Sunday Seen & Heard 5.1.22

On Sunday mornings, I try to get up early and post up in a neighborhood coffee shop for writing practice. I read a chapter of Natalie Goldberg’s Wild Mind: Living the Writer’s Life and spend 10 uninterrupted minutes capturing my surroundings.

This moment finds me seated at my dining room table. I sniffle, hoping my sinuses behave for the next nine-ish minutes that I’m charged with writing non-stop. I’ve sniffled at least four times since I started. That doesn’t bode well. Nevertheless, she persists.

It’s a gray Sunday morning, but what else is new for spring in Cleveland? I woke up to the gentle roll of thunder and the patter of rain, which kept me in bed nearly an hour longer than I intended. But I got up, made the coffee, opened the notebook.

I intended to write about Waiting to Exhale. The hard copy with the original 1990 cover sits on the table as a prompt. Its bright colors remind me of how adult I felt when my mother let me read it at 10 years old. I’m now the age of the women in the book. Those four brown silhouettes adorned in sharp shoulder pads and electric shades who gave me a preview of womanhood. Robin, Savannah, Gloria, and Bernie. The four aunties who sat me down and told me the way of the world. Showed me the peril of holding your breath, waiting for life to start while life is right in front of you. And the joy of friends who love you along the way.

I’ve lived all their lives. Robin’s love of astrology and addiction to the right sex with the wrong man. Savannah’s exhaustion with a world — and the men in it — that routinely fails to meet her standards. Bernadine’s bereftness as she watched a life she built crumble at her feet. Gloria’s unintentional celibacy.

But the thing I’ve never done, because they taught me better, is wait to breathe.

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a girl named rob

I used to be "skinny black girl." I'm now a slender woman on the other side of 35 with no new moniker who is not quite interested in writing under her given name. Still writing my life, a day (or some months) at a time. Also, still black.

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