Anna Karenina

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Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way

Sound, tempo and movement encompassed my thoughts after reading this timeless piece of literature, specifically Beethoven’s Symphony No. 7, second movement. I could embed a different video of Allegretto without the dramatic visuals led by Nicholas Cage but the book is dramatic so it aligns lol albeit in a different manner. I find classical music best enjoyed with my eyes closed… try it for the 9 minutes if you have the time, and then replay it with the visuals.

I dare to ask, “who or what was Tolstoy’s muse when creating this masterpiece?!” Bravo!

Dreams from My Father

I stare out at the rows of never ending buildings and homes from my living room window, taking in Brooklyn. Scents of patchouli and cedarwood faintly twirl under my nostrils as I allow in a moment of reverie from my recliner. 

I’m brought back to being in a moderately filled nightclub with my father, our cousin and his wife in Haiti’s capitol. Kompa music is buzzing from every direction and I’m in a state of awe. Women are twirling on the dancefloor, the bar is congested with men waving Haitian gourde and someone is wearing too much cologne; I turn and stare at my cousin, he stares back and smiles. The four of us sit at a small table adjacent to the DJ as my dad waves over to the bartender and signals a man towards us. We delight in each others company sipping on water and Barbancourt as my gaze centers on a couple moving immaculately in unison with the percussion. My dad displays a sly grin on his face then playfully asks me to dance with his hand out. “Ok old man you better keep up, I’ve got kitty heels on tonight”. Our laughter echoes over the music as our hands merge in a procession towards the middle of the dance floor. Now I’ve danced with my father plenty of times but this was the last time and the brain has a tremendous way of remembering first and lasts’ with monumental emotions encompassed within absolute surety of how things unfolded. My phone rings and I’m brought back into the reality of the moment in my recliner. 

To consider that exact memory at another time in another place while in another mood would produce a different outcome perhaps. Will the suffocating scent from my cousin’s cologne be as present? Will I recall the pride felt when the owner came over to shake my dad’s hand, with cold bottles of water for the table? Did I really have on kitty heels that night or am I mixing it up with the time we danced at my college teammates wedding in Florida? The multiplicity of a story, the narrative a person speaks and believes while simultaneously feeling various emotions leads me to contemplate my version of truth. “I need to finish reading this Obama book already” I stammer while sitting up to answer my ringing phone.

A week later that’s exactly what I did, finished Dreams from My Father via audiobook because I was tickled at the idea of the 44th President of the United States reading to me. I enjoyed him reading to me and I enjoyed listening to his story told with such mature emotional intelligence; that’s the defining aspect of the book for me, the former Commander-in-Chief’s superb emotional intelligence. I wish I could say more but it would be disingenuous. 

Published in 1995 before any campaigning towards a presidency was spoken into existence, there’s an aspect of candor that I imagine would be absent had he known he’d one day be the leader of the U S of A. That’s Shari in 1995’s opinion. During my two year residency in England, I doubt I will ever forget this, I was exposed to a theory that all US Presidents with the exception of Martin Van Buren are related to John, King of England aka King John Platagenet, which gives me a “red or blue pill” Matrix style option while reading Mr. Obama’s memoir present day. Did he write this knowing that he would in fact become President one day? I appreciate that I was visually able to racially identify with a President during my existence. It’s only in the past 10 years that I can say the same about a world leader as it pertains to sexual orientation (s/o to Serbia). How progressive of a world are we living in? 

The impact on my psyche, self esteem and aspects of how I connect to resilience are all literally “uplifted” because Mr. Barack Obama ran for presidency and won twice without getting assassinated or impeached while in office. And for that to be shortly followed by the Queen of England’s grandson, Prince Harry, marrying a black woman and producing a black son (I’m going with the 1 drop rule here). This aspect of “color” being on display in the royal family and through their descendants claiming their birthright (insert Obama’s presidency here if I leaned into the aforementioned theory) leaves me in wonderment about politics and tradition in the world. I digress out of recognition that I may sound like a conspiracy theorist or a kook. All this to very directly state, Dreams from My Father was a solid read. I’m a fan of our former President. The audacity for Barack to run for President shall make waves for centuries to come. The systems strategically put into place to disenfranchise and dis-empower individuals, groups and communities based on race is slowly but surely crumbling. Up until 1967 (Loving vs. Virginia) it was not legal in all 52 states for a person of color to marry a white individual, and this year marks 400 years since the first black slave stepped foot on this soil that all of us in America call home. It truly is shocking how slowly we are progressing as a society concerning our tolerance of otherness and the ways in which that otherness is then reflected institutionally in the systems that govern what we learn, how we teach, what we listen to, how our news is angled, etc etc etc.

Headed out now to see if Michelle Obama will read her memoir to me :-) Two thumbs up to our former President. I’ll continue to have his works of literature on my bookshelf.





SACRED VIBES COOKBOOK

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The variety of literature that has my actual bookshelf overflowing with information would not be properly represented if I did not highlight the variation found among the different texts. Human behavior and anthropological topics fill up the majority of my shelves concerning content, yet the worn out pages that I interact with most frequently are worn out for a reason; I continue to go back to them time and time again….. those are my gems, cookbooks!

I don’t fancy myself a chef or baker, but I do not hesitate to highlight my ability to create. Read a recipe, interact with the ingredients, be intentional about the task at hand and voila! With the vast amount of cooking shows, cooking competitions, restaurants, food delivery services, food critics, food food food food food it just makes sense that I would have some form of interaction with what I put into my body and the bodies of those I care about. Whether from a perspective of health, vitality, taste, or pleasure food is an easy entry point towards connecting with people. If I do not make my food then I am relying on another person to make my food or I am not eating. That persons energy is going into the food, which is then going into my body. I am from a generation that has access and privilege to order in, microwave, eat out and not necessarily have to put thought into food per say. As I grow and age I am working towards creating from memory and practice, being creative in my form of presentation with plating and discovering all that there is to discover about my palate. And in comes Sacred Vibes Cookbook…….. coordinated in its entirety by my former teacher, Karen Rose, and encompassed by recipes from fellow apprentices.

In full transparency, I have two recipes published in the SV Cookbook. All credit to my parents. I come from a family of great cooks and bakers so being able to make something “taste good” has never garnered admiration in my tribe. Of 9 grandchildren all 9 can cook out of necessity with 7 being able to recreate dishes spanning back to our grandparents. Presentation of that which tastes “good” and the ability to incorporate herbs from our mother country may welcome a comment of praise from the group, but that’s about it. In addition, recipes are held onto so dearly in my culture that sharing with another can be taken as a betrayal. Karen’s ability to make space for women of color to tell their stories and essentially their truth in her consciously welcoming space allows for the universality of that which is private to be released. In a very real sense, her apothecary is inviting & lined on 3 walls with dry herbs that have their roots in indigenous medicinal traditions that surpass the transatlantic slave trade. Her work of making accessible that which has been forgotten by children of the diaspora is commemorable even if you don’t believe in herbal medicine. Good luck on getting into her apprenticeship program if you can’t connect to the spiritual aspects of yourself.

From beginning to end I’ve enjoyed the Sacred Vibes Cookbook. Knowing the stories behind the recipes and the women telling the stories adds an emotional element of joy, pride and transcendent content. It pulls to mind the Combahee River Collective and ways in which women of color have joined together to create beauty, truth and inspiration for future generations. Shout out to the city’s 1st lady Chirlane McCray, an original member of Combahee River Collective back in the 70’s, who went on to publish “I am a Lesbian” in Essence magazine back when being in the LGBTQ community was even more burdensome than it is today concerning safety, rights & [lack of] privilege. Before I diverge further from the cookbook, I share that part of herstory to highlight Karen Rose’s intent to allow for the collective creation of a cookbook infused with not only herbs in every single recipe but also people whom she respects, and wanted to collaborate with. Where are those spaces and places where your sex, gender identity, sexual orientation and race as it exists on a socially constructed spectrum can be celebrated in all of its full glory? I have found that to be present in Karen’s apothecary, Sacred Vibes.

In the Sacred Vibes Cookbook you’ll find desserts, main courses, syrups, concoctions and stories woven into why each recipe exists. I’d recommend for the intermediate/advanced level cook who has access to purchasing numerous ingredients AND has a kitchen equipped with adequate cooking tools. Bravo to you Karen for continuing to create opportunities for women of color to create together in queer friendly spaces.

Below I share a photo from the “Annual Indigenous Day” bake off between my mother and I in which she absolutely annihilates me every year. One of the recipes from the Cookbook is on that table!

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Hunger

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Wow. Wowowowowowkwkwkwkwksjdjxbxbdbxbxbdbxbxbdbxbxbxbxbdvxhxndbbcjnsbfbfjkdbfnxjdbdzksnbxjsndnbcnddjndnfbfjchjstryuuotipqryhnjkahfiyhohgafhjkhk

That is a sliver of what my brain did while reading this phenomenal memoir. Hunger. Used mostly as a verb throughout the text, with a morsel amount of usage as a noun. The table is set. Shall we?

I am shell-shocked at how delightful reading this was. I experienced the work as comical, sassy, intriguing and intensely traumatizing. How is it that Roxane’s life story, written with such depth & intensity left me grasping for respite?! And as the last page turned I yearned for more. I was literally hungry to read more about Roxane’s life. She’s like my dad’s Pen Patat. She’s like black cod with miso from Nobu. Like Nonna D’s oatmeal lace ice cream. Like a chopped cheese from the bodega on 130th & Lenox. Like watching my guests eat my take on my mom’s homemade mashed potatoes with root vegetables & salmon. SAT-IS-FYING! I’m close to speechless at the ferocity in which she allows the reader to know her at the most unsatisfying junctures in her journey called life. Bingeing, purging, swallowing her trauma. Lonely, isolated, concealed with zeal. The bravery is astounding on the grand stage, page after page. The extent of self loathing that pounced itself around chapter here, paragraph there. At one point four chapters straight she pounded away at each pound of weight; accumulated tactfully day, month, year in & out. There’s no doubt that the torment & suffering was pronounced.

Ms. Gay.... a fellow 1st generation Haitian-American; though our sexual proclivities are not entirely the same her identification as a queer woman sealed the deal in purchasing her memoir opposed to testing it out from my local library or borrowing from a friend. I am going to continue to invest in her. I will continue to recommend her work as a fellow Bad Feminist. Via youtube videos of various talks she has engaged in, I have learned that she has quite a unique online presence via twitter. Yet & still no social media for me but I must admit I’ve looked her up a few times via my little sister’s handles lol. She’s corky with a dash of sarcasm that borders self deprecating in a relatable way, while still leaving a lot to be imagined & experienced. Hunger matched her personality and not all memoirs are true in that form.

What a spectrum of intensity. Chapter 72 was remarkable. Read the book if you haven’t already, there may be another chapter that captures your attention. The critical other, be it inside or out, within or without - allures my curiosity.

Yuen-Sing thank you for sharing this goodness with me!

Skah Shah (a well known Haitian band) stayed on rotation during house parties hosted by my parents during my childhood & was heavily played in our home during my adolescent years. Their music resonates now as I stew in Roxane’s vulnerable creation, Hunger. My identification with her Haitian roots brings up so many raw reverberating feelings and so I choose to share nostalgic music that is both beautiful, depressing & expansive in all of its glory!

Playing in the Dark: Whiteness and the Literary Imagination

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It requires both a poem & a silhoutte to capture the emotional vicissitude that Toni Morrison’s nonfiction literary work evokes in my right hemisphere. Audre Lorde’s poem enmeshed with Kara Walker’s silhoutte help me sing praise to the great trendsetter of artistic conceptualization of race in America; superb! Might I add, it is her fictional writing that usually entrances the masses. To adore the creative expression of truth surpasses intellect & beauty, I applaud her during my mother’s (and Ms. Morrison’s) birth month as one of our favorite writers:

INHERITENCE-HIS

I. 
My face resembles your face 
less and less each day. When I was young 
no one mistook whose child I was. 
Features build coloring 
alone among my creamy fine-boned sisters 
marked me Byron's daughter. 

No sun set when you died, but a door 
opened onto my mother. After you left 
she grieved her crumpled world aloft 
an iron fist sweated with business symbols 
a printed blotter dwell in the house of Lord's 
your hollow voice changing down a hospital corridor 
yea, though I walk through the valley 
of the shadow of death 
I will fear no evil. 

II. 
I rummage through the deaths you lived 
swaying on a bridge of question. 
At seven in Barbados 
dropped into your unknown father's life 
your courage vault from his tailor's table 
back to the sea. 
Did the Grenada treeferns sing 
your 15th summer as you jumped ship 
to seek your mother 
finding her too late 
surrounded with new sons? 

Who did you bury to become the enforcer of the law 
the handsome legend 
before whose raised arm even trees wept 
a man of deep and wordless passion 
who wanted sons and got five girls? 
You left the first two scratching in a treefern's shade 
the youngest is a renegade poet 
searching for your answer in my blood. 

My mother's Grenville tales 
spin through early summer evenings. 
But you refused to speak of home 
of stepping proud Black and penniless 
into this land where only white men 
ruled by money. How you labored 
in the docks of the Hotel Astor 
your bright wife a chambermaid upstairs 
welded love and survival to ambition 
as the land of promise withered 
crashed the hotel closed 
and you peddle dawn-bought apples 
from a push-cart on Broadway. 

Does an image of return 
wealthy and triumphant 
warm your chilblained fingers 
as you count coins in the Manhattan snow 
or is it only Linda 
who dreams of home? 

When my mother's first-born cries for milk 
in the brutal city winter 
do the faces of your other daughters dim 
like the image of the treeferned yard 
where a dark girl first cooked for you 
and her ash heap still smells of curry? 

III. 
Did the secret of my sisters steal your tongue 
like I stole money from your midnight pockets 
stubborn and quaking 
as you threaten to shoot me if I am the one? 
The naked lightbulbs in our kitchen ceiling 
glint off your service revolver 
as you load whispering. 

Did two little dark girls in Grenada 
dart like flying fish 
between your averted eyes 
and my pajamaless body 
our last adolescent summer? 
Eavesdropped orations 
to your shaving mirror 
our most intense conversations 
were you practicing how to tell me 
of my twin sisters abandoned 
as you had been abandoned 
by another Black woman seeking 
her fortune Grenada Barbados 
Panama Grenada. 
New York City. 

IV. 
You bought old books at auctions 
for my unlanguaged world 
gave me your idols Marcus Garvey Citizen Kane 
and morsels from your dinner plate 
when I was seven. 
I owe you my Dahomeyan jaw 
the free high school for gifted girls 
no one else thought I should attend 
and the darkness that we share. 
Our deepest bonds remain 
the mirror and the gun. 

V. 
An elderly Black judge 
known for his way with women 
visits this island where I live 
shakes my hand, smiling. 
'I knew your father,' he says 
'quite a man!' Smiles again. 
I flinch at his raised eyebrow. 
A long-gone woman's voice 
lashes out at me in parting 
'You will never be satisfied 
until you have the whole world 
in your bed!' 

Now I am older than you were when you died 
overwork and silence exploding your brain. 
You are gradually receding from my face. 
Who were you outside the 23rd Psalm? 
Knowing so little 
how did I become so much 
like you? 

Your hunger for rectitude 
blossoms into rage 
the hot tears of mourning 
never shed for you before 
your twisted measurements 
the agony of denial 
the power of unshared secrets.

-Audre Lorde

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Kara Walker Silhouette

ATTACHED.

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I would imagine in years to come that this will be one of those books that are seen in the offices of various clinicians, catching dust on the shelf - waiting to be opened by someone. I’m realizing I don’t keep books in my office because people are the only thing I’m reading when I’m in there, original usage of the word read not the Urban Dictionary definition lol. The title of the book captures everything you need to know about its content, “Attached……The New Science of Adult Attachment”. Let’s take a swim through the pages.

Of all the books that I talk to my clients about, this one is top shelf. The authors put what can be confusing psychobabble into laymen terms and gift wrap what for some is a semester learned of attachment theory into less than 500 pages. Impressive considering the scientific accuracy, connection to the current times, and ease towards reading. In fact this happens to be one of the books I encourage my clients in relationships to read WITH their partner/s. It’s insightful, straight to the point and again I highlight that it is relevant to the times we live in. I have found that the textbooks, journal articles and research studies that primed me for my profession carry an archaic vibration that I find easy (thank goodness) to translate, but only from my own decoding capabilities. “Attached” makes attachment theory easy for those who are not engrossed in professions or studies of human behavior, and has tangible applications for the reader based on the books structure.

What happens when you get activated? Why do you physically avoid your crush when you actually desire them? Shall you text back immediately or will it make you appear needy? Do you mind appearing needy? Etc Etc Etc In this day and age when ghosting is prevalent, monogamous relationships are no longer sine qua non & social media’s influence on Generation X (and generations to follow) has increased the expectations of instant gratification, how do some of the early theorists stay alive and prevalent while the times are changing? Shall they turn into ghosts or remain ancestors to theories that have laid the foundation of how we view and study human behavior? I must say, I am a big fan of attachment theory. The work of Mary Ainsworth vis-à-vis John Bowlby (Tavistock Clinic alums seem to be everywhere!) goes back to Africa, Uganda specifically. Ainsworth studied the child rearing practices and all that comes with mothering in the first 2 years of a childs life entirely informed by observation and limited linguistic connection to the people she interacted with. When her findings were released she was not met with enthusiasm and a concentration and criticism towards how to conceptualize “attachment” clouded her innovative work and findings essentially by a room filled with men (cough cough patriarchy is that you hiding over there?) Yet she was able, with the support of John Bowlby, to expand on his work into what is today’s generally accepted model of maternal-infant attachment and it’s long lasting, sometimes irritating if you’re not securely attached, prevalence on adult behaviors. I loop back around to the book at hand, “Attached” and the knowing that is felt, thought and carried out when a person is attached to another.

I am hopeful that there will be an expansion of experiments observing and documenting early maternal-infant dynamics to include non-traditional aspects of “mothering”, that will integrate into the cemented foundation of attachment theory. We are living in a world filled with nannies, grandmothers as primary caretakers, older siblings as caretakers, children birthing children and various shadow parenting practices. “Attached” was a good read, I reference it often and I’d highly recommend it to anyone wanting to know a bit more about themselves.

Year of Yes

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Well well well…… it has been a 5 month hiatus from putting my thoughts into words pertaining to literary pieces that I’ve engrossed myself in. Within that time period there was immense academic writing & reading, words of reflection put together via paper and pen from my private practice, along with a sprinkle of poetry. In fact some of the best poems that I’ve written to date came out of my disengagement from leisurely reading books during this time period. Psychoanalytic articles and PhD research interest papers overtook most of my creative writing and free time. However, I am drawn towards summarizing my thoughts on the last book I read in 2018, gifted to me on my birthday: Year of Yes by Shonda Rhimes.

Ms. Shonda Rhimes. The respect is there, it’s present and acknowledged in a similar fashion that I respect and acknowledge the accomplishments of several female entrepreneurs of color who are inspiring future generations of leaders. To be a woman - to be successful - to be a person of color, what does all of that mean in the context of our political climate in the Donald Trump era? How can you not like someone like her? She created the show that I had 2 or 3 seasons of enjoying during my undergrad years, “Grey’s Anatomy”, and one of the few shows that I currently watch: “How to Get Away With Murder”. She’s so likable, yet after reading her book I felt sure of myself concerning the fact that I don’t particularly care for her or her writing.

Let me jump into the book to provide further insight. The concept is tantalizing, being intentional about saying yes for a year in various areas of life especially towards yourself. Yes to feeling comfortable in your body, yes to feeling confident in saying no, yes to taking risks and stepping outside of your comfort zone, yes to setting healthy boundaries. Blah blah blah. That’s what it read as throughout the book, blah blah blah. Shonda even threw in very real anecdotes in which she did not say yes to herself before so eloquently laying track so that the reader could easily get from point A to point B concerning what it looks like when you do say yes to yourself. I want to add that I have difficulty reading surface level writing as I also have difficulty with memoirs that lack intimacy and vulnerability. In fact, that’s an area of growth for me, engaging with books and people who lack depth (insert Scorpio Moon here). I read the book to get to know her, allowing in the time and attention towards taking her words in, and [tried to] fantastically experience all that she was sharing. It left a lot to my imagination. It was frothy and read as a self help amalgamation. The track she laid lacked any real personal meaning; the track laying was used often throughout the book in reference to her process concerning how she creates. It works when you have someone like Kerry Washington, Viola Davis or Patrick Dempsey breathing life into the work. There were no actors in the book that usually accompany Shonda’s track laying.

Within the literary work Shonda acknowledged her aversion of intimacy, the comfort in privacy and essentially apologized to the reader for not going deeper. It’s to be appreciated, I guess. I have found a diminished lack of patience towards pieces of writing that are regurgitated information and masked as being innovative. I don’t believe that works for my generation, filled with individuals who are starved of genuine emotional bonds and overstimulated with information. We sniff out inauthenticity like a bloodhound sniffs out its prey. I tend to veer towards generosity with my language when describing the work from people of color who are easy to look up to, but perhaps 2019 will be a year of brutally honest critique towards all who consume my time and attention…… a bit of an exaggeration but you get the drift. I can not say I would recommend this book to anyone looking to know more of the woman behind the hit shows that grab the attention of viewers every Thursday night. I’d like to add that her TED Talk was from a chapter in her book, verbatim! I’ll continue watching HTGAWM but I highly doubt I’ll read another book from her.

What I am hoping readers can absorb from my take on this nonfiction literary piece is to take information from self help books (that’s what Year of Yes was) with a grain of salt, because after all it is made for the masses. The individuation that we as human beings have access to is what creates the recipe towards what will nourish and fulfill us. It’s rare to find the answers to problems or the guidance towards self actualization from an inanimate object. Read for the pure joy of it. Oh and Happy New Year!

BALM IN GILEAD: Journey of a Healer

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I have this rear view visual of myself on a secluded white sand beach; the clear Caribbean Sea slowly extending the fringe of land & water 10 yards in front of my bamboo lounge chair, with a plush over sized beige beach towel overflowing from the sides, slowly swaying with the light bilateral breeze. A quaint end table is to my right, nestled next to my chair with a clear tall glass of water. An identical glass of rum punch sweats next to the glass alongside a wooden plate filled with seafood, fruit & vegetables. The one item, vying for space on the end table is the book in which I am writing about now: Balm in Gilead!

I was gifted this literary piece by my neighbor during my 3 year stint as a Harlem resident. She was moving to Oregon & remembered one of our brief talks about my love of reading, then handed me 20 of her favorites. I had not recognized this biography on my shelf until this month. The timing put me in a state of wonderment as the book lay in my hand after an extended conversation with 2 of my peers concerning the history of psychoanalysis & our take on intersectionality being [for the most part] unaddressed concerning race, class, religion & gender. Published a few years after my birth, I am appreciative that Dr. Sara Lawrence-Lightfoot put into words 4 generations of her family's history, & in particular the life of her mother Dr. Margaret Cornelia Morgan Lawrence, the first African-American psychoanalyst.

I do not find myself compelled towards leisurely reading biographies, but with my knowing that one of Dr. Lawrence's titles are "psychoanalyst" how could I not read? My intrigue w/Dr. Lawrence began before I even opened the book. Dr. Veronica Abney wrote a thorough 17 page paper, a sliver from her dissertation about Black Psychoanalyst in the United States, which I came across in May 2018. After scribbling down all of her references, Balm in Gilead was quickly on my "Must Read" list; adding to the synchronicity of the book waiting to be found in my very real bookshelf.

The Harvard educator, Dr. Sara Lawrence-Lightfoot, was intentional about weaving in as many aspects of her mothers experiences as possible while also capturing the 2 year interviewing process that she conducted for the book; a process her mother deemed as being similar to a second analysis. I must say I was under the impression that her actual analysis at Columbia Univ. Center for Psychoanalytic Training & Research would pour through the pages in detail concerning its transformative impact on her life & career, this was a 5x/week analysis! Despite putting into words what the experience concretely & symbolically meant to Dr. Lawrence it was merely a morsel of her life story as a black woman born & raised in the deep south of Vicksburg Mississippi with a preoccupation to help "her people". Of all things to be preoccupied with, I can relate concerning an unyielding determination towards servicing my community, my family & myself. The aspect of service is on a continuum that I can trace back via 4 generations, while comprehending as Dr. Lawrence did so eloquently in the biography, the relevance of being able to integrate in ego strengths intergenerationally, not solely the trauma. 

One of the stark themes within Balm in Gilead was the consistency of racially influenced discriminatory foreboding that never left the text; keep in mind this is a successful & significant black woman from a successful & significant family who raised successful & significant children. There are no aspects of victimization or strife in the literary text, I go as far as to say I'm pretty certain that they'll be a movie made in her honor. The complexity of how and why she forged paths for future generations of women of color to succeed within directly working with other people of color was clearly no easy feat. I question now what success means, within the read pages and present day. When she was not discriminated against (overtly) due to her otherness pertaining to her skin color there were threads of sexism. When those 2 aspects were not explicitly named as being present she was still left to fend off her otherness as a southerner being educated at all white Ivy League Universities not too long after the end of Jim Crow Laws. I dare to ask how the hell she did it even though I read the book lol. 

I circle back to the theme of race, identity, family lineage & all that remains ineffable within the experience of people of color as it relates to current psychoanalytic theories that were comprised in their entirety by affluent white individuals, far removed from claiming their own racial otherness & privilege. That reality does not negate the importance & proven value of those theories whether a person identifies as being Classical Freudian, Kleinian to the bone, Jungian, or Rogerian (to name a few), but it highlights the [overall] resistance & blind spots of the white collective unconscious as it pertains to addressing racism. Marshall Mcluhan has a poignant quote that captures what I have just scribed, "One thing about which fish know exactly nothing is water, since they have no anti-environment which would enable them to perceive the element they live in". I have sat with that quote and allowed it to resonate juxtaposed with the current political climate in the United States. I ponder what role I am comfortable claiming as an activist. 

 

Dr. Lawrence, at the enamored age of 103, is still living. Not only is she the first black psychoanalyst, but a living breathing historical icon. I am drawn towards her being an iconic female (Oprah as well) from Mississippi, a state which currently has the largest black population in the US. She inspires me to write about race & identity, to write about the experience of the black person on the couch, the black person across from the couch, the black person being taught in institutions not originally designed with their growth in mind, & with my exact words within those experiences as both subjective & objective. I am also inspired to collect data within all in which I just described. I wrap my thoughts together with this abbreviated quote from Hattie McDaniel:

 

I sincerely hope that I shall always be a credit to my race and to the motion picture industry