Ramble: Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Fuckery

by pronounced "ahhh" like a sigh

The last few weeks have been crazy. I’ve been lucky to have my career line up and start sputtering towards what I want again . I’ve been working hard for the last 4 years to get my “career back”, what I failed to realize is that my career was in remission. I needed time to relearn how to live and breathe and be a mother and manage illness and be a friend. To be properly lined up so when that time came, I was healthy and ready. The time is here and I’m so grateful for that.

This weekend, I was in Philly for some events with Art Sanctuary. Friday, I hosted an open mic and heard some fantastic stuff from people who were too shy to come up to the mic. The teen duo of Poetic Flowze was absolutely jaw dropping amazing. Though, I hope they out grow the “poetry moniker” and just use their real names. Friday, I met Ntozake Shange. I was introduced her and I was struck speechless. I couldn’t talk. I could barely move or think. Her Personal assistant and friend, Claude heard my name and said, “Bassey?? Bassey that wrote the articles in the Huffington Post? We LOVED it!!” Claude gave me a huge hug and both he and Ms. Shange started talking about my article and what fans they were of my honesty and writing. Excuse me what? If ever there were a moment in my life where I can look back and say, “I’m going to remember this forever.” It was that moment. Shange’s work has influenced and changed my life in so many ways. And for her to know my name, let alone have read something I wrote and then liked it? What does that even mean. I stated on facebook that I don’t really believe in blessings because it makes it sound like God plays favorites and I don’t believe that. I think my life was enriched by that moment. Ms. Shange is such a fount of wisdom and grace and sass and jagged edges and smooth, honey tongue. Though illness has slowed her body, ain’t nothin’ came for her mind.

Saturday, I sat on a panel called “A Laying On Of Hands: An Afternoon with Ntozake Shange. The other panelists were writer and filmmaker Aishah Shahidah Simmons producer of the powerful documentary (www.nothedocumentary.org), Dr. Kimmika Williams-Witherspoon, professor of drama at Temple University and moderated by Dr. Imani Perry of Princeton University. The panel was set up to discuss the impact of Ntozake Shange’s work on our personal lives and work as well as her global influence. It was powerful and emotional to hear women who found such profound change and movement in their lives based on this woman. And I wondered what it felt like for Ms. Shange to sit there and be showered with so much love and positive energy. I can imagine it feels wonderful but I wonder if it’s overwhelming. As much as I wanted to cling to her side, I made it a point to keep a respectful distance.

The event was especially powerful for me because I revealed something that I had been holding for 14 years. I’m not ready to blog about it but it definitely freed me from some emotional blocks I’ve had since I was 20. The revelation was cathartic and the love I was surrounded with by strangers moved me to tears.  This weekend changed my life in more ways than one. I was honored to be a part of it.

I made some mistakes this past week as well, I violated a trust and hurt someone that didn’t deserve it. I was angry on her behalf and went off without thinking how it might affect her. She and I have talked and it’s all good but I really do need dim the parts of me that make my mouth move while my brain is still standing in line.

There was another incident that I won’t speak of publicly that also changed my life. It was a necessary decision to do what was right for me but I would be remiss if I didn’t say I wasn’t profoundly disappointed by the necessity to do so.  I will say that I won’t speak of it at all so if there are any unfair attacks or conversations that are one-sided, they will remain so. I know my truths and have taken responsibility for it. The rest is between me and the universe.

I’m happy. I’m very happy. I’m tired. I’m making such great progress on my book that the words just seem to be flying off the page. Or… flying on the page? Which one makes more sense? Ok. That’s the one I meant.  I received the advice to “stop editing just get the words on paper.” and that was like a lightbulb moment for me. It seems so much “easier” than before. I think it’s just part of all these things lining up and all these distractions being removed from my path.

Speaking of Twitter, it’s actually helped my writing more so than hurting it. I’ll explain that some other time.

A lot has been happening and I have no idea what to say. My son turned 4, the Positive Change campaign launched and you can view it here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ew9GX4bFMWs It premiered last week but AIDS effects people every day. Please RT, comment, get tested. I have some secret things that are happening thanks to the wunderkind that is my publicist and friend, Meg Smith of BrownstonePR. She is amazing. I love her more than she knows.

I also want to thank my friends for tolerating me and loving me and pushing me and kicking me around when I need it. Especially, Tarana Burke. The big sister of my heart. I wouldn’t have made it through this weekend without her.

At the end of it all, my heart is still big, still good, still learning to do things right and forgives me often for my missteps.

This was boring. I just wanted to take a break from the book in order to write something else. I was hoping it would be a poem but I’ll take what I can.

I hope you’re well.

Never apologize for how you choose to take care of yourself,

B.

 

 

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