Yesterday I found myself in the most beautiful, unexpected places…
Heart, sleeve, whatever. My happy-go-lucky approach is pretty comically balanced out with a lotta tears in a Tyler-Perry movie-esque way. I blubber at the drop of a hat! “Look at the baby, the flowers, the sun, the old couple, the dad and his boy, the kittens, the puppies, the tiny hedgehogs, the butterflieeeees.” (Sniffle)
Cuteness and sweetness everywhere. I see everything.
Life is just so unpredictably wonderful and amazing! Yesterday, I couldn’t help but shed tears of joy for the love of living. In all of its ups, downs, tragedies, miracles. Okok, today too. Whatever.
Ice COLD! I live in Watts. (Throwing up peace and thumbs up signs.)
Honestly… I also hide my tears when receiving a flyer for a neighborhood block party celebrating the lives of loves lost to violence.
Seeing other flyers posted for candlelit vigils… Police, helicopters and ambulances racing to middle schools in the morning… Children collecting t-shirts bearing the faces of friends slain.
Wednesday I went to a community meeting to give a presentation to residents in one of the local public housing developments. Even though I grew up here in Watts, my lifestyle was wildly sheltered.
Picture wildly hyper-energetic, determined, little-r baby Tina riding my roller skates in teeny tiny circles, reallyreallyreally fast, hamster-style… ‘Cause I couldn’t pass more than two homes East or West of my parent’s place, nor cross the street… Because there were drug dealers bookending our block.
Wildly sheltered made sense.
I expected to struggle with the challenge of talking to folk in a way that was interesting, charismatic, communicative, humble, and not condescending… Instead I became overwhelmed and uplifted by hope.
No one cared that the housing authority had locked the public gym at 11am on a Wednesday: They setup chairs and sat on the lawn under a tree or in the sunshine.
No one cared that the housing authority doesn’t provide translation equipment though half the residents at the meeting aren’t English speakers: A neighbor, holding her baby, handled it.
No one cared that the housing authority was imposing new punitive fees in a very low-income development: They circulated a petition to fight it.
The meeting began with a prayer for strength, power, hope, happiness, deliverance and understanding. The elderly black woman who brought me tears with her words closed by reiterating, with even more passion, the main points of her prayer in Spanish for the monolingual residents.
As we sat there in the sunshine, people laughed, talked, cared for each other, radiating joy and hope.
All around were the signs of poverty and it didn’t hold anyone back from the knowledge and the hope that a better day will come.
That’s all it takes.
Luckily, that’s all you’ve really got.
That evening, I was privileged to enjoy a hot movie date with my man… After scurrying home from work to get extra-prettified, I got a call:
Him: “Baby I’m stuck in traffic and running late, maybe ten minutes or so.”
Me: “That’s so sweet! You mean, you knew I needed more time so I could relax and get gussied up for you? Thank you honey.” Gigglegiggle.
After being picked up by my gentleman of a man, we stood in line. Lines for us are just another canoodling opportunity so we were hardly ruffled when we found out they weren’t letting anyone else in.
Rhythm steady, we returned to the car for our trusty picnic blanket and wandered to a local bistro. With gourmet pizza and a pitcher of sangria, we got permission to settle in on the lawn of the restaurant and got to talking.
About nothing in particular.
As night fell and cold settled in we wandered inside the bistro and continued to chatter.
As the sangria ran out and the cleanup started we continued talking. Only when the staff turned the music up so loud we had to yell to hear one another did we finally stroll out, still eagerly talking.
When we got home we ended up talking more, laughing and enjoying each other. And… Yeah… Well…
That’s enough darlings.
The night turned out to be another perfect evening that went nothing like we’d planned, and we marveled, grateful for life’s wonders and blessings.
The strongest of us, the most powerful are those who can not be broken. Will not be downtrodden.
My love for humanity… Life, grew yesterday.
Today I am more hopeful.