Mourning While Others Are Celebrating

Statue of an angel sits on a tombstone in a cemetery — head bowed down, hands in lap.
Statue of an angel sits on a tombstone in a cemetery — head bowed down, hands in lap.
Photo by Veit Hammer on Unsplash.

Mother’s Day will always be a little dark for me. Even if I try to reside in the brightness of my fond memories, there is no way to escape reflecting on what I’ve lost. I have buried three matriarchs in my family — my mother and both of my grandmothers. No matter how sunny the day, no matter how filled with joy others are, a part of me must mourn.

I overflow with love for the mother who birthed and raised me. I am grateful for all the women who have poured into my life. I’m so thankful for the…


SELF LOVE

Don’t Let Illusions Erode Your Self Confidence

Silhouettes of four women with arms outstretched in front of the sun.
Silhouettes of four women with arms outstretched in front of the sun.
Let’s celebrate the breadth of humanity’s natural beauty. [Photo by Dennis Magati from Pexels.]

The other day I had a conversation with a man who felt women had no one but themselves to blame for their suffering. He didn’t mean anguish due to violence, famine, poverty, or disease. He meant optional suffering of the cosmetic variety, the fashionable kind — the type of suffering that is (as my mother would say) “the price of vanity.”

Why do women wear short skirts and then complain that they’re cold? Why do they bemoan their foot pain, but still choose stilettoes? And why does anyone else (men or society) get blamed for this? They’re grown-ups. They’re autonomous…


Go Ahead and Play the Race Card

Civil rights march on Washington, D.C. on August 28th, 1963. Women in foreground hold up signs reading: “we demand equal rights now, we march for integrated schools now, we demand an end to bias now, and we demand decent housing now.”
Civil rights march on Washington, D.C. on August 28th, 1963. Women in foreground hold up signs reading: “we demand equal rights now, we march for integrated schools now, we demand an end to bias now, and we demand decent housing now.”
Civil Rights March in 1963. (Photo by Unseen Histories on Unsplash.)

On a trip to Frankfurt last February, I witnessed a scene that sent a familiar sensation of proximal panic through my body. Two young woman of color were crossing a pedestrian bridge with two children who were on Razor scooters. An older white woman and then an older white man began to engage them in an increasingly hostile manner. As the children stood behind their respective adults, the white man and woman yelled at them in German.

I could not understand the words, but the tone and body language — the look of contempt in their eyes and the contempt…


THOUGHTS

Just Keep Your Prejudice Away from Me

The following words are printed in black on a yellow wall: “Racism is so American that when you protest it people think you are protesting America.”
The following words are printed in black on a yellow wall: “Racism is so American that when you protest it people think you are protesting America.”
Photo by Hrt+Soul Design on Unsplash.

Another Black man is dead at a police officer’s hands, and what can I say that hasn’t already been said — more eloquently, thoughtfully, and with links to data? I don’t want to be another voice clamoring yet saying nothing. I don’t want to be another mad Black woman if my anger is shallow, just for show, or uniformed. I don’t want to be too angry to think, listen, act, or see clearly. I already know (and have written that) racism is easy. I don’t want to repeat myself. It’s exhausting.

I could very easily become a pessimist. It’s not…


CONFESSIONS

I Don’t Have to Worry

The words “no fear” written in black ink on a light blue surface.
The words “no fear” written in black ink on a light blue surface.
Photo by Etienne Girardet on Unsplash.

I have always felt different: I’m the shortest of my siblings. I was the only Black kid in my class for six years. I have often been (or felt like) the only Christian in the room. But mostly I feel different because of the unwelcome thoughts that enter my mind and the uninvited fears I begrudgingly entertain.

Every now and again, I will let an ordinary occurrence engender a dark daydream. Any quotidian occurrence can prompt my brain to run through a gauntlet of worst-case scenarios. For example, I was walking down the street one evening as two men smoking…


Brave Smiles and Tearful Goodbyes

Two Black women smiling head to head, one elderly and bedridden.
Two Black women smiling head to head, one elderly and bedridden.
Even when she was confined to her bed, my grandmother continued to smile.

So often sadness is simply the opposite side of joy. It is our feelings of affection that make for tearful goodbyes. We shed tears for what we’ve treasured. We feel loss because we loved. That is why I cried the last time I saw my grandmother alive.

A good description of what made my grandmother so special and easy to love can be found in my grandfather’s memoir: “Behind the simple, gentle manner of my wife, lies a storehouse of knowledge, generosity, meekness, and life’s richest experiences. …


Sharing Love, Memories, and Laughs

A photo of two generations of a Black family.
A photo of two generations of a Black family.
Half of the family in this photograph are gone.

Family trips are a rarity in my family. When I was a young child, my parents would send me to Grenada for a month. After my siblings were born, my mother would bring the three of us. My father might join us for a few days, but he usually had to work.

When my paternal grandfather got sick, I was in college and earning good internship money. I went to see him “one last time,” but when he kept on living for another five or six years, I promised myself I’d visit every year after that for as long as…


THOUGHTS

Jealousy Corrodes Contentment

A lineup of red apples differing slightly in shade and size.
A lineup of red apples differing slightly in shade and size.
Photo by Isabella & Louisa Fischer on Unsplash.

Comparison is corrosive. It eats away at my ability to be content and confident. It is a poison that kills the love I have for myself.

Comparison is a thief of joy, and jealousy is often its partner in crime. Whether I’m comparing my body, abilities, or bank account to someone else’s, I do harm to myself if I allow that comparison to rob me of my self-satisfaction and engender envy. …


We Need God for Life

Close-up of a pile of blemished yellow bananas
Close-up of a pile of blemished yellow bananas
Photo by Boudewijn Huysmans on Unsplash.

Sometimes, when I’m feeling inadequate, I think about bananas and plantains. Overly ripened bananas make the best banana bread. Similarly, when a plantain looks its most rotten (black and shriveled and dusty), that’s when it’s sweetest.

Thinking about rotten bananas helps me understand redemption, not only the saving of our souls, but the good that can come from the corrupted.

I am aware of how much in Christianity (or faiths claiming to be Christianity) has been contorted into cruel and harmful words, practices, and beliefs. Even with the best of intentions, anything touched by human hands is inherently lacking. We’re…


What Trees Have Taught Me

An asymmetrical tree in a grassy field under a daytime sky with a few thin clouds.
An asymmetrical tree in a grassy field under a daytime sky with a few thin clouds.
Photo by niko photos on Unsplash.

I spend most of my days trying to get to zero — trying to have zero unread e-mails, zero unreturned calls, zero notifications from social media platforms, an empty laundry hamper, a vacant kitchen sink, no tasks or errands left to do, none of my work for the day still incomplete.

My parents taught me that duty should come before fun. Before I could play or watch television (PBS only), my homework and chores needed to be done. I’ve embraced that philosophy. I enjoy myself most only after I’ve addressed all of my responsibilities. I don’t fully relax and enjoy…

Aabye-Gayle F.

Editor & Writer https://afavilla.wordpress.com/ | Dog person with cats.

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