Thursday, December 21, 2017

The Craft of (Dis)Illusion: Reflection, Wonderings and Wanderings in Winter (TBT)

Words of the day:
hindsight (n.): understanding a situation or event only after it has happened or developed. The past year-plus, of course.
schadenfreude (n.): pleasure derived from someone else's misfortune. Well, considering our current socio-political climate, this is relative... and many of them deserved it.
facepalm (n./v.): the gesture of placing the palm of one's hand across the face, as to express embarrassment, frustration, disbelief, etc. (often used as an interjection). If I can own it, so can you.

The shortest day of the year begins at 11:28 am ET(New York City Time) today, and I awoke to a notification on my cell phone only six hours earlier from my dear cousin Anthony with the most apropos of words to savor: facepalm. 

I did the facepalm several times in 2017, felt a healthy dose of schadenfreude while watching the news, and still gained much from hindsight. There: used all of them in one sentence. A day well spent in contemplation. But wait, there's more...

Black turtleneck, 'cause it's winter now.
I made these. See model above.

In the winter, I don't get out as much, because New York City has FIVE MONTHS of it, and I haven't yet acquired my alternate cold-weather residence. Numb fingers and toes notwithstanding, I did, however, manage to ice skate twice this year before December even began! 

I still have my "ice-legs", it would seem. Selfie on skates, smh...

Getting my Nature Documentarian on with Newtown Creek Alliance!

It has been quite a year! 2016 I dubbed the Year of Travel. 2017 was my #busybee, to the point where I got so busy, I forgot to appropriately apply the coined hashtag as liberally as I intended, and back it up with blogged evidence (if it's not on social media, it didn't happen, right?!)!

Ah well, take to heart that I have, indeed, been busy, and the culmination of this year is seeing several fruits come to bear.

Yes, I climbed an active volcano in Guatemala last year, and now it finally has become part of my legend!
I am happy to say that having a reunion after several estranged years from Anthony last December began a unique journey from 9-to-5 monotony and disillusionment to freelance hustling and creative anxiety. Not to be outdone, my newfound "flexible schedule" as I continued to carve out exactly what I wanted to do next (and how) allowed for some truly unorthodox experiences for me.

The "taxi" I didn't take in Guatemala. Stay tuned for video!

I canoed on a formerly contaminated creek on its way towards environmental rehabilitation.
I helped to restore an urban green space dedicated to food justice in my Bronx hometown AND I brought a midwestern city's 25-year jewel of a working urban farm to light for a greater audience through my journalism instincts. And they were both started by Blackfolks!

I attended for the third year in a row the Women In Travel Summit that has been very responsible for my upstart forays into travel, writing, and tapping into my creative goddess warrior spirit.
I managed to consistently imagine, execute and publish articles for a dynamic new online publication- and get paid for it!

I kept my eyes and ears open, and my heart vulnerable, my head cool, and my skin as thick as I could.
A queen up on Queen Street, ON.

NYC in the summer means a fan, and a twist-out!

I learned through much trial and error to speak up for myself within my family and romantic relationships, and to deal with the hilarious, exasperating, and thought-challenging results of that.
I stuck with projects that didn't quite make sense at first, but afforded me better skills at business branding, social media management, and even networking, all the while building up my confidence in defining myself as an entrepreneur, writer, and mental health and human rights advocate.
I got back into the kitchen for pleasure, and also tightened up my preparations skills for routine cooking.
What you see here is three types of carrot and parsley root from the farmer's market. Yum.
I learned that pride and shame should not get in the way of attaining mental and physical therapy, regardless of what traps the current administration sets for the general population.
I have said congratulations and goodbye to many friends and family, in joy and heartache.
I got out more- and showed people how they can also be active and involved, whether locally or from afar- and I re-dedicated myself to not being afraid of meeting the travel challenge wherever I presently am.
I embraced the utility of being organized and applied mise-en-place across professional disciplines as diligently as in my kitchen.
I managed my stress and confidence lags while also coming to terms with the toxicity of the present economic, social and political climate in the United States, as it pertains to women, Black women, and creative, non-binary, non-mainstream people, who are dear to my heart and deserve the platforms and dignity they have fought (and/or died) for.
Melinated Moms Winetasting Event in Newark with Sipper's Delight Inc.! Support Black Female Businesses!

I have found a way to channel my anger, my need for consistent, meaningful and life-affirming creative outlets, and have made significant steps towards multiple streams of income and livelihood that enrich this life I currently lead. Out of sheer boredom and necessity, I have accepted the creativity of my nimble fingers, and allowed myself to lean in to all of my talents. I've tackled my writer's block head-on, and can thank both of my sisters, my besties, their mamas, Sacred Walker, Kim Piper Werker, Ariam Alula and so many others for their individual and collaborative influences!

Color, texture, location, season, environment are all part of my inspiration in creating culinary, literary and visual art.
I continue to be a daughter, a sister, a best friend, a confidante, an aunt, a cousin, a granddaughter, (a hot date), and myself, and strong in the definition that I determine reflects me in these roles. No one else gets to tell me how to be in these people (and more to come).

I am (also) a journalist, an editor, a listmaker, a researcher, a reader, a lover of languages, a singer, a dancer, a jewelry-maker, a fashion-enthusiast (and thus, designer), an artist, an advocate, a thought warrior, a business strategist, a photographer, a lover, a fighter, a dreamer, an immigrant, a New Yorker, an American, a #Blackamazonian, an environmentalist, a gardener, a chef, a tinkerer, a hustle-hacker, a problem-solver, a mountain-climber, a hula-hooper, a jogger, a weight-lifter, a #seldom_settled traveller, an unbeaten liver of life. I sang, I taught, I wrote and I flew. What did you do??

Soup is my go-to in the cold months. Curry-spiced red lentil with coconut milk, if you please.

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