10.5 Thoughts: August 22

1. If Simone Biles were my daughter, she wouldn’t be an Olympic gold medalist. She would not. My children each have one activity that they go to once/twice per week and that alone drains me. 7AM Saturday morning gymnastics lessons? Fuck outta here. If Simone Biles were mine she’d be on an iPad somewhere eating macaroni and cheese out of a Tupperware.

2. I wish I could commit to a vegan/vegetarian lifestyle. I know humans eating meat makes little sense. We don’t hunt, we don’t eat animals whole like animals who do hunt. We’re supposed to eat leaves and berries and shit, but I like meat. Well, I like seasoning, I’m not sure if I even like meat. I wouldn’t eat it raw and without seasoning, so I guess I don’t. If I only liked strawberry jam I couldn’t claim to like strawberries. I like pre-hunted, cleaned, preferably deboned, hair-free, no face, soft-ish, cooked perfectly, seasoned meat from only 2-3 specific animals. And I find vegans irritating, sorry guys I love you but shut up we already know we’re shit.

I was watching a YouTube video about humans and meat and this professor said, “If you put a child in a cage* with a bunny, their instinct is to pet or hug it. If you put a young dog in a cage with a bunny, its instinct is to tear it apart and eat it.” He said this is how you know we’re not supposed to eat meat.

*WTF

I love that he had this thought and worry that he’s tested it with real children and cages, but I disagree. If you put a child in a cage with most meals they won’t eat them. And if a human child were hungry enough, I think they would eat that bunny, sorry. It’s not a pretty thought, but they would.

Also, when I was a child, we had a female rabbit. Despite us having only one bunny, she somehow got pregnant and had these teeny tiny little weird looking bunny babies. Being around 7 or 8, I couldn’t resist touching them all lightly on the head. Do you know what happened next? She ate them. She ate her children. Apparently animals do this if they feel like they are in danger. I didn’t see her eat them (thank God) but the next day they were all gone and there were little streaks of blood on the newspaper lining her cage. I’m not saying I was scarred for life but I hate rabbits. They’re monsters.

3. I’m ready for aliens to invade. I know they’re out there watching us. The NASA cameras turn off when they land and take off after meeting with Obama (look it up), and I’m ready for them to finally colonize Earth. I’m racist against humans and want to see us go down. I hope they read this and make me a general of some kind. I’m a little sad for my kids as it will be scary, but children are resilient.

4. I’m worried about my book coming out. I know/think it’s a good book but I don’t want to promote or tour it. I’m a writer not a goddam media slut (sorry that’s rude) and I don’t like having to smile on cue, get on planes (they’re not right)*, wear non-pajamas, go places I’ve never been before, wear shoes, shower regularly, or have to be anywhere at a specific time. I really don’t want to do Good Morning America or the Today show again. The people were all very nice but it’s a goddamn circus and I worry about throwing up on live TV. That shit would be on YouTube set to music in five seconds and that can’t be my legacy for my children.

*We’re not supposed to be up there. Last year when I was doing a lot of travel I started flying only first class. It wasn’t because I wanted to be treated like royalty, it was because if shit got real, I wanted to be up front to see it. Plus, if a plane is crashing, the people in the front suffer the least, I think. It’s very unfair and inherently discriminatory that this is true, but it is. Also, I like the leg room.

5. The side of my left wrist hurts. It’s been hurting for almost three months but I’m not sure what the next course of action should be. I have carpal tunnel from working at Starbucks as a teen (we should do a class action). Before they had their new espresso machines where you just push a button, they had the kind people use in their homes. The repetitive movement destroyed my tendons or whatever muscle it is. I’m very resentful that this corporation did this to an innocent child and want an apology and all the maple scones I can eat for life.

6. I didn’t watch the Olympics. I watched the highlights but I find it too stressful. I don’t want to see someone fall down and get paralyzed. Also, it’s an enormous waste of money. People are starving. We’re basically living the Hunger Games at this point with the stratification of the global society juxtaposed with elaborate spectacles of self-congratulation. We deserve aliens.

7. I know people are worried about me, but I think I’m ok. Thank you.

8. Aliens

9. I think about aliens a lot. What is their fuel source? Are they more advanced than us? We automatically assume that they are, but what if they’re not? What do their faces look like? Will they even have traditional faces? Are they kind, mean, or just cold? Are they part robot (please God let them be part robot)? How long have they been around? How do they reproduce? What do they think about us? What do they think about Netflix? Do they eat? DO THEY WANT TO EAT US? What are their intentions? Are they interested in our natural resources? Do some of them already live here? So many questions, sigh.

10. I kind of want a dog. I’ve been thinking about it for a long time and believe I’m ready. A dog would make me have to leave the house regularly (for walking). I don’t mind cleaning up after it. We have a cat who is obese (we’re working on it- Gaston is an emotional eater after spending many years on the street and is trying to live a normal life), but I think he’d be ok with it. As for breeds, I don’t care. I’ll adopt one from a shelter, obviously. I’d like a medium-sized dog who won’t eat my kid’s faces off. I’m looking forward to walking with it on a leash like people in deodorant commercials, cuddling up with it, and all of those dog things people do. I know it’s a big commitment. The only thing that worries me is getting attached to the dog and it dying. Never mind I don’t want a dog. Just kidding I do. I can handle it.

10.5 Aliens, if you’re reading this, I would not like to be abducted. If you do this I’ll do everything in power to destroy the room that I’m in costing you potentially millions of Earth dollars. I’m serious about working together.

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Edges

About seven years ago I was 100% stuck. I was a first-time mom, newish-wife, working from home, trying to balance a household and didn’t know how I’d be able to make my dream of becoming a writer happen.

On a whim I decided to take a “follow your dreams” weekly evening course out of Brentwood, California by a woman I now consider a mentor, Chellie Campbell. At the end of the first session I went up to her, frustrated that all of the advice seemed geared for people without kids, people who had their days free, and actually slept at night.

I expressed my woes with her, expecting her to say something along the lines of, “Oh my! I didn’t realize you were a mother! Yes, that is a difficult situation!” and join me in wallowing.

Instead she asked me if I was familiar with Toni Morrison, the author of Beloved. Of course I was. She then a spoke a quote that rings in my ears any time I want to use motherhood as an excuse for anything.

When Toni Morrison was asked how she found the time to write as a single, poor mother, she responded that she writes, “in the edges of the day.”

In that moment, all of my excuses were exposed for that they were: lies. Comfortable lies. They were warm blankets against the cold truth that I was using my child to justify my unwillingness to fight for my dream.

The edges are there. Sometimes you have to wait for them, but stay alert. They often whistle softly in the distance like a freight train and require one to run alongside for awhile. I’ve written entire pieces in my head while vacuuming and outlines while rocking a baby to sleep.

So for all of you who dream big dreams while sitting on the floor with little drooling people, surrounded by toys, crumbs, mismatched socks, piles of laundry, and scattered ambition, take heart. And watch for the edges.

Update

In case you missed it on Facebook…it’s all finally over. I received my trademark in the mail complete with a fancy looking seal. Thank you, everyone, for your support. It meant EVERYTHING. It feels fantastic to actually own the name I blog under.

Thank you thank you thank you thank you! 🙂

warmly, Bunmi

 

 

Thank you, Honest Company

Last night I was in a place darker than any place I’ve ever had the displeasure of visiting. To say the fog was thick would be the understatement of a lifetime. Months of tension, weeks of fear, days of anger led up to a 12 hour obsessive Internet checking, reading, responding and defending marathon. I’d heard things would get ugly and they did. What was once a fun, for the first time felt like a job. And a bad one at that.

But I’m a strong woman, right? I can handle it. I’ll sleep when I’m dead. And then it happened. Not a physical death. No flowers, procession of loved ones, or long speeches about a life well lived. Just an all-encompassing mental retreat. I felt a walking crime scene. A zombie. Despite the outpouring of support, I found myself facing my own personal night.

I tortured myself, playing the day’s events in my mind over and over. Rather than focus on the positive comments, I put the words “she lied” “she stole” “she mislead” on repeat. I imagined someone standing on a raised platform shouting the accusations to a listening crowd of thousands. “SHE LIED” “SHE STOLE” “SHE MISLEAD” over and over. I could feel the burn of being raked over coals.

Pretty soon the chants changed to “SHE’S BAD SHE’S BAD SHE’S BAD” and before I knew what was happening I was shouting along with the crowd. “SHE’S BAD SHE’S BAD SHE’S BAD!” I wasn’t saying the words out loud but letting them find rest inside of me felt like the same thing.

Maybe sticks and stones would have been better. At least I’d have physical evidence, real scars to match what was growing behind my eyes.

If you’ve seen The Perfect Storm you’re probably haunted, as I am, by once of the final scenes. Mark Wahlberg’s character is left alone, without a ship, without a crew, floating on massive dark waves. They waves are viciously unapologetic and majestic, in the way mother nature so often is. In those final moments what was the doomed fisherman thinking? Even though death was a certainty, he still had a choice: sink or swim. In that moment, he could still decide. Alone and face to face with his end, he was not completely without options.

After the children had gone to sleep, I went opened my front door and went outside. The thick humidity of day had broken into a tremendous downpour of rain. The weather conditions had left the streets devoid of man and only the occasional car passed by. I took a seat on the stoop. My body was soaked in a matter of minutes plastering my dress to me like shrink wrap. Sink or swim. I couldn’t decide. With every wave that tossed me up and then down again, it was getting harder and harder to catch my breath. Not because there was no air, it was all around me, the fear just gobbled it up before I had a chance to partake. What would they say about me next? When will they say it? Who will hear it? Who will believe them? When? Who? What? When? Where? What? Who? When? What if? Why? My arms grew limp and the water rose to cover my mouth and nose. In one single action I slipped below the surface and eyes closed. Silence. The terror of losing myself to the nothingness was immediately calmed by the relief of no longer having to fight against the current.

I didn’t dare open my eyes for fear of what I might see. I could hear deep echos in the distance, not the beautiful sort made my whales, but a deep familiar groan. No longer in charge of my movements, I traveled to wherever the undertow dictated. We made the memory rounds visiting every ghost I thought I’d packed away. For a moment I entertained the idea of making a grab at the surface, using all of my strength to push myself upward but as quickly as the thought came, it was rebutted. Surely it’s better to get used to my new home rather than risking experiencing the descent again. Because isn’t the fall the worst part? We’re scared of the plane crash but utterly terrified of the moments preceding it.

Morning came and and I was still frozen. I was given an ultimatum: either get help or I’d be driven to a hospital. Three hours later I was sitting across from a professional. I felt comfortable in her medium-sized office and tried my hardest to look normal. I spoke. Explained everything.

“They said…” “I felt…” “Why…”

She listened.  As the words left my mouth, some of the sting did, too. I continued.

“I just can’t take the idea of people thinking these things about me. I feel like my name is ruined. I don’t know why this is happening.”

She paused and looked at me intently.

“It’s happening so that you can find out who you are.”

What.

“What?”

“When you know who you are, anyone can say anything to you without you internalizing it.”

“But they’re saying I’m__________.”

“Are you?”

“No.”

“Then who are you.”

I almost said, “Who do you want me to be” but decided to take a moment to think.

“I’m nice.”

“Are you a good person?”

“Yes.”

“Then why does it matter what they said.”

“Because people might believe them.”

“But what do you believe.”

And suddenly, the realization that what I believe about myself is more important than what anyone else does fell on top of me like a cloak. It was slightly ill-fitting and felt rather uncomfortable to be honest, but it was mine.

The “SHE’S BAD SHE’S BAD SHE’S BADs” grew quieter. I felt a small glow begin to emerge in my center and it frightened me. No gifts, please. I’ve gotten used to this drowning thing.

“It’s time for you to stop listening to the negativity and find your own voice. Who are you?”

“I know who I am,” I said tentatively like a child taking their first wobbly steps, “I’m kind. Stubborn. Smart.”

I started feeling self-conscious and couldn’t contain a shy smile.

After I’d finished, she went on, “One day you’re going to thank this company.”

I laughed loudly but it only took three or four seconds to realize she was on to something.

Up until that moment in her office I’d always acted based on who I am but had also used other people’s trash to piece together my self-image. Compliments were deflected or held in my hands awkwardly the way an amateur chef would handle truffles. But criticisms: whether constructive or shot to kill, those would be picked apart like a chicken dinner and consumed down to the cartilage.

On the drive home I sat in the passenger’s seat and watched the rain make hieroglyphics on the windshield. “Sink or swim,” I was asked again. Swim. Most definitely, swim.