For all the Valentines out there who are still waiting for flowers; go buy your own. I don’t mean to be unkind, but I have learned that if you really want something go get it for yourself out of self-love/care.
I know Valentine’s Day is a day for Romantic Love, the time you make sure “they” know that you care-even if you show your care all the time. I, like many of you, am not in a romantic relationship. I have male friends, but that’s not the same. I have girl friends who have wished me happy Valentine’s Day, but while I love them- I won’t be cuddling with any of them tonight.
For some Valentines Day is one of carnal love, which may include some romance, I would take both and add intimacy that allows honesty and vulnerability. I know, for many of us, it’s a day that makes many of us sad. Here’s what I know, when one truly loves themselves you spend your life being in life. When you are in life there is no past or future …or Valentine’s Day, it’s just today, another day you gave to yourself and did your best with what you had.
Brianna S. Clark
A couple of weekends ago, I was troubled about what was going to happen after the Women’s March on Washington. I knew that with this Administration, a protest would not be enough-at least not one protest. Thankfully, good Americans have not stopped protesting.
I am grateful and proud of all of my colleagues who came to the aid of those banned by this Administration’s sweeping ban of Muslims, from Sally Q.Yates, acting attorney general who Trump fired, to every immigration attorney who met with those who were wrongly denied entry and for every judge who stood up said “No”. No to racism, no to harming the already weak, poor, destitute, no to harming the air, water and land. Yes, this Administration has proposed cuts to food stamp programs and dismantling laws that protection the environment. At some point this cruel regime will touch your life-no matter how wealthy and protected you maybe or feel. Do something. Give money or time or both. I have been and I will continue to do so. What will you do?
Brianna S. Clark
Today, I am home, exhausted from activities related to the Women’s March on Washington. My pink hat lays in front of the television-likely to never be worn again.
The hat is symbolic of an event where women spent money and time to make a statement about many issues facing us in America. Our President is creating us as a nation who is xenophobic, homophobic, mysoginistic, racist and self interested just like he is. And while the March was a statement that is all it will be unless we the marchers continue to spend our time and money combating the forces that support the positions of our current administration.
I admit, I feel a little hopeless, a little discouraged and rudderless because I don’t have a next move, a next step. I don’t have a big community of kind, generous women- and even if I did -what should, would, could we do?
I personally must seek and execute a plan to fight against an America that I have never known in my adult life. Yes, I am fearful- one would be foolish not to be-and hopefully that fear will propel me into action. But what?
Over the next few days, perhaps weeks I will be seeking the what. I hope you will join me.
I will share my specific plan of action and the subject area in which I choose to take a stand. I know this: I cannot fight all the issues on all the fronts, so I must pick one or two. During this process I will look within to find what troubles me most and work in that specific area. I also know that my work may not be on a national platform, but more on a local level.
As I write these words, I know I must work on voter education and registration-,because that’s what got us here. When I know what my specific actions will be, I will share them with you. In the meantime, I am still wearing my pink hat.
Brianna S. Clark
This evening, instead of money, Brad needed blankets. He asked me to bring him blankets or sheets. I walked home wondering which blanket I could give him. As I entered the building where I live, two men behind me said “We saw you talking to Brad.”
I turned and said, “He needs blankets.”
One of the men, his name is Ben, said that he had given Brad two blankets a few nights before. Brad unfortunately, in his child-like manner, left the blankets on the steps leading to the big bronze door where he sleeps. Some one took them.
Tonight the temperture dropped and Brad was shivering. Ben and Dave- his friend -came to my apartment where I gathered high-thread count sheets for Brad. They took the sheets back to Brad. I hope he is sleeping warmer tonight.
A few months ago I wrote about Brad and how many people who live in Mt. Vernon try to support him. Perhaps, you have a “Brad” in your community. If you are feeling powerless in the face of homelessness here are 12 things that you can do to impact homelessness.
- Give food to the homeless.
- Give money to the homeless.
- Volunteer in a homeless shelter.
- Donate to a homeless shelter.
- Advocate for the homeless by writing your Mayor, County Executive or City council.
- Provide warm clothes or blankets.
- Buy one of the newspapers that help the homeless, in Washington D.C. that news paper is called Street Sense.
- Create jobs.
- Contact local help.
- Call emergency services.
- Educate yourself about the homeless.
- Raise money for the homeless.
When Brad is not sleeping on the steps of the clinic in our neighborhood he sits on a bench across the street.
Brianna S. Clark
My Dear Reader,
I feel guilty. I asked myself as I leisurely strolled to work this morning whether there could be such a thing as “Black Privilege.” I decided “No”. One might be given additional “points” in a point system created by white people- but this is not privilege. There maybe some advantages like having stronger skin, but that is such a minor advantage – if an advantage at all- in the scope of this country’s social, educational and economical issues.
I got to this question by asking whether or not I should be held responsible for paying for a group of unhealthy Americans? The way Obamacare is set up in Maryland, I am paying for my unhealthy group of 60 year-olds who refuse to diet, exercise, stop smoking and generally fail to care for themselves. “This is not fair”, I said to myself as I walked by the large medical clinic in my neighborhood where outside people stood smoking.
I then thought to myself why doesn’t the Surgeon General of the United States create a sweeping campaign against smoking and bad eating? Then, I reminded myself, that there have been campaigns and the rate of smoking may have fallen, but people will keep smoking as long as there are tobacco lobbyists and the product remains available to consumers.
Then I became annoyed that there thousands of people who are overweight and on cholesterol medication and/or diabetes medication. Why isn’t there a sweeping campaign concerning eating well? We could cut the cost of expensive medicine by simply eating well. Then I remembered that there are big pharmaceutical companies with lobbyists who are promoting the dispensing of medicine rather than the curing of illness. Another deep sigh.
Then I thought perhaps it is my duty to help pay for a growing group of aging Americans. Despite the fact that I have worked hard, gotten educated and kept myself healthy, the Maryland Healthy Exchange is not structured for someone like me. Instead that system is designed to get me to help pay for people who need help with paying for their insurance. Certainly, I don’t want things to go back to where we were before Obamacare, but I want to get a cost break for staying healthy, just like I would get an auto insurance break for not getting into accidents or getting traffic tickets. I think there should be some element included in the calculation of health care cost for those of us who are healthy.
Naturally, thoughts of insurance had to make me think about our President Elect and wonder if he will look into the huge profits that insurance companies and drug companies are earning and do something about them. It is one thing to provide universal insurance- something the Obama administration tried to do, but could not; it is another thing to expose the structure, practices and profits of insurance companies and drug manufacturers. I think the next administration should focus on these issues rather dismantling a system, while not fair to the middle class, at least provides a health umbrella for those who may lose insurance and need help or just need help. However, a healthy person who does not burden the system should not have to pay the same as person who does burden the system- especially if their illnesses can be prevented or mitigated by healthy life style choices.
I don’t have an answer. I will keep walking to my office and eating healthy and exercising and hope as a country we begin a dialogue that being healthy is the new thing to do.
My Dear Readers, Photo by Val Kelvans
I give and give through out the year and because I am not religious Christmas is not a special time of giving. Now, don’t get me wrong. I gave presents this year and I gave generously. This year I realized that there were people unrelated to me in any way that worked for me through out the year and it was important to me to recognize their continous giving to me.
I am privileged to live in a building with a 24 hour concierge service and valet parking. The people who work at the conceirge desk have worked at my building for years. Day after day they sign for my packages, deliveries, and let workers and help into my home. They are polite and courteous, despite whatever attitude, I chose to display on any given day. So, these people who guard my privacy and collect my deliveries and generally help me manage my life- got presents this year.
My work family also got gifts. I am not the easiest person to work with. Some times I am short tempered, impatient and down right rude. Yet, and no they are not pretending, these people continue to do their best, to show up on time and to please me. They are good people and I spend more time with them than I do with any member of my family. Since I have no significant other- I spend most of my time with these kind, patient people.
There is nothing I can ever pay or give them to make them like or respect me. They just do. I am extremely grateful.
Finally, to my colleagues who are as brilliant and quirky and individual as I am. We are sometimes short with each other; often we disagree; but we never never never lose respect and genuine affection for each other. Each of these people inspire me everyday. I wonder that they are both my colleagues and my friends.
As this year ends, I find myself rich in friends and generous co-workers. These people who chose me and I them are who make my life worth living.
For my beautiful, kind and generous family members- and you know who you are- I stand in amazement to how thoughtful and generous and kind you are. I love you all and thank you for making my life as rich as it is.
This year I add you my dear readers who have supported me this year. I extend my gratitude and love to you.
With all of my love and the light of the universe,
My Dear Readers,
I am sitting in the airport at BWI as I wait for my delayed flight to Chicago. This has not stressed me out. I have no connecting flight, no dinner or theatre plans, just a relaxing visit with a relative who is pure joy to be with. Fun.
This is not the Black Comedy which is the subject of today’s post. Last night my travel related activities kept me up late and I got to see the Stephen Corbair Show. His skit was about Mike Pence visiting the Broadway play, Hamilton. It was funny and I found myself laughing. It was then that I realized that the next four years would be filled with Hamiltonesq humor provided by the Trump Administration. After 13 days of worry and fear, it’s finally registered as the bad joke of Black Comedy.
This sense of “relaxation” was enhanced by friends earlier in the day. “Five Supreme Court Judges is a quorum,” they reminded me. “Obama has appointed so many federal judges that cases might never reach the Supreme Court,” they added. “Where will they find the case that will overturn Roe vs.Wade?” “What about stare decisis and legal precedent? These were things that I had not considered.
Lastly, they said “In two years when the wall has not been built; millions of his impoverished supporters have lost their Obama care or have had deep social security cuts, those folks will vote for change, again.” This is likely to be true.
Then my friends and I exchanged tales of white friends and associates who wanted to ensure us that “they were with us”. This was a comforting and reassuring for me who was shell-shocked.
In fact, the day after the election a very unlikely stranger stopped to reassure me. It was nice.
While there maybe closet and not so closet racists, bigots, homophobes and xenophobes, most Americans believe in equality for all.
In my heart, I know this to be true. We of the left, near left, center left will remain vigilant and fight to keep the values that have made America great.
A deep sigh. I remain hopeful, after all, I am a black female immigrant from Guyana with two African American sons under age 30 and who has famiy members who are devout Muslims. In the meantime, when the days work is done, lets watch the Black Comedy on late night television.
In Love and Light
Brianna S. Clark
Your Fellow Journeyer
My Dear Fellow Readers,
Tonight I find myself a rich and fortunate woman. I am rich in female friends. I love that I have had the priviledge to call so many extraordinary women friends. Tonight, I celebrated the birthday of one my dearest friends, Deartra.
Deartra and I are both widows. Both of our husbands would die within the first two and a half years of our friendship. She and I were lucky to have been married to men who we loved passionately and who loved us in the same way.
A month after my marriage to the man of my dreams, my husband who was 48 years of age was suddenly diagnosed with late stage Hodgkins Lymphoma. My entire marriage of two and a half years was spent caring for my husband, a man who had once ensured that anything that I truly wanted would be provided. He had been a big man in all ways. His heart was full of fun, and friendship and adventure. Then he got sick and within 30 days he had lost as many pounds. His fear was palpable and mine was incapacitating. He would be dead at 50 and I would find myself a widow at age 53.
Almost every night during the time of my husband’s illness Deartra would come over and sit with me and my husband. It was a happy a trio, each of us caring for each other and pushing away for a moment my husband’s illness and her husband’s recent death. She was there when I could not drive my husband to or from the hospital. She was there when it was just she and I alone with our memories in the dark.
Tonight, as she arrived, I waited and watched for her to get our of her car. In my hands was a bag with one caffeine-free diet soda, a bottle of red wine and unsweetned cashew milk-just about everything she might want. That’s what you do for friends. You give them what makes them happy by showing that you care enough to rememeber their most peculiar habits and cater to them- just because.
It was a week after her real birthday-but it didn’t matter;we were joyful and grateful to be in each other’s presence. We scrapped dinner. I drank the diet decaffienated soda; she drank the red wine. She sat and listened while I read aloud to her a short story that I had submitted to Glamour Magazine 17 days ago. I cried with pride;she smiled with pride. It is a comfort to be with long time friends.
In Love and Light,
Brianna S. Clark
Your Fellow Journeyer