Dear Friends, “(You Don’t Know) How Glad I Am!”

Challenge: I’m declaring this a day of gratitude, so get your #2 pencils or your pens out and write at least five things that you’re so grateful about that you just can’t believe you could be so lucky. If you can’t think of anything, but you can read this, that should be numbers one, two and three: you’re alive, you can see, my god, you have a computer!

One of the greatest gifts my mother ever gave me, besides life (and thick hair), was Eleanor H. Porter’s Pollyanna. The story is about an orphan girl who changes the world around her by being grateful for everything even, seemingly, the smallest things. After her father’s death, she’s forced to move to a town where the people are cold and hardened; after some time, with Pollyanna’s influence, they become glad. I toted Pollyanna with me to three continents, have read it numerous times at different ages, and I’m sorry that I don’t have it with me in Tokyo. Today would be a great day to lie in bed and re-read Pollyanna, especially as I’m feeling so very glad.

Here’s my “Glad List“:

1) Earlier this week, I was complaining about my roommate– the fact that I have one and just the general annoyances that come with living with someone. But, wait… I have a room, a roof over my head, a place to rest at night. I’m glad to be here, and have some stellar housemates that will stay up with me and eat melted chocolate on marshmallows (s’mores without crackers). There are times to be alone, and times when company’s needed.

2) I’m glad to be healthy and breathing (“I got my hair on my head, got my smile, my tongue… I’ve got life!”), but most especially to have been alive in the eighties. After Heavy D’s death, I couldn’t stop listening to New Jack Swing (thank heavens for producer Teddy Riley); and, yesterday was the most dance-y, boppy day I’ve had in ages. Moving one’s body feels good. Get up, move, be glad glad happy happy, you’ve got life.

3) I didn’t want to celebrate my birthday. Only mentioned it in passing to two people in Tokyo. Complained repeatedly about getting older, but what’s the alternative, death?  M refused to let me not celebrate my birthday, so after work, she met me in Nihonbashi and treated me to dinner. I’m glad to have already met someone who felt that my birthday was special enough to be treated specially. Also, I insisted that my friends “forget” my birthday, not mention it, leave me the heck alone, but you know not one of them listened. My many birthday wishes from all over the globe made me glad, though I should feel insulted that no one listens to me.

4) The conversation that I had with my brother yesterday afternoon gladdened me. When I told him that I’m just not ready to claim the age that I’ve now become, he asked me, “How old do you feel?” “27,” I answered. He paused for a second, then said, “Well be 27. Live 27.” It seems simple, but it isn’t. Be who you want to be seems simple, but it isn’t… when it sinks in, what it is is freeing.

5) When I went to the florist, he gave me some additional flowers and said, “Present, present.” I don’t have a vase, but promptly put my presents in a water bottle. The lilies have bloomed, and they make my eyes and nose glad. Thank you flower man!

6) I worked yesterday for three hours and twenty minutes. Do I need to say anything more? I’m so glad to have a job that starts at 5:30p.m; one that will, when I eventually get paid, allow me to live comfortably; one that I never think about when I leave; one that leaves me completely stress-free. I’m glad that I applied.

7) This blog induces gladness in me. When I look at the map and see where readers are coming from, many countries that I’ve never been and would love to visit, it makes me excited and glad. Thank you!

So, let’s start getting glad!

* My love has no walls on either side, that makes my love wider than wide.

* I feel love in my hands, I feel love in my feet, I feel love in my bones, I feel love in my bones, I feel love in my feet, I feel love in my heart, I feel love in my soul. And you know, it feels good.

*… I’ve got my chin, my neck, my boobies, my heart, my soul, my back, my sex, my arms, my hands, my fingers, my legs….

* Dragonfly out in the sun, you know what I mean, don’t you know?…This old world is a bold world and a new one for me.

(Send me the man and Ella’s is perfect too)

* Days can be sunny, with never a sigh
Don’t need what  money can buy
Birds in the trees sing their day full of song
Why shouldn’t  we sing along?

Letter from Kingston: The Hibiscus

open hibiscus

Did you know that a hibiscus folds into itself at night? All of its radiant peach and red and gold wrapped around itself until the morning sun swoops in. I realized this morning at 1am, when I looked at the hibiscuses flanking my mother’s front door, that in the U.S I was a closed hibiscus, and in Kingston I’ve blossomed. A flowering.

It has been so good to be home. For one, it’s nice to remember that I have a “home,” and am not the vagrant that I’ve always considered myself. No matter how long I stay away again, I know where I’ll ultimately return. As my friend Kamali commented recently I tend to “romanticize everything,” and that is most definitely true; however, although I recognize that Jamaica may not be perfect for many, it’s perfect for me.

It’s perfect for me: pale butterflies dancing in trees outside my window, nature’s gold, the sun, the sun walking with the breeze, lip balm mixed with sand, steamed fish swimming in broth of okra and pumpkin, my beautiful friends with hearts bigger than the island, a land built on the beat of a drum, music in every corner (rewind: music in every corner), a warm plantain tart from Brick Oven, guava ice-cream with chunks of guava, roses trailing iron grills, kisses from men that can’t be lovers, toothy smiles from street vendors, the Gleaner man, the plum man, quick rainshowers in open sky, hugs from God’s children, and my mother’s voice calling, “Darling, come for breakfast.”

To echo Nancy Wilson, I’m so glad to know that “my love has no beginning, my love has no end.”

* My mother– energy personified.