Stop Using Love

What in you says you actually love when it doesn’t seem so? How is it you can say you love someone when you don’t call, text, write, or haven’t heard their voice in years? Why would you say you love people even though nothing about your actions suggest this is true? Love is action, what are you doing to prove you truly love someone?

What?! Do you know what love is? Do you know what it takes to love another? Can you even try?

It’s time to stop using a word you aren’t actually using. Be real about what you do and don’t do.

Be real about who you are to others. Get to know the person in the mirror staring back at you. Love doesn’t need you lying on or about it. Stop using love.

Featured Writer for January

Wilfreda Edward is one of my favorite writers on Medium. She left for a little over two years and is now back with a vengeance. Upon her return, she reached out to me to become a writer for A Cornered Gurl and of course, I was ecstatic to add her. She is starting off this year right by being the featured writer for the month. The piece below is what landed her this spotlight:



Run-on-rage

Inspired by this meme.

The scale is tipped the shoulder chipped when they storm through only to disrespect their President elect with whitened skins the media screams protests but we march in peace to say our piece and they use this excuse to draw their guns they ignore truth and their constitution yet they throw gas to make our tears run while they rage and they corrupt and they bigot but they call ours a riot!



Originally published in A Cornered Gurl via Medium.

Waiting For An Apology That Will Never Come

Knowing when to finally let go

Photo by Lucas Pezeta via Pexels

I left without saying goodbye. I did it because it was time. I knew it. I know you knew it. Why were we hanging on? There was love . . . there was old love that flickered as a reminder that my heart would keep breaking if the cycle continued and I did not want it to, so I broke the cycle. I should have been brave enough to say goodbye. I should have had the courage to tell you why I was leaving.

We’d managed to be what others thought we were for over a decade knowing damn well who we actually were and I guess that didn’t bother you but it sure as hell ate at the core of who I am. It stopped me from living freely.

The day I left, it felt right — like a rite of passage — something meant to cross me over into or on to a higher plane. I backed away slowly, taking everything familiar to us with me.


I had no plan of action.

The days that followed soon after, haunted me. There were photos of you up, gifts that you’d given scattered around my home, and scents you would wear. I had to erase them all. I had to get rid of them. It was a time of cleansing — burning sage and lighting candles became a frequent pastime yet you still remained.

I’d been doing fine, seven months had passed. Until one day . . . I was looking for an older photo of Jernee to share with someone and there you were, with the kids . . . All of you smiling. All of you happy. You staring back at the camera with a plump, dimpled cheek, and I lost a little bit of strength that built itself inside me. The tower fell. The wall came crumbling down.

Every brick that was laid crushed right before my eyes. I was breaking . . . again. And you wouldn’t know it.

I wake up sporadically during the night.

The other night, I had been awakened from a deep sleep by the urge to pee and the theme music from Pinky and the Brain playing in my head. How odd, I thought. Not the urge to pee, but the theme music. Why Pinky and the Brain? Why a cartoon from a time I vaguely remember? You’d know. I know you’d know. But I couldn’t ask you. It was late and it’d been nine months. And anyway, how would I start off that conversation?

“Hey, you’re asleep, I know . . . but when you wake up, you’ll see this — I had to leave. I was an ass for the way I left but it doesn’t seem like you mind. Why in the hell is Pinky and the Brain’s theme music popping up in my head in the middle of the night?”

You would scoff at the audacity of my untimely text message the moment you saw it. You’d curse under your breath, angrily. You wouldn’t want to wake anyone else up. You’d probably say something like, “How the fuck should I know, Tre? Are you okay? I know . . . I understand. But you still could have said something. I hate you for that.”

You were witty and forthcoming with just the right amount of bite in every word. The South does that to biracial women who are activists fighting to be seen. Fighting to be heard. Fighting to let others know they’re just as black as the rest of their people. And I loved that about you.

I haven’t found anyone else.

Not that it matters. Not that you care. Not that I expect you to. I left but you had done so years before and the door was slightly ajar. I had grown tired of looking at it that way — a sliver of opportunity for you to come waltzing back in. I closed it.

Funny thing is, I thought you’d appear with a key and open it. But that’s just a dream. And we were just a thing that probably should have never been that thing but it still hurts.

I don’t speak your name in therapy. I give just a little and keep the rest to myself. My therapist cuts through every inked blot and tells me like it is, “When you’re ready to share, I’m ready to listen. When you’re ready to heal, I’m ready to help.” And I know I’m ready to heal. I’ve been ready to heal. So what the hell am I afraid of?


I have an inkling I’m not alone in this. Many of us have that one person who stripped us of ourselves and left us with a gaping hole in our hearts. We have to move on, right? We must move on. The hard part is no one tells you that months or years later, reminders sneak up on you and restore some of those faded memories.

The fight then becomes keeping your sanity versus allowing those reminders to take over and win. How often are we telling ourselves, “I am more important than what we were? I have a right to heal and be happy.”

The truth is, there will always be a person with whom you connect intensely and if and when your relationship with that person ends, you are still you. You have to find a way to remain you and not lose yourself because of them.

You can move on or waste your time sitting around waiting for an apology that will never come. You don’t need it. Trust me, you only think you do.

And yes, I tell myself this too. And now, I finally believe it.


Originally published in P. S. I Love You via Medium.

Covered

Photo by Andrey Bond via Unsplash

Winter’s kiss is fatal — 
she brings with her a
wrath of unbearable cold
or maybe it’s bearable
and I’ve just grown thin-skinned
in my older age?

I sit in my favorite chair
and watch snow fall
to the ground, fluffy
chunks of purification
sing in harmony.
Music fills my ears.

I scratch my dog
and relish her satisfied
sighs as she
snuggles in closer to me — 
her whiskers brush my hands.

We sit still, peaceful in
the warmth of our home
thankful to have this roof
over our heads;
a covering of life’s
many blessings bestowed
bountifully.

People text. They call.
They want to know if
I’m enduring winter
as best as I can and I
tell them, “I’m fine” or
“We’re good” and I just want
to be done with answering
questions that are neverending
or fill me with grief.

I try to pull myself
out of the frequent funk
that wriggles in unannounced
and sets up shop
deep within my flesh.

I prefer the luring aspect
of smelling and feeling
clean.

I remind myself of
the gratitude that lives
on my tongue, how anxious
I often am to acknowledge it,
I will not forget where
I could be versus where
I am.

Covered in the gift
of love and its divine presence,
the sadness I swim in
isn’t promised to drown me
only wash and purify me
as white as the snow
sticking to the ground.

This is what I tell myself.
This is what I have to believe.


Originally published in Other Doors via Medium.

Un-fixable


Flash Fiction

Photo by Tyler Lastovich via Pexels

Readers: The following fictional piece is one of abandonment, frequent miscarriages, and self-harm.


My body decided to terminate my pregnancy. The phone calls won’t stop. Everyone says the same thing. Everyone thinks I can just pick up and start anew. It doesn’t work that way.

I’m broken. There’s no fixing me. This is the third time. It will be my last.


My name is Clara De Jesus-Mendez Moses. I am an only child to older parents. Friends say, maybe it’s my DNA. That I am full of codes and clues and puzzles that only lead to trauma. My mom was forty-two when she had me. Dad was fifty.

I grew up in a stuffy, one-percent, melanin-robbed neighborhood. Piano lessons. Debutant balls. Beauty pageants. Cozy Camp Lassiter. Passing . . .

My family denied our heritage. Mom, half Black & Israeli. Dad, half Mexican & Black. I fit somewhere in the middle as a conglomerate of all things and no things.

They married me off at a young age — 19. Todd Ramses Moses. Yes, it’s a weird name. But he was beautifully breathtaking. He was a God. My God. I worshiped him. I was his temple.

We tried for children immediately after saying, “I will.” No “I dos” for us. Our first time, I’d just turned 20. Nine weeks in. I lost the baby. Our second time, 22. Thirteen weeks in. Again. The last time, a third — I couldn’t make it to six weeks. That’s when I told Todd I was broken and if he wanted children, he should find someone else.

He found someone else.

The cutting started. I’d scrape my wrists with razor blades lightly. Just enough to see blood. Once a week or whenever I felt inadequate. I felt inadequate all the time.

I’d managed to leave that stuffy neighborhood, immersed myself in a diverse community, and taught at one of our schools. I decluttered my home. Anything that reminded me of Todd, I tossed. That didn’t stop the cutting.

I was supposed to be happy.

I have a huge attic. It’s quiet and dark and has great acoustics. I sit with my legs crossed early on Saturday mornings and strum old love songs on my guitar. It helps. I get through the day after seven or eight songs.

Every few weeks, a family member stops by. A friend. Someone from our church. They mean well. They want to be sure I’m eating. I nibble on plates of food but never finish a meal.

“Don’t name them.” That’s the advice my therapist gave me after my second miscarriage. “Don’t name them.” I named them. I mourned. I grieved. I’m still mourning. I’m still grieving.


Todd has three girls now. A set of twins, five — and a two-year-old. I saw him at the market with his mighty fine family one Sunday. He waved, cautiously. I nodded casually. I pushed my cart as fast as it would go.

I wanted to get back home as quickly as possible. The urge to cut again had taken over. I was remembering who I was — who I’d become. The woman who couldn’t have children.

My body decided to terminate my pregnancy. The phone calls won’t stop. Everyone says the same thing. Everyone thinks I can just pick up and start anew. It doesn’t work that way.

I’m broken. There’s no fixing me. This is the third time. It will be my last.

I throw myself at my door, crash into a chair in the kitchen, and dig deep into my skin.

The pain rushes over me instantly then stops. I feel nothing.


This piece began as a response to two different Twitter prompts; vss365 (anew) & vssmurder (terminate).


Originally published in The Junction via Medium.