In Memoriam

On another day as bright and sunny as this one, we lost him.  I denied it as long I could, writing: Is it true?  The heart won’t accept what the tv reports…

So far, it has been confirmed by almost every other major news source except for CNN that the most prolific pop icon, Michael Jackson has passed away. I remain quiet, mouselike, diminished until CNN drops the confirmation. I expect that I will remain in denial long after that.

This has the same feeling that 9-11 did as I ran, covered in dust, away from the collapsing towers. The day was as beautiful and calm as this and yet something so unfathomable was happening. When I am done denying, I will no longer trust sunny, breezy days to keep me safe.

I am no longer in denial.  Denial shifted into mourning, then anger at an unnecessary loss and the treachery of summer days obliviously dealing out tragedy.  I spent much time being angry that it was only in death was Michael truly appreciated for mark he left on the world and the lives he transformed.   More anger came when the media sought to rehash the ugliness he had endured and was taken out on my tv as it was promptly shut off.

Many people understand Michael’s impact personally and the people who don’t perplex me or are just too young…or something else.  The death of Michael Jackson hit me like the death of a family member.  He was someone who was with me through every part of my conscious life: Billy Jean when we first moved to the US, praying that he would pick me up from school, choreographing dances to “Human Nature”, fighting my brother to play with his MJ doll, hiding my face during the “Thriller” extended video, bugging out to and then practicing the dance moves in the “Remember the Time” video, geeking out to him and Janet in the “Scream” video, praying with all my heart during his last court case and on and on…

After watching This Is It, the documentary on his preparation for his last tour, I knew my loyalties weren’t ill-placed.  Here was an inspirational, hard-working, gracious, loving, truly royal soul that deserved all our extreme adoration because he totally earned it and continues to.  That anger has become a profound gratefulness that I had the honor of witnessing his life exactly the way that I did.  His 45 years of achievement and sacrifice inspires me to do what it takes and give all that I have to give in a life that is worth living and easily lost.

One year later and though the facts say he’s out of my life, I remember that as long as he’s imprinted in all these memories, he will never be gone.  Rest in perfect peace Michael Joseph Jackson.


I’d intended to blog about my daily exquisite self-care journey in the last few weeks and was sidetracked by the results of that journey.  Practicing an act of exquisite self-care every day opened me up to the miracle of getting my work published in an online magazine.  When you do something lovely for yourself every day, everyone and everything falls in line with you making miracles and exquisite care the norm.

In the midst of learning to love myself this month, I noticed that the default is for me NOT to love myself or treat myself kindly.  As a woman in American society, I have more than a few reminders about how not enough I am and what I need to buy, have, do to remedy that.  As a woman of color, I’ve been noticing that there has been a lot of media coverage on the hopelessness of black women’s romantic prospects.  In response, I wrote a piece on rejecting all the doom-crying, tying this media barrage to the image of the Obama marriage:

Week after week, media reports remind single, educated, black women to worry themselves to death. Since when did the media become this  obsessed with the state of black womanhood?  When did they start caring whether we made it?  Why all the recent concern and even coverage from Nightline?



June’s Challenge: Practice an extraordinary act of self-care every day for 30 days.

This may sound like the basic stuff of pedicures and bubble baths but when I look at the course of my life, self-care—let alone exquisite self-care—is barely an afterthought.  Sometimes I notice the void in my life’s design and shrug off the dissatisfaction as I snuggle deeper into the exhaustion I shroud around my shoulders.

I pride myself in sacrifice and superhuman feats of derring-do often pulled off moments before the train smashes into my life.  I respond solely to emergencies and create them so that I can get things done while being the hero that saved the day for everyone, just not me.

Even now, I panic at the idea of engaging in an extraordinary act of exquisite self-care every day for the month of June.  That is, until I realize that any act of self-care will be extraordinary in my world of putting myself aside to get things done, make things better, be there for you, be a contribution and more and more and more.  The question here is can I do all those things without sacrifice?  Can I exist as the creature I love to be in the world without the depletion and lovelessness of martyrdom?  I have no babies.  Maybe I should stop acting like I do or maybe I should be my own baby?

What is exquisite self-care? What isn’t?

Exquisite self-care calls for me to put myself in front of friends, family, work, love at least once a day and do something that makes me happy, has my heart singing, making me my own beloved…every day.  It involves doing the things I stopped doing for myself because they kept getting in the way of results.  Exquisite self-care isn’t about shirking responsibility or foregoing promises.  It is not being lazy and avoiding life and things.  It isn’t easy.  It is me finally going the distance to be my own hero and save the day for myself.

Day 1

I work from home with a workday has no defined beginning or end.  It often feels endless and involves pushing especially on empty.  While it’s really cool to point out all that I accomplish on an empty gas tank, I decided to switch to a fuel-efficient practice: I made sure I ate, showered and read my Bible before engaging in any business today. I had a lovely moment of ease and calm all about me.  Simple, yes.  Neglected, often.

The next 29 days

I will celebrate each act, big or small, and share them periodically.  For extra credit, I’ll see if I can do some practices every day and see where that gets me.  Bonus: Have someone tell me they love me everyday. Someone already did today.  Wonder about tomorrow.

Each act is a reclaiming of chunks of soul, home, joy I’ve filed away for later, one day, someday.  That is my extraordinary.  What is yours?