“Got a fire in my belly. Let me burn, let me fly. Let me take you back to the rhythm, back to the day when you felt only love in my arms. Let me take you back to the country where your roots bury deep and the soil is rich for all. Where we can go. Where we can grow. “ – Rebekah Todd “Roots Bury Deep”
A Cure For Self Doubt – A Tea
Take some lavender, mint and a hint of lime
Pray over it however you pray
Pour over hot water and let it sit
Sweeten with some honey
Before you take the first sip,
remember to thank your ancestors
– Catherine Speaks
I love tea. I always have. My mom is a huge tea person and if you ever come to her house and don’t feel well, you sit on the stool, she makes you some tea, and you talk. I watched my mom practice healing without even knowing what it was. I guess it’s just in my DNA. My aunt was the same way. I used to wonder “What’s in that tea that’s so special?”, but I never did ask. Then I grew into adulthood and I traded coffee for tea and it became a regular part of life, of calm. As I sit here with this tea, I think about roots of my life.
I keep doing this thing where I start a post and then I stop. It seems that there are so many things that I can write about and that I want to write about but somehow I just can’t get started. Is that writers’ block? I don’t know what to call it, but instead of writing immediately, I went back to some original posts on this blog that I made at its inception and I just wanted to see where I was. What was I writing about? Much like a diary, I was shocked at the things that I thought, but then I remembered that growth is measured by looking next to something that once was and not by where I am now. I dedicate this post, like I dedicate all posts to the Ancestors that I can name on stolen land, Phyllis, Rose and Fanny and just as equally to those that I can’t. Tabotne. (Thank you)
This weekend, I went back to a place that holds all kinds of roots for me. I was struck by how othered I felt in a place that my ancestors had lived on for centuries. I put on my Native Feels playlist and Rebekah Todd sang those lyrics to me. I wanted to grow from the place where my roots were buried deep in the soil and here I was. Healing is all sorts of things for me, and so is artistry. It stems from my pain as much as my pleasure, and my growth so much as my innocence. Recently, as I’ve entered what one can call adulthood, I’ve been taking notice of the reality in white supremacy. I think that so often, people, specifically academics speak with such candor about race and white supremacy in America and forget that so many of us must live the reality. There’s a disconnect in what is real and truly felt versus what is statistical. You can’t quanitify my pain and emotional labor. The death of Erica Garner hit me particularly hard, but I didn’t…couldn’t talk about it with anyone. I kept my pain to myself, inwardly crying into my pillow at night and dissolving into a restless sleep that I would wake from more exhausted than rejuvenated. We. Black & brown womxn take care of everyone and then somehow, everyone refuses to take care of us. In that lack of care, is self care enough? Who do I trust with my care? I’m constantly met with challenges to the growth that I’ve won over the years. This weekend, I was challenged with just how I handle myself and just who are those folk that I call “friend” and “family”. I sat with my good friend and fellow blogger Kat Qunnekenoohkesu Simonds who writes about black and indigenous existence in this place we call “North America” and I was struck by just how necessary it is to have conversations, friendships, sisterhood, siblinghood that doesn’t require one to educate. Where are my roots buried? Is it possible that maybe they’ve been buried in places that won’t reap fruit?
To put how I feel about life simply, I love it, even the sucky moments. I love being an artist, a writer, a hunter and gatherer of everyday life and experience with some we can’t see and some we can. I get to take all these things and put them into something; an earring, a bracelet, clothing, a play, a theater piece, a painting, a song. I love speaking my joys, my truths, my self. I love finding and figuring out just who I am in this world and who it is that I want to be. I ran across something the other day that said “ Your worth is not based in your productivity.” In other words, I am not the work that I do. It caused me to stop, mostly because I know myself to be lazy and that if it isn’t work that I really feel passionately about, I’m not going to get around to it. I’m hard on myself about it all the time. Being lazy isn’t cool in this world where everything is about making money and being “busy”. I don’t know that it’s laziness, so much as disconnect with society and the “should” that has arisen in popular culture. One “should” do this in society and neglect something else. While my life is busy, I always feel like I could be doing more. But what if we stop for a second? What if we lean into this idea that I am not my work, and that I deserve rest, good food, a good nights sleep, harmony in the midst of chaos? What if I embraced more of the small moments that reap simple artistry rather than large moments of societal approval?
Not all human beings are “good” all the time. We’re not always nice or kind all of every day. To me, that’s what makes life interesting. Overrall, are you enhancing the way this planet operates? That’s my main question. I wouldn’t say that I’m a particularly “nice” person, but I’m kind. I’m not going to be the most friendly person all the time, but sometimes I am. I’m not always up for a smile and a hug, but sometimes I am. Believe it or not, my journey with my locs have taught me that about myself. Some days, my hair is perfect and shiny and full of life and other days, all I want is to put a hat on and disappear. Some days, I wonder if the roots of my life show up in the roots of my scalp.
As I sit here with a mug of steaming tea, thinking of my future and how I’ve gotten to where I am today, I realize that it’s all real, true, life. Life is my main root. It’s not always about the work, the job, the things that we have and don’t have, the friends that we make and lose, the lovers who come and go, sometimes, life is about the little moments. This tea. Washing my hair in the warmth of my tub. Walking down the block as the sun streams in from the left. Maybe it’s all just going back to where the roots are buried deep.