im a little down. ish just ain’t working out.
i do have a roof over my head (a gorgeous one at that), beans to eat (good for the heart), and my right mind, yadda yadda yadda…
but i know there is more in store. and i want it out of storage.
whenever i get like this, it becomes physically recognizable without me recognizing. and when i would walk the streets in harlem, brothers would always say things like “smile, sis”, or “it can’t be that bad, get ya head up”, or slick one-liners that made me laugh.
when my mom was dying, and i could tell her life was coming to an end, i found myself wanting her to tell me everything like there was no tomorrow. tell me every lesson she learned in her life. everything i would need to know for all of my future ages without her around to say, “when i was your age.”
i wanted her to tell me everything she was feeling. what it felt like to ingest poison as a cure. if she was scared. when she slept, did she see god now? did god look like her?
but my mom was not really the type to open up like that.
her last words to me ended up being, “keep your head up”.
and i remember feeling a little disappointed. my philosophic inheritance was a cliche?
today i was walking down the street in Rio but my mind was elsewhere. it had just turned dusk and folks were already parked at their favorite bars with their favorite beer. and i was decidedly outside of the frivolity in the air.
a older man projected his voice unmistakably in my direction. i looked up from my flip- flops. ” something, something, sim, isso—yes, that’s it, smile.” i don’t know what he said exactly, but i know the translation for what he meant is keep your head up.
i’ve come to see these moments as my mom playing patrick swayze/whoopi goldberg in ghost. speaking through other people. chiming in from the unknown to say stop looking so down, because you are missing IT.
and i have thought about this a lot. keep your head up being the last words of the most important woman in my life, has added extra weight to what was once a passing phrase to me. i have thought about when you lift your head, you’re automatically aligning your head with your heart, physically.
how your head is so important, it controls the direction of the rest of your body, not just because it’s your brain’s headquarters, but your actual head is like a joy stick for your body. if you tilt your head right your body natural shifts a little more right, if you tilt it left…
and similarly your ears, mouth, and eyes—your vision are all within your head. if you hear something from the left your head turns left. if you are driving, and something catches your eye on the right, your body steers the car to the right a little.
my mom wasn’t necessarily saying all this. my mom was more raw, more gut, more tupac than earth wind and fire. but for me a this reminder, is a call for mind over matter. keep your head up, lifted, light, clear—your body will follow suit. focus on what really matters right now, your life will follow suit.
for today, it means do not bury my head down and wither into myself. look around me and give thanks. thanks for food. thanks for shelter. thanks for sound mind, yes. but also thanks for beauty. thanks for Rio. thanks for joy. thanks for laughter. connect. look up. engage with people on the street. accept an invitation to have a beer at a sidewalk bar. because what i am really seeking is not what i’m worrying about- a partner, or a job, or money —it’s to connect. partners and jobs and money are what we use to connect to others and to a higher sense of purpose. but not what we NEED to connect. when we think about it we have everything we need at all times without exception.
what we NEED in order to connect, is simply to connect. if we don’t we can hang our heads and miss all of IT. and the IT is life. my mom’s other favorite cliche was, life is too short. she was a eat dessert first, wear christmas presents soon after opening kind of woman. whose life, in my opinion anyway, was indeed too short. she did not bestow philosophic jewels upon me, or even neatly packaged parables or theatrical Huxtable lessons (though growing up, i would’ve traded places with rudy any day—she never got a whoopin!). but my mom lived her life. and she left me this. and a worldwide network of headlifters.
p.s. another hit of tupac for the road “if you have a name that no one else has, you have to repeat it twice, you have to say it with extra feeling the second time. it builds character. so, you know, that’s why my momma gave it to me.” (idk about sidewalks and beer bottles=hardcore)
now that i’m traveling again. i’m writing again.
it’s funny to read my first post, and see how i kinda missed home when i left. this time when i left, i was beyond ready to leave.
home was not the same when i was there.
some things good, some whack. ‘real whack’.
but that’s the thing about home. you can never really go back. everyone who has ever left, knows this.
by the time you go back, you’re not the same person. neither are the people that you left back home. and nor is the physical place.
time changes things.
i did an art piece on this concept at usc after reading siddartha for the first time. there was a line in the book that struck me: ‘no man ever steps in the same river twice, for it’s not the same river and he’s not the same man..’
native americans have this saying as well: ‘you can never meet the same river twice.’
when i left rio, i wasn’t certain that i would ever come back.
my friends said, if it rains when you leave brazil, the country is crying for you and you will back. when i left rio, it rained. i took it as i sign that i would be back at some point, but who knew when.
when is now. almost half a year later.
and rio is still beautiful, of course, but different. i think the city is like a model that was beautiful their whole life, but didn’t realize it until a modeling agency told them so. and begins to refer to their childhood as their ugly years. now that the country- this city especially- is on the world’s stage, it’s acting all brand new.
i am back and some of my friends live in different places- pushed out and priced out of their neighborhoods. everything from the buses and trains to milk have increased in price. (similar to the us—but we’re on an economic decline, while they are supposed to be experiencing the opposite).
admittedly, im also different. i have my own networks now. i speak more portuguese than when i last came. my friends and i all have more numbers in our roledexs-dates, boo thangs, boyfriends, and jump offs- and less time for each other. i’ve found out that i have fibroids, and am trying to do everything possible not to aggrevate them - including drinking (so no more caipirinhas). and obviously, knowing a little about a place makes you navigate it a little differently.
mostly, i’ve been changed by time. even such a small amount of time.
but i agree that change is good.
and i look forward to what the river will bring.
[a nice alternative to a clammy office and a couch! xo, doni]
In Germany, niche getaways offer recovery from heartbreak
Trips designed for single travellers are no new concept, but what about trips specifically for the newly-single? In Germany, Die Liebeskuemmerer are catering for the heartbroken with getaways designed to help recovery from recent break-ups, with their team of therapists, nutritionists and fitness coaches.
Similar to Reise Ins Leben — organizers of group trips for those grieving the loss of a loved one — Berlin-based Die Liebeskuemmerer create getaways for groups of six to eight people. They believe this builds a community for “sharing, mutual understanding and strengthening”, as well as forming a new network of supportive friends for after the trip is over. The getaways, lasting four to seven days, are aimed at everyone “in the same boat”, both young and elderly, women and men, of any sexual-orientation, to help them back on their feet.
Supported by experienced psychologists, psychotherapists, health and styling coaches, participants are given “space to breath, relax and think about what has happened”. Organized getaways range from remote cottages by the sea to wellness resorts and retreats to the mountains, and for those needing an instant escape, custom trips can be arranged.
Prices vary depending on the trip, but previous getaways have cost the heartbroken traveler EUR 1450 for four nights. (via Springwise)