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Thursday, October 1, 2015

Happy Birthday! (To Me)

Hannan Saleh captured this photo of me during one of my day trips to NYC &
included it in her Essence.com "Street Style" Column.

Powerful, Wondrous:
We ourselves and the world in
which we inhabit.
(Blink. And Blink Again.)
Much to my mother’s surprise, when I uttered my first words at 18 months, I did so in proper English and complete sentences. My earliest memory reaches back to when I was two years old. I blinked and I was 7, totally aware of myself and my surroundings, securely ensconced in a completely Black world, in the Strawberry Mansion working class neighborhood of North Philadelphia. I blinked again and I was 10, reeling from the culture shock brought on from moving to the integrated middle class neighborhood of Mount Airy. The 1970s catapulted me through high school and college. I blinked again and I was in my 20’s:  a wife, a mother, a career woman on the journalism track.

(Blink. And Blink Again.)
I blinked again and I was in my 30’s, my 40’s, my 50’s and now 60.  
As my journey continued, I blinked, and here I was - a divorced single mother perpetually trying to figure out what I wanted to be when I grew up. As I raised my daughter and watched her grow into her own as a woman, I kept myself busy, working in radio, newspapers, theatre. I became a reporter, a press agent, a publicist, an educator, a nonprofit executive director. I became a cultural aesthete, a poet, a playwright, a spoken word artist, a social worker, a grant writer, a homeowner, an entrepreneur, a world traveler.  I became a published author, got into health foods, photography, positive thinking, Zen meditation and distance running (finishing a marathon  - yes, 26.2 miles - to celebrate my 50th earth day). Being a Black woman in America, you can only just imagine some of the indignities, some of the changes I have been through. Yet somewhere along the line, I embraced gratitude as a way of life.

(Blink. And Blink Again.)

Wow. What an adventure. Some of you have traveled along on this odyssey with me for 10, 20, 30, 40, 50 and even all 60 of these years. What a blessing! I wouldn’t change a thing. Thank you, Lord, for allowing me to know what it feels like to live on this planet with my health and strength for 6 decades. Asante Sana. Thank you very much! Peace, Love & Blessings Always.