Sunday, December 26, 2010

I'm An Island.

The snow is different this year. It is once again, MY snow.

There is something dissimilar about winter when you’re on break from academia. In Virginia, it snowed no more than that of a fleece blanket. I forgot the embrace of a blizzard. Although harsh and cold on the outside; it forces you to stay in, keep warm, and find solitude in the home you’ve been blitzing in and out of on work days. While in school, the melted snow in the crevices of my Uggs was borrowed. It wasn’t truly mine. Once back in my car and back down I-95, the remnants would soon be evaporated air that whistled away with the aesthetic of my hometown. (At least until the next vacation.)

I’m here again. There are no suitcases littering the floor, calendar checking, and excitement to get back to friends. It’s just me, the new confidants, I’ve found in the books, scattered on my bed, and a window blanketed in ice. Although I miss college, I’m grateful for the lessons I’ve learned upon my arrival and assimilation into my old neighborhood. Some, if not most, of the people who I left here, are still here.

Stagnant Shores.

The sea of routine life and faded hopes/dreams erode the person they used to be. I constantly have to remind my childhood best friends of who they once were. Do you miss yourself? I can still hear the resounding laughter and running feet of your happiness in my parents’ home.

Would you like us to go back there and find it? Vertically is not the only way to grow.

Academia shows us that there are so many opportunities that lie all over the world for us. There is literature in love languages, internships in other cities, and a career track somewhere far away. But what if home, is your opportunity? What if you were molded by the same community you were meant to save? 2010 has shown me that there is more than giving back. Sometimes you’ve got to embroider yourself back into the fabric of your beginnings.

I started teaching in my old district this month. Teachers, who I waved at from a wooden desk justeleven years ago, guffawed at the vision in front of them. Some of them told me that this very moment, seeing me suited up and teaching small versions of my old self, was the reason that they never left their profession. With tears in their eyes and holiday cookies shoved at me left and right, they warned me of the advantages and disadvantages. They told me to never let my dreams cascade into a blackboard and a piece of chalk, but warned to never use teaching as JUST a channel to my dream. “You’ve got to put your all into everything,” said Mrs. T, my seventh grade gym teacher.

I’m doing just that. Within the last few months, I’ve learned that even the most eroded shore is still beautiful; I’ve given lost friends and lovers a chance to renew their first impressions, grab a cup of coffee, and bless me with their stories. I’ve taught the brothers and sisters of children—now men and women—who once ridiculed me. I’ve performed poetry at showcases and witnessed a community—I used to be invisible to—give me standing ovations and approving smiles.

You must understand that this is a place I fought so long to get away from. High school was a burden I tried my hardest to forget. I made sure that each announcer said before the bio, Long Island by way of Brooklyn. I didn't want to be associate with you. I didn’t want to be the city girl thrown into suburbia, where she did not belong. I tried to detach myself from you, but could never remove my imprint.

This village raised me. I am the adopted child who tried to run away from the dwelling that fostered me. How dare I overlook you?

Oh, and love, what have I learned about you this year?

I’ve turned my back on you and swore you off plenty of times, but you always linger. You always seem to find me on my stoop, never allowing me to brood long enough to hate you. I see you in my god children. I glimpse you in the kisses of strangers. I went searching for you with a library card and bell hooks. She explained to me that you are NOT woman’s work. You are an equal task. I’ve learned that I am not the only one that should learn and apply you. We should. I’ve also learned that even if you haven’t found that WE, you’ve got to love you. Not “you” that looks back in the mirror, but all of you. YOU: The pudgier, the slightly bigger thigh, the basketball palming hands, and the loud voice with ample base. I’m learning to love ALL of me. Until I can do that, I can’t give anyone those four letters. Most men want the alphabet, but still think that “and” is between Y, Z. They need to learn that love is abstract. It doesn’t have to make sense. The “and” is between Y and M. You and Me. Learn your US.

There was no symmetry in this prose. This is just a vent of some of the things that this year taught me. 2010 was all about reinvention. 2011 will be about application. There is a God, and when I meet him, it will be with no regrets. Happy Holidays Everyone.


1 comment:

Lyrik Marie said...

Love is abstract ....
That was the winning line ..
Another good post Riv