrowed my housemate’s camera. I had forgotten how much I missed photography. I had been secretly yearning to take photos, but had been too lazy to actually do it. I would find myself mentally snapping photos that would never be processed or be seen. And this city is full of moments waiting to be captured on film. Riding with Zach in the car two weeks ago I saw a horse walking under the overpass and a rooster in a busy street. Both moments screamed for attention from a lens, and yet I had no camera with which to record it. I am tired of wishing I had taken the photo. And so, I went out last week and took some. I feel full and satisfied. Now I find myself waiting to get prints and start a portfolio, or just frame them and have them ready for their big debut. They deserve to be examined, and pined over, and ridiculed. They deserve to come out. I do not know when or how I will get a chance to showcase my photos, but I must find a way. And in the meantime, keep taking more!

I have spoken about reinventing myself in past blogs. What I have come to realize is that there has been no pressing need for that. I am who I am, and that is all I am capable of being. I cannot be the everywoman to everyone. I’m thankful that I am letting that go. I still don’t know who or what I am becoming, but I know that it is colorful and vibrant and full of noise. That is enough for me.

To close, I will leave you, dear readers, with a few snapshots from New Orleans. Hopefully they draw you in and make you want to visit. And once you’re here, you may not want to leave.

An Eye For An Eye

Standard

“An eye for an eye only ends up making the whole world blind.” -Ganhdi

The course of history has been changed. For better or worse, well, everyone will have an opinion on that. Who is right or wrong probably won’t matter. That is the shame of it all.

Last night, while awaiting the showdown on Celebrity Apprentice between Nene Leakes and Star Jones, (which, I still don’t know the outcome of) the President interrupted programming to announce to the nation that Osama bin Laden had been killed by Americans. I know that many waved their arms in triumph or whooped with pride, but I sat dazed and in disbelief. “Is this what we’ve come to?” I asked myself. Followed with “How did we get here?”. The answer is not so simple, but speaks of years of intolerance in the name of retribution and protection. “Terrorists must not win!”. But have we, as Americans, become the terrorists? As Christians, how can we rejoice in this so called American victory when the death of any person causes our Lord so much grief? After all, we are to love our neighbors as ourselves, even our enemies, for the Lord rejoices when a heart is changed, but grieves at the loss of life, both physically and spiritually. And let’s be honest, if we are taking that life, we have definitely experienced spiritual death.

My soul is troubled. Ganhdi once said “A nation’s culture resides in the hearts and in the soul of it’s peoples”. I fear our soul is terribly blemished. I hope I’m not the only one who is troubled. It is disappointing that people rejoice in our nation airing a broadcast that justifies killing. The realization that Joseph Heller was right in Catch-22 when he realizes “man is matter” is heartbreaking. Aren’t we all supposed to want to be more?

I’m disappointed that we are so base that we rejoice in death. I
disappointed that as Americans, we think we have won some glorious victory, but we have actually lost our humanity. We have become cannibals and it is ugly. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. once said, “Man must evolve for all human conflict a method which rejects revenge, aggression, and retaliation. The foundation of such a method is love”. He would be dismayed to see how much further we have degenerated as a nation instead of rising above and living a life with love in our hearts. Mother Teresa said “If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other”. I fear we forgot a long time ago, and it’s sad that our leaders are not urging us to remember.

Perhaps the most troubling to me, is that this is not over. It has only just begun. We, as a nation, have said through our actions, that killing is justified, as long as we are doing the killing. Our soldiers are still fighting-for what or how long I don’t know. Our children are becoming callouses and jaded-intolerant of others, even amongst themselves. We are falling apart at the seams. And yet, there is celebrating. What in the world are we celebrating?

I hope that I can remain faithful to my convictions to learn to love like Jesus. I hope that I can serve as an example. Ganhdi said, “As human beings, our greatness lies not so much in being able to remake the world-that is the myth of the atomic age-as in being able to remake ourselves”. I find comfort in this. It helps me remain steadfast in my moments of weakness and sadness. It is encouraging. Mostly, it is empowering. After all, when we are weak, He is strong.

So, I invite you to love more; smile at others, seek to beat your swords into plowshares, and care for one another. And weep at injustice and intolerance, while seeking to be a beacon in these troubled times. I find solace in this prayer of Francis of Assisi-perhaps it will offer you comfort as well. “Lord, make me an instrument of thy peace. Where there is hatred, let me sow love”.