…my brain on a Monday 

  
“This is your brain…this is your brain on drugs… Any questions? “. You may recall this powerful Public Service Announcement funded by the Partnership for Drug-free Kids. It ran in 1987. This ad has always stayed with me… I’ve created many versions of this PSA in regards to my own brain…some are quite funny and some…well not so much. 
Today’s brain PSA….
AND…this is my brain …on Monday! 

Did you see that shirt I just had? Where’d my pants go? I just had them are you kidding me? Is that my phone? Can someone shut the alarm off?  Anyone? Hello? Ok…found pants…where’d my shirt go?

Never mind I will shut the alarm off… Thanks though! 

Coffee water is heated…start making it…

Recycling has to go to curb…why is it cold out?

Shirt? Do we have zip lock bags?

“What day is it? A or B? ” she inquires…

Huh? I have no idea…brain frantically searches…am I supposed to know this? Did I lose that memo? 

I ask…what do you mean? (Even though I have quickly figured out that she means that she wants me to open the app on my phone and find out for her)

Ok… Where are my shoes? Where are your shoes? What the hell is my name? Oh yeah phone… Where’d I put it? 

Umm…”I don’t even know where my phone is” of course I find it…and I look up what day it is…I don’t know if it’s A or B … But you have English 

Did I make my coffee? Have to bring the compost buckets out.  Was that the microwave?  Wait a minute… Where’s my phone?  Is that the recycling truck I hear? 

Should I start the car? Zip locks? What am I going to pack lunches in? There’s my shirt! Is the water hot enough to make my coffee? Yay! A new box of zip locks! Excellent! Two lunches to pack… Coffee? Did I start the car yet? 

“I can’t find my fleece!” Hmmmm. My brain scans to visualize where I last saw that fleece… Maybe the stairs? Must pack those lunches… Oh the water is hot again…start the coffee… Fleece?  Did I forget to buy creamer? 

“I can’t find my iPad”…. Couch? Kitchen? Fleece? Near the backpack? Wait a minute! The fleece is right here…  The fleece was found and the search party wasn’t called off.  Not a surprise! 

Lunches!!!! Finish making coffee. iPad? Where did you use it last ? Searching….searching… Is it in Dad’s office with your bass? No! Ugh! Ok…lunches done…is this my coffee? Can someone see if the car is started? 

“The cat? Mom we don’t have a cat! ”  sigh… 

Why????

 (Insert expletive here) … What? “My iPad was underneath my backpack the whole time! Can we go? Mom I’m going to be late”

Really? REALLY?? REALLY???!!!!!

Sigh… This is 15 minutes of my Monday morning… Today’s coping strategy? 

  
This has been a public service announcement from my brain on a Monday…

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…to be heard

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Promise it resonates that you are not what you did you are not defined by an action of the past but by choices for your future…I pray that you felt the powerful reception of your message to us…hear this… You are HOPE…
Continue to be real … It is a powerful vehicle… Sometimes REAL translates to uncomfortable but since when has comfort brought about true change? It is in really listening that we come to know… It is in the listening that the impetus for human connection is nurtured. It is in human connection that we come to learn we are one in the same… We are no different, all deserving of a moment to be heard …I’m so sorry you had to speak so loudly and so powerfully to be heard… Though in my heart I’m ever so thankful that you did.

…sidelined

Sometimes I feel as though I am living life sidelined…

I am stuck …benched…knowing in my heart I am capable, intelligent and even fun though I find myself sitting out, opting out, paralyzed and defeated .

I am willing to jump up… To support and to play, to give it my all. I cannot seem to initiate leaving the bench, my stomach in knots, consumed by the weight of a thousand sandbags…

I want to rest… I’m tired…my enthusiasm meter reads zero, my affect flat, motivation evasive…as though I myself am not enough to rescue.

My mind is muddled and foggy, scanning like the fm tuner for something that will boost me… Wake me… usher me from the bench on the sidelines where I sit…

…my island

my island ….

I have a little island though its no paradise
No GPS can get me there…. I just find myself there from time to time
It’s not serene or a place to entertain
Even I don’t wish to be there
On this island I am serenaded by the song ‘you’re not enough’

Pieces of my shipwrecked self wash up on the shore…random shattered ness that taunts
Reminders of failure…of fault and of shame
Scattered pieces of my brokenness…

My island is where all I need is Jesus because when I’m on my island Jesus is the only certainty I have…

In my island moments He makes me whole

For now I wait… For my escape from this place
Not knowing the form my rescue will take…

Striving for awareness …the hope not to miss the arrival…the gentle voice that coaxes me back to the mainland

The cloudless blue sky so vivid and the warmth of the sun reminding me of life…brilliant and penetrating as it encourages me to breathe once again within my own skin…

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…my birthday present

I am enjoying the quiet place… Verse continues to flow with ease…poetic expression birthed out of my passion for teaching, an affirmation that my heart is in the right place. A welcomed head nod to my questioning soul… comfortable place to be…this place I am in. For some time I shall resonate in this safety…inside of me. Patient with myself…ready to put in words the ordered thoughts as they come…

the following is for my birthday present, a child from my preschool who was born on my birthday…and we found one another he and I … I his teacher… and he…surely mine!

…my birthday present

things that most dream of … You own in your heart
big dreams of someday…you wear those comfortably like your favorite tee shirt… soft against your skin…truly a part of you

You arrive each day craving to know more…and to share more…of what you already know…with all of us

Your mind gets busy, thinking, creating, sorting and developing your amazing ideas…

sometimes I look closely at your intense thought…and I see myself in your eyes…in that thinking place…where we can feel so alone in the moment

emotion can be overwhelming…you feel so deeply and thoughtfully that sometimes it spills out and others don’t always understand your compassion…quite like you feel it

You are amazing and strong and captivatingly brilliant…you will surely venture to space…to the depths of the deepest sea…the Mariana Trench awaits

be kind to you … covet humbleness…align yourself with grace and mercy… they will be good to you

remember in your heart that you are
So important… So intelligent … So loved… You are the only YOU there is…

and to me…you’ll always be… my birthday present!

…i’d rather you smack me with a stick! words do hurt….

What we say and the words we chose to express ourselves make a difference.  Do you stand up for something that you feel is not right?  Do you speak out to change something that you feel from your heart is hurting others?  All of my life I have done this…one example was when I noticed the sign in our local video store/ice cream shop.  The sign referred to those lovely sugary things that you ‘sprinkle’ onto your ice cream as ‘jimmies’.  Many of you may have heard about the debate of sprinkles vs jimmies.  As for myself, I had heard of the debate…some say this just isn’t true and some say that the term is racist and refers to Jim Crow…particularly because of the color of the sprinkles…brown.

Let me be clear, it matters not where the true name came from.  Due to the fact that it has been identified as a racist term is enough for me.  I choose not to perpetuate it in any manner and politely asked for the term to be changed to sprinkles. The owner heard my words and changed the sign while I was standing there. I asked for it to be changed for many reasons…

When my daughter was an infant…and on the fast track to becoming a toddler, she was very into baby dolls.  During that time, there was a commercial on television that advertised this ‘fabulous’ baby doll with all kinds of amenities.  At the end of the commercial it asks for you to specify if you would like ‘dark’ or ‘light’…I lost it…it annoyed me beyond reason and I ended up phoning the company.  ‘dark’ or ‘light’? Are you kidding me?  Really?  You see, I am the proud cream Mama of three coffee milk brown babies and I am a little sensitive…I am also human and I was offended and concerned for the message these words were sending…for how they might embed themselves into my childs’ perception of herself.  ‘What does that mean?’  I vehemently asked the person who answered.  Needless to say, that person did nothing to hear my concerns and to this day I remain annoyed just thinking about it.  There have been many other times since then that I have spoken up about a situation that I felt strongly about.  (another time…another blog post)

Anyone remember the saying, “Sticks and stones may break my bones but names will never hurt me…!’ (to be followed with the sticking out of one’s tongue and hands on hips!)  I have come to learn in my life how untrue this is.  Words are VERY powerful and I choose to be aware of what I am saying and how it may affect others. At the end of the day, even if the whole debate about sprinkles vs jimmies is falsely pursued, the point remains that there are people that believe that it is a racist way to refer to the confection. If a word is hurtful then I choose not to use it.  This is the same reason that I choose not to say or tolerate other racist terms, sayings or inferences. I make it a point to ask questions in situations in order to educate others as well as myself.  I seek to understand why things are said and seek to help others realize the power of what they are saying…I find there are three general categories that I encounter:

1.  People who intentionally say what they want regardless of who it hurts  2.  People who say things without really thinking about the power of their words and 3. People who care whether or not they are hurting others with words and choose instead to encourage and build up out of kindness.

I will tell you now that I will do whatever I can to be in the third category…that’s just who I am.

In my family, we refer to people as brown and cream…not black and white.  My husband is not black…his skin is a beautifully bold deep chocolate gingery hue.  I am not white…a piece of copy paper is white…snow is white (except when it is peed on)…get my point?  I am cream.  Clearly my daughter is able to see through this lens.  Please take a moment to read the poem that I posted in an earlier post here.

Take a moment today to widen your lens around words you use and those you hear others using. Words are powerful!

Please take a moment to check out my poll…

…growing hearts part II

As some of you may know, I am the proud vessel of a quirky brain!  I have been working diligently to appreciate the beauty of ADHD and the role it plays in my life.  Part of being me is having a very busy brain…think large airport like LAX or better yet (and more imaginable) Trader Joe’s.  I find that when I have a lot to do, I cannot prioritize by importance, for instance, I have much work to do for the preschool conferences that begin next week.  This is what I should be doing at this very moment in fact, however, this is not how my brain operates.  Since last night, I was feeling pressed to write a post…which I did this morning. My brain was full…overflowing with the need to get it into evernote and on my blog. You see, I refer to this affectionately as brain spill.  If I do not spill it in writing, talking etc, it sits there.  (that is actually funny because the word sit implies some sense of stillness…far from the truth.) It stands in my frontal lobe actually and jumps up and down until I am so distracted that I have no choice but to address it so I can move forward with anything else.  I have found that if I choose not to honor this about myself, then things go awry…I become more and more scattered, accident prone and just plain no fun to be around.  A dear co-teacher  of mine has been speaking into this area of my life as me whether she knows it or not.  She has been guiding me to be more kind to me.  To honor and respect the Kimberly that she sees when she looks at me…  That being said, Here I am to finish the blog I started this morning so I can then move on to my conference report writing with focus and purpose.  It is kind of like sorting what is at the front of your closet because if you don’t, how can you effectively sort whats further in…makes sense!  Clearing the way a bit so you have more room…you with me? Anyone?

In continued honor of Martin Luther King Jr. and his amazing spirit, I want to share a story of my daughter who is now a beautiful eleven year old. (I knew from the moment she ‘came out of my belly’ that she would grow me in ways I would never imagine!)

My daughter who came home crying of heartbreak when she learned about the history of slavery and more as we shared with her the history of apartheid. When she was nine years old, in the fourth grade, she was studying ‘brown’ history and literature. (brown and cream…get it?  People’s skin is shades of brown…)  They had focused on the poetic works of Langston Hughes.  My daughter wrote the following poem in response to her learning.  This was published in the school newsletter at the time and has since been published in a collection of literary student works.

Come Now People of Color

Come now,
People of color,
for one day we’ll be free of slavery.

Come all people with chai colored skin, coffee colored skin,
And skin as light as caramel.

People come with dark skin
The color of a brownie.

People with cinnamon skin and skin the color
Of sweet, sweet ginger.

Come people from cotton fields and listen
To the stories about the Underground Railroad and how people got to
Canada for freedom.

Come now, those with skin the color of sweet
Butterscotch and those whose eyes are as black as the evening sky.

Come now, for one day you will be free.
Until then, come and listen to my stories.
Come now, people of color.
~Z. Mngqibisa (authored at age 9)

Let us all take time EVERY DAY …not just on a day in January, to remember, honor and grow a little from the amazing power of those who stand for peace and for freedom.  May you be one of those people, may you know that YOU make a difference…and may your heart grow…