The difference between traveling alone as a woman and traveling as a single mother.
Ain’t no hood like motherhood…
Motherhood is doing the impossible. Literally. It is the art of the impossible, making something — everything, actually — out of almost nothing. Brand new motherhood is really a trip, like tripping. You think all these deep thoughts and have moments of such profundity pass through you that it can bring a tear to your eye. But you cannot manage to write any of them down at the time. Because of the nature of the experience itself.
It is the purest exercise of using intuitive thinking with theoretical knowledge.
A couple of weeks ago, I participated in a panel discussion about motherhood in academia. Along with other female…www.npr.org
When someone asks me, what do I do? I tell them whatever it takes. I take long walks while carrying great loads in order to provide food and shelter to my child. Whatever it takes to protect and nourish my baby and his overall health and well-being. Whether huge or minute. No matter how personal or political, controversial or uncomfortable….
I tell true stories. I go on real adventures. I take courageous risks. I trot the globe. I bend the asanas. I collage the images. I’ve experienced the illusions of fairy tale romance. I am giving into the archetypal myth of the primordial perfectly flawed mother goddess. I live nomadically. I am No Madonna and Child.
Beach, “Bath,” B(reastfe)edtime
Down by the Bay, where the watermelons grow
Back to my home, I dare not go!
For if I do, my mother will say:
Did you ever see a whale with a polka-dot tail?
Down by the Bay!
The smell of flowers and rain and mangoes and the beach hover in the thick humid air on our walk before sunset, just after 4pm.
As I walk into the Ocean this evening while wearing my woke baby my thoughts travel to Yemaja again. This time as I step into her waters I remember something valuable and important about most mother goddesses including her. In their stories and myths, no matter how they copulated or begat their offspring, as mothers, goddesses are almost always really single mothers. They may be married, although Yemaja is not, but they raise their children on their own. They are depicted with their babies, alone. Even Mary of Christianity. While we know she married Joseph, as a mother it’s just her and baby Jesus over and over again.
Human parents in the Bible or in Greek (or any) mythology may raise kids together as pairs as we still do in today’s society. But the gods — or moreover the goddesses know the truth: motherhood is truly performed as a solo act, with child as both prop and audience.
By Liz Vartanian "Loneliness is a sign you are in desperate need of yourself" ~ Rupi Kaur Truth be told, I always…themanifeststation.net
TFW you move — emigrate countries actually to try to protect your newborn black baby boy from the crushing white supremacy of the US — and to live walking distance from the beach — but then your biggest worry is fleas. But bugs are a big worry, though especially with a baby. So, too, however, with a baby are harsh chemicals a concern….
hormiguita hormiguita buscando su casita…
Anti Flea Spray:
- apple cider vinegar
- tumeric root, sliced or shaved
- tea tree essential oil
dilute as necessary with white vinegar in a spray bottle. Spray on sheets, tablecloths, rugs, everything of baby’s, also on ankles and any bites. OK to put a small amount on baby hands/arms.
To be fair its not just the amazingly persistent presence of bugs (that bite) that gets to me but also the lack of hot water to really wash all the itch and yuck away! ….. but these are truly my only complaints. unfortunately they are so real! to me.
We do washcloth baths nightly (luckily I have both a cheap plastic electric kettle and a coffeemaker that boil water) without soap but with ACV tea tree oil/ lavender essential oil and rosewater. it helps a lot. I have been on the prowl for a convenient weekly hot shower option since I got here and so far nada. the next door neighbors from sf renovated their lot and have hot water in the luxury cabin/rooms they rent out by the night. we’re friendly but I don’t think they’d be down and I don’t feel comfortable asking yet. other than that that’s basically it: I could get an expensive room for the night (as I did on mothers day) and just how expensive depends on the night/season here. already now the rooms are much more expensive than 2 weeks ago. and that means like upwards of $75/night. most ppl local and expat alike that I know do not have hot water either.
Tonight on one of my last nights here in Uvita for awhile I finished cooking and dined by candlelight. Not my idea but because, following a loud heavy rainstorm that lasted no more than a couple hours, if that, the power — la luz, the lights went out. For hours.
It started to go as I was desperately trying to put my little one down to sleep for the night. around 6pm it was already after his bed time and yet despite his short temper indicting tiredness he had little interest in nursing or sleeping. I too felt a short fuse and a bit of hanger coming on. It was hard for both of us to relax but that is exactly what we both needed to do. I chanted the Gayatri mantra in a singing voice but my son presumably felt right through to my impatient undertones. It wasn’t really working. Then the power went out. The fan stopped and it became pitch black and hot and quiet in the room. My baby whined urgently at me — ehh! — what’s going on? Why’d you do that?
I answer, “The lights went out. I don’t have control of it and neither do you.” He seemed to accept this. And to prove it he latched on in the dark and began to nurse, finally. I squeezed him and kissed his head.
Then I remembered a song my grandmother used to sing to us but I think my brother and I first learned it in preschool maybe. It goes:
This is a song about [insert your/child’s name here]
Whose [mother/father/parent] sent [him/her/them] out to buy bread
[name in item 1] didn’t feel like walkin’
S/he/they wanted to [verb] instead.
So s/he/they said:
If I were a [animal that moves in the way of the verb above]
I could [same verb] to the store
[same verb] to the store x2
If I were a [animal that moves in the way of the verb above]
I could [same verb] to the store
[same verb] to the store for my [mother/father/parent]
I sang him as a bird flying, fish swimming, elephant stomping, butterfly fluttering, frog splashing, pony trotting, bug crawling, monkey swinging, mountain goat climbing, wolf hunting, cheetah running, horse galloping, duck paddling, jellyfish floating, beaver building, bunny hopping, kangaroo leaping, billy goat kicking, eagle soaring, armadillo rolling…
Worked like a charm! After the baby was solidly asleep and long de-latched I carefully extricated myself from his tenderly gripping embrace. But there was still no power. I lit candles and turned on an iphone flashlight. I used the toilet and its flush — everything louder now without the fan’s background drone — startled baby awake again, thankfully only briefly. He didn’t wake again as I worried he would when I opened the faucet to wash my hands, but I only turned it on part way. As I was famished I knew I had to cook. Although there was little light I have a gas stove. I had already made the avocado spread and heated the quinoa in the rice cooker earlier. I also had cooked the main event, the chaya. All I needed to do was fry my last egg (without accidentally flipping it onto the floor which happens more easily than you might think. at least to me).
Luckily for me I made it and never once woke baby.
Chaya is a local wild green leaf that grows on a small tree I am told. It is highly nutritious and is an ancestral food having been part of the staple diet of the people indigenous to this land. This was my first time trying it and I liked it. It’s like a fine thin slipperier spinach, shaped almost like a giant maple or sycamore leaf. I ate outside by myself, everywhere dark except my table with the candle in a bottle (courtesy of Teresita, antes).
After dinner, just in time to wash the dishes the lights came back. They went out again for 5–10 minutes while I rolled a joint. By the time I was outside again smoking by candlelight now the power was back. And here I am typing online as usual. But all the better for that time offline and focused, in womb-like light…
Tips for finding a place to stay:
learn the language — We live in an unnamed 3 unit apartment complex owned and operated by a lovely (great!) grandmother called Tere, short for Teresita. She has four dogs: a short hair black and white chihuahua, Tobias, an elderly beagle, Rambo and two tziszus, Thadi (short for Thaddeus) and Lucas. Plus the neighbors pit-mutt stays here too. She’s the only female dog and her name is Mancha. Literally her name is mud… Mancha, or Manchita as she’s also called, means “stain.” “Like ‘Spot,’” our next door neighbor Carlita says to nicen it up in translation. But not really. Tere tells me in Spanish that Mancha is dirty and brings bugs, that her dogs are clean.
speak up and put yourself out there — I spoke up about the roaches and the problem got solved. We got the place “fumigated” by a professional exterminator. which sounds worse than I think it is. It’s better than bugs. Nothing’s worse than bugs. Except maybe insecticide ….. on plants that we eat.
I also get my room changed weekly and fresh sheets whenever I ask. Gestures like this give me good faith that we have a mutual interest in solving any problem I might have while living here. I feel like I am wanted to stay. This is very gratifying to me but I wouldn’t be able to feel this feeling of knowing/recognition without speaking up for myself, if I never asked for what I need.
know what you want — including what you want to pay. I had to have high speed internet, safety reassurances, proximity to the beach, and I wanted to pay no more than $400/month.
You don’t necessarily have to haggle to get what you want, but you may need patience.
establish a launch pad — have accommodations booked for the first night of your arrival, after that play everything else by ear. This goes for each arrival (to a new region), however.
make sure you ask *everyone* — in the end still fretting about where to go on the last day of our air bnb rental I, needing a breath of fresh air, walked outside and seeing our host there, sanding a red surfboard (to turn it into a table it turned out), remembered that I hadn’t yet asked her advice on finding a long term rental nearby. So I asked her and she said you know my aunt rents places would you like me to ask her?
So she did and it turned out her aunt, Teresita, had a vacancy. Our air bnb host drove us over there, just around the corner, a slightly more convenient location than where we were currently staying. I checked it out. At $250 with a mango tree, wifi, private bath and kitchenette (w/ no hot water but a full size refrigerator) and Tere with her dog gang always present, and a locking metal door, close to both the beach and the road/bus stop, I decided to rent it that day. After they cleaned it up we moved in.
How to find and grow your own crystals
the magic of seashells
It’s hard to believe this altar of mine is gone. I had it for so long. It’s hard to believe it disappeared before my son was even on this Earth. It’s hard to recall I had this altar even before Mom died. Although it expanded and evolved quite a bit more in the years after. Until I cleared it permanently. only months before, unbeknownst to me, the bank would repossess that house. I packed it up, I burned parts of it down — to the ground, into nubs, into ashes to ashes. But not all of it. I reassembled most of it again not long thereafter, in my woodsy beach cottage in Mendocino county.
Before it — like so many homes of people of color! — got snatched away from me by unlawful, greedy white settlers (“landlords”).
The intense flooding right now in Houston means all the precious things — books photographs artwork writing archives fabric seashells sacred relics beloved dolls hard earned diplomas — from all over the world that I have tried so hard to save and keep and hoped for so long to one glorious day see reassembled in my own space whenever I finally found it, are probably lost forever. I’m just using the only space left I call my own to take a moment to face this enormity. Taking a first step into the process of grieving all the layers of my lost home. It is very possible that my Mom’s ashes got unceremoniously washed away in this flood. So everything is gone from the way and where I grew up. I have no home. Nothing of value. Just my life and that of my precious beloved son and miraculously I guess still some family ties. Some friends. I know I must accept this with gratitude and humility. It’s hard but I’m trying.
Remember what you are good at, because it is likely to necessarily come into play…
Today was a total magic spell…requiring me to release and just accept the fact that I am at home where I am, finally. The thing about home is it IS where the heart is but it’s also definitely not that simple. Until at long last somehow it is…. for at least a moment in time. I’m really truly if not quite ever “finally” at home! 🏡
I had the pleasure and honor of hosting the first meeting of a women’s writing group, born of an off-hand comment I made and a deep-seeded need… This meeting was not spontaneous but felt close to it, even after weeks of planning. The way things unfolded today could not have been more synchronous. I belong!! 😱I lead! 😬
Back when I used dating apps, the word “feminist” appeared on my profiles. And that’s how I learned how many people…everydayfeminism.com
I am reminded of two other recent(well, this year) such gatherings in far away places: 1. a reproductive health seminar organized by my midwife in Kingston, Jamaica (at TrueSelf Centre) that at the end of the day, evolved into a red tent of women discussing our moon cycles and herbs to improve them. 2. an inaugural meeting of Sarasota herbalists (all women) at my friend’s farmhouse in Florida, USA. #medicinatropical
In both cases women led the way and it happened both organically and with organization. Personal experiences were shared and practical information got linked beyond the private and into the communal (if not quite political?) sphere for future actions. In all examples herbs were invoked. And today was no exception as Ana Marie kindly brought me one of my all time favorite plants, fresh passionflowers from her garden! I made tea for us to share their soothing, calming properties.
I just want to issue a reminder to all women out there to keep meeting and organizing and caring!!!! at home, in public, in marches and in smaller bands. …As we continue with the global movement for liberation/ resistance to fascism…. To everyone else, ALWAYS #supportyourlocalgirlgang!
Smoke weed — Eat three meals and Walk to the Beach — Everyday.
For questions about whether a drug is safe for nursing mothers, few doctors are considered as authoritative as Thomas W…broadly.vice.com
I have had so many perfect days here since I moved to Uvita. P e r f e c t. For example a Saturday that begins with a long walk to the Feria or farmer’s market to get locally grown produce (hello tropical fruit!) fresh baked goods goat milk kefir native herbs and goat cheese. Drink a cold coconut. Walk back have a siesta and lunch. Wake up walk around the corner to the beach. Swim with my smiling infant. Order a delicious wood oven fired pizza and pick it up to go. Or create my own fresh herb pesto with kale and avocado. Or wake up after dawn and walk to take Carlye’s yoga class and see Heather there. Or eat oatmeal first as we do most days. Especially in the early days of the muchos mangos. hot oatmeal with mango, cinnamon, and soymilk everyday.
Eating is the key to life.
Today I thought to myself why does this herb and goat cheese omelet taste SO good? And I reflectively answered that I picked the herbs myself, blended them myself (with kale and avocado). I got the eggs delivered from our neighbor’s farm, and I know the goat cheese makers personally, too. Add to that all of us but the husband of the cheese maker pair are women and all is clear.
Now is a time I treasure.
One evening I accepted an invitation to join our neighbors, Carlita y Pablo in walking (baby wearing my starboy) to dinner at Carlito’s, a sort of Mexican restaurant. When we arrived everyone there were setting up for trivia night. We, naturally, decided to play as a team, calling ourselves simply and directly, “Teresitas.” We won! Actually due to a clever Final Jeopardy strategy on my part: for the bonus question, on the subject of Costa Rica, we wagered zero points. Everyone got the answer to “Who is the president of Costa Rica?” wrong, unfortunately. But everyone else bet significantly. One team lost all their points. Thus we won handily in the end. Our prize amounted to ~$6 off each of our meals — no more appreciated than by yours truly.
Now is a time I could relive over and over…
Mangoes make such a pleasant thump when they drop, ripe fruit, to the ground. It reminds me of a basketball, only softer. This morning we collected the ones that fell last night like tropical colored oversize Easter Eggs. I ate two for breakfast, peeling their sensuous skin back with a large knife.
- Goat Milk Kefir
- Guapiñol powder (optional)
- ice cubes
Mix all ingredients in a blender on high. Other optional additional ingredients: papaya seeds, papaya, sapote, banana, pineapple, ginger root.
In our travels at different stays we have had, at the eco-farm, unlimited bananas to eat and now, at the beach cabina, unlimited mangoes. There’s also a quiet carambola tree growing in the front yard that reminds me of the only thing I managed to eat during labor: starfruit.
“What if you were a teacher but had no voice to speak your knowledge? What if you had no language at all and yet there was something you needed to say? Wouldn’t you dance it? Wouldn’t you act it out? Wouldn’t your every movement tell the story? In time you would be so eloquent that just to gaze upon you would reveal it all. And so it is with these silent green lives.”- Robin Wall Kimmerer, Braiding Sweetgrass
Are fruit trees trying to say , in so many different ways, “life is sweet”?
Mango Coconut Ice Cream
- Ripe Mango, blended
- Fresh Coconut cream
Blend ripe, sweet mangoes to a uniform consistency. Taste. Add equal parts coconut cream. Blend. Pour into shallow tupperware. Freeze for at least 3 hours.
This delicious treat is the healthiest ice cream ever! it’s actually good for you (Mangoes have lots of vitamin A, good for regenerating skin, and fiber, which keeps you feeling full for longer. Coconut is a superfood with a laundry list of beneficial properties) — and it’s vegan. (Beat that Ben & Jerry!)
Well, maybe, but not exactly to me. Sadly, I may or may not be allergic to mangoes but I probably am, and definitely to the mango peel, which as it turns out is related to poison ivy/oak. So I’ve been eating mangoes everyday — twice a day — since living here. Because they’re free ripe sweet plentiful and hecka nearby. To the point where by now I’ve noticed a hive like rash that itches similar to the one I got the summer I was 12 years old, albeit then it was on my face, especially inflaming my lips, and now it appears on my inner thighs. In no place very much fun.
Meanwhile in addition to the mango allergy there’s still that equally irritating concern: (sand?) fleas. and what to do if they could be biting my baby!!!! ????? And after that what to do with the fact that they have certainly bitten up my legs so bad it may have permanently ruined two tattoos?!
And as much as I try to choose bliss always sometimes that has simply not been possible. Is it at last now? Yes in this moment yes. From me sitting in our cabina on the bed with the baby sleeping meditatively in a pale blue onesie with navy stars his body laying perpendicular to my legs …
I can’t stop change from dropping in, from living with us, as my baby becomes my little one as my little one turns into a big kid, and so on! As he becomes — gasp — adolescent and teen! young adult and adult, inshallah!
So we will not for long fit into such a tiny space anyway. And one day we will desperately need hot showers again.
But these days… His third and fourth month “birthdays” … have been the sweetest gift life has ever given me. Seeing my baby’s open mouth smile while he takes a dip naked in the ocean in my arms is pure unadulterated joy.
Almost too much to bear.
Don’t tell me about responsibility!
I definitely won’t apologize for hating white supremacy nor for blaming it — not for floods or life’s losses, but certainly for the ravenous predations upon communities of color primarily. Guess what: it effects me; I am an outspoken activist queer black artist single mom. You do the math. Try to count the ways… Furthermore for the lack of protections for people of color (regardless of income or education) in this society, for not providing sustainable safety nets for anyone, for not prioritizing the sanctity of all life (including women plants animals and ecosystems) nor fostering compassion for any nature let alone human nature. My disgust and rage is necessary, vast, personal and complex as it must be considering the widespread destruction european colonization has left in its wake. It’s not about the color of your skin (or the genitals of your sexual partners) it’s about the system you condone.
1. You are not crazy. 2. Being a person of colour is not a pathology, even if you're told otherwise every single waking…www.dorettalau.com
“ It is easy to forget that individual achievement is not really individual at all. Our talents begin in the Divine, develop with the love and support of others, and only in the end express through us. How can we indulge in excess pride?”
-6 of Wands
Yet reality? This IS my reality! A harder reality beckons and I am choosing to respond. Why? Responsibility.
I have become one of those moms who shares pictures on social media to cheer her up. The other side of this reality is we are (frequently) near homelessness… Even with lots of help and prayers.
I can’t afford to indulge in fantasies of what my life could or would be like if there were… if I had another person, an adult, to do this with. Parenting. Life. But especially life with a baby. (Of course) I could benefit from another adult around to either bathe and put the baby to sleep OR fix dinner. Doing both is extremely draining, both physically (nursing) and mentally (where to begin when the baby is cranky and I’m hungry too?).
But there isn’t anyone else. And besides that I have repeatedly and firmly rejected any and all attempts to either A) acquire a room or housemate or B) reunite whatsoever with many of our family members. So, as my dad always says, I can’t complain. Specifically, I can’t afford to complain. I don’t have a choice. And I am always soon reminded the rewards of this chosen course.
I feel like I am introducing my baby to the elements one by one. First Water, of course, being water protectors. With the oceans and his water birth. Then Earth. With the gardens and his crawling. Now Fire in the desert and amidst the wildfires. With the growing pains that announce the arrival his first teeth. Next Air… Where? With more winds of change? … With the introduction of another air sign like him…?
the ants go marching one by one hurrah, hurrah
the ants go marching one by one hurrah hurrah!
the ants go marching one by one and the little one stops to suck his thumb and they all go marching down to the ground to get of the rain boom boom boom boom…
Watering the garden is akin to saying ones prayers.
Before Tucson learns to crawl/walk I would like him to have a safe clean place to practice. We need a space to unpack our library (*or what’s left of it after Harvey :( ) so we can set a bedtime story schedule. I don’t think it’s safe to live very alone. We will need community.
A community is based like any other relationship on trust. Trust that I know what’s best for me and my family. But that doesn’t mean I know everything — please share if you have information that could enlighten me or lighten my load or simply alter my perspective (…unless it’s about my abuser/s, then do so at your own risk).
A home where others will want and be able to visit. a home I can safely leave and come back to. a nice home that I could rent out reasonably/comfortably. a home with enough room to share it with others. Or airbnb. a home in a progressive neighborhood. a home with a natural water source nearby (w/i walking distance). a home with a yard to garden. a home not terribly far from the airport. a home in a city with safe, reliable public transportation. a home where I don’t have to drive everyday. a home in a safe, clean neighborhood… a home in a racially diverse area. a home in a community with other un/homeschoolers. a home not far from the beach or forest. a home with hot water and wifi. a home with a bathtub and full service kitchen. a home free from/with protection against insects, pests…. parasites, mold, toxins…violence, police brutality.
It’s not just the beach. It’s also freedom from violence. It’s also community. It’s also fresh organic food. It’s also economics. And ecology. It’s nature in general, including human nature specifically.
I am open to listen to other ideas about a living space or any proposals for a possible home, anywhere. I am not up for debate about what I need, however, including the need to be respected and to protect myself and my son from harm.
My baby’s is the smile that saves my life and heals my heart every day ❤
…. If you, if anyone else likes his face or thinks he’s adorable—Just know — I love him so much more. You should know that we don’t exist in a vacuum and neither did he come from one. Light skin privilege is real and a byproduct of white supremacy. But my light bright baby came from my black vagina and my black body has always nourished him; my black family supports us with black resources from black earned capital. Mixed babies Cannot and will not save the world on their own. None of us are mythical creatures.
So, why not? Join us in proclaiming that BLACK LIVES MATTER *Black Mamas Matter* Water is Life !!!!
One of you voted for 45 and you threatened our lives directly. Police brutality, genocidal injustice, fascism, the prison industrial complex, profits and oil pipelines over people endanger US.
Texas is underwater, the Pacific Northwest is on fire, the largest hurricane in recorded history is about to hit Florida — and another one will decimate the most egregious step child of US American colonialism, Puerto Rico. That eclipse season really hit US with the let me know when you’re ready to talk about climate change (AND how it relates to white supremacy) whammy!
Nature connection is a human right. Health care is a human right. Reproductive and environmental justice are human rights without which there will be NO peace!!!!!!! Not on our watch.
#protectthesacred #DefendDACA #SupportDREAMERS