Tuesday, October 30, 2018

I Am A MUTT


Through a, well worth the payment, to a genealogy website it has now been scientifically proven that I am a MUTT!!

If you are African American, your history can be a bit of a mystery.  There are those family stories of third- or fourth-hand accounts of how your great, great, great, great grandparent was a full-blooded this or that.  Funny, how it is never usually full-blooded African…. This is AMERICA!! (in my Childish Gambino voice). 
As a woman who loves learning, I came to a decision to learn about myself.  I ordered a DNA genealogy test.
I placed my order and not even a week later, received a tiny box with everything I needed to discover my lineage.
Instructions- CHECK
Plastic return envelope- CHECK
Small plastic vial- CHECK
You would not believe just how difficult it is to fill such a small vial with what seems like an obscene amount of spit!  Either Maury Povich is doing it wrong or the DNA genealogy people are subject to overkill.  As I tried to conjure up more saliva, unfortunately a flashback to the Henrietta Lacks story crept in.  I glanced down at the now half-filled vial and threw some side-eye, completely aware that fear is just False Evidence Appearing Real.  So I sidetracked the thoughts with Psalms 118:6- “The Lord is on my side; I will not fear: what can man do unto me?” and continued to fill the vial. 
Finally filled to the ‘not too much, not too little’ capacity line, I added the cap, gave it a twist until it dropped the blue liquid and gave it a little shake.  Done!
I’m not sure why but I did not trust handing my saliva filled plastic bag to my house mail carrier.  So, I drove eight miles to the post office and handed the bag off to the other mail carrier behind the counter. Yeah, I know! SMH!  But as I walked out of the post office, I was so excited about what the results would be.
Everyday it seemed like I would get another email.
“We saw you mailed your package.”
“Your package is in transit.”
“We have received your package.”
“Your DNA specimen has arrived.”
“We are processing your DNA.”
Then total silence, continued silence, and more silence!!  Here comes Henrietta Lacks again, just as immortal as ever.  This time Psalms 56:3- “When I am afraid, I put my trust in you.”  Yep, that got rid of Henrietta.  Of course, HE heard me because a day or two later the final email arrived.
“You may now view your DNA results.”
OMG-it felt like a cross between Christmas and please let this pregnancy test be INSERT HERE.  I clicked the link and there it was……MY story.
I was not terribly surprised by the larger percentages of my Her-story.  24% Ivory Coast/Ghana, 22% Benin/Togo, etc.  It was the smaller percentages that made me giggle.  7% Europe West (no wonder I love Paris), 3% Ireland/Scotland/Wales, then down at the very bottom of my results……<1% European Jewish.  Not only am I a mutt but I’m a mutt of God’s chosen people.  {Insert imaginary fist bump with Jesus here} 
What has completing my DNA genealogy done?  I now wear my title of African American with more certainty and extremely proud.  Yes, that acknowledges that I am a descendant of slaves both African and Jewish.  It also acknowledges I am a descendant of SURVIVORS both African and Jewish!  Knowing all MY facts allows me to walk just a little bit sassier.  I look at my mirrored reflection with more understanding.
Yes, my results do make me a mixed breed mutt.  But how many can say I am mixed breed African Queen of GOD mutt!!  Take that Kanye!!

Side note:  I also have about 500 first to fourth cousins to share any lottery winnings with......Heyyyyy Cousin!!! (obscure Black Panther reference)


Saturday, October 27, 2018

Breakfast Conversations with The Twins......

The poem written below sparked a 2-hour conversation with my 20-year-old twins over breakfast.  As we ate our most boogie of breakfasts: a veggie omelet for my son, avocado toast with poached eggs and salad greens for me, a pork belly waffle for my daughter.  I sipped on coffee while the kids (they will always be kids to me) ordered refill after refill of some concoction of lemonade and pomegranate juice.  The conversation ebbed and waned as my daughter continued to try to interject her current read of, Women Who Run with the Wolves by Clarrisa Pinkola Estes, Ph.D.  But not to be diminished this Pre-Trump, Langston Hughes poem would not be quiet.  My son read his favorite stance from his phone.  
"O, let America be America again—The land that never has been yet—And yet must be—the land where every man is free.  The land that's mine—the poor man's, Indian's, Negro's, ME—Who made America, Whose sweat and blood, whose faith and pain, Whose hand at the foundry, whose plow in the rain, Must bring back our mighty dream again." 
I believe some of our table neighbors may have caught some of the dialog that ran pass their ears.  Subtle glimpses from eyes over Earl Grey tea cups in our direction became just a little more obvious.  
But the conversation continued through another coffee and lemonade/pomegranate concoction refill, request for a to-go box, swipe of my credit card to the total of $75 (boogie at its best), and our Converse, Puma, Nike-footed exit out the door.  I know, it's so obvious.... I am doubly blessed.

Read it....Let's Talk about it.  We can talk about Women Who Run with Wolves at breakfast tomorrow.


Let America Be America Again

Langston Hughes, 1902 - 1967

Let America be America again.
Let it be the dream it used to be.
Let it be the pioneer on the plain
Seeking a home where he himself is free.

(America never was America to me.)

Let America be the dream the dreamers dreamed—
Let it be that great strong land of love
Where never kings connive nor tyrants scheme
That any man be crushed by one above.

(It never was America to me.)

O, let my land be a land where Liberty
Is crowned with no false patriotic wreath,
But opportunity is real, and life is free,
Equality is in the air we breathe.

(There's never been equality for me,
Nor freedom in this "homeland of the free.")

Say, who are you that mumbles in the dark? 
And who are you that draws your veil across the stars?

I am the poor white, fooled and pushed apart,
I am the Negro bearing slavery's scars.
I am the red man driven from the land,
I am the immigrant clutching the hope I seek—
And finding only the same old stupid plan
Of dog eat dog, of mighty crush the weak.

I am the young man, full of strength and hope,
Tangled in that ancient endless chain
Of profit, power, gain, of grab the land!
Of grab the gold! Of grab the ways of satisfying need!
Of work the men! Of take the pay!
Of owning everything for one's own greed!

I am the farmer, bondsman to the soil.
I am the worker sold to the machine.
I am the Negro, servant to you all.
I am the people, humble, hungry, mean—
Hungry yet today despite the dream.
Beaten yet today—O, Pioneers!
I am the man who never got ahead,
The poorest worker bartered through the years.

Yet I'm the one who dreamt our basic dream
In the Old World while still a serf of kings,
Who dreamt a dream so strong, so brave, so true,
That even yet its mighty daring sings
In every brick and stone, in every furrow turned
That's made America the land it has become.
O, I'm the man who sailed those early seas
In search of what I meant to be my home—
For I'm the one who left dark Ireland's shore,
And Poland's plain, and England's grassy lea,
And torn from Black Africa's strand I came
To build a "homeland of the free."

The free?

Who said the free?  Not me?
Surely not me?  The millions on relief today?
The millions shot down when we strike?
The millions who have nothing for our pay?
For all the dreams we've dreamed
And all the songs we've sung
And all the hopes we've held
And all the flags we've hung,
The millions who have nothing for our pay—
Except the dream that's almost dead today.

O, let America be America again—
The land that never has been yet—
And yet must be—the land where every man is free.
The land that's mine—the poor man's, Indian's, Negro's, ME—
Who made America,
Whose sweat and blood, whose faith and pain,
Whose hand at the foundry, whose plow in the rain,
Must bring back our mighty dream again.

Sure, call me any ugly name you choose—
The steel of freedom does not stain.
From those who live like leeches on the people's lives,
We must take back our land again,
America!

O, yes,
I say it plain,
America never was America to me,
And yet I swear this oath—
America will be!

Out of the rack and ruin of our gangster death,
The rape and rot of graft, and stealth, and lies,
We, the people, must redeem
The land, the mines, the plants, the rivers.
The mountains and the endless plain—
All, all the stretch of these great green states—
And make America again!

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Nobody Did This But God!!

Well, well, well!!!  Look at us meeting this way!  I have seen you a couple times here and there.  Maybe at the book store or running through the airport to catch that flight.  I don't really remember which it was, but I do remember I immediately wanted to talk to you.  There was not enough time then but here we are meeting this way...again. 
Have you ever woke up in the morning and just knew something exciting was going to happen to you?  I did, just this morning.
Nothing was different about the awakening.  My eyes blurry and unfocused opened right before the sound of my cell phone alarm.  "Thank You" were the first words spoken.  "Thank you for another day to get this right!"
A long stretch and five to ten minutes of quiet mediation.  Picked up my cell phone to disarm the alarm, then opened my You Version app for the scripture of the day.  Today, it was 1 Peter 5:7, "Cast all your anxiety on HIM because HE cares for you."   Yes, yes HE does.  Physical, Mental, Spiritual smile. 😊

That's the moment it happened.  The moment I felt something awesome was going to happen to me today and something AMAZING was going to happen through me today. 

Well, well, well, look at us meeting this way!!